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Photot from Kotaku.com

Now this is an argument I could get on board with!… That is if I were a dad and if I had the proper balance and attentiveness in my life to appropriately connect the unproductive things I waste too much time on with social obligations and expectations of being a human being. I, of course, am not very good at that.

That’s not to say that I can’t learn to balance gaming with a productive and meaningful existence. That’s what this man did (or tried to do, or thinks he’s doing) in a recent editorial on the Forbes website. Jordan Shapiro is a recently divorced father that had to move back in with his parents and found himself gaming like a prepubescent COD soldier of fortune.

I’m only posting this as something to think about an discuss; I don’t entirely subscribe Mr. Shapiro’s initiative, and find it a bit cheesy and far less simple than he makes it sound… he touches on some pretty high-level, critical thinking lessons that feel like an ambitious stretch to be taught through gaming. For example:

…Of course, I don’t just sit there silently, fingering the D-pad. I don’t embody the role of the almost-middle-aged slacker. Instead, I embody the role of the ‘father.’

I don’t allow the game console to be merely a babysitting computer that distracts my kids while I flirt with my girlfriend on Facetime. Instead, it is something that father and sons do together.

Most importantly, I talk with my boys about what it’s like to play the game.

  • What emotions go with jumping high enough onto the flagpole that you get a free life?
  • How do you feel when you lose because your little brother made Yellow Toad accidentally hop on your polka-dotted cranium?
  • Don’t you think it’s kind of crazy that you get better at winning by losing over and over again?

Child psychologists have always recognized how important play is to a child’s cognitive and emotional development.

Great life lessons to learn, but I’m not sure that a video game is a realistic environment for practical application. I’m not totally hating on the idea though; I think Shapiro’s got the right idea. Do you have a more realistic way to emotionally educate your youngsters while gaming? I’m not talking about technical learning here; I already love and swear by math, science and similar traditional learning games. I mean making mainstream console gaming educational. Thoughts? Ideas? Send em my way!

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