Brief review of games/tech related articles in Child magazine

I found some interesting articles in Child magazine, ‘SA’s best guide for parents’. Many schools in Cape Town distribute the Cape Town one for free to parents.

Six electronic gadgets that will help your children learn in a fun way lists DS Lite, iPad and Kinect. About Kinect, journo Tamlyn Vincent claims: “Why it works: While it comes with the normal assortment of games, Kinect also has a range of games that will help your children learn. Fantastic Pets and Kinectimals have you interacting with and learning about domestic and wild animals respectively. Body and Brain Connection gives the player a range of puzzles to test maths, logic and memory. There are also a variety of fitness and sports games to choose from.” Just the kind of thing parents love to hear.

The magazine’s back issues are easily accessible. The Cape Town Dec2010/Jan2011 mag has an article titled ‘MXit for Dummies‘  which I think is really nice because it’s a great guide for parents, informing them about MXit and how to get involved in their children’s social media experiences early on. This is very different to what I’ve experienced at schools – teachers are very anti MXit and many instill fear amongst parents and children about it. Children are told not to upload pictures to Facebook of them wearing their school uniforms because of the pedophiles out there, etc.

However, and article from the November 2010 edition titled “Fight or fantasy: Are electronic games making your child aggressive?” by Glynis Horning just reinforces moral panic by privileging effects research. However, one of the strengths of the article is that it says parents need to become more actively involved by learning more about games, playing them with their children and paying attention to ratings.

Sidetrack musing: Below is just one of the kinds of images Kinect uses, but Nintendo and Wii have very similar kinds of representations depicting a very idealized family life, most often there are two parents, the families are white, their home is immaculate and the family is shown playing together with big toothy smiles on their faces. C’mon – we all know that’s not how it looks on the home-front…