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Video Games, Problem Solving and Parenting

My son has played video games for most of his life. Before he graduated High School, he took college courses in computer programming. My husband and I were somewhat concerned however when he told us he wanted to go to school for Narrative Design. First, we didn’t know what that was, second when we did, we said “You want to go to college to make video games?” His response, “I knew you would say that.” He was disappointed in us, and he had good reason to be. 

            To be fair, when I went to college more than 30 years ago (ouch) the field of Narrative Design didn’t exist. The first video game I played was pong, look it up. My son is about to graduate, and I feel like I am the one who has had the biggest education. He works his butt off, taking writing courses, designing games, working with top professors in his field and learning much more. I have also learned to trust him and myself better as we navigate into an adult child and parent relationship. My son has a well rounded liberal arts education, and he’s an artist/writer/innovator. More importantly he has honed and perfected his ability to work as part of a team, to identify and solve problems.

We have BIG problems; Climate Change, the COVID Pandemic and a sickening wave of hatred and violence towards others are just some of them. We are in desperate need of people who can problem solve, and who can do it in teams. These problems will not be solved any other way. My son has a new way to approach the problems of our world with Narrative and Game Design, and he’s working in teams with others, to put work out there and inspire others to do the same. I believe in him and them, they give me hope for tackling some of these big problems. 

Here are some studies and evidence that support the above, including from the American Psychological Association.

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/11/video-games

2 thoughts on “Video Games, Problem Solving and Parenting

  1. This major actually came up in a conversation with a student this past week. You wouldn’t believe how excited the student was to learn there was such a thing–and to realize that even slow-to-change institutions like higher education are recognizing the value not just of the games as products but of the skills that are necessary to develop in order to make those products.

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