Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prefers Video Games

A blog reader who has since become an "in real life" friend left a comment on my blog post about video games and unmotivated teen boys. She suggested reading the book "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax (2007). I have not read this book but I purchased it yesterday.

Book description by publisher from Amazon.com:

"Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, American boys are, on average, less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere twenty years ago. The gender gap in college attendance and graduation rates has widened dramatically. While Emily is working hard at school and getting A’s, her brother Justin is goofing off. He’s more concerned about getting to the next level in his videogame than about finishing his homework. Now, Dr. Leonard Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on more than twenty years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home. He shows how social, cultural, and biological factors have created an environment that is literally toxic to boys. He also presents practical solutions, sharing strategies which educators have found effective in re-engaging these boys at school, as well as handy tips for parents about everything from homework, to videogames, to medication."

Here is one comment left on a positive customer review of the book on Amazon.com by "Shinigami".

I'm a guy, in the 20's. It's interesting that so many people feign interest in this subject, but once we're in the real world, it's an entirely different case.

Yes, I play video games. Yes, I have no direction in life. Yes, I'm not "on the ball" when it comes to college. Truth is, none of you bother about the "plight" of men in today's society. I don't really care, though. Personally, at times, I do think about how I don't really want to have anything to do with this society. So yeah, I'll be getting back to my video games, now. (How'd you know I was playing video games at this moment?! !!!!)

I'll keep the common suggestion that I should be a productive member of society filed away, I'll certainly refer to it someday, maybe.

In my opinion video games provide an escape from reality albeit temporary. The leveling up, achievement of goals, and the figuring out of the game strategy is psychologically fulfilling on a certain level. A problem is the good feelings don't last long or overflow into one's entire life, they disappear when the game is shut off. Extending good feelings of mastery and knowledge by discussing video games on chat forums or becoming an administrator of communication sites or various game (i.e. Minecraft) or running one's own Minecraft server can extend the game play but chatting online to strangers about strategy is not the same as conversing with a real life friend face to face.

Some people can easily get addicted to video games and may start to prefer the fake world of video games and living "inside their head" to interacting with real humans face to face in one's real life. Things like challenging learning, or simple tasks like putting one's clean laundry into the bureau drawer, or even brushing one's teeth or flushing the toilet after it is used can be perceived as tasks too large and difficult to complete. Real life, the good and things like taking five minutes to make a decent sandwich to eat a real meal (versus eating a bag of chips with one hand while playing the game with the other) or taking the trash out seem too un-entertaining and too drudge-work like so they are avoided like The Plague.

Video gaming in moderation is fine, but when it starts to be the end all and be all and when schoolwork suffers and a person is not taking the time to eat right or to bathe or avoids real human contact favoring online stranger friends who can discuss only the game itself, there is a problem.

Being a productive member of American society is not all fun and games. At our paying jobs and in our community volunteer work there are things that are not easy to do and there are nitty gritty un-fun tasks that simply must get done. That's a fact of life. If spending too much time inside one's own head and living in the imaginary world of a video game prevents a person from living a full active regular life then there is a problem.

1 comment:

Sarahclac said...

I'm very interested to learn about this book - thank you for the review. We've seen the same symptoms in our 12 yo son - lack of focus, responsibility, inability to think ahead, disrespect, etc.
And it always coincides with when we let him go on the video game.
So I did some research. And here's what I found: http://fitfamilytogether.com/effect-of-video-games-on-children

There are clear physiological, developmental problems our sons (esp.) are facing thanks to video game playing. It's robbing them of a future as the young man who commented noted.
Glad to see another mom discussing this.