There is no doubt about it computer games are addictive that is one of the reasons that games like Angry Birds and Farmville have done so well in recent years. Why? Well, computer games are well made.
A recent report from the BBC references a government advisor (presumably from Westminster?) who warns that adolescent addiction to computer games is set to rise steeply over the next few years.
The reasons for this are simple. We will have more games than ever before, greater access to technology than ever before and more teenagers than ever before. But it is important to remember that addiction to gaming is not new – people have been addicted to card games for years (its called gambling…).
However, making these basic comparisons are not really the point of this short article. My point with the BBC story is something that I have been talking about for years and concerns emotional intelligence – lots of people disagree with me on this one.
In the BBC piece it comes across that Jane Whalley (the mother of addicted son, Jack) blames the game for her son’s addiction. Jack who is obviously over 18 because he states that his favorite game is ‘Call of Duty’ where you go around ‘shooting things up’. Everyone knows that Call of Duty has a PEGI 18 age rating on it.
Hmmmmmmmmm, or maybe Jack has been playing games that he is not emotionally ready for? I wonder what we can learn from this? From an education perspective one thing is for sure. We probably need to do more surrounding teaching about games as well as how games can be used for learning.
What ever happens we can not let the media reporting incidents like this in any way impact on the good work that is going on in many schools. Games based learning has huge potential in education as has been demonstrated by the Learning and Teaching Scotland Consolarium time and time again.
If you want to find out more about Games Based Learning in Scottish Schools why not come to our Games to Learn – take 2 Conference being organsied by JISC and the LTS Consolarium on March 19th 2011.