Members of one generation can’t seem to avoid falling into gaps of mis-understanding regarding another generation. Eventully, they hit bottom, stumble around in the darkness of their own ignorance, often manufacturing a conclusion to ease their anxiety, at the cost of understanding the other generation. I’ll offer gaming in the digital versus real world, as a case in point.
Parents, not understanding the attraction of digital gaming, often lament that their kid is distracted playing video games for hours on end. Yet, for the current generation, video games are very sophisticated replications of activities older generations played in three dimensional reality, like board games or a variety of sports, no different from parents today reading their newspaper on the iPad or binge watching The History Channel on their computers.
Furthermore, parents share frustrations that their kid is wasting time watching YouTube videos of other gamers, not comprehending the entertainment value of watching other people record, then broadcast themselves playing digital games. Yet, the YouTube videos are similar to parents watching the highlight reels on ESPN of their favorite team. And, in some cases, kids learn to improve their video game play in watching the YouTube videos which are also sophisticated tutorials, no different than attending soccer practice several days a week.
Finally, parents worry about screen time corrupting their kids’ ability to think critically and cooperate with others. Yet, in any short inquiry of kids’ gaming experiences, especially during the past 12 months of shelter in place sequestering, kids are gaming WITH friends, having to collaborate to win the game. Each kid assumes a strategic role within a team to compete.
Other kids are discovering an aptitude for coding and understanding the logic of computing to establish servers as private spaces to game within a larger game. While still other kids apply their inherent ability to design or apply budding game theory (advanced mathematical reasoning) to custom-design games suited to their and their friends tastes and desire to be challenged.
So, to avoid resentment and to encourage understanding between the current generation in charge and the one who is heir apparent, I offer this timely advice: mind the gaps in generational understanding by sharing, instead of tearing at our shared humanity by playing some games, the training ground for all things abstract, in either world today.
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