230: Developmental Stage Select

Developmental Stage Select

The debate about the effects of gaming on developing minds has become pretty polarized lately. But both sides often miss an important point: Kids have different cognitive needs at different points in their development. Neils Clark adds some nuance to the conversation on games and child development.

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No, thank you for writing the article.

As an aside: it strengthens my desire not to have and raise children. It sounded tough even before I'd considered gaming as well.

Good article - nicely balanced overview.

Dr Cash:
no screens before age 7

I couldn't disagree more strongly with this. My daughter is eight now and has been learning a huge amount via interacting with her computer and the internet (since age three). Dr Cash seems to see things in terms of a distinction between "screens" and real life. In reality, kids of this generation will grow up into a world where everything is screens and computers. But they won't really notice them, just as Dr Cash doubtless doesn't lose much sleep over at what age children interact with paper right now. (Think of the risks! They'll lose themselves in a world of words and pictures!)

Experts love the word "cautious". Here's reality: for my daughter's eighth birthday, one of her friends gave her a USB peripheral. Just think about that for a minute.

Thanks Pie and Don.

It's true that our notions of reality do shift as new technologies hit the scene. Socrates, via Plato's Phaedrus (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1636 - if anyone's interested), did actually critique writing when the form was relatively new. His specific critiques are actually quite correct - you can't have a conversation with writing. Memory also degrades, especially relative to an oral culture where much in history not memorized can vanish forever.

What Cash is most worried about, I think, is that the designed-in reward structures are such that young kids may not be prepared to handle Internet/Games-as-entertainment.

Where it's entirely common to see 3-year-olds with DS Lites, and kids without GTA (insert numero here) are free to go to a friend's house, I think she makes for an interesting balance. One thing that we didn't have room for in this piece were these often diverging perspectives. In my experience it's a conversation where a lot of the quotable folks (in media studies, treatment, and game development) are willing to sit down in a room and hash out these views. They certainly don't all agree with each other, but it's heartening to see that they're all interested in the discussion. And I think that's valuable to note - that none of these guys really support the sensationalism that accompanies a lot of the material out there.

for me as a stranger to english, it were games that had me educated to levels far above the others of my age, and also it is important for kids to learn very early that people suck, and trust me, when you see what games people are producing you gonna think that soon. Also piracy(=lack of money and no secondhand shops in my country+internet connection growth) and modding taught me many valuable lesons about internet and 3D worlds(and had to learn shitload about windoes). And of course, my first games were on console which had those stupid yellow casettes.(had to evolve to PC via GTA) If there are things to form one's character in gaming, it is establishing what you like/don't give a fuck/hate.

RE to post #6: i thing it is about what you understand from a game, I could play sorts of GTA, but only things i understood at the age were the gameplay mechanics and how to control the game(reasons see above)

Also this article reminded me of how awesome Soldier of fortune II Double Helix is, it has advanced gore and a parental lock, but it's not a new game. Damn, WTH is happening with THE NEW STUFF?

I'm 13 now and have been playing games, well, since I was really young. Not just kid games: I played the old Call of Duty games with my dad when I was young. And I'm that meek little bookworm who takes out a book every time we have free time in school, but then I go home and play Fallout 3 and blast super-mutant brains sky high.
Anyway, I strongly disagree when Dr. Cash said that computers and the internet should never be used for entertainment. Why not? I've been playing kid games such as Club Penguin and Sims since I was a little girl and my brain isn't as small as a peanut. If you ask me, video games are a scapegoat, when people don't want to admit it was their fail parenting that caused their kids to be messed up. I mean, if you let your seven year old spend eight hours playing M rated games without intervening, whose fault is it?

Also, first post. Woo, yay.

this had to be in a new post: in the oncoming age all parents will have gamed at some age themselves, and therefore the old ignorant culture must vanish. We are not yet realising what world we're living in, I have seen people trying to install software on school computers. There is no need for such efforts since those functions are available via web.

I agree wholeheartedly with everything said in this article. While I was unaware of the specifics of the stages of a developing child I had always thought that video games in and of themselves could not be detrimental to a child. Rather like all other aspects of a child's life, the parent should take an active role in monitoring how it affects them. On certain levels it can be compared to television; watching suitable shows for a certain amount of time each day shouldn't be detrimental to te child, the same as playing suitable games for a certain amount of time should also do not harm. It's up to each parent individually to know what games are suitable for their child (although age ratings shouldn't be dismissed offhand) and how long is an acceptable time for them to spend playing.

