Magazine article USA TODAY

How to Avoid Unpleasant Surprises

Magazine article USA TODAY

How to Avoid Unpleasant Surprises

Article excerpt

Adults who are not familiar with video and computer games should be cautious about what they buy children this holiday season, says a video game specialist from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. "in a perfect world, video games would be rated in terms of content and complexity," maintains Samantha Blackmon, an assistant professor of English who studies representations of race and gender in video games.

"But the content of video games can be surprising. I recently played a football video game that was rated mature, which is similar to an R rating for a movie, and I never thought a football game would receive that kind of rating, but it did because of the foul language used by the commentator."

Blackmon points out that young children often will imitate the language they hear, while drawing conclusions about how they should see women and minorities represented in the games. "That's why it is important for adults to take an interest in the games children play," emphasizes Blackmon. "Plus, video games can be used as a teaching tool. In my house, we play games with closed captioning and turn the sound off. The subtitles not only improve reading comprehension, but also help with reading speed. …

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