Did you know that children can learn valuable lessons from video games? A teenager tells us about the life lessons that Pokemon games teach him. Read on to know more.
By Atreyu Samuel Balasundaram
I see him squirming in his chair, like a teapot about to blow its whistle. I catch him peering over the paper to see what I’m up to. And what is that you ask?
Draped slothfully across the living room couch, I have my Nintendo 3DS up-close to my face, feverishly thumbing my way through a challenging level in Pokémon Moon – a game in the Pokémon franchise. It does not help my case that it is past noon, and I’m still in my pyjamas. Parents…don't judge me. I just finished my exams and am entitled to laze around a bit. After all, you see, I earned this time to play my favourite video game. If I get good grades, I get to play my game for a fixed time every day. I kept my promise and it is their turn now.
And just then, it happens.
My father finally releases his pent-up steam:
“What good is it to keep playing those games, son?”
That was my cue. And boy, am I prepared to respond.
Lights. Camera. Action!
“It is good for me, Appa!” I hit back, with some gusto. “Pokémon games actually teach me a lot.”
To this, his quizzical look is priceless.
I go on a roll, and when I’m done, Appa slowly leans back into his chair with pride in his eyes. He smiles and says “Just remember what we taught you! And…you’ve got 30 minutes left.”
That tells me I made a good case! Curious yourself? Let me elaborate.
Truth is, games can be a huge positive for children, if one sets reasonable limits. Research conducted by cognitive neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier, University of Geneva (Her 2012 TED Talk ‘Your Brain On Video Games’ offers more details) talks exactly about this. Yes, I am a teen and I not only love playing games, but also back my love for them with sound research.
If you are confused about taking my word seriously, dear parents, let me take you back to what my parents taught me. They always stressed on the importance of finding a balance between my desires, priorities and responsibilities. And subtleties between doing the right things and doing things right. Going by this, my parents have fixed us a reasonable time limit for playing video games – 30 minutes a day, give or take a few. A little more during the weekends.
So I encourage you, dear parents, to get involved and help your child find that balance that works for you and for him. Fighting with your child will only alienate him. We will probably just find someplace else to play. To sum it up, games like Pokémon teach me life skills I need to survive in this fast-moving digital world I’m growing up in.
Perhaps it’s time to ask: What are your child’s video games teaching him?
Get involved. Stay connected. Find the balance.
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