The Many Benefits of Video Games

Have you read Peter Gray’s column on video games on Psychology Today Online?

“If kids are really free to play and explore in lots of different ways, and they end up playing or exploring in what seems to be just one way [such as video games], then they are doing that because they are getting something really meaningful out of it.”

“I’ve also known kids who spent huge amounts of time reading–just sitting and reading, “doing nothing!” for maybe 10 hours a day. There were always some kids like that, even when I was a kid. I could never understand why they would want to just sit and read when they could go fishing with me instead. What a waste of time. However, I’ve never known a parent to limit their kids’ reading time. Why is it any better to limit TV or computer time than to limit book-reading time?”

We’ve certainly made similar observations at Open Doors.  For some of our members, longtime video game play is not only enjoyable and challenging unto itself.  The world of video games opens into a world of economics study, game theory, psychology, history, narrative, culture, mathematics, statistics, social skills, systems thinking, and critical thinking.  And fun!  We’re learning to never underestimate the power of fun, not just for learning, but for living.

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Want to hear more?  Come to an event and we’ll be happy to share our observations — or just give us a call.

Creating and Sharing Value

Our Open Doors members are in a unique position to learn how to participate in the adult world.  Because their time and energy are not drained by school, they can focus on creating and sharing value with the communities that matter to them.  By doing so, they build self-knowledge and learn what it means to contribute.

Our teens also learn some entrepreneurial skills in the sense that they may spend a lot of resources — time, energy, and sometimes money — without any guarantees of a positive response or success.  Managing risk in that sense is an enormous part of adult life, and our teens are gaining experience with it.

An example:  one member is an avid gamer, and so a community that matters to him is the online gaming community.  Recently he decided to write regular guides for his favorite game, the wildly popular and challenging League of Legends by Riot Games.  Instead of writing compositions for an audience of one — his English teacher — this member writes guides that could add real value to hundreds of other gamers’ lives, guides that may be read multiple times for the content, guides that may be commented on, argued with (!), and eventually improved.  The staff at Open Doors is watching this member improve his grammar and sentence structure in a self-directed way, because he wants his guides to be readable and direct.

Here’s a link to his latest guide about a new League of Legends champion, Vel’Koz.

Though the guide may seem technical to you, we wouldn’t be surprised if you pass by several people today who would be able to read it and use it.   It’s true — there really is no learning like real-life and self-directed learning.  Come find out more at one of our events!