Confused Mother

Homework is to play computer games?

It must be the dream of every boy who is so obsessed with computer games — to be told that their homework is to play computer games. Meanwhile, I’m far from impressed.

My son is currently in Year 12 (a Junior in high school). He’s one smart kid — a scientific mind that is heading down the road of engineering, just like his parents. One of his subjects this year is Digital Technologies, specializing in programming. Seems like a reasonable course to take in today’s environment.

Well, his big project for the year is to program a video game. It forms majority of his mark. He needs to fully document everything that he’s done. It’s this one redeeming factor that makes it okay in my mind. He’s a gamer and struggles with his addiction, but we’re working on it. However, his first homework assignment…

He was smiling — no beaming and laughing — when he told me what his homework was. “Before you get angry with me” — chuckle, chuckle, snicker, snicker — “my homework for Digital Tech is to actually play computer games.”

The eyes narrowed. “Really? How convienent.”

“No seriously… You know how my year assignment is to build my own computer game. Well, my teacher wants us to gain either first-hand or second-hand experience with the type of game that we’re going to build. So I need to play…”

The list of games melted into a background hum. I don’t really care what games he needs to now play. It’s the simple fact that his homework assignment was to play games that got me.

I’m sure that other parents have encountered gaming addiction before. My son is not alone in this. My husband also suffers from gaming addictions — starting with the old arcade games, then progressing to the Nintendo 64. But this world of computer games…

I get the main assignment. You want to teach kids about the steps associated with programming. As a consequence, you need to give them a project that they would actually be interested in. When they hit those moments when the code is continually bugging out and they can’t figure out why, they’re more likely to give up if they’re not interested in what they’re coding.

But giving a bunch of teens the assignment of actually playing video games? Does this teacher not understand that these teens taking this course are already into computers in a big way?

(sigh and bang my head against the desk)

Banging Head Why??

There are so many things about being a parent in today’s day and age that is so different to the past. I’m not that old here, folks, but even in the last ten years, I’ve seen a dramatic shift in technology. WiFi is now everywhere I go, and if for some freakish reason that you can’t gain access to WiFi, like you’re in the middle of nowhere, you have 4G on your phone. Smartphones are a whole new technology too, and something that has taken a real hold of the next generation. Internet TV: Netflix and the like. Need I go on?

This is not the world I grew up in. Yes, there are still underlining problems that haven’t changed, but the way in which children are introduced to the realities of life is so different. I’m not surprised that gaming addiction is on the rise.

So, how am I, as the parent, meant to deal with my son’s latest homework assignment? Am I supposed to tell him that he’s not allowed to actually do his homework? Doesn’t that go against some parent code somewhere? We’re supposed to encouraged them to actually study and do that assigned homework, right? But play computer games? Really?

(sigh) I don’t think there’s a solution.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2018

Posted in Family Life, Parenting and tagged , , , , .

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