Can Video Games Teach Your Child to Be a Better Person?

by Rachel Baker on May 19, 2014

This is a much debated question, especially every time a kid does something violent that hurts many others. Well, Trip Hawkins, founder of EA, thinks the answer is yes, and he’s bound and determined to prove it.

Editor’s Note: As a gaming parent, I agree with him and wish him great success in proving video games can teach your child to be a better person. I know, first hand, the teaching moments in video games are great tools in helping our kids be great people – of course, if you don’t play the games with your kids, you’ll never recognize these moments when they happen.

The idea that playing video games makes kids violent and antisocial is often accepted as a sobering fact of modern life. Whether it’s true is less clear — some studies say yes, others say nyet. In the real world, watching Clockwork did not make me into a droogie. And playing GTA did not turn my son into a murderous thug. He’s a great kid.

But let’s assume the fear has some truth, that violent media contributes to violent behavior. If so — if games teach kids to shoot first and to drive as if cars are weapons — can’t games also be used to impart positive life skills like empathy or compassion? Can video games boost a child’s emotional quotient (EQ)?

Some people think they can. One of them is Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, most famous for creating the most popular sports simulation game of all time, John Madden Football. Now he’s trying to prove it via a fantasy adventure game called IF… aimed at tweens.

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