No, reverse. Children ruin games.

Yes, I bought 7 children yesterday, put them next to my Xbox and now they're all ruined.

But seriously, I think stick with the kiddie stuff until age 11, then kids stop taking things as fact and can see that what they're doing is just moving pixels on a screen.

I definitely agree with your point on children from 12-18 needing more than one venue for an outlet. My little brother has become obsessed with TF2, to the point that when I come home from school I have to kick him off every day when I have my own things to do such as gaming, studying or just talking to people. And as soon as I do that, he goes on a mini vendetta on me for taking away his one outlet that he has limited himself to.

Kiutu:
No, reverse. Children ruin games.

Sometimes, i tend to agree... when decent games are dumbed down(gameplay or story-wise) to be «kid-friendly». Adults want their fun too.

THe problem isnt games. The problem isnt TV, or Internet, or whatever.

THe problem lies with how parent educate their kids. Are they buying the peace by getting them everything they want? Keeping them quiet in front of the TV? Not bothering to check up and discuss what they are seeing/playing with their kid?
Are we taking the time needed to just.. talk with them? Or are we just too tired/busy to do it so we give games/internet/tv the babysitter's job?

no unless games are uncontrolled by parents and used as babysit

Kiutu:
No, reverse. Children ruin games.

Ha! True enough. I'm not sure about the whole child-ruining aspect of games, it shouldn't all fall under video games. It should equally fall under television and movies. I guess in validation, growing up watching violence, or growing up causing virtual violence could lend itself to a somewhat detrimental effect.

It's mainly the fault of today's parents: never around, too buzy, divorce, just a horrible parent. Plenty of reasons why a child would be placed, or place themselves in front of a screen. Plus the brains of children are wired differently, and horrific violence would definately look cool. (especially to young boys) Not to mention all the stuff like ADD and the like.

But as it's been said, it becomes less of an issue as you grow. And to quote a great man "Gushing breathlessly about garot wire decapitation, and baseball bat cranial explosion is a good way to win you friends in middle school, but around the office watercooler it's a good way to lose them."

I'm not sure that recommending that kids shouldn't play games becuase it stops them really "feeling their feelings" is such a great idea. Do we really need that many people in society who cry at bad movies and are obsessed with their own emotional state? If it made kids scared, unstable or violent then I might be more concerned.

I generally disagree with the sentiment that all children should go through the same factory style development process so that they end up as well rounded and functional products when they enter the adult world. Let some of them rot their brains with video games or reading books above their age level or whatever. I don't think we need new generations who think exactly how educational experts, or even worse their parents, want them to think.

I agree. I grew up with games and I really had to learn on my own how much gaming was good for me and when to stop, which transfered over to the rest of my life. I am sure I will always battle the urge to play just a little more.

Generalizations are very... general. (Irony because that's a generalization)
There will always be kids who will learn a lot from video games and who are able to practice restraint and there will be kids who will become over-obsessed and etc. Saying that "video games are bad" is a very closed minded assumption to make. Once you think about it, none of us function the same way and will be affected the same way by anything in life.

I'd like to start by saying that I'm not a parent, ut so it's all clear..

I'm 26 now and I grew up in the days of the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro (Nearly missed them though!)

From the age of about 4 or 5 I was introduced to gaming on the spectrum, I used to spend a lot of time playing things like the original turtles game... But I also ended up playing things like Lord of the Rings.. basic text adventures... at 5 years old my understanding of the world increased... I learnt about north, south, east and west and what they meant, I learnt new words and it sparked my imagination... It's not the SCREENS that's the problem, it's what's on them... At the age of 6 I wrote my first program on the spectrum because I found the spectrum manual on the desk one day with a big title of "make your own games".. I admit, they programs weren't very good, but it was the fact that I did it.. I learnt a lot back then (and probably how I've made it into a job as a programmer now)...

Probably around the age of 8 or 9 I got a computer of my own in my room! It was a commodore amiga A500+. Puzzle games like Monkey Island helped my brain to develop with logic skills...

But anyway... to the point I'm trying to make before I get lost in a world of nostalgia!

