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Video Games as the New Books?

Andrea Ramsay Speers - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I read an interesting article on boys and video games, discussing how literacy rates are dropping for boys, but some researchers aren't concerned because they feel video games are raising another kind of literacy for today’s children, boys in particular.  They call it digital literacy, and because of the changes technology has made to our lives, they think boys might be better equipped to meet workplace challenges later in their lives due to this type of literacy.

It's an interesting idea.  But any parent who has had a son park himself in front of the XBox for hours on end would argue that there have to be other, perhaps better, ways to prepare for the world of work.  Such as getting a job, meeting responsibilities including homework and chores around the house, and making social connections. But we don’t worry too much about kids who spend a great deal of their time reading, it’s true, so should we worry about a similar use of video games?  Maybe.  I’ve never heard of a child with a “reading addiction”, but video game addiction is clearly on the rise.

So, as with most things in life, it would appear that moderation is the key.  While there appear to be benefits to video game use, there is a real potential for abuse there, too.  And although technology may change our lives to require more digital literacy, children are hardly lacking opportunities to develop those skills.  And the skills developed from good old fashioned conversation and engagement in the living world will never be replaced or out of style.

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Andrea Ramsay Speers • Psychotherapist & Parent Coach • Oakville Family Institute • 175 Glenashton Dr., Oakville ON • Tel.: 905-491-6949

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