Monday, April 23, 2012

GAME STOP

"It is never too late to have a happy childhood."
~Tom Robbins

"I don't want to hear another word about death, or killing, or weapons," I told the three teenagers who sat in my dining room. Their conversation was centered around a couple of video games they liked. Though they moved onto a different topic when I made my position clear, in a matter of minutes they were back to the games and their levels of destruction.

So I challenged them. "Do you see how these games might be harmful? Is it possible they desensitize some into thinking that violence and killing is okay? Take a moment before you answer. Really think about it." I was surprised when all three admitted the games could potentially be detrimental. They agreed that some players might be swayed to behave violently if they spent hours each day blowing people to bits.

"Then why do you play these games?" I asked, bewildered. "It's fun," was their response. I was baffled. What could be so fun about sitting in front of a video game for hours, acquiring artillery and killing as many people as possible?

Whatever happened to the definition of fun that I grew up with? When did violent games replace a bike ride, a game of tennis, a day hike, or curling up with a good book? The more I listened to these boys and thought about their conversation, the more it saddened me.

How about we kill the notion that our kids need to be engaged and entertained with violent video games in order to be happy? Why don't we just blow up the mindset that it's safer to sit on the couch for hours strategizing over a game than it is to be out and about, moving and breathing in the daylight? Why not put to death the sedentary world of video games and open our kids' eyes up to all that the world has to offer them? Just a thought...

To be fair, my children are grown, and they did not show a strong interest in video games when they were growing up. I haven't had to wrestle with this issue as a parent. But I know parents who do. And I can see both sides to the argument on the safety and value of these games. I cannot adequately cover both sides of the fence in this blog. If you want to research it for yourself, you can begin at videogames.procon.org.

"We cannot and will not ban the creation of violent video games. But, we can prevent the distribution of these disturbing games to children, where their effects can be negative."
~Herb Kohl

"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
~Romans 12:2, The Message    
    

   

2 comments:

  1. This is something that really speaks to me as a parent and teacher. The sickness of our culture, where predators seem to be found in once safe neighborhoods, has changed the face of childhood. Now parents must be with their kids, watching and guarding them, so much more than our parents had to be when we rode our bikes to a friend's house, made a fort in ravine somewhere, or walked downtown to the toy store. Kids leaving home alone now are targets for hearts gone evil. Hence, we find more and more kids in front of a television either watching shows that are edgy or even softly pornographic at times or playing video games, many of which are violent and disturbing. Could it be that our culture of tolerance has led to a culture of destruction and death? When right and wrong become so blurred in the minds of the masses, evil slips in and claims its spot, changing the atmosphere and activities that once filled children's lives.

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  2. Very good points, Rosemary. Parents today need wisdom and discernment on how to keep children safe without handicapping them in the process. I see a correlation between the behaviors of teens today and their lack of autonomy because parents had to watch over them so closely, limiting their activities, and in the process, their growth. Kids can no longer follow the natural progression toward independence like we did when we were growing up. Could much of the acting out, rebellion, even the disorders like ADHD, be linked to the fact that they weren't allowed to "grow up" into self sufficient, secure young adults because the world around them was too dangerous a classroom? How do we reverse this trend? Our kids lives may very well depend upon it.

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