Children Must Be Encouraged To Play Video Games – For The Grandmas!

from the kart-blanche dept

You can’t walk near someone talking about how horrible video games are without tripping over their “for the children” line these days. The accusations range from games leading children to become violent, even if the verdict on that is still way out, to causing car accidents, encouraging animal cruelty, and generally turning the movers and shakers of tomorrow into zombie-like drooling drones that would rather play a life simulator than live their own life. There’s just nothing good that can come from this kind of fun, got it?

Except then there’s 10-year-old Gryffin Sanders, who saved his passed-out great-grandmother and his baby brother, possibly from death, while hurling down the road at 60 miles per hour. Gryffin kept his cool from the passenger seat, grabbed the wheel, and guided the car away from oncoming traffic and off the road, leading the car to a stop in a ditch. Great-grandma was then airlifted to a hospital, where she is recovering. In other words, Gryffin behaved in a manner more calm and heroic than many of us could have done. Wanna guess where he got his mad life-saving skills?

Yup, that’s right: video games. More specifically, Mario Kart. Now, this isn’t to say that we should be sitting kids in front of a Nintendo to teach them to drive. Rather, the point is that video games provide to us what we want to get out of them. If it’s correct to say that Grand Theft Auto is a primer on mass murder, then we must equally say that Mario Kart is clearly a life-saving tutorial.

And in case any of you aren’t real big on subtle nods and winks, both conclusions are equally silly. That news report might suggest that Gryffin’s family is safe because of a game he played, but I’d say it had much more to do with him being an amazingly level-headed kid who happened to see a situation that was in a minor way familiar to a game and reacted accordingly. We should no more be pinning medals on plumbers than we should be putting Niko in the electric chair. Instead, just focus on what an amazing kid Gryffin is and leave the games out of it completely.

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Comments on “Children Must Be Encouraged To Play Video Games – For The Grandmas!”

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Adam says:

It's true

Driving in inclement weather has taught me that my nerves and skills learned in video games do help. The few time I’ve driven in the snow / ice and I’m under-steering towards other vehicles I’ve been able to act quickly and avoid crashing. If it hadn’t been for Gran Turismo and learning that using your e-brake causes your rear end to swing out ahead of you and correct an under-steer into an over-steer I’d probably had kept sliding until I crashed into another vehicle or the curb. Instead I was able to pull my e-brake, point my car in the direction I wanted to go, and give it the beans to start heading in a straight line. Now traveling 10mph sliding on ice / snow is different from everything else but had I not played those games, I would not have known to use my e-brake to straighten my vehicle enough to go the direction I wanted to.

On the downside it does encourage reckless driving in normal conditions when you’re coming up on a 90 degree turn on a empty road and think, “hmm I could pull my e-brake and drift this”.

Now driving simulators and Mario cart are inherently different and thus you have to take anything learned with a grain of salt. Sure this kid was able to save their lives but I’ve also read stories of children the same age doing the same without playing video game. Then again I learned to drive a manual with a clutch at the arcade and it transferred to real life perfectly without anyone having to explain it to me. When the lady from the dealership asked “have you ever driven a manual before?” my response was simply “Sure, I think I know what I’m doing…”, at the end of the drive she told me I was one of the best manual drivers she had ridden with.

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