Recently, my soon to be seven year old son started playing the very popular game Among Us. Right off the bat, I questioned if the game was safe, age appropriate and if there were any aspects that developed useful skills. So, I played the game with him to find
out for myself. If your child is asking to play or is already playing Among Us, I highly recommend you play Among Us with them so that you can experience it for yourself. In today’s blog, I’m sharing how playing the video game Among Us can help your child develop four, if not more, 21st Century Skills that will help prepare them for living and working in the 21st Century.
Among Us is an online, multiplayer game where crew-mates work together to identify the imposter(s) using a process of elimination, also known as social deduction. The game is available on iOS, Android and Windows and can be played across all three platforms. I also found a hack so that you can download the game to an Amazon Fire Tablet, I’ll share more on that in a minute. The game features a space theme setting and players take on one of two roles, either crew-mate or imposter. Crew-mates work together to complete tasks and the imposter works to sabotage these tasks and kill crew-mates. Let’s pause here, the game does feature some violence in the aspect of the imposter killing crew-mates. It is cartoon gore, think Tom and Jerry, but depending on your perspective you may see this as inappropriate. The best way to determine if you feel comfortable with your child playing the game is to actually play the game yourself.
I think the game is great for developing 21st Century skills, so what are 21st Century skills? 21st Century skills are typically defined as: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy and flexibility. In my opinion, playing the game Among Us offers players the opportunity to use four of these skills, which are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and technology literacy. Below I highlight the different ways the game helps build these four skills.
Critical Thinking - the game requires players to use a process of deductive reasoning to determine who is the imposter.
Collaboration - players must work together to vote the imposter off the ship.
Communication - player collaborate only through the chat function, which requires written communication skills.
Technology Literacy - players must learn to navigate the different functions of the game, including settings to personalize their avatar and host, join or leave games.
One big concern I have about my son playing online video games online is safety. The game Among Us offers a censor filter, which helps prevent players from viewing bad language in the chat, however, beyond that there isn’t much else in the way of safety features. I recommend hosting virtual play dates and creating private games that require a code to ensure your child isn’t playing with strangers. For older children, have conversations about internet safety and teach them to simply exit games where other players are not using appropriate language in the chat, which is the only way to communicate in the game. These conversations are necessary for children at all ages really. The game was initially rated for kids ages 7 and up, but iOS rates the game as appropriate for 9 and older. Again, and I know I keep saying this, you really just need to play the game yourself and decide what is best for your child(ren).
OK, as promised, here is a hack to play the video game Among Us on the Amazon Fire tablet. First, go to the Internet app and search “Happy Mod,” then download the app. Next, search for Among Us in the Happy Mod app, then once it downloads you will be able to play. Please be advised these are 3rd party applications so use them at your own risk. This is what we did to get the Among Us game on our sons tablets and it works fine and they are no longer harassing my husband and I to use our phones to play the game.
Our son really enjoys playing Among Us and this weekend we are planning a virtual birthday party for his 7th birthday, so he and his friends can get online and play Among Us together. Follow us on Instagram @PBOinSTEM and catch some behind the scenes of the celebration. Does your child play Among Us? Have you tried playing the game with them? I’m interested to know your thoughts in the chat.
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