Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
So, it just happens that we had a gathering at our house yesterday and among my friends exists a wonderful, and highly opinionated, mother-of-two. Out of the blue (honestly, it was NOT manufactured) arose a discussion about PTSD. She had read, somewhere, that some children were being diagnosed with this condition and the culprit? Yes, you guessed it, gaming. Now, my ears immediately pricked up and I chuckled to myself. Ha, what better time than to quote some Prensky. I mean, really, I could not have planned this any better. Anyway, once she finished her rant, I calmly asked if she had heard of Marc Prensky. Her response, No. I proceeded to tell her how interesting I found her comments and went on to quote at length his discussion about ‘counterbalancing influences’. For once in my life, I caused this friend to quiet down, humph, and walk away. Score!
But seriously, I totally agree with Prensky on this. Parents need to parent. Yes, I said it, parents need to parent. If children are ONLY playing video games and watching TV then, sure, something might go amiss. Limits are not only good they are necessary. Parents need to decide on those limits and stop taking the easy way out. I say, easy, because I truly believe that lazy parenting is endemic in our society. I am not talking, like my friend suggested, about low-income, single moms, (yes, I know), I am talking about those middle to upper ‘classers’ who can afford this stuff, and plenty of it. I work in a district where most children can have any piece of hardware and software they want and I see the dangers of this. But the dangers I see are not from the technology itself, it’s from the parents willingness to let it take their place.
Games, used properly, and supervised appropriately, are powerful tools for children and quite frankly, whether we like it or not we are going to have to embrace the world of games. If we don’t we will be left behind my young people who are learning a completely different way to ‘be’. I say bring it on! I would much rather talk to my own children and my students about the opportunities that games present than worry about the harm that could be done.