Sunday, March 23, 2008

Emotion Quotient Help

J was playing a game on PBS called About Face which teaches kids to recognize facial expression. This could be a first level EQ game and a definitely a good thing to learn. Watching J play, I was thinking about the ways the idea could be extended and still remain kid friendly. Recently, J's best friend L told her she does not want to be her friend anymore. Thankfully, J has another best friend M and was able to ignore the provocation and hang out with M. As expected L now is wedging herself between J and M - she wants M to be her best friend.

J is feeling insecure - what will happen if L and M become best friends and she is left alone. We have talked about the situation and I have helped her figure out a few different options. The scenario we have at hand is hardly exceptional. It is also the kind of thing EQ games could help with. Arthur and friends could be placed in a situation like J's. The game would offer several ways out of the impasse. It will have the child select one and explain the merits of the decision and suggest alternatives.

The idea is obviously to present something serious and complex in a fun way that kids can easily grasp. When such solutions are developed by subject matter experts, the outcome would prove more useful to the child than the guidance of their layperson parents. I often wonder about the soundness of the advice I give J. How do I know for a fact that I am right ?

After all, I do not live in the social ecosystem inhabited by J and her peers. Chances are, I do not understand the context in which my advice will be acted upon. What are the consequences of errors in my judgment ? I am sure any parent without the right credentials would feel the same way. This is a gap that game developers might find very profitable to fill.


ggop said...

This friends conflict is happening so early for J HC!
I encountered similar situations in school when I was 10. It hurt a lot for a few weeks. Then it passed.
I never told anyone. I'm glad you can sense J's insecurity.

Heartcrossings said...

ggop - Sad but true, kids are just as emotionally complex as adults. I've found the only way I can learn about what is going on in J's mind is to encourage her to talk about every thing big and small. Sometimes drawing and coloring to describe it works too. Once it is out there, I can try and help. So far it has been working. I hope we never have secrets from each other. But only time will tell...