Lately there’s been a bunch of conversation on this blog about The Gaming Krib, a service designed to help parents and children ‘balance … playing time and learning time.’ Most of the comments (both here and on Twitter) about the company and/or its underlying paradigm have been pretty negative. Michael Vitelli, President and CEO, has kindly agreed to do a podcast interview with me on May 9 to talk about the need his company is addressing as well as its approach to solving that need.
Check out my previous post and The Gaming Krib web site. Then, in the comments area for this post, please submit some questions that you’d like me to consider for the interview. Rather than answering them here, Michael and I will save them for when we chat. Thanks!
My question for Michael would be about the choice throughout your site to use words that seem to create a confrontational, control-based model for what happens between the parent and child.
Your site says, “parents will have a way to curb their children’s obsessions with otherwise disruptive media.” Curb? Obsession? Disruptive? It seems like you’ve deliberately chosen to portray children’s interests as defective and deranged, and that parents should have a leash attached to their necks at all times.
You say, “Using a behavior modification approach, our concept will target children…” Again, the language seems consistently provocative and punitive.
I have to say when I read through your site, it sounded like a parody of overzealous parents who can’t wait to punish their kids for being kids. The language is over the top and fear-based. It reads like an ad for an electric dog collar.
I have no doubt that some people will like this approach, but I fear that it will create barriers to communication, encourage kids to find ways to break the stranglehold, and make matters worse.
Thanks for looking, but I’m not sure what you are looking at, we never mention behavior mod on our site. Additionally, the blocking is an option as stated. It is up to the parent to activate, if they feel it is needed to “curb” the obsessive and disruptive mediums that are prevalent with some children. Now, if you think some children are not distracted with use and abuse of games, TV, txt msgs, then I can’t change your belief system. In my experience with working with parents, speaking at schools, parenting experts, statistics regarding edu failures and as a parent, some children need direction, increased edu and a place to have fun on the net. Think of us as a Boy Scout/Girl Scout portal, earning stuff (and we have a lot of cool stuff), prizes, giving to others, learning about themselves, handling money (Kribkash/Kribcredit), really cool interactive edu, all in a fun and safe place (our portals)…sort of like ww.doof.com but everything is earned/traded/built upon. Our Board is very diverse, some build games that sell millions, some are Hollywood/Broadway stars that want people to see their shows among others that are joining…I brought them in to enhance our site, not “take away” from the diverse mediums of entertainment. Even my son plays Runescape for endless hours (when his homework is done first). I don’t feel we are overzealous, just concerned with the direction of edu and influx of media gadgets that will distract from healthy child development.
I feel there are three kinds of parents. One set who cares less what their kids do, one set that monitors and “controls” all, and the third set that incorporates balance, though sometimes needs a few tools …our software/hardware hopefully will cater to all, but specially the ones who needs tools. Our site is just a tool, one of many parents can utilize.
Again, anyone is welcome to join our build, we are new, and our site is in dev and we can always discuss issues in our google group like yours.
Hey, Mike, save some stuff for our interview! =)
I couldn’t resist! Poor impluse control as a child!
I copied those words directly off the front page of your website this morning. Now they don’t appear there anymore. You can remove the words “behavior modification” but it’s still the intent and method.
I don’t dispute your ability to offer parents options. Or that some parents will think this is a good idea. I don’t.
Mike as you’ll see in my post on my own blog
I am uncertain about the connection between the research you insist we read (irony given that researches findings) and your product? Or is this simply the offensive defence? As with all social science (and a lot of hard science) there is a vast difference between correlation and causation? The correlation between the health of a society and the literacy of it citizens is strong? But it goes deeper then that, Nazi Germany was very literate and most suicide bombers’ profile indicate them to be highly educated (often to tertiary level).
Reading can offer a diversity of perspectives and processes for positive evolution of a society, alternative to the dominant culture. One reason reading is diminishing in the more educated sector (I wont even start on the chronic lack of literacy in lower socio-economic demographics as they neither have access to books or technology – so will not need your product) is that through the internet not only do citizens have access to that diversity but that they can also collaborate and co-create. See that is the bit that ‘us’ self-interested education bloggers get – but you do not seem to?
But rather than attempt block what we can not stop we are trying to embrace the new technology, new minds and style of learning and take the best of the past values while trying to move forward – read this http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/247/source/rss/report_display.asp
So my question Can you demonstrate how your product can address falling literacy levels other than being a time management tool, that may increase the chances of children reading because parents have blocked the internet?
You claim to be an educational platform, but you do not demonstrate how your product actually adds educational value? Language used on the Krib zone page is just the same as every other social network ‘Create a profile, list friends . . . etc.’. So even for the sake of ‘product differentiation’ please demonstrate what the actual learning benefits of your platform are as opposed to one already in existence? And please have something more to say than, were using technology to modify disruptive behaviour.
Could you also explain ‘social earning’ and any research/literature that has informed the development of your concept?
Tim Holloway’s post is much more realistic about your product then the claims on the site, and talks about it being part of an overall strategy that includes parental negotiation and commitment. My final question is then
Given the high level of anxiety amongst parents what are you doing to increase parents’ capacity to deal with the social aspects of the problem of which your product is only part of the solution?