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iCivics Games Teaches Kids About Government

Looking for some alternatives to the usual commercial video games? Try the  iCivics, a site created to link youth passion for online gaming and apps with civic participation. Founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics has developed a variety of games that seek to inspire civic engagement and understanding of how local government works. The site has 19 games, which allow players to try their hand at solving international crises, arguing a case before the Supreme Court, running a public interest campaign, sitting on a jury, and more.  

Violent Video Games May Boost Physical Aggression

Researchers found that children and teens who played violent video games had increased odds of having self-, parent-, or teacher-reported aggressive behaviors over time, compared with those who didn't play such video games. The findings were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and were based on a review of 24 studies from the US, Canada, Germany and Japan involving more than 17,000 young people. The controversial findings are the latest entry into a long-standing debate over the real-world impact of video game violence. Over the years, some studies have found a connection between the games and kids' aggression, while others have not.

The Fortnite Craze – Pros and Cons

According to NBC News, some parents are hiring tutors to help improve their childrens’ Fortnite skills, with one tutoring company receiving up to 1,000 inquiries a day. Boosting popularity at school, becoming a teen influencer for gaming companies or receiving an esports college scholarship are among the reasons parents cite for hiring a tutor. However, there are other parents who are still worried about facets of the online game, including safety and privacy concerns and the chance for being cyberbullied. If you need more information about Fortnite, start with this parent’s guide to the game.

Finding Out More About eSports

Are your kids into playing video games competitively? eSports is becoming a trend that is making its way into the classroom. Schools are scrambling to keep up with eSports popularity, starting student clubs and offering college scholarships to young talent. Have children that might want to play along? Here’s what you as a parent need to know.

Free Video Game App Teaches Students About Autism

College students in Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center have developed a free 30-minute video game called Prism that helps elementary-age students understand the experiences of their peers with autism. The game uses animal characters that demonstrate some of the challenges faced by individuals with autism. Prism is now available to play for free online, as well as in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The game takes about 30 minutes to play and comes with a downloadable discussion guide for teachers and parents.

Digital Devices and The Brain

Scientific American online recently posted an article summarizing some of the latest research on how digital devices affect the brain. Although people who multitask online are ultimately less effective at navigating between tasks, findings also show that multitasking does not alter our brains. They also suggest that although video games and brain training influence aggression and cognitive performance, the extent of that influence is much less than many would think. What is the best way to counteract any negative influences of violent games? Go and do something that doesn’t involve digital devices. And here is something to consider for schools and parents: the risks of digital devices can be minimized by educating people on enhanced concentration techniques, self-control and critical-thinking skills.

Parents Ban Together to Figure Out Fortnite

Parents and educators alike are noticing the addiction kids are having with the popular online game Fortnite. Parents are joining Facebook support groups to trade tips about how to limit the time their preteens spend playing, according to NBC News . Teachers, on the other hand, are trying to take advantage of their students enthusiasm for the game by using it to teach math and English lessons.

A Parents Guide to Fortnite

With school out for most, digital gaming often becomes the first way kids seek to stay entertained. If you are finding that your children, like so many others, are spending inordinate amounts of time playing a game called Fortnite, you might want to look at A Non-Gamer’s Guide to Fortnite, the Game That Conquered All the Screens, from The New York Times Personal Tech page. The article does a great job of explaining the game and letting parents foresee issues that they might want to discuss with their children.

eSports Leagues For a New Generation of Athletes

Some US high schools are developing eSports leagues – organizations for playing video games competitively  - and have seen increases in engagement and academic performance from students who are otherwise withdrawn at school. The positive outcomes have moved some educators in California to develop a curriculum around eSports that includes reading books like Ready Player One, and when approved, will satisfy high-school English credits.

Universal Depression Screening Recommended for Adolescents

There is a lot of blame put on technology for the increase in teen bullying and isolation.