(click to enlarge)
I know that’s sort of a broad question for a debate of the day, but when you see the above picture, you sort of understand what I’m talking about.
Doing what I do for a living, I find myself constantly in a position where I have to defend video games. Yes, it’s a mainstream pastime and not just for dorks and geeks anymore. Yes, it can be beneficial and teach you valuable skills like hand eye coordination and teamwork (unless you’re playing Call of Duty).
But then I come across pictures like this, and I have to wonder if when all is said and done, video games have made us better off. Yes, you can play games in moderation and have a blast, but there’s an entire generation of kids right now being raised on games by parents who are happy that something, anything is able to make their kid sit still not only for minutes, but hours upon hours if you want them to. As ardent as a defender of video games as I am in many regards, I do not see increased childhood obesity rates as a miraculous coincidence when viewed next to this lifestyle. Yes, it’s the shit food, but sitting around for hours a day when kids used to be up moving around and doing things is going to significantly contribute to problems like that.
As for video games causing aggression? I’m not sure I buy that one. Kids were aggressive far before games even existed, and it’s not some new trend we can blame on the medium. I think you get upset when you lose (I’ve seen some insane child rage videos on YouTube), but overall games can actually relieve stress by having kids take out their aggression in a virtual world instead of the real one.
Looking at this picture just makes me sad though. To see virtual ping pong replace its real life counterpart makes me feel like an old man at 24, and soon I’ll be yelling for kids to get off my lawn. Expect they won’t be on my lawn. They’ll be inside, playing video games.
Have video games made this next generation better or worse off?