Updated: Mar 4
People nowadays are spending more hours playing video games than watching TV (including sporting events). Women are catching up with men on video gaming hours per week.
You’ve probably heard reasons why people get addicted to video games. Gamers are,
Too fragile for real life
Too lazy to get out and work
Video games, just as foods, exercise, dieting, medicines, and social media, can be used irresponsibly.
It is easier to eat too much or too little than to eat moderately. When you're treated unfairly, it is easier to lash out or retreat than to properly assert yourself. Healthy assertion is a topic that deserves its own post for another day.
It is difficult to do most things in moderation because there are so many demands upon our time:
How long do we stay at work every day?
How thoroughly should we clean are our houses?
How many hours per week do we socialize?
How severely do we discipline our children?
How many drinks are appropriate during a social engagement?
I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, but I can imagine how difficult it is to know when to stop. Perhaps one definition of maturity is having the ability to exercise moderation in most areas of our lives.
A flame thrower to a toddler
A video game in the hands of many people is like a high-powered weapon in the hands of a toddler.
“Here you go, Timmy. Be careful with that.”
Video gaming reveals the inability or unwillingness of some people to manage themselves. They are a litmus test that separates responsible people from irresponsible people.
Video games are art, too
Some video games are so immersive that when playing them you feel as if you're in a book or movie, rather than just reading it or watching it. Two examples of immersive video games are Mass Effect and The Last of Us.
Unlike other kinds of art, like paintings, books, sculptures, songs, and movies where you are always the spectator, you control the outcome. That's the most fascinating thing about video games: you bring your imagination rather than simply see the artist's imagination. -- Julia Gabel
Watch this video showing the beginning scene of the video game called Mass Effect. It's a far cry from Pac-man! Its editing, cinematography, musical score, and overall feel is every bit as good as the typical modern action movie. Yet, for this story, you fill the central role. You determine by your wit and skill who live or dies.
Purchased video games provide no annoying, disruptive, and insulting commercials that pop up just when the story gets interesting. I abhor commercials. I realize they serve a purpose, but I would rather rent a Blu-ray movie or pay for an on-line streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime than endure commercials.
I have not watched a minute of commercial TV in twenty years, mostly because of its intolerable commercials.
Honorable attractions of video gaming
Are there noble and healthy attributes of video gaming that attract wholesome people to video gaming?
I have provided below a list of reasons why video gaming can be attractive to good people. This does not excuse excessive video gaming. Spending too much time playing video games is just as unhealthy as spending too much time biking, jogging, reading books, or staying too late at work every night.
All of the following attributes are at the core of most modern video games:
Order – Responsible organizations and people are orderly. Order is a virtue. Order provides expectation, which in turn fosters motivation, assuming the organization is honorable.
Hope – Hope is a confident expectation. Principled societies provide hope to their members by letting them know what is expected of them and what they can achieve if they complete certain requirements. Hope promotes focus on the future vs. the past.
Agency – Agency requires not only choices, but informed choices and a knowledge of consequences from choices. When I know what will come of my actions, I will be better able to choose properly.
Consistency – Video games dispense the same consequences whether the player is tired, sad, happy, rich, or poor. Yet, people of all demographics keep playing them without getting their feelings hurt! There is a lesson here for nearly all politicians! Once principles and skills are learned, they must be practiced consistently before they are mastered. Children fare much better in households where parents consistently enforce rules.
Accomplishment – Overcoming obstacles and solving problems is healthy and provides an increased sense of self-worth.
Investment – Put off spending resources on less important possessions in order to invest in greater assets and abilities later on.
Law of the Harvest – You reap what you sow; you get out from an effort what you put into it. Modern cultures need these principles emphasized more often.
Compartmentalization – There is no such thing as multitasking. Read any rigorous study on multitasking and you will find that more work is done when focused on only one thing at a time. Having a long attention span is a blessing for anyone.
Wisdom – Life rewards the wise over the foolish. Wise choices, on average, produce superior outcomes. We need more examples of wise choices in our lives.
Power – Honorable power used wisely blesses all people.
If people would extend what they learn from video games into their lives, the world would be a better place. People would,
Stop inappropriate blaming.
Pause and think before acting.
Focus on solving problems instead of complaining.
Want to know the rules and abide by them for their benefit.
Have greater respect for choice and take greater care in making decisions.
Postpone immediate gratification for better possessions and properties later on.
Realize they have power within themselves to do good if they learn true principles.
Provide clear, discernible, orderly systems within their organizations to allow its members to advance.
If people within orderly systems wisely exercise proper and clear principles, their lives will be better.