Friday, May 13, 2011

Lack of Community = Excessive Video Game Use

Over the last two years, my son has experienced three different forms of community, resulting in three different ways he has related to video games during that time. While living in Illinois, he had a handful of friends between his homeschool community and neighborhood and during that time he played video games a few hours each day. A move to Connecticut where he struggled to make friends at all, resulted in a huge increase of his playing, so much in fact that he rarely wanted to do much of anything else. Finally, a move to Pennsylvania, where Ryan has many, many peers his age at his disposal at his homeschool resource center and church, finds him rarely playing video games at all.

Due to this experience, I feel that if teens are not getting an adequate amount of real community, they will turn to the fake community found in video games and other forms of social media. I know when living in Connecticut, I was happy my son could turn to video games and play online with his friends, providing him with a lifeline of sorts. But I always felt like his life was so out of balance. Plugged in yet not connecting face to face. One dimensional contact, lacking in the texture of life.

When teens are able to have adequate face to face contact with their peers, they have an aliveness about them. They branch out and experiment with all of life, investigate new passions and discover who they are. Something a screen can't give them.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Now that makes sense -- too much screen time disconnect from real folks and real community -- barbara