Are you disturbed by what games can do to your kids?

After watching this TED Talk by David Perry, “Are games better than life?” I have developed an idea about the path we are on as a society, especially in relation to the next generation of gamers.  But the question is, does it have to be this way?

Wow what a thought and opinion provoking piece indeed.  I found the student’s video to be quite disturbing at times and even a bit long or OTT (over the top!).  But it does point to a common theme or narrative with gaming. That is that before we as individuals can realise the benefits gaming “could” have for our society we have to go through quite a dark period of losing sleep, health, focus on our relationships and almost reach breaking point before … bam! we realise that games are not better than life, life is all there is and it is the best reality. Perhaps we need a “virtual reality” to help us appreciate our current reality but do we really have to take our close family and friends to the brink… before we ourselves realise it.

“…play enough video games and eventually you will believe you can…. kill a man. I know I can.”

Is this really what we want our kids learning?

This is the dark area of games that “gamers” rarely want to discuss. It is far too often glossed over with… “but look at the possible positive benefits here and there, look what it could do..” .  But I feel the reality is far from these potential positives and much closer to the statement above from the student in the video.

I have an older brother with down syndrome and several years ago he did something quite disturbing which was directly related to a game.  He received The Matrix game one birthday and not long after Mum called to tell me he’d put a huge hole in their bathroom wall.  He had been trying to “walk” up the wall, like you can in the game. WTF? Most of us would probably laugh at that and say, yeah but he’s disabled, no “normal” person would try to do that. Really?… Really? I think David Perry’s video says it all.
The average Joe who plays video games, if he plays enough or if game makers keep trying to make people “believe” they can do anything, will eventually believe it can….

“… kill a man. I know I can.”

My brother is okay and the wall was patched. It took quite a bit of explaining about the realities of the game vs real life but I think it has sunk in.  He’s an Xbox fan from way back and has been playing James Bond and other first person shooters for a while.  Thankfully we’re in Australia and don’t have America’s gun laws… or it might be a very different and tragic story.

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One thought on “Are you disturbed by what games can do to your kids?

  1. I hear what you’re saying here but there’s a lot anecdotal evidence to suggest that the rise of video games coincides with the decline in (violent) crime the USA. All in all this decline is a bit of a puzzle and is a linked to numerous reason to why it has happen, such as ‘the Obama Effect’.
    http://www.gamerevolution.com/features/violence_and_videogames
    (little bit of a bias link, but if you google it you’ll find plenty of info)
    From my own experiences and peers growing up with video games i could only describe them as making me apathetic. I always thought hip hop music and gangsta culture more destructive to young minds and there’s less of that now than in the late 80’s early 90’s.

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