Parent: DS Would Have Distracted Newton From Discovering Gravity

Parent: DS Would Have Distracted Newton From Discovering Gravity

I just discovered a hullabaloo over at the Orange County Register’s Mum Blog that began when blogger/mum Marla Jo Fisher explained why she keeps her household gaming free.

Part of the attraction for this story are the new ways Fisher demonises games, which she thinks would hold her son back from growing up smart and fit.

This is kind of novel:

I truly believe that video games were created by Satan to turn otherwise normal children into his drooling, glassy-eyed stooges. After my son plays them at his friends’ houses, he comes home irritable and testy for the rest of the day.

But this… this is new stuff:

Here’s my question: When do kids ever think these days? When do they ever have brains free from electronics long enough to ponder the universe? To think of things that might someday lead them to a cure for cancer?

If Sir Isaac Newton had been playing a DS, I’m sure he never would have noticed the apple falling from the tree, so he never would have formulated the theory of gravity.

Fisher gets hit with gamer backlash in the comments section below her blog. That’s not too surprising. More interesting is a dad named Kevin who writes about his kids’ relationship with games.

Here’s some from Kevin’s comment:

My youngest son’s case: he’s 13 now, and loves his Xbox. The game he loves to play enables him create and design his own courses and let’s others online use his course too. The menu system for this game is very complex, and develops analyical skills just to work through the whole thing. He is able to record his course runs and can “render” them and put them up on a forum for his buddies online to watch. He can do screen captures (get still pictures) of him playing. This has motivated him to learn Photoshop (totally on his own) so he can edit the photos and post them on his forum. He’s now into creating videos of his games, creating title pages, splicing in pictures, adding video, adding music for other gamers to watch. I was amazed! I got him Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements (video editor) for christmas! He’s 13!! He’s certainly not the only kid out there doing this.

I’m not so interested in commenters here haranguing Mary Jo Fisher, but I am curious what parents believe their kids are getting out of playing games. A release? Development of skills? Entertainment?

Video Games Were Invented By The Devil [The Orange County Register’s The mum Blog]


  • We had this kid back at primary school that didn’t really have much hand eye coordination, he would just commonly drop things or accidently knock things over, his parents thought it may be something serious so they went to the doctors, but the doctors assured them that this clumsiness would ease with age. At the time the best thing for any boy to have was a Sega Master System, So this guy got one, and within the month of playing games this guy was totally fixed. His hands and eyes were totally fixed. The fact that he couldn’t look at his hands when he was playing meant that his brain just trained his hand to be precise.

    I don’t have any kids myself, but I totally think games can be educational.

  • While i cant comment from a parents point of view, I can look back at one of the ways gaming has affected my life.

    When I was fairly young (3 or 4 years) I love playing Battle Chess on my dads 086 (i think). It was fantastic fun but required me to understand Chess to play. Subsequently i taught myself to play so I could see all the cool finishing moves the pieces would do.

    From that I developed my skills through out my life until i was a member of the 1st Chess team of my school. (Think 1st rugby only not a bunch of sweaty gay men grabbing each others balls).

    While this is only one small experience I am sure there are many parents who have seen similar things with their children.

  • I’ve been training up my gamer children and it has caused some interesting results. My kids have been playing games on the PS2 onwards since they could hold a controller and as a result of playing Final Fantasy games and Warcraft my 10 year old boy and 8 year old daughter are both reading way above their level and are in the top groups for maths. They also use Brain Age on the DS but the recent purchase of a DSi has my daughter interested in photography and photoshop. I haven’t bought her photoshop yet but she’s all ready using tools like iPhoto to mess around with her own pictures.

    My 10 year old son has also developed this keen interest in history from playing games like Call of Duty and, believe it or not, God of War. He loves running of to wikipedia and researching characters and events that crop up in the game.

    • I definitely agree with you about games helping with reading. One of my friends isn’t the best at reading (saying “perforated” as “professor” is a highlight), but often surprises with the amount of words he has picked up from WOW. Also, because he is a Halo fan, he went out and picked up one of the Halo novels, and forced himself to get through it, despite how difficult it was for him.

