Forbes has recently published an article about why Minecraft is shaping a generation — and why it’s a good thing. The link is here:
Video games: they are both a blessing and a curse. If you are a parent, then you know what I mean. On one hand, nothing keeps your kiddos quiet and entertained like a good video game. On the other hand, you are swamped with guilt and worry: am I creating a permanently lazy child? What about playing outside, like I did as a child? Just like every other household, video games is an ongoing source of contention in our home. How much is too much?
The fact that I, myself, play a few video games does not help. How am I supposed to suggest he can’t play, when it is all I want to do? As a neurotypical (well, whatever that is!) person, I get the following out of the role-playing game Age of Chaos on IoS: I have made friends, and I get an escape from the troubles in my life. In the behavior of all organisms, we repeat behaviors that we get various rewards out of: whether those be primary, secondary, or tertiary rewards, there is typically something we “get out” of a behavior that we repeat.
I always assumed my son Christian felt the same way. It wasn’t until the conclusions of a major (video-game induced) meltdown did he explain to me what he gets out of playing video games.
And my heart broke into a million pieces.
“Mom,” he said to me, “Do you know what I play video games? I do it because nobody likes me in real life. But on [my games], I’m just a regular kid, and people like me. I have a full “friends list” with people that actually like me. In real life, nobody except you and dad can stand me.”
These are the words of a 6th grader with Aspergers’ syndrome (or Autism Spectrum Disorder Type 1, according to the DSM V).
I feel that we should use every tool we can to help bridge the gap between our Autistic kiddos and their neurotypical peers. This will give them more friends, which will help them avoid depression and anxiety in adolescence and early adulthood, decrease amounts of bullying, and just overall improve the kiddos quality of life. This article by Forbes encourages the use of games like Minecraft in the classroom: not just for the autistic kiddos but for the neurotypical children as well.
So… Why not?