Jesse Schell: The Future of Digital Play

For the fourth part of this series, we asked experts to focus their predictions on digital play by answering the question, “How will the way children play with digital media change in the coming months and/or years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?”

Parents and kids will learn to play together

Jesse Schell is CEO of Schell Games and Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University.

Videogames represent a significant divide between parents and kids. Kids are in love with the latest games, while parents are nervous that kids are wasting their time and developing bad habits. The pandemic has created a situation where tensions about videogames are front and center, as parents and kids are spending more time together than ever before. For some families, these tensions will lead to disagreements and arguments, but many families are using this time as a way to connect by playing together. Modern games are rich and complex, full of challenging problems to solve, creative ways to express yourself, and opportunities for social cooperation. Some parents are discovering that playing these games with their kids is a fabulous way to connect, spend time together, and discuss things that are important to both parents and children.

If you’d like to do this, you don’t have to be an expert. If you see your child has an interest in a game, let them lead the way. Watch what they are doing, and ask questions like:

  • What are you trying to do?
  • What do you like about this game?
  • Do you think I would like it?
  • Is there a way we can play together?

A surprising secret: children want to be able to play these games with their parents. If you show interest and you are patient, you’ll find what many families are learning—game time can be a great way to spend family time together.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

J. Alison Bryant | Andrew Przybylski | Jesse Schell | Jordan Shapiro
Juan Rubio | Katie Salen Tekinbaş | Mitchel Resnick | Tami Bhaumik

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