      • That reminds me of when I was only 10 and read through the book “Mortal Kombat” and not the novelization of the movie, but Jeff Rovin’s prequel story, which came in at close to 1000 pages. It took me almost an entire year, but from then on I tested out of every single standardized reading and writing test I took. I dont think my parents regret letting me play video games and I certainly plan on allowing my own children to play. Perhaps, these parents just need to think outside the box and incorporate learning elements into their children’s game playing.

  • aahhh religious people…. easily the most deluded people on the planet, equating anything slightly bad to the works of SATAN!!!!! Get your heads out of your self righteous arses. My son loves gaming, possibly a little too much but it has him interested in learning about how to make, design and create games. It might lead to a career in gaming somehow and maybe it won’t. Personally I don’t give a shit, I love to game as does he. It’s part of our downtime and just a way to have a bit of fun… actually sometimes we game together in co-op games so does that equal spending “quality time” with my son?

  • From what I remember Newton was a trouble kid (I wasn’t there, I read it in a book). He got into fights and wanted to burn his parents’ house down, so a DS may have been a good thing for him when he was growing up.

  • When I was 17/18 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I had no idea what photoshop was until I seen some people on an mmo forum that I played providing siggy services.

    I knew then that I wanted to learn photoshop, not for providing signatures though. I then went and did a multimedia course and found out I love creating websites. I’m now a qualified website designer and developer and know what I want to do in life.

    My point is if I didn’t play games, I probably would still have no idea what I wanted to do. I’m 21 now by the way.

    I don’t play mmorpg’s at all anymore though. I’m more into my xbox and ps3 xD

  • Yes videogames are definitely Satan.

    Anybody who plays them instantly becomes a drone who does nothing but play videogames.

    What a retard. This just reinforces my belief that you should have to pass a course to have a child. Nobody should be allowed to warp a mind like this parent is doing to her kid.

    Not to mention Issac Newton was about 23 when he started on his theory of gravitation, and it took him years and years to perfect it. Not to mention when he was a kid he was said to have suffered from autism, and was hostile towards his mother for remarrying.

    People like this… you just have to ignore. There is absolutely no trying to tell them otherwise. They are right and thats all there is to.

    Parents often forget what it was like to be a kid. To not have to worry about the meaning of existence, or finding your place in the world, or getting a successful job, etc. It’s possible to have a fun, carefree childhood and still be successful and make a difference.

  • I’m not surprised to see everyone on this forum jump immediately to the defence of games. While I think that Kevin has a great point re: games, and their potential to encourage development, I am more of a fence-sitter in this regard.

    I’m for gaming in moderation (and I personally LOVE my Wii and Xbox 360 games, and have been a gamer for 17 years and counting), but I have seen (and experienced) a testy and irritable mood swing after completing a gaming session, and there’s something a bit worrying about that.

    I understand her concerns as a mother; I think she has overreacted a bit, but I do applaud her resolve.

    I have blogged further on this issue here:

  • Video games are like junk food, if you let your kids eat it completely on their terms then duh, they’ll end up fat slobs, but if you take the time to understand them and take charge of them then they can be a big part of a healthy childhood.

  • Great thing Kevin getting his kid photoshop. Can’t say I ever would’ve known anything about that when I was 13. Heck, didn’t learn how to use the thing until early university.

    What this lady doesn’t understand is that a good chunk of people for the most part grow out of it when other priorities start to get in the way. I’m guessing she’s basing all her comments on her kid when she hasn’t actually gone around and realised how other people turn out.

    “When do kids ever think these days? When do they ever have brains free from electronics long enough to ponder the universe? To think of things that might someday lead them to a cure for cancer?”

    Yeh, try being in any medical science class at university – we’re thinking about that stuff all the friggin time.

  • @: “When do kids ever think these days? When do they ever have brains free from electronics long enough to ponder the universe? To think of things that might someday lead them to a cure for cancer?”

    Maybe extensive experience in the field of solving complex/simple/hidden information problems might lead them to find a cure for cancer.

    I wonder where exactly they can learn to solve complex problems in their spare time, both willingly and eagerly.

    Lets say there was some wonderful kind of toy… That presented a child with different problems all the time. And then the child had to solve those problems.

    I’m totally drawing a blank here on what this wonderful toy could possibly be….

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