"Screens" and games aren't inherently BAD things... It's all a matter of balance. If there is genuinely a learning experience through what they're doing on a computer, leave them to it for a bit longer. But if it's just for games make sure they have some more stimuli than just working out how to jump across platforms. Take them out to see the world, play with them in the house, above all ALWAYS take an interest if they're learning and give them encouragement.

In conclusion: Games, computers and TVs are neither Bad nor Good. It's the parents that manage these things that makes the difference to the child. The problem is, parents don't want to accept responsibility and like to blame the easiest thing. If you think games are having a bad effect on your child, don't STOP them from playing them, they'll only scream and yell, what you have to do is make times that they're not playing it fun as well so that the have a choice. If you give them no feedback when they're playing they'll go back to the only thing that will give them some kind of feedback and be mentally stuck there.

That turned into a much bigger post than I meant it to.... I was just gunna write a couple of lines.. lol

You know, I've been playing games since I was six, and the hobby has made up the vast bulk of my free time for the past 26 or so years, so I'm actually a fairly good indicator of what happens to a kid who plays too many video games.

First, we're ridiculously smart because we've basically been playing brain exercises in our free time.

Second, little of this smart has practical applications because the vast majority of games take place in abstract scenarios.

Third, my social skills are stunted severely. While that's all very well and good because a great deal of social skills come from adopting popular vices, it does tend to make us unreasonable when dealing with the typical idiot.

Neils Clark:
Developmental Stage Select

The debate about the effects of gaming on developing minds has become pretty polarized lately. But both sides often miss an important point: Kids have different cognitive needs at different points in their development. Neils Clark adds some nuance to the conversation on games and child development.

Read Full Article

Yawn, Studies are normally for people who call themselves doctor or scientists to create a publicity stunt of death to the world and corruption of kids to get more funding for more studies I call "Oh shit something might happen somewhere, gimmie money and i'll fix it." tactics.

Kids play games, no problem. Limit some time, make um play how my folks did it.

If your kid sets something on fire and blames the video game, don't sue the games makers beat the snot out of the kid and said it has nothing to do with that, and if you think blaming your actions on something else flies you got another thing coming.

Cause once they get away with the "I saw it on X or heard it from a rapper/rocker ect" and they murder animals, burn down a house or kill someone. They think they can blame the invisible friend defense for life.

I think I can sum up the right way to raise a kid with video games: Parents, BE INVOLVED and BE REASONABLE. I speak from experience. Games are a privilege in my house, which my five year old gets to play (with me involved) for an hour and a half if they get good conduct in school, eat their dinner and finish their homework. I supervise play-dough time, constructor set play, swing-set time and reading/flash cards the rest of the night. No games over E-10+, no games I haven't played already, and it is always, always a family event. And she gets to have fun solving platforming puzzles or raising animals or whatever we're playing - and there is true benefit in training a brain to problem solve, believe me. And you know what? Her behavior, happiness, self-satisfaction and self-esteem are all at optimum levels. This kid is damn happy and damn smart and imaginative and I am damn proud of how she's turning out. All because I decided I'd give up my evenings of useless tv programs and gaming and internet browsing and focus on my child instead. That's what frustrates me about parents who complain about violent games, etc. - if you don't like how your kid acts when they play GTA4, don't let them play the game! GOSH, lazy parents really get my goat.

Parents: dont let your kids play games online , until they're at least 21.
Will it improve their minds? Haven't a clue ,but it'll reduce the amount of squeaky voices calling everyone "fagnigger" every few seconds when I'm playing MW2 and the like and that's a GOOD thing.

I have been gaming since 1985 and i saw i'm better for it so sit down and shut up it's better than watch TV all day any way

I got my first videogame when I was 3 years and 4 months old, for Christmas. It's hard not sounding biased after declaring that, but I really believe that videogames aren't all that bad, or good, by themselves. When we talk about damaging and addicting kids, I believe what we really have to look is wat surrounds gaming in the kid's life: how does he interact with family and friends, what are his choices of activities, and what is the content of those activities- just as in games. I won't question that there are many games unsuitable for kids, just as there are movies and books and CONVERSATIONS unsuitable as well. A father who only comes home to drink and watch the Superbowl doesn't really teach his kids that there are better things to do in life.
As for good things, I don't think you'll get better reflexes or hand-eye coordination by gaming. Playing games increases one's ability to ... well, play games. Beeing exposed to that so early and myself being so bad at sports make me think so. But I don't blame gaming for that, I blame my own lack of interest in soccer for that. I certainly did learn a few things, tough, about logic, physics, maybe even mechanics (and a little history, from Civ and others, maybe), but that's all.
Great article, BTW.

