This morning, I stumbled upon the blog of a future educator lambasting gamers:
“Why after all of these years do people depend on videogames?”
“These so called “gamers“, do not have a real social life.”
“The only interaction they get with people is between a headset.”
There’s plenty more, and you can read it for yourself here. I wrote a response that I’d like to share, because the comment I left is awaiting moderation, and likely won’t be approved.
I’ve been playing video games since I was five years old, starting with the Atari 2600. On the weekends, if I was lucky, my parents would rent a video game for me. I would always look through the art in the instruction booklets on the ride home, and it got me started with drawing.
In middle school and high school, I was in art classes. I was considered for several art programs throughout, and I graduated my senior year in an advanced placement course.
When I was in the fifth grade, I was pulled out of class to take a test. The proctor had a flip book of words and a stopwatch. She would turn the page, and I had to read the word aloud as quickly and as accurately as I could. The results of the test indicated that I was reading at the level of a high school junior, despite the fact that my parents always struggled to get me to read anything at all.
In my junior year, I tied for highest score in the school in our statewide writing examination.
I’ve had a tremendous imagination all my life. I can find stories, humor, and adventure in even the most mundane tasks. I’m rarely ever bored, and I find myself constantly dreaming up new worlds, characters and situations.
I have an insatiable hunger for learning. I often look into something that has piqued my interest and find myself in an entirely different subject hours later.
I’ve never been in a romantic relationship that didn’t last at least three years, and the friends I made during my formative years are still the very best I could ever ask for.
Now I’m an Intelligence Specialist in the United States Navy and working at the Pentagon.
You look at video games, and all you can see is noise and guns. What you don’t see is creative problem solving, critical thinking, moral choices, conflict resolution, relationship building, cause and effect, drama, comedy, tragedy, learning opportunities, fantastic stories, the rewards of overcoming adversity, attention to detail, music appreciation, understanding different perspectives, and more concepts and situations that run the gamut of all human experiences.
The fact that video games are played in front of a TV makes them no less impactful than literature, film, or any other medium.
Anything in excess is bad for you, and if you’re not putting these kinds of things into context for your children, then you are an example of bad parenting. That’s true of everything; not just video games.
If you don’t understand “so-called ‘gamers’” or video games in general, that’s fine. But passing judgement on the people who do is completely ignorant and unbecoming of someone looking to make a career of shaping young minds.
If I were in your shoes, I’d educate myself on video games to understand why they’re so appealing and how I could use them to relate to my students and enhance their learning.
But what do I know? I’m just a gamer.