By Kenneth Justice
~ “Dude! Where have you been?!” I asked
I was sitting at coffee yesterday and a friend walked in who I hadn’t seen in nearly two months. Normally he stops in to coffee every morning so it’s been rather conspicuous for him to have suddenly disappeared,
“Oh, well I’ve been really busy. The new video game came out and I’ve been glued to it every minute I’m not at work” he said
Apparently, some video game where you play with other people and shoot them or something, was recently released (I know nothing about video games) and my friend hasn’t left the house other than to go to work for the past fifteen days.
The world has definitely changed quite a bit over the past forty years; electronic devices have become a major element of Western Culture; IPhones, video games, laptops, etc. It seems that with each New Year comes new electronic inventions that often gobble up more of our time.
Although I’m not a video game player, I don’t hate them, but I am a little concerned with the correlational data out there; as people spend more time playing video games and watching television, rates of depression and loneliness have clearly been on the increase since 1980.
Of course, correlational statistics are often rather tricky and it’s easy to create correlations that are incorrect. Yet, if we are going to begin with the paradigm that humans are social creatures, then shouldn’t we be creating a society where we spend more time in positive social interactions with our fellow humans?
Why is it that everything we do in our culture seems to subtract from us having healthy social interactions?
Is there any correlation between the rise in depression and loneliness and the rise in the amount of time people spend playing video games and watching television?
Loneliness and depression are an issue that has always been very personal to me because I know so many people who struggle with both. Many lonely people are not even aware of the fact that they are lonely. Our culture reinforces loner behaviors as though they are a good thing; i.e. many hours spent playing video games, many hours spent all alone in a car, many hours staring at phone screens and televisions.
The cure for loneliness is community. Yet the very core of Western Culture these days appears to be anti-community. Will things ever change? I’m not really sure.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society