However, this may not be a cause of worry – in fact, our research suggests that these kids are often the smartest ones around and if guided properly, can have a wide array of educational and professional opportunities opened up before them.
In our experience, kids who play these games are actually very gifted. They have a unique ability to pull in herculean amount of effort to achieve a certain objective – something that is very useful as they go through life! They also have a singular capability of ‘story building’ and a deep appreciation of history and mythology. Their logical skills are extremely deep and they potentially could become great programmers and problem-solvers. These days, kids play games such as Minecraft which attract more than a million gamers every day! These gamers have an awesome capability of building connections and work in a collaborative environment. Further, some other games (especially Role Playing Games) like The World of Warcraft help foster deep emotional quotient. As they assume different identities, they not only are able to build an intellectual interplay across different roles but also develop emotional ruggedness as they assume different dimensions of the personalities that they play as. Despite such positives that come from these games, we worry about our kids.
As parents, we worry because we are not entirely sure as to what our kids would end up doing if they continue to play these games. There are many options for great gamers – they can study engineering and become ‘makers’. Or else, they could do courses related to media and communication including high-end graphics design. Some others like to pursue courses in liberal arts and design thinking. Gaming equips them across a wide-array of skills and interest sets which they can deploy extensively. And no surprises, these students generally do very well! These then go on to become entrepreneurs, game designers, business consultants, investment bankers, etc.
These options can only fructify if the child is guided properly. A student of mine who would play Diablo incessantly – sometimes for 15 hours straight (no sleep, no food) found a new streak when he played Kerbal Space Program. I tasked him to send a spacecraft to moon with a certain payload and a few difficult-to-implement boundary constraints. His first attempt failed. But he persisted. On his 145th attempt he could send the spacecraft to the moon! Not only he applied his Physics principles in a simulated abstraction of reality (he topped his Physics exam subsequently), he also learnt the value of persistent hard work. He subsequently went to MIT Media Labs to study game design!
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