Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Cognitive benefits?

You might understand that my prejudice is against video games, especially if someone plays it for hours on end (my youngest is eighteen!). But Brian C. Anderson thinks that such games are not only O.K., but offer
"positive moral lessons and cognitive benefits." Maybe. Certainly worth reading. You might remember Anderson’s book, South Park Conservatives.

Discussions - 16 Comments

Many acquaintances of ours have bought their five, six, or seven-year-olds X-boxes and other such gaming systems (is that what they are called?) recently. They have expressed a great frustration trying to tear their children away from the games and in constant arguments about the amount of time requested to play. These same parents, very sadly, do not read to their children from Narnia or Little House or Lord of the Rings or Jungle Book, etc., to really stir their imaginations. Their play outside and true social interaction will be restricted, and they will probably gain an unusual amount of weight because of a lack of exercise. It is doing nothing for their souls except damage. Truly sad.

"A silent epidemic of media desensitization," are "stealing the innocence of our children," says Hilary Clinton. Come now, a good conservative should be shamed for agreeing with something she says.

But seriously, think heavily on this topic. "Stealing the innocence of our children?" I’ve been playing video games since I was probably eight years old (maybe younger), and still play them today (as Dr. Schramm so subtely pointed out in his post). Most of my friends have been playing them for just as long. Has my innocence been stolen? No. I maintain that video games (and music as well) will "steal the user’s innocence" if, and only if, he lets them. Of course he can let them when he doesn’t realize he’s letting them. If he doesn’t understand the nature of the game (or violence, if it is a violent game), and in effect is changed for the worse because of that, then he is letting the video game "steal his innocence."

I have played many video games in my short life (starting with the classic Mario, ranging all the way to the much debated Grand Theft Auto series). The only game I play anymore is World of Warcraft. If you have never played it, you shun it (or maybe crave it, depending on your age and video game preference). If you have played it, you swear by it. Plain and simple. It is an MMORPG (massively multi-online role playing game) in which your character takes on a life of his own. You can even have "professions" within the game. Currently my Shadow Priest (a damage dealing magic-user) is a Tailor and an Enchanter. He uses the cloth materials he finds to make certain types of clothes and armor, and can then put enchantments on them (and sell them for gold, if he doesn’t want to use them). There is a currecny based trade system in the game. By that I mean that the value of items [within the game] rise and fall; they change almost as frequently as Ohio weather. To be a successful "businessman" in World of Warcraft, one must always be aware of the current market value of good items. Buy low, sell high[er]. The money in the game is simple: 100 copper equals 1 silver, 100 silver equals 1 gold. When a player is a good "businessman" within World of Warcraft, you can buy an item from one player for 60ish silver, and sell it for 50ish gold. That happens frequently for those players who can find the deals and understand the true value of the item. That’s a remarkable profit (such a profit would be remarkable in real life as well, and happens by those who know how to do it). The only true reason for this paragraph was to show the reader some of the intricies of World of Warcraft, which is arguably one of the most involved and realistic games on the market. I know, it’s hard to say a fantasy based game (which has races such as Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Undead, Orcs, Trolls, etc.) is "realistic." Well, obviously that part isn’t. But the actual make-up of the game is. Time for a new paragraph, I think.

This is definitely worth watching, and quite pertinent to the thread. I suggest that those who bash video games the most actually try to play one sometime. You will be amazing, I promise.

If anyone would like to talk more on this topic, email me at [email protected]

In the fourth paragraph, I mean’t to say "amazed," not "amazing." Sorry about that.

Sorry, but I keep reposting because I keep finding men who have the same things to say as I do, but whose thoughts and words are more organized and eloquent. *One No Left Turns Mug*

Example 1

So, my children have a playstation (actually it’s their dad’s but they have claimed it as theirs), they also have Gameboys, and Leapsters. Are they fat? No, they are actually underweight for their age and are very active in sports such as soccer and dancing. They also take piano lessons and every night we read together, from books like Narnia and the Bible nonetheless. Does it make me a bad parent because I let my children have a playstation? No, I hardly think so. I also do not think that it is "truly sad" that they play these things. Rather, I find that it is part of growing up. And with the Leapster, my child has been able to play educational games that have increased her math and reading skills. Instead of completely restricting these sorts of games, parents just need to regulate them just like they have to regulate everything else.

