Video Gaming

My six year old grandson is typically very mellow. I often have to ask him to repeat what he says because of his Massachusetts drawl and the softness of his voice.

The other day I saw a different side of him. He was playing an age-appropriate video game, Lego Batman, which unfolds with Batman’s greatest foes escaping from Arkham Asylum and creating mayhem throughout Gotham City. Tracking criminals, including The Joker and The Penguin, players utilize Batman’s gadgets as well as build and operate fantastic vehicles in one or two player cooperative gameplay.

As he was playing, mesmerized by the flashes from Batman’s gizmos, his demeanor markedly changed. He got louder … and louder … and louder. He contorted his body as he maneuvered the controls. You could sense a rise in his anxiety as the adrenaline kicked it. And it continued well after play was stopped.

Now, I’m not suggesting video games are harmful, just making an observation. I could see the change in demeanor — first hand and up close and personal. I suspect it happens more often than we old timers realize.

Certainly, visual stimulation has changed over the years. Growing up, our stimulation was multi-sensory. We did things. We played. We ran. We scuffed and interacted with others in real time. I don’t see that as much any more.

The stimulation has internalized. It’s learning controls. It’s pushing buttons. If there is interaction, it generally is with another “player” {although I understand there are online games connecting scores of unnamed and often unknown ‘players”}.

I admire the fact a six year old can differentiate between the buttons on a control stick (?) — up, down, jump, shoot, get additional gizmos. I had a hard enough time controlling PacMan through a predetermined maze. But I do worry this fascination with a TV screen or laptop or IPad or phone has robbed the youth today of real interaction. I’ve seen it with the young adults and teens in the family. Apparently it has now filtered down to elementary and pre-schoolers as well.

I’m too old for this shift.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Talk up the good things.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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3 Responses to Video Gaming

  1. Video games to me are dead;
    we just don’t get along,
    and the last one that I ever played
    went by the name of ‘Pong’.
    Far better is the physical,
    touch and taste and smell.
    Doesn’t pay to get hysterical
    on screens, and shout and yell.
    And what about time spent outside,
    has that gone out of style?
    There are rocks to throw, bikes to ride
    and footpaths by the mile.
    Today’s kids miss out, that’s dead cert
    when they don’t wrestle in the dirt.

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