One of the more popular activities for our youth group members is to play video and computer network games and with the holiday break upon us, we know they will be playing them quite often. Hours and hours and hours of gripping a controller and shooting aliens might seem like such a waste of time. But just as music improves math skills, there are benefits to all this laser-blasting button-pushing!
Video games have been around for a long time, now, and some of you may remember the first Atari or Nintendo that came into your house with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Today’s games require much more sophisticated knowledge of the technology, and often the subject/genre of the game’s context. In a book from the Harvard Business School Press called “The Kids are Alright” by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, tells us that video games are changing kids for the better! Three major premises suggest that, “Gamers are more social, Gamers are natural strategic thinkers, and Gamers are prepared to be great leaders!” Today’s networked computer games teach teamwork and competition, help develop risk/reward strategies, allow young people to learn resiliency and optimism, and have a measurably broader leadership skill set.
Here are some basic lessons learned by gamers: “Be a hero to get satisfaction.” “Be an expert to be the best.” “Failure isn’t the end of the world—press restart and try again!” “Practice makes perfect is really TRUE!” and “Go global— bond with people who share your experience and interests, instead of limiting your contact along national or cultural or religious lines.” So don’t despair of the “Gamer Generation” and give the kids some credit for all that time they spend in front of the screen— they might actually be learning leadership right in their very own home! And if they invite you to sit down and play— JOIN ‘EM! Everything, in moderation, can be good for you, too. And now, if you’ll excuse me, my squad needs to a point man to run a mission.