There is a lot of conversation these days about “electronic sports” and many schools are jumping on board just like they are 1-1 devices. While those who stand to profit (billions of dollars annually) will promote the benefits, it might be wise to consider the potential negatives of spending more time staring at screens.
More time online means less time IRL (in real life) which means less time outside, less time moving your body, less time learning to interact face to face and build social skills, and so much more…. (in the article below that promotes Esports in schools it brags: “Both teens were varsity soccer athletes, but they chose during their senior year to skip the pitch in favor of esports.” So instead of being in fresh air and running around they are now sitting in chairs staring at screens.)
Screentime is related to poor eating, obesity, physical and mental disorders like depression and anxiety and so much more…. And when they are “playing” these games, what is it they are actually doing? If it’s games where they are killing each other, is that really what we want our children to be doing for hours and hours every day? Killing each other? What happens when they all go VR and it’s so realistic that your brain thinks you are really killing someone? Or are the schools and the Esports industries going to be utilizing prosocial games where children are learning to be kind, productive members of society?
And what about addiction? The country with the largest Esports presence, South Korea, is also the country with the largest problem with screen addiction. Kids there are sent away to bootcamps for digital detoxes where they learn how to exist in the real world. There are hundreds of these camps! Is this what we want for our kids?
And what about the money? Our schools say they are struggling financially and yet money is flowing for technology: devices, cases, etc., software, licensing, etc., security, monitoring, etc. Where is all of this money coming from? We know who it’s going to. And yet many of the those getting rich off school tech send their kids to private schools that don’t allow tech. That’s interesting….
Sure, sticking a kid in front of a screen is easier – for them and us. But if we don’t consider the long term outcomes, we may be setting ourselves up for problems that we will regret. Anyone seen Wall-E? Is that really what we want?