‘Bored’ – Games: a lasting place, in every school…

Having invested into the latest iPhone, downloaded the newest software and considered this the smart thing to do, I was astonished when I woke to some shocking statistics; presented to me as a weekly report. 

5 hours and 4 minutes per day, spent on what has commonly become known as ones ‘black mirror.’ This was certainly a reflection I didn’t wish to see. What was worse, was that this weeks usage was down 14% on my previous weeks phone time. Having recovered from the shock, I investigated the breakdown of my statistics a little further. 

Clearly, time was spent on work email. However, the near hour a day on social media did get me concerned. Surely there hasn’t been that much of interest I could be reading….thoughts turn to the unfinished John Grisham book by my bedside! 

Most alarming out of all was the shared screen time I had spent with my son on the game ‘Real Racing’! A highly addictive game, with great graphics, fast game play, challenges for one’s self and challenges against your nearest rival. We have these phases, my son and I, but during the entire time we spent racing, we were so focused on our own device, in our own little world and in achieving our own personal best, that we completely forgot to speak to one another! 

Posed with the question, shall we play a board game, or Real Racing, there is no shadow of doubt that the answer from most teenage boys would be Real Racing…..well, to this day, my son continues to astound me as he will happily spend all day, everyday, playing Monopoly; the game I grew up with. This is even to the point whereby his Grand Papa George bought him his own set for Christmas, which was manufactured in the same year as the one I was presented with, on my 13th birthday. 

Monopoly – the game that touches every aspect of learning in the history of all board games! Finance, negotiation, risk, teamwork, maths, reading, development, entrepreneurship, life skills and much much more. Every school, in my opinion, should invest in one of these sets at the very least. Moreover, they can now be purchased with a truly international feel (although I really struggle with the Russian language set we purchased at home) There are actually over 1140 different types of Monopoly now – a style to suit everyones taste!

Again, upon reflection, I value so very much my parents approach to balancing the amount of time on a screen that I had, against undertaking a variety of other activities. (Mind you, in my day, there was very limited capacity to do anything on a ZX81!) Some of my best family memories and greatest laughter have come from around the table, playing games such as Monopoly, Totopoly, Tipit, cards or better still, charades. There has been nothing boring about these and and it has only gone to highlight how very important it is for valuable family time. Let’s face it, before parents know it, our children will have upped and gone….and then the only way we may get to see them regularly is through our devices….

There is an opportunity ahead of us to all take stock at some point in our life and to evaluate how much time we really do spend on our ‘machines’. A good balance can easily and affordably be found, whether a good book, a board game or some other interesting practical activity – away from the glare of our black mirrors. 

Now I have to practice what I preach, both at home and in setting a fine example at school….and I guess the only saving grace of my little black box, is that it will now, reliably keep me informed of how much time I spend on it!

Charley King

Head of Brookes Moscow

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