Friday, February 1, 2013

The Most Dangerous Game!

As we all know, games are incredibly dangerous, and the older they are, the more dangerous they are.

Whether you advocate for playing hide and seek or not, there are principles of the game worth considering:
  • Hide and seek promotes secretive play. The nature of the game is to not tell anyone where you are and what you are doing.
  • Hide and seek asks children to hide and not come out. The nature of the game is to ask children to hide so they can’t be found.
  • Hide and seek sends mixed messages. The nature of the game asks children to do what we’ve always told them not to.
  • Hide and seek requires mind skills young children may not have. The nature of the game requires you to differentiate between hiding for real and hiding for pretend play.
When it comes to hide and seek, what you choose to do it up to you. What’s important is that you’ve come to your decision from an educated and informed place.

That last line sounds particularly like a tipper gore gamer trying to explain how you should just be aware of the ways your game/picture/choice of snacks is problematic.


  1. I read the article to my wife. She had a long career working in preschools as a teacher, lead teacher, director, and area director, has a bachelor's in human development, and is finishing her master's in human development. Her response was "that article was so bad, I can't even talk about it."

  2. I have heard of this dangerous game called cops and robbers that teaches children that sometimes the robbers get away.

  3. "Hide and seek requires mind skills young children may not have."

    The mother should actively seek to keep her child as idiotic as possible, obvs. New "mind skills" should be avoided.

  4. "Problematic" is my favourite weasel word of the last few years. It is so very effective at limiting free expression and affixing shame to harmless social activities.

  5. I guess there's a kernal of a good point buried in the article in the sense that you should actually be thinking through the stuff you're doing with your kids rather than just doing it because That's The Way It's Always Been Done. I mean, if we didn't still consider these things then we'd still be flogging our kids for minor infractions and making them work full-time hard labour from 11 onwards.

    As for problematic, there's misuses of the term and then more germane uses. "This is problematic because it will magically warp your mind" is obviously bunk. "This is problematic because it takes something which should be extreme and troubling and makes it look like it's absolutely a-OK and normal", less so. "This is problematic because there's this ugly racist/sexist/whatever dimension to it" is entirely legit.

    Most reasonable social justice people will say you shouldn't feel you can't enjoy something just because it has problematic aspects, but at the same time being mad at someone because they find they can't enjoy it because of those same aspects is boorish. Some people are more sensitive to sexist or racist stuff than others. That doesn't necessarily mean they are wilting lillies who need to toughen the hell up; it might mean that they deal with so much real racism/sexism/whatever in their day to day life that the last thing they want out of their entertainment media or hobbies of choice is yet more of that crap. How to be a fan of problematic things has some interesting thoughts on this.

    1. (And to make it clear, I think the criticism of Hide and Seek quoted is crackers.)

    2. No, "problematic" when used by Tippers is BS and
      "How To Be A Fan Of Problematic Things" is an article written by an idiot:

      and you should be embarrassed that you linked to it.

    3. Also, as long as we're talking about weaseling:

      "Some people are more sensitive to sexist or racist stuff than others."

      What you are doing is a completely disingenuous Tipper rhetorical tactic: announcing/assuming that something IS racist or sexist as a given and THEN describing its effects. Many of the "problematic" things in gaming aren't actually racist or sexist to begin with.

      This is a logical fallacy called "begging the question" and consists of assuming the central point you're trying to prove is true.

    4. @Zak S: You are my freaking hero.

      (Reposted for clarification. And I'm definitely using "Tippers" to describe the tumblr social justice crowd from here on out.)

  6. So the blogger blogging about the dangers of "Hide and Seek" doesn't know how to play the game.

    There's a Rally Call at the end of any given bit of the game that tells anyone still hiding it's time to come out and be congratulated for hiding so well, after that everyone gets to go hide again if they want to keep playing the game.

    There are rules to games, and a way to play the entire game, that's what hide and seek is teaching kids in addition how to hide (not a bad skill) and how to seek (not a bad skill either).

  7. Clearly we can't introduce such concepts as "pretending" or "fiction" to our children* until they are already totally familiar with them. In this way they will only tell stories or hide in an appropriate adult context.

    Also, as solid food is a choking hazard, we should not let it near our children until they are able to identify the salad fork and the circumstances in which it is permissable to use it to stab your neighbour in the hand.

    * Or in my case other people's children, some of which I am paid to look after.

  8. The reality is that children are more resilient than current (paranoid) thinking gives them credit for. Granted, we should be mindful of the ways in which we treat our children, but second-guessing every single thing teaches children its own lesson -- over-anxious considering and paralyzing-panic.

    A good "rule of thumb" (pun intended there, as there are other parallels here with corporal punishment) is that if previous generations grew up with "hide and seek" or whatever the scapegoat is of the day and are relatively unharmed by the "ordeal," it is probably not worthy of extensive scrutiny.

    There are other, more evil things in this world that we should focus on when it comes to children: nutrition, access to equitable education, access to healthcare along with mental health care parity. It is a strange world we live in, when faced with the insurmountable challenges imposed upon by us plutocratic hegemony, that we displace the aggression we have towards big problems onto the little ones.

  9. Babies should come with a warning sticker upon birth: "WARNING: Precious Snowflake."

  10. Luke: I don't ... I don't believe it.

    Yoda: That is why you fail.

    This made sense to me as an 8 year old and still does as a 39 year old.

  11. IMO comment 4 is the most...stupid thing I've heard in a long time. Children may not possess certain skills, so rather than y'know PRACTICE a skill to develop it, we should avoid situations in which that skill would arise until the kid just develops it spontaneously? How exactly would that work?

  12. When someone tells you an issue is 'problematic' they are inviting you to share their confusion and informing you that understanding is a bias.