When video games were first sold, they were just that, games. In modern times, they are sophisticated and so real to life with visuals and graphics I fear it is affecting our youth in several unimaginable ways. Family time has all but disappeared. We have accomplished a newer, faster way to make friends with common interests without ever having to leave home. It may be too mature and complex for younger people to understand, therefore leaving a large gap between two generations that are back to back. Video games have taken over a way of life and we must stop the effects it has had on our youths and our society before it is too late
I remember the day I bought the video game system for my son. I thought it was a harmless toy. He was given the game system as a Christmas present with all the accessories he needs to play with a friend or even me. My son and I used to do many things and I just considered this purchase another activity we could share. I now know, this was like introducing a drug addict to his drug of choice. I remember his ear-to-ear grin and his excitement while opening this. It was an emotional and physical stimulation so strong, he could not contain himself. It caused him to jump up and yell, “I finally got one! I love you, Pops!” This is the day I have come to rue. In purchasing this present, I have lost my son to a whole different community and struggle with the loss of my son as an individual and see him as one of “them”. The best day in my son’s life has become the day I cringe to recall. It is an everyday reality for me.
After a long, hard day at work, I climb the stairs to my apartment. Before I approach the door, I can already hear exasperated voices and the hum of the video game system. I also hear the voices of those who used to be strangers, but now inhabit my home more frequently than I do. I am talking about the other online gamers coming through my television speakers via the video game. I open the door and am not surprised to see my son in a chair right in front of the television, both hands holding the video game controller, Bluetooth in ear and eyes focused on the screen. I have become accustomed to this picture. My son would be crowned the #1 Video Game Extraordinaire Player of the Century, if there were such a title. He plays his video games around the clock. Often, my friends and family complain about his obsession when they come to visit. He has friends from all over the world that he competes with online at different times of the day and night. He talks with them and about them as though he has known them all his life. The main difference is he uses their online monikers in place of names.
Video games have started to dull his outlook on life. I notice this more and more as he continues to play with more fervor. First of all, people who play consider this a part of their social lives and honestly believe they are gaining useful experience in life, through a video game. They do not read for pleasure, they read when it is necessary to research online how to beat a specific part of their game and advance to the next level. My son hates to read, not only because there are words involved in that activity, but also because it is now impossible for him to visualize the world presented within a book. It is also impossible for him to focus on a book because of the short attention span he has developed playing games, and reading books just takes too much time for him. Video games present constant action and a shift in theme every three seconds. While I am sure his hand to eye coordination is far superior to mine, it leaves no mental work to do, it is all action – reaction based activity. Because there is no long term cause and effect in any decision making that is done, it leads to the simplest question taking forever to answer, if any answer is given at all. This may even lead to a slower learning process, which could explain my son’s inability to remember to do everyday…