Law Office of Michael J. Letsen June 2017

www. t raf f i cattorneyva . us (276)988-6561 f rom 8 : 30 a .m. to 4 : 30 p.m. 1(855)482-2889–avai l abl e 24/7 JUNE 2017 FROM THE DESK OF Michael

THE POWER OF IMAGINED WORLDS How Video Games can Make a Positive Difference THE LETSEN LEDGER


As I write this article, Father’s Day is around the corner, and

I would like to talk about the biggest problem I see facing our great country. The most common theme I have noticed in over ten years of defending cases is the absence of the father in the home of my defendants.

Children from fatherless homes account for:

A generation ago, video games were regarded as a toy. For years, parents considered gaming a useless pastime. Now, however, video games are the highest-grossing form of entertainment, and they are being studied as a potent educational tool. As a parent, you want to be careful of the entertainment that your children consume, but that doesn’t mean you need to eliminate video games. With a little research and an open mind, you can expose your children to beneficial games that broaden their horizons. A study in American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Agency, sought to determine whether video games had a positive or negative influence on children. Their results, collected in a paper called “The Benefits of Playing Video Games,”might surprise you. “We propose that, taken together, these findings suggest that video games provide youth with immersive and compelling social, cognitive, and emotional experiences,” the authors write. “Further, these experiences may have the potential to enhance mental health and well-being in children and adolescents.” How do games generate these reactions? They create real, passionate engagement. When you think about it, games require more participation than movies or TV. Rather than just sitting back and watching, games force you to make decisions. This interactivity builds a bond between the player and the game and immerses the player in the game’s world. Games also teach dynamic problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity. Perhaps no game better demonstrates these qualities than “Minecraft.” As STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curricula have spread, “Minecraft” has become an introduction to the world of programming. If you have young children, you probably already know what “Minecraft” is, but for those who don’t, it is essentially a digital version of Legos. The added wrinkle is that “Minecraft”

a. 60 percent of America’s rapists b. 63 percent of America’s suicides c. 70 percent of America’s long-term prison inmates d. 72 percent of America’s adolescent murderers e. 85 percent of America’s youth prisoners f. 90 percent of America’s runaways The picture above is my nephew. His biological father was never in his life and has never bothered to try. Under the circumstances, I tried to step up and help where I could. I taught Jonathan right from wrong. We even did a Bible study once a week when I was in college and law school. However, it wasn’t until our fifth year into the Bible study that he broke down and asked why his father didn’t care for him. I’ve never heard a young man cry like he did. It was a conversation that I will never forget. I did the best I could to comfort him from the hole his father left in his life. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story. There are lots of Jonathans out there who need our help. It is never too late to make an impact or difference in someone’s life.

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