The media simplifies the debate between people who think games are harmful, violent murder-simulators and gamers and parents who recognize the good that playing games can do for children and adults.

I wish I saw the latter. Most of the non-game media I see tends to simplify the debate as being between people who think games are harmful, violent murder-simulators and lackadaisical slackers who haven't elaborated their position much beyond "Eh, what's the harm?" Guess which side gets more ink?

What i don't like about most articles that are one sided is that they talk about their "studies" and all that but they haven't lived it. They can't give you their PERSONAL experience about why they think something is one way or another. And when its on the news its usually something that went wring like gaming addiction or like when that one guy killed a baby because he was crying while he was busy playing a game. Its more in between its up to you if the games will do good or bad to you i suppose. Or else all gamers would be addicted to gaming.
Its all about balancing your life and doing different things and being able to tell reality from fiction. and of course in having fun =D

well I read the first two pages and pretty much get the idea. I guess i'll just share a personal experience. I have been watching tv since I was 4. When I was 5 my mother asked me if I wanted to cook and verbatim replied "No mom, that's for women." she asked where I learned that (my father actually stayed home the first six months of my life while my mom worked full time) and I said Fred Flintstone.

My nephew who is 6 years old grew up on baby einstein. When I was in highschool I actually had to sit next to him for 3 hours while it played in a loop during his nap/mildly active time while I did homework. He was in and out watching it. I watched it on one loop to see what it was. It looked like something babies could and maybe even should watch to induce healthy development. I am a chemistry major in college in my junior year and have a job guaranteed when I get out. Its just one of those things in life. If you can't beat it join it.

My nephew is amazing. I did "well" in school to get where I am. He already excels in school, does extra credit, is vibrantly social, has actually recently taken a notice to primary elections as they entered his state and bombards my sister with questions all day, and plays sports. He also has had a game console, handheld, cellphone with apps, and occasionally played on a computer since he was 4. Hell he knows how to use an iphone better then I do. He is not allowed on the internet though unless it is youtube to see walkthroughs on how to beat games (technology heh!)

We turned out alright, I'm sure other ppl dont have as much success intergrating with technology at a young age but I'm skeptical to Cash's skeptisim. If anything, older generations are the one's that develop unhealthy relationships with technology IMO. And the way the youth is intergrating with technology is just amazing.

The answer isn't one thing or the other. It's all things. Send children to daycare and let them game on the weekends if that is what is going on these days. Let them play sports and read wikipedia articles. Its the future and you can't fight it anyway.

If anything (at least in the U.S) the most dangerous thing/place for our children is sending them to highschool these days.

However, I would agree that we should caution our children about the internet the same way we were cautioned. For instance I played an MMO recently where a character walked up to me and in chat claimed to be 7 and wanted to be my friend. Needless to say i told the character that I would not be his/her friend and to ask their mother why they shouldn't talk to people on the internet. When I was growing up I played chess on the internet (56Kbs) and when a person asked my age I asked my mother who told me not to answer that question. We should offer our children this advice! Don't talk to strangers, don't give personal information out, and don't give your age for the love of god!

Sharky200:
What i don't like about most articles that are one sided is that they talk about their "studies" and all that but they haven't lived it. They can't give you their PERSONAL experience about why they think something is one way or another. And when its on the news its usually something that went wring like gaming addiction or like when that one guy killed a baby because he was crying while he was busy playing a game. Its more in between its up to you if the games will do good or bad to you i suppose. Or else all gamers would be addicted to gaming.
Its all about balancing your life and doing different things and being able to tell reality from fiction. and of course in having fun =D

completely agree. This not only applies to this argument but all politically polarized arguments. Someone somewhere has done a study on everything. Well here's the funny thing about statistics that people either didn't learn or forget.

1. Researchers observe what they want to observe to prove hypothesis. Therefore, the results reflect the desired result.

2. Participants lie during questionnaires to create desired results or to appear in a viewpoint that they "approve of" that may not correspond to their own viewpoint.

3. Researchers design experiments to inherently prove their thesis, for instance designing questionnaires that ask specific questions in a specific order.

Basically proving all stats and psychology is bunk unless backed up by hard scientific data.

Don't believe me? read an intro to psych textbook.

 

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