Gaming is a pass time for many people and while it’s tempting to believe that children form the majority of gamers, the reality is different as only 20% of gamers are 18 years and below, according to Statista.
Irrespective of age, many people enjoy taking some time out of their days to play their favorite game. Fortunately, 21st-century games can be more interactive and exciting with the integration of social components.
Games are no longer just a pass time as it provides opportunities for socializing, thereby helping individuals and teams bond while also connecting players in a community.
It’s no surprise that we all love to join these games and have fun with both online and offline friends. Games like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Rise of Nations are loved by both young and old.
And, yes, if you’re wondering why I added Rise of Nations, my question is “who doesn’t miss that game”.
With games being popular among the general population, children in our modern society are brought up with educational games and other interactive applications thanks to the availability of smart devices.
In the education field, while it’s no surprise to see students gaming on their devices, teachers refrain from such activities during school hours.
This doesn’t mean teachers don’t play games but they simply refrain from any unprofessional activities at the workplace.
Some teachers in an effort to connect with their students who may be playing the same game they also love, have contemplated the regulations around playing these games with their students.
Playing these games would enable teachers to better connect with their students and while this is an advantage, there are disadvantages as well.
Some teachers, without consideration of the regulations around such interactions with their students, have made the mistake of playing online games with their students and have paid for the mistake.
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Why Teachers Shouldn’t Play Video Games With Students
While playing video games with another person may seem innocent enough the educational profession comes with regulations meant to protect students, teachers, and the institutions in general.
With our modern societies growing increasingly litigious, educational institutions and districts must implement these policies to eliminate the chances of any complications. Teachers who breach these policies risk suspension, dismissal, and even losing their licenses.
The role of a teacher is one that is heavily scrutinized by societies and teachers are expected to abide by any policies instituted at both district and school levels.
Although a good teacher-student relationship can help students in various ways, over-friendliness could also lead to the teacher losing the respect of their students. Playing online games with a student can lead to over-friendliness which can impact how other students also see the teacher.
Gaming environments are meant for people to escape, speak freely without worry of consequences and let off some steam. Unless you expressly inform your team or alliance members of your age, it can be difficult to identify who is older. Lines between older and younger members are easily blurred on these platforms.
Simply having fun with your students may seem innocent but it’s easy for a parent or someone else to misinterpret the situation. This can lead to unwanted consequences for the teacher.
Without permission from parents and the institution, it’s easy for people to get the wrong impression. Imagine a parent walks into their child’s room to find them playing an online game with their teacher. Alarms start ringing immediately irrespective of the teacher’s good intentions.
Social Media Guidelines
Most districts and institutions have policies governing teachers’ use of social media. These regulations are enforced and any teachers caught in violation risk disciplinary actions. Teachers are forbidden from friending or following students on social media and any interaction on social media is also forbidden.
While playing games may seem different, these same rules apply as modern online games involve team interaction making them social environments. On social media, the rules below apply to teachers.
- Don’t post anything related to your students. This includes pictures of students irrespective of how proud you may be of their accomplishments
- Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know
- Don’t vent online. If you’re unhappy with your institution, students, or anything else related to your work, avoid venting your frustration on social media
- Don’t join groups that may be considered unprofessional or inappropriate. It’s advisable to exit such groups if you’re already a member of one
- Don’t use school equipment including computers for your personal tasks or activities
- Don’t post sensitive or offensive content
- Strict online privacy settings. Check privacy settings on social media to ensure you only share with people you know
While these rules may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that the teaching profession comes with a huge responsibility that can even impact their personal lives. A typical example is a teacher getting disciplined or even fired for drinking in front of students even if it’s outside school hours.
Additionally, districts can also terminate any teacher if they deem any activity in your personal life to reflect negatively on the profession. Teachers are expected to serve as examples to the young and parents are only willing to trust educational institutions with their children because of the trust they have in these institutions and their teachers.
Protecting yourself and your career is essential as a teacher. In the event of any issues arising, teachers are at risk of losing more than their jobs. They could lose their teaching license and even face some serious jail time. After years of studying to get your teaching license, it’s worth protecting.
While most students might not accuse a teacher of inappropriate behavior without reason, there have been cases where teachers have been wrongfully accused by students. In the event of a student accusing a teacher, simply losing your job becomes the best-case scenario as you stand the risk of incarceration, and losing your license.
This situation becomes especially dire for male teachers who are easily seen as predators, especially at the lower education levels.
In this age of social media and spin, the court of public opinion doesn’t simply vanish even if you’re cleared of all charges. Parents would be uncomfortable with you teaching in any school their children go to even when you’re found innocent and cleared of charges.
It’s simply advisable to avoid such situations as best as you can to avoid any accusations of inappropriate behavior.
Can Teachers Play Online Games With Students
Teachers can play district/school-approved educational games with students if it’s for a classroom activity. However, playing games with students outside academic purposes breaches district policies on online interactions with students.
Teachers are forbidden from interacting with students online except for school-related reasons and even then, most communication is done with the guardian. While some may argue their institution has no real regulations against this, playing games with students falls under districts’ social media guidelines for teachers.
Teachers caught in violation of these policies can be penalized by the district or their institution. Worst-case scenario, they may even lose their teaching license in the event of any accusations.
Keep the golden rule in mind: “the customer is king.” This is also true in the sphere of education, where different regulations and procedures are in place to protect pupils while also satisfying parents. Any accusation, whether from a parent or a kid, puts you in a dangerous situation.