Saturday, March 13, 2010

Raising Gamer Kids

The shared topic for this week from Blog Azeroth was to give an example of a conversation you had that started out because someone else heard you talking about WoW. I wrote that all up, planning on posting it today...Then Parent and Teacher conferences happened this week and I ended up completely rethinking this post.

You see that conversation I had was with one of my boy's speech teacher's husband. I later discovered that the speech teacher was using WoW terms to help motivate my son to do his work as well as to keep him focused on what he was doing. It was a great conversation and we had a lot of fun just laughing as we discussed all things Azeroth.

Then I went to our youngest son's conference in which the teacher was sharing some of his art work and stories telling us how creative he was...only problem was my husband and I immediately recognize that our "creative child" was just telling his teachers stories from video games he had seen at home. When she went on to discuss her concern with his counting we couldn't help but break out laughing to realize our five year old was counting giving DICE numbers....2d6 instead of Twenty Six or 3d5 instead of Thirty five.

The third son's conference was filled with the story of how, rather than going outside for recess, he would instead sneak down to the computer lab. So his teachers were having to be creative to keep our happy footed wander where he belonged. At least this year everything he says doesn't involve Pirates. (Though he is STILL obsessed with them and if given a choice will happily do ANYTHING if they can some how make it seem "piratey".)

My childhood was spent horse back riding through the woods, building forts out of hay bales, hiking through fields only to be called in at the end of the day by my Father's whistle. So I never planned on raising a group of gamer kids. However of my four boys only one of them is not COMPLETELY computer mad like their father. My husband spent most of HIS childhood attached to every electronic device he could get his hands on or playing games like Dungeons and Dragons with his buddies. I have adapted to this new lifestyle...but I still occasionally drag them all out into the great outdoors. (They often complain I am trying to kill them, while the second born and I happily enjoy the fresh air.)

As I plan for the summer months we picked up a membership for the boys to work on their school skills. It is done in a MMO style they LOVE and dragging them away at the end of their sessions can often result in cries of "NOT YET!!" (As far as my 7 year old is concern the computer NEVER needs to take a break from HIM!) My mother can not comprehend the fact that I use the COMPUTER to work on reading skills rather than curling up with a book. Yeah we still READ every night, but as far as MY sons are concerned it is MUCH easier to get them to focus on sounding out words when it will help them defeat a monster or find a prize than just following Mommy's finger across a page.

I am certain in 10 or 20 years they will be writing insightful articles about how our generation failed our children by depending so much on technology. For me though, I learned computers AFTER I got out of college, if it wasn't a word processor I was completely lost. My children on the other hand are often telling their TEACHERS how to properly configure the new software they are using in the class room...As one of them commented "He is not suppose to call out in class, but usually, whatever he is telling me is correct or at least easier than the way I was doing it before...all I can do is say thank you, and remind him of the rules, secretly cringing at the fact that this 11 year old understands this stuff better than I do."

This is the next set of "gamer kids". I can only work to make sure that they, unlike the ones that Ghostcrawler and others are often speaking about, are not the types who think that you have to swear three times a minute to be "cool". So at this point they will occasionally curl up on the bed behind us to watch us raid ICC until they fall asleep, beg their grandparents for "headsets" for Christmas and get shoved outside when it is sunny. Oh what a time we live in when even the PHONES have games on them. Gaming is becoming mainstream, wither we like it or not because today's youth are surrounded by it all the time. The only question seems to be, what KIND of gamer are they? PC? Consol? or something MUCH different, the social network kind.

No comments:

Post a Comment