On Father's Day, Obama Urges Dads To Swap Video Games for Books

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On Father's Day, Obama Urges Dads To Swap Video Games for Books -

Repeating a theme that he frequently touched upon during his 2008 election campaign, President Barack Obama has once again referenced video games as a metaphor for academic underachievement.

In a Father's Day message published in Parade, Obama writes:

We need to set limits and expectations. We need to replace that video game with a book and make sure that homework gets done. We need to say to our daughters, Don’t ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for your goals. We need to tell our sons, Those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in our house, we find glory in achievement, self-respect, and hard work.

Interestingly, the Parade feature is Obama's third mention of video games in the last 10 days. On June 11th he told an audience in Wisconsin:

Even with the good schools, we've got to pick up the pace, because the world has gotten competitive. The Chinese, the Indians, they're coming at us and they're coming at us hard, and they're hungry, and they're really buckling down.

And they watch - their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do, play a lot fewer video games, they're in the classroom a lot longer.

Last Monday the President mentioned games during a speech to the American Medical Association in Chicago:

[Preventive care] starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means quitting smoking... It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside.

[Game Politics]

I'm pretty big fan of Obama. I like what he's done so far and - generally speaking - I agree with his message, but his derogatory comments about video games are getting worse. On top of that, they're getting less accurate. Before it was "We gotta get kids to stop playing games and get outside" and you know -- that's not a bad thing. We could all benefit from more active lifestyles, right? But now he's saying replace video games with books.

Sounds noble right? I mean, surely a book will teach you more than a video game ever did? Video games are just distractions after all, there's nothing really intellectual or literary in them for you to see, is there?

Is there?

How about topics like religion? Every played any of the Ultima games? If so, then you know a little something about Ethics. You ever play civilization? Chances are you know more of history's minutia than you realize. See, the problem isn't Obama's message that people should better themselves -- they absolutely should. No, the problem is Obama's continued use of video games as a foil to that message. I'm 34 years old. I am an avid reader, a lover of knowledge and an unabashed video game fanatic.

None of things are opposed to each other. Playing video games doesn't mean you're stupid. It doesn't mean you don't do your homework, and it doesn't mean you can't learn anything. In fact, most of us who grew up playing video games have learned as much from them as we have from school and books. That's because the people making video games are usually smart people. We often can't help but include aspects of the things -- like books, history or science -- that have influenced us in our lives.

I agree with Obama's point: Our parents need to be more responsible and they need to instill those values in their children, but the bad guy here isn't video games. It's the parents that teach them it's OK not do their homework. The bad guy is parents who trust our failing school system to teach not just facts, but ethics and values to their children. In short the bad guy is parents who would rather do anything but parent their kids.

The problem isn't games, or TV, or anything of the sort. The problem is us. Until we stand up and recognize that, our kids are doomed no matter what they use to pass the time. So why not lay off the campaign against video games, Mr. President? You're doing more to prevent the legitimization of an art form than the last president, and what does that say about you?

- Snipehunter

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he compares the US to Asian

he compares the US to Asian countries schooling.. which is infamous for being really damn hard on kids, documented suicide rates ect...