President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

June 20, 2011 -

During his Father's Day national address yesterday, United States President Barack Obama encouraged parents to tell their kids to "turn off the video games and pick up a book." The President also talked about growing up without a father and why having a father figure in a child's life is important.

"We know that every father has a personal responsibility to do right by their kids - to encourage them to turn off the video games and pick up a book; to teach them the difference between right and wrong; to show them through our own example the value in treating one another as we wish to be treated. And most of all, to play an active and engaged role in their lives," he said.

"But all of us have a stake in forging stronger bonds between fathers and their children. All of us can support those who are willing to step up and be father figures to those children growing up without a dad. And that's what the Year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families is all about."

This is a theme that Obama hits on once in awhile; in 2009 he encouraged parents to "to turn off the video games" and get their children outside to play, and in 2008 during the presidential campaign he said that parents need to avoid letting media like video games and television "raise their children."

To be fair, everything - including video games - should be done in moderation, so it's hard to take offense to what the president says about playing games.

Source: C&VG


Comments

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

This is probably more of a politically safe statement that a statement against games, but it also turns out to be good advice.  NOW dont' all hate me, but I am an avid reader as well as an avid gamer.  Giving parents advice to read with their kids is fantastic advice because reading is a predictor of academic AND career success. 

That being said, you can learn A LOT from a video game.  I wish that the statement had simply been "Spend some time with your kids...read a book, play a game together."  So I guess I admit that the phrasing is annoying.  But, too often, as gamers, we discredit ourselves with knee jerk reactions to this kind of statement.

Robert Madsen

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Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

"Turn off the video games" is an easy phrase that people can use now like "Turn off the TV" was when I was growing up.

Why? Because it is very likely what a young person is doing while inside.

Gamers shouldn't assume it's an attack against games.

Here are we -- and yonder yawns the universe.

Here are we -- and yonder yawns the universe.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

But it's so much more fun to become indignant and act like a persecuted group... 

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

Books and video games don't have to be mutually exclusive. I grew up playing video games with my dad, and he also got me into heavy reading, such that I was reading well above my target age group from an early stage. We still regularly swap books and play video games even though I'm now 26.

Long story short - games are NOT the antithesis of books. Physical activity involved in either medium is almost certainly higher on the video game side with the advent of the Wii/MotionPlus/Kinect, so you can't argue it from a fitness/activity perspective. Books are very, very rarely a social activity, so you can't make that point either. And in many cases, games aren't even of any lower literary value than modern books, especially when you consider some of the trash that's popular among teens these days. If I had teens, I'd much rather they be playing a game than reading utter tosh like Twilight. A lot of popular video games now also come with novelizations and side-stories in book form, and while the quality of these may vary, that there is a market for them at all proves that not all video gamers hate the idea of reading a book.

Books aren't just about drilling literacy into kids' heads; they're supposed to be stimulating the imagination. Video games are quite, quite capable of doing this. It would be nice if people with such authority and responsibility thought twice before buying into the illogical sensationalism around video games.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

How about the "Worlds of Power" book series?

We're still in Iraq, and we have a failed insurance mandate instead of a real health care system.  Any third party candiates toss their hat into the ring yet?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

It started out mostly the Conservatives/Republicans as potential or definite runners. 

Now, however, there is a massive onslought of "Republicans", "Democrat", "Other", "Independant", "None", etc listed on votesmart.org .

I was beginning to get a little worried though.  The Republican list was growing and the only other option was Obama.  Of course, we know that the Republicans and Democrats have stacked the deck so that other parties or individuals don't have an opportunity for the citizens to have equal access to.  No national debates that will include them.  Little to no mainstream media coverage.  Etc.   Rest assure, the greedy and addicted to wealth have insured that the US population will not know of ALL their options. 

www.votesmart.org

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

That's what they do. They keep people in the dark about the other choices or that they even have other choices. So when the election comes, they only have two choices: bad or worse. That's how you control an election.

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

They toss their hat into the ring every election. Unfortunately, the masses who are addicted to government welfare programs don't want to give up their entitlements and won't vote for them.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

The thing is I don't actually have a problem with welfare systems, I just think they need to have a lot of strings attached.  Like mandatory monthly drug tests, and either you must hold down a job or you must perform mandatory community service.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

While we like to blame 'the masses', mathematically, we will always have a two party system.  It is a natural result of how our voting mechanism works.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

That is not what I meant. Right now the voter landscape is rife with the ideal of "I don't want the other guy to win, so I will keep voting for the other one."

So instead of voting for the 3rd party guy they actually support, they vote for the one that is not the one they want in power.

So many people who side with the Green Party, vote Democratic to keep republicans from power and many people who support Libertarians vote Republican to prevent the Democratic party from gaining power.

But you are right, unless we change the way elections are run, this will not change.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

It's more of a football mentality rather than a welfare addiction though.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

Have you heard Democrats rant and rave everytime some welfare program is threatened? Or when some government entitlement program is threatened? Have you heard Republicans rant any time a tax break or incentive is threatened?

Trust me, it is a government welfare addiction. No one wants to have to rely on themselves for their finacial security. They want the government to do it for them.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

Very well said

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

I got a suggestion for Obama.

