Yesterday a family member shared this article with me. I found it an interesting read, and I wanted to talk about it, and the article it references, and maybe respond to a few points.
While it is true that video games can be addictive (or as the team behind Extra Credits put it, games can cause emotions and responses within the brain that can be addictive) – there are too many self confessed stories that confirm it (mine included) – and pornography is an easy trap to fall into, and a hard one to get out of (any bloke who makes it through life unscathed by it, you’re one of the lucky ones, don’t forget it), I’m not sure if I agree with everything that the original article said – especially when they seemed to ditch the whole Porn side of the argument (which, in my opinion, is the greater danger of the two), and focus on how video games are making a society of lazy young men with commitment issues.
I don’t have much to argue their point with outside my own life and another response, and a forum thread on the original TED Talk* I found while looking deeper, but I will say that there are a surprising amount of young men I know that, given the choice, would choose being lazy and not working – video games or no. I like the argument raised that if it wasn’t video games that people were using to avoid work, it would be movies, rock and roll music or books – most of which has been blamed in the past for corrupting the youth (to the point where between the 1930’s and 1968 sanctions were placed on movie studios to insure that every movie that came out of Hollywood met a decency code that ensured that it was made with an acceptable moral tone)^ in exactly the same way that video games are today.
There’s much more that I could say – the discussion of the problems with getting guys to engage in the school system would be a long blog post by itself (and one I’ve been thinking about writing for a while now) – I do want to finish with the agreement that – like almost everything – the ideal for playing video games is moderation. It’s not an ideal that I stick to all the time (which I am coming to regret – more on that later this week, still thinking it through), but it’s one that parents need to enforce while their children are young and still exploring the medium – the same way that it’s irresponsible to let a child watch TV all day, it’s irresponsible to let them sit in front of a computer or console playing games all the time – and later on in their life – throughout their life at home as a teenager and young adult, don’t let them forget their responsibilities to themselves (a healthy body and mind, the skills learnt through school/tafe/uni, etc) and to their family.
*Much like any forum thread (even one on a more intellectually based website), some of the comments are insightful, some are rubbish, and some are a mix of both – I leave it to the reader to decide.
^More from cultural backlash than anything else, but I can imagine the vast majority of people pushing for movie censorship (as it pretty much was) shouting ‘Think of the Children!’. See more about the topic here.