Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | April 2021

Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | April 2021 1394 1396 The Flyer Magazine

What I’ve noticed in Queenstown in the last 22 years is that kids actually haven’t changed that much. They still find fads to cling to for a temporary time. When I started teaching at Queenstown Primary School in 2000 it was chatter rings and Tamagotchi pets. Both of these things drove me nuts as a teacher and if I’d been a parent then I’m sure it still would have bothered me. After that came, Pokemon Cards and Yu Gi Oh cards and Beyblades. Kids love to try the new trend and see what’s up with it. It always passes and the next thing comes along. The mainstays have been Pokemon cards. I wish I had got into that as I confiscated a heap. If only I’d kept them, I could probably have retired this year as those things sell for a stupid amount of money online.

When I started teaching there wasn’t even really “online” like there is these days. If you had told me that in 20 years’ time, that a five-year-old boy would earn $US40 million a year by just playing with and reviewing toys, I’d tell you, “Ya dreaming mate”. However, this is the society we live in currently. The online world of sports has surpassed most of the major sports in the world. Esports just topped a 500 million audience and has a total revenue of over $1billion now. This is only going to increase and is the fastest growing “sport” in the world. Covid has been a boom for esports and I can’t see it dropping off anytime soon. If you are good enough you can earns millions in prize pool money and if you then include sponsorship you can make some serious money from gaming.

When I was a teenager, (there was colour TV but still no remote control in our house), the first computer game I really got into was World of Warcraft, and I got pretty good at it too. If I’d stayed at it I could now be earning upwards of $US150,000 per year. This confounds me and also shows me that as a former teacher we were always told that we needed to be teaching our kids for their future and not the present, as when they grow up there’ll be jobs that hadn’t even been thought of.

And they were right.

In the year 2000 who’d have thought that sharing your daily life on the “World Wide Web” via a video blog could pay you thousands of dollars per year and get you sponsorship deals. Or that by playing games online and just letting people watch could also earn you some serious coin.

Covid has shown us that we can teach online, exercise via online apps, Zoom into meetings, and also do virtual 3D tours of museums and art galleries all around the world. What’s next? What do I need to be ready for? Well AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) are now making huge gains in the virtual world, where also sports and gaming will venture to next.

What does this mean for my kids you ask?

It means we need to embrace some of this technology, but also make sure that our kids remember that people in the real world are important. That just because you “follow” someone online doesn’t mean you know them. That many times the person they follow is a character, and doing what they do to earn more ‘follows’ and that’s not real life.

Talk to your kids about being safe online and remembering that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. But we need to also remember that this is going to become bigger than we would have ever imagined when we were kids. So let the kids teach you something, and you can teach them that a “virtual hug” is not as good as the real thing.

Be safe

Be kind

Shaun

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