Shut the hell up and start fixing the goddamn nation.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

Not the president's job....

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

Really, we don't need to write a post on Obama every time he looks at an Xbox.  He's just pulling examples from thin air because he's a politician. 

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

 While I do not take offense, I do take exception....

I do not read his statement in terms of moderation, but in relative value.  It is a statement about how activity X is more valuable then activity Y and parents should be encouraging their children to do X instead of Y.

An interesting irony here is, setting asside the hisotiral period when books were considered a waste of time, one still encounters parents who fret that their children read to much and push them to do what they consider valuable things (like play outside, or become involved in sports, etc)...

And thus, just as I took exception at the idea that I should put down my books and go do what other people valued, I take exception at the idea that people should be told (by people with authority over them) that they should put down their activity of choice in order to do what other people value.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

Also, keep in mind, we've found that cybernatography encourages as much brain activity as books, and only books, while movies and TV drop brain activity to almost nil.

Once again, ignorance, and not just Obama's, has hurt freedom, especially at a time when we need all the support we can get (any word on the SCOTUS yet?).

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

This isn't about brain activity though. No matter how good the game (even the exceptional ones like mass effect and dragon age) they do not have the educational value of books like farenheit 451 or horatio hornblower.

Re: President Obama: 'Turn off the Video games, Read a Book'

You mean to say that Mass effect and Dragon age in particular don't have the educational value of those books.  Truthfully games could, and some games have (though few have played them) that more move the player's way of thinking and outlooks on life.  With only a few alterations Mirror's edge could convey the same message as Farenheit 451.  It's a different means of telling a story, but if people want to, that story can be told.

Here' try this one: http://www.thecurfewgame.com/play-now.htm

Games CAN have the educational value of books - it's just when you look at what mass marketed games are, most of those don't - or more they may convey those messages, but only for brief bits of the story.  Many RPG's like Baldur's Gate have quests that one can relate to a certain, important message with only a little thought.

Think of most games as Harry Potter - for the most part it's just there to be enjoyed, though it has tidbits of important life lessons and thought provoking situations.  There are some games that are more like farenheit 451, but, like we have to force most children to read such books in school (I would certainly not have read farenheit 451 if it was just a title on a book shelf), they rarely become popular on their own.

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein
 
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Wonderkarpthough not strictly games. I have Lightsabers mounted on the wall, and on a shelf you'll see the Infinity Gauntlet, the Ocarina of Time, a Sith Holocron, and some of my Ghostbusters Props11/22/2014 - 8:57pm
Wonderkarpswag of all kinds, Andrew. I'm trying to build a game room as impressive as AVGNs nerd room. I'm also trying to build a coffee table/storage space shaped like a NES Controller11/22/2014 - 8:55pm
E. Zachary KnightI need new controllers for my Gamecube. Its not everyday you can get brand new 1st party controllers.11/22/2014 - 8:51pm
Andrew EisenPredominately figurines or swag of all kinds?11/22/2014 - 8:37pm
WonderkarpI would like a new gamecube controller....but I also just like gaming swag....11/22/2014 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI'm just waiting to buy a new Gamecube controller for my Gamecube.11/22/2014 - 7:15pm
Wonderkarphttp://kotaku.com/smash-bros-gamecube-adapters-sold-out-online-prices-g-1662162871 Smash Bros Gamecube adapter sold out, online prices go nuts11/22/2014 - 6:50pm
Andrew EisenI bet there's a lovely comedy of errors surrounding that list's journey to the IGDA's page!11/22/2014 - 6:49pm
Andrew EisenAnd the fact that it was curated by some random person on Twitter should have been another.11/22/2014 - 6:48pm
Andrew EisenYep, it's pretty clear that whoever at the IGDA grabbed that list, didn't look at it first. I think the fact that there's over 10,000 names on it should have been a bit of a red flag.11/22/2014 - 6:44pm
Wonderkarppenguin books is on the list. wow.11/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Wonderkarpthats better, though I'd prefer something a little more than a simple tweet, I'll take it.11/22/2014 - 6:37pm
Andrew EisenKate Edwards' Twitter: "like people, tools are imperfect; we've removed it for now."11/22/2014 - 6:35pm
Andrew EisenHard to say with any certainty but it appears it at least understands the tool didn't do what it thought it did.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
WonderkarpI've yet to find the IGDA responding too the situation other than deleting a link.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
Matthew WilsonI hope the IGDA understands why its a mistake, that's all I want.11/22/2014 - 6:33pm
Andrew EisenHeh, lawyering up would be grossly overracting! And really silly. Well, if what the IGDA did say was not enough for you, try contacting them and letting them know how you feel.11/22/2014 - 6:31pm
Wonderkarpall I want is an apology from the IGDA. nothing fancy, not even addressed to me. Just something that says, "We messed up. We're Sorry" thats it. Not exactly those words except Sorry. If I was overreacting, I'd be lawyering up.11/22/2014 - 6:29pm
Andrew EisenI get it, I just think you're taking it the wrong way and overreacting.11/22/2014 - 6:27pm
Wonderkarpatleast Matthew understands why I am miffed at that list11/22/2014 - 6:26pm
 

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