One particular episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is very applicable to today.
The crew of the Enterprise received metallic, sparkly headsets that fit like a cap. When wearing them, the crew experienced wondrous visions that impacted their state of being: Think LSD trips of the ’60s.
Of course, everyone was thrilled to experience these sensations. The crew enjoyed slipping their minds away from the obligations of work and family and reveled in their altered mental and emotional state.
They no longer felt any motivation to interact with other people, or continue their work or hobbies. They just wanted to zone out with the magic headset.
I have been nagging parents for years not to give their children video games, other than the ones that actually taught something. And even they can become a problem when it becomes the dominant activity and obsession.
Well, some listened but most were actually happy to have their children “occupied,” as it cut down on their parental obligations at the end of their busy day.
You’ve gone to restaurants and seen people involved with their smartphones playing games, texting, socialmedia messaging, etc. Right? Sad. Entire families not communicating, not bonding, not enjoying each other, not experiencing the pleasures of the moment.
Instead, they are isolated and absorbed in a world that is in no way real. That is why I was so enthused to receive this email from a listener: “I didn’t give my kids video games. I gave them siblings: seven sons, one daughter. I gave them pets. I gave them Tinkertoys, Legos, Lincoln Logs, train tracks, and board games. I gave them Play-Doh, crayons, paper, paints, scissors, glue, yarn, and beads. I gave them a tree to climb, a trampoline to bounce on, a swing set, a garden to dig in, mud puddles to jump in, bikes to ride on, a piano to play, and other musical instruments.
“I gave them library visits to find books to read. I signed them up for community sports programs to find what they liked. One sport per year before high school, so that I would only go moderately crazy. Collectively, they tried basketball, soccer, dance, swim, flag football, hockey, and tennis. I supported them in school programs for soccer, football, swim, and wrestling, and choir, orchestra, and band. I gave them a church community of friends to hang out with and dances to go to. Yes, they played video games at friends’ houses but they didn’t get them from me.
“When my eighth grader had to make a speech out of his persuasive essay that he had written to try to convince his parents to get him a game system, he was embarrassed because his classmates would find out that he didn’t have one. Yet that same boy, now a father of two, thanked me recently for not letting him get addicted to video games like his friends.
“I didn’t give them video games. I gave them life.”
I read this email twice, and that last line about four times. Isn’t the purpose of parenthood to prepare a child for an adult healthy life? Isn’t that completely subverted by most video games and social media involvement? I think so.
Many a young woman will call my radio show either thinking of marrying some guy or already married, complaining that he spends his time video gaming. I always point out that these things should be taken seriously.
For a man with responsibilities to spend his time with video games is childish, immature, and of concern because these activities — usually taking up hour upon hour — are instead replacing life.
Dr. Laura (Laura Schlessinger) is a well-known radio personality and best-selling author. She appears regularly on many television shows and in many publications. Read Dr. Laura's Reports — More Here.
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