Law Office of Michael J. Letsen June 2017

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has rules that allow you to craft new objects from existing ones — a stick plus a piece of charcoal creates a torch, for example. These rules are analogous to the way computer programming languages work, and they introduce children to a valuable way of thinking that can stick with them for the rest of their lives. Clive Thompson wrote a piece for The New York Times Magazine called “The Minecraft Generation,”which examines the prevalence of the game in today’s educational system. In it, he explores the way “Minecraft” has enhanced the lives of people of all ages in a variety of ways. Some kids create guides on YouTube to help fellow young players, while others have learned how to operate internet servers simply through playing the game. Thompson cites the social critic Walter Benjamin to help explain the “Minecraft” phenomenon: “Children are particularly fond of haunting any site where things are being visibly worked on. They are irresistibly drawn by the detritus generated by building, gardening, housework,

tailoring, or carpentry.” From blocks to Legos to “Minecraft,” then, is an evolutionary line of creative play. Of course, video games are not without pitfalls. There’s no denying that there are lots of games filled with depictions of violence, among other things that you may want your children to avoid. Luckily, video games also have robust ratings guidelines created by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). On the ESRB website, you can find not just the rating for a given title, but also the reasons for that rating. That means that before you purchase a game for your child, you can rest assured that the content is appropriate. Another great tool that promotes responsible game use is the app Moment. Moment lets you track the amount of time your children spend on screens each day to ensure that they aren’t playing too much. About three hours per day should be the upper limit.

One way they do this is through what researcher Jane McGonigal call “epic wins.” In her book, “Superbetter,” she describes how games present fair challenges that make you feel good after completing them. The challenges escalate according to your skill level, making each win more “epic” than the last. This loop of challenge and success leads to what McGonigal calls urgent optimism. “Urgent optimism,” she says, “is the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success.” It can be hard to cut through the preconceived notions surrounding video games — that they are mindless, that they are just for boys, that they promote bad habits. Research shows that all of these are myths or relics of days gone by. As long as you are proactive in monitoring the way your kids play, video games can be a valuable part of any childhood.

With these tools, you can ensure that games generate positive growth in your children.

underneath the following car in the motorcade. The explosion wounded roughly 20 people, but did not harm the intended targets. Shaken by the first attempt, the Austrian royals altered their plans. They decided to head to the hospital to visit those injured in the bombing. As a safety precaution, officials devised an alternate route that would avoid major streets and crowds. Tragically, the motorcade took a wrong turn, putting them back in harm’s way. As the car stopped to turn around, Princip produced his pistol and fired two shots that would fatally wound Ferdinand and Sophie. In the aftermath of the assassinations, Austria-Hungary would issue an ultimatum to Serbia that would test alliances throughout Europe. A month later, on July 28, 1914, WorldWar I had officially begun. For more information on this subject, check out Greg King and Sue Woolmans’ book, “The Assassination of the Archduke.” The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand The Bullets That BeganWorldWar I

When Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, he set off a series of events that would lead to the largest-scale war the world had ever known. The shots he fired on June 28, 1914 led directly to the collapse of fragile alliances throughout Europe and the beginning of WorldWar I. Since the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary in 1908, tensions were high between the people and their ruling empire. With the Archduke visiting Sarajevo in June of 1914, the Serbian secret military society, known as the Black Hand, devised a plan to assassinate Ferdinand. Seven men were stationed throughout the city as the Archduke’s motorcade traveled through the streets. One of the attackers threw a bomb at the vehicle containing the royals. Instead of landing in their car, it bounced off, coming to a stop in the street and exploding

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