Why Facebook Farmville Game is Good for Kids

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Kids could be encouraged to switch from violent computer games to the pastoral life on the farm in Farmville. The reason kids are enthusiastic about Farmville when they first hear about it is simply because it was originally marketed as an adult game on Facebook. So the original draw for kids is that playing Farmville makes them feel grown up, but as they get into the game they become hooked.

For the very few of you that don't already know Farmville is a Facebook game where you run a virtual farm. On the farm you can choose crops, plant and harvest them and make virtual money. You can also expand your farm by requesting that other Facebook players become your neighbors and you can get into husbandry of a number of farm animals.

Such an innocent game could provide hours of good clean fun for kids that were previously GTA junkies. Apart from the fact that Farmville gets kids away from mindlessly violent games there is the added bonus that it subtly teaches certain positive skills and qualities.

The skills that kids can learn from playing Farmville are as follows:

Patience and finishing a cycle of action

They plant crops and then have to wait a certain amount of time to harvest them. This teaches them patience in seeing a project through to the end. If the crops are not "harvested" on time they die, and the Farmville player loses money. The cycle of buying the crop; planting it; fertilizing it; watering it and finally harvesting it, all teach a child to see something through to the end.

Giving and receiving

They can exchange gifts with other Farmville players, and request help in fertilizing their fields. This teaches them cooperation, sharing and giving.

Care for other living creatures

The animals on their farm need to be fed, petted and cleaned. This teaches them the responsibility necessary in caring for another living creature. Farmville has also expanded to include "My Pets", "Fishville" and "Petville", these Facebook games also require that you feed animals and in the case of pets, that you clean up after them, wash them and play with them.

Math Skills

Their math skills are also challenged as they need to calculate which Farmville crops will yield them the most profit. For example they need to figure out that if a crop costs $2 but the profits will only be gained in 10 days, then it will profit less than the crop that costs them $4 but can be harvested within a few hours.

Basic cycles of life

They watch their animals and crops go through the seasonal changes of birth, growth and death, this teaches them the cyclic nature of our existence and perhaps reminds city kids that it is ultimately nature which determines our comings and goings in this world and not man.

Now this may sound like I'm reading too much into a simple game but I believe it is a positive addition to the string of on-line computer games on offer to children.

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