I also forgot to mention that my little brother (he’s 27 tomorrow!) has played these machines since the introduction of the first Nintendo. My parents used to complain about his game use. Now, however, he is an honors student at the University of Virginia in the doctoral program for Biochemical science and is currently conducting DNA research for cancer treatment. And yet, he still plays my husbands playstation when he comes to visit.

Don’t be defensive - you can choose to raise your children however you want. For me, I’ll take my chances without the video games. I spent probably 6-8 hours a day growing up playing video games and watching television and I am thin at 36 and am working on my third master’s degree and am reading Plato’s Republic and Thucydides for fun right now in addition to writing my third book. Nevertheless, I still wish my parents had done a better job of parenting and not let me waste so much time watching Gilligan’s Island and shooting at aliens. It did nothing positive or uplifting for me at all.

More importantly, this doesn’t need to be personalized at all. My initial comments were meant to be generalizations about youth and video games/television/computers, etc. even if they did not appear to be so. Almost all commentators are becoming rather alarmed at the obesity, short attention spans, and constant need for stimulation, among other problems of American youth. I don’t hear a chorus of voices being raised to say that Americans are really on the right track in how their children are being raised, but maybe I’m wrong.

I disagree with the attention span comment, anyway. Video gamers are some of the most intentive people around. Seriously, would you be able to sit in front of a computer screen for hours on end, doing the same thing (or so it would seem to onlookers)? Probably not. Am I able to sit down for hours on end and read Thucydides? Well I don’t know about Thucydides yet, because I haven’t tried him. But I do know I can sit for hours on end and read R.A. Salvatore, J.K. Rowling, and Phillip Pullman. I know I can sit for hours on end and attempt to play guitar. I think video games are not giving kids short attention spans, but rather honing their minds to better be able to concentrate on one subject for extended amounts of time. Needless to say, many adults think kids have short attention spands when they’re not playing video games, but only because that child (I’m talking an actualy child, not a teen) would rather be spending his valuable time "blasting aliens" than adding numbers and writing in cursive. Give that child a few years of mental growth and he will be able to channel that focus onto almost anything in his life. The trick, however, is getting him to want to focus on doing extended algebra problems.

Apparently my attention is not currently focused on typing. The second line where it reads "intentive" should read "attentive." I think I just coined that word. Also, about halfway down, a word reads "spands" where it should say "spans." Again, "actualy" should be "actual."

I should just revoke typing altogether. I’m apparently bad at it.

I can not see this at all.

Wow John, you can read Harry Potter for hours on end? You’re catching up to the average 4th grader- way to go! Try "The Indian in the Cupboard" when you’re feeling up to the challenge.

Also, please don’t "revoke" typing. A lot of us rely on it.

Who could revoke typing?

But gaming is daunting in that it would take so much time and effort, and to what end? Maybe it is no worse than sitting about blogging. Seen in that light, one understands the laughable compulsion.

We have let our kids play video games, using the one small TV we have that is not even antenna-ed to the world, much less cabled. It did seem to stretch their attention-spans as they might play for hours. It became an incentive to get the home school work of the day done, so they could have more time for their games. But we found that letting the kids play their fill of whatever their current irresistably delightful game was, after getting real work done, of course, blunted their appetites and killed their cravings for THAT game. That lasted until the next irresistable game came along. It was like letting them gobble their Easter candy till it made them sick, which made all candy less appealing. Keeping candy, or video games, from them only seemed to make those things more desirable.

No empty thing has an appeal that lasts.

Or, perhaps I might better have said, the desire for empty things never lasts.


Do I know you? What you said sounds like what a highschool classmate would say. Anyway. Have you ever read Harry Potter? If not, try it. It can’t hurt. I realize it may have a slightly "kiddish" plot, but isn’t it still worth reading great books, even if they’re below the reader’s level? Well, I think so. Maybe one should read Harry Potter books for no other reason than if he wants to bea father someday, then he should experience the books he will likely be reading to his children. What better way to experience them than to read them? I’ll tell you, that’s not why I read Harry Potter. But I’m sure there are some people who do. Admittedly, I read them becuase I started when I was around eleven and now I’m hooked. It has become something that if I don’t finish, then I could hardly forgive myself. But I don’t just read them out of an obligatory mind-set. I read them because I genuinely (sp?) like them. She’s a good author and know’s her stuff. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to start ranting. Good day.

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