Are you a reluctant parent when it comes to video gaming? Whether you allow your child to play video games or not, gaming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. As the mother of a teen and a technology educator, I am often fighting the battle of “screen time.” This post is not meant to convert you one way or the other, but to educate you on the pervasiveness of video gaming.
Beyond Pong: Video Gaming Now
Video gaming has come a long way from its nascent stages of the 1970’s arcade game, Pong, to Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG), which allow hundreds of thousands of players to concurrently interact in an online game. An article in the Washington Post reported that in 2014 video gaming grew to an industry totaling over $100 billion in sales worldwide. While the motion picture industry pulled in $10.9 billion at the U.S. box office, and the music industry reported $7 billion in sales, video game sales totaled more than both combined, with $21 billion in US sales.
Although gaming is assumed to be an activity for teenagers, the statistics indicate that what constitutes a gamer is far from this idea. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average gamer is 35 years old. Here are some other gaming statistics:
There are certain characteristics that video gaming promotes that can be beneficial in an educational setting. Video games generate conditions that encourage players to “stay in the game,” such as enjoyment, interest, and motivation.
In Minecraft, one of the most popular games on the market, players build in a "sandbox" environment with 3D cubes. Minecraft's educational site has brought a school version of the game to classrooms that allow educators to connect and to use Minecraft as a platform for learning.
Tips for Parents
The world of video gaming grows exponentially each year. As a parent, remember to set guidelines, be informed, and monitor your child. The following tips will help you determine boundaries: