No doubt you are aware of the online gaming phenomenon that is Minecraft, my two girls are recent converts and if you are not aware of it, you enter a fairly open world, mine for resources, combine resources to create materials and then let your imagination flow and you build.
The game does not follow a formula, unlike a platform game where you run along on tracks, the rules of what you can create are there to be discovered and this has spawned an online community that share what they’ve discovered and built.
My daughters have entered this world and as they look to learn and discover what to do next, they’ve taken to the Internet – and for my youngest, who’s really applying herself to learn more, it’s YouTube.
If I cast my mind back to the last game my daughter got obsessed with it was Little Big Planet, which has a similarly creative element in its build mode.
The learning journey for her, for this game was through me, I would setup the console, teach her the buttons, the mechanics of the games physics engine, I would play alongside her and maybe even.. (cough).. win!
But today, through the power of the Internet that learning journey is no longer through me and with me, it’s independent (well, as independent as you’d like your 10 year old to be on the Internet).
With Little Big Planet I was the only credible, qualified source of information for my daughter. With Minecraft, the Internet gave her information, my value as the supplier of the game was diminished; my daughter had become enabled.
Our chatter over family dinners about the game is characterized as her the subject matter master, teaching us what she’d learned and tried.
Perhaps you’ll be thinking that a child teaching their father video games is a story as old as the Atari 2600, nothing new here. But, to me this was a revelation.
At her age, of course she independently learns a whole bunch of things, from the frivolous like pop music, fashion and video games to American studies (I was educated in the UK) and about books I’ve never read, developing independent opinions on a whole host of things along the way.
But with Minecraft, the revelation was that I could make a direct correlation to the Internet and to YouTube specifically – not school, friends, books, her older sister or the TV.
So, what does this little provincial vignette of parenting in 2014 have to do with you?
Well, if you are marketer, communicator or you write documentation for your product you are no longer the only credible, qualified source of information.
You are no longer the Daddy.