Friday, August 28, 2015

Having Girls Play More Video Games is NOT the Answer to Getting Them into the STEM Fields

"Goodness! Do we really want more kids playing more video games?"  That was my first thought when I came across an article by Samantha Parent about how girls should be encouraged to play more video games.  The article is pure absurdity!  Parent states that because brothers and fathers play, girls should too. Video games apparently have gender disparity as does everything else on this planet these days. 

FYI!  Some kids don't like playing video games - just like some kids don't like to read or play board games.   My daughter is one of those kids.  Her brother is a video game junkie.  He tried to get her to play with him to no avail. She is the type of girl who likes to paint, cook and read. She does things that girls like to do!  And these are things that girls, as well as humans, have enjoyed doing for hundreds of years. The few video games she has enjoyed playing involved dogs and cooking.  Both girly topics.  Which is fine, because she is a girl! 

The article also stated that girls still are not going into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Unfortunately these numbers have dropped dramatically in recent decades.  The fix?  Play more video games!  This will spark a new found interest in these fields.  Has anyone considered that most kids are on tech gadgets all day long?  They are on them at school.  They have to do their homework on them.  They play on them.  They communicate with all their friends on them.  Watch movies on them.  Some may actually choose to go into careers or spend their free time where they are not chained to a tech gadget.  Quite frankly, the numbers of girls entering the STEM fields has dropped since the rise of girls playing video games. In all actuality maybe we should be trying to have them do other things rather than play video games.

Why coerce a child who loves to paint, cook and read into playing games that will just suck her in on more tech gadgets?  She is enjoying life like kids SHOULD be enjoying life.  She is one of the few who is not majorly technologically connected.  Why do people think that all kids need to be so full of tech and games?  Why can't they just be kids? And another FYI, after reading this article as well, my teenage son claims that of his friends it's pretty even (55% boys 45% girls) as to what genders play video games. There were no stats on gender disparity in the article, but according to Wikipedia "the gender ratio has become closer to equal and since the 2010s females have been found to make up about half of all gamers."  As my son pointed out, there really is no gender disparity of video game use.

My daughter has long mentioned that if they made science and math more interesting to learn she may actually like those subjects.  She initially began her education in a Montessori school.  In 6th grade she moved into a public school.  After learning in an exciting hands-on environment and then being moved to dull textbook and computer learning, these subjects have become extremely boring to her.  If the education system would utilize a teaching method that made these classes more interesting to girls they may be more apt to go into the STEM fields.  Playing more video games certainly is not the answer.

Full text of the article can be found here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samantha-parent/why-our-daughters-should-play-more-video-games_b_8044800.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067 

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