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How to Feel Better About Gaming

Parents, as a group, are worried about how much their children are playing video games, so I thought I would provide a resource to ease some of that worry. I just finished reading Reality is Broken, by Jane McGonigal. In broad strokes, this book is an explanation of the growing trend in gaming (and not just among teens), and what can be done about it. What I like about this book is that there is no discussion about curbing gaming behavior. Instead, McGonigal describes gaming as something very human, historic, and essential for the survival and progression of the human race. She presents several global problems that will likely require solutions in the next generation or two, and posits that gamers have the raw skills to solve these problems.

Yes, she argues, gaming is suitable for teaching today's youth cerain skills. McGonigal makes a compelling case that this generation of gamers is able to collaborate with one another at a level resembling mastery of the skill. I will recommend parents do not take my (or McGonigal's) word for it, but go to the places that your kids are gaming and achieving mastery in collaboration and other skills. If you have not played video games, and especially online, multi-player games in the last five years, you are in for a surprise.

Finally, and among other things, this book provides a number of practical ways one can incorporate games and gaming strategies into every day life to make things more enjoyable, fun, and meaningful; and have a more positive impact on the environment (social, natural, and otherwise). And yes, she does chime in on the question of how much is too much. Read it to find out.

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