“I love my video games more”….REALLY???

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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,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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29 replies

  1. Yes, I just wrote about this today. I loathe the lack of social interaction and see what it is doing to us as human beings. People can’t even have a conversation without checking their phones one billion times. Thanks for great post, so on point.

  2. The Western world is becoming an odd place. I wonder about the lack of sunlight and what not getting enough vitamin D might be doing to us. In front of screens we get the illusion of light, but it’s not natural, in fact it drains nutrients from us.

  3. I would add that it’s not necessarily strictly Western; when I lived in South Korea, the PC bangs (or internet rooms) were full ’round the clock of people playing video games. I didn’t need to use public internet as often when I was in Japan, but I found the same thing there … until I got my own connection, which I used to play Warcraft very frequently. In my case, that was my connection back to home and, more particularly, my boyfriend at the time. 🙂

  4. correlation pretty sure there is. the more we use gadgets the more we detach.

  5. Hi Kenneth, good point. I think that yes we realize that community is important (an example is the growing social media) but time management competes with the community sense. I think that they should research in the correlation between the rise in depression and loneliness and the rise in the amount of time people spend playing video games and watching television.

  6. Reblogged this on Big Bad Bith's Joy of Life Bogspot and commented:
    A thought well written

  7. Exactly… the more gadgets, the fewer true interactions. Sad!

  8. I find socializing quite a bit of work, but my son loves it. However, this sort of socializing suits me fine.

  9. I am seeing more and more information on technology replacing the need for religion, social interaction, and relationships. It’s not a far stretch if you think about it carefully. If wearable or mobile technologies satisfy the human mind’s need in these areas, the switch can be very rapid for the individual. The only heartbreak from a love affair with a smartphone would be internet dead zones and drained power supply. Once those problems are greatly reduced, the population in tech savvy nations will begin to reduce. Howz that for a correlation 😉

  10. a good game is much more better than today reality

  11. When the weather is too bad for me to commute by bike, and I have to get the train, it always amuses/saddens me that almost everyone on the train, gets their phone/tablet out as soon as they sit down, and fires up facebook/twitter for the duration of the journey.
    The only electronic device I tend to use on the train is my kindle.

  12. That’s something that I worked with my son on, and he’s really good about – but I had to teach him how to balance his video games and his actual real life interaction. And he’s pretty good at it- and he’ll let me know “hey, there is a group game tonight” or he’ll get a text and send back “sorry, can’t play right now I’m doing xyz” And it makes me very proud that he can enjoy the new game that just came out but not let it rule his life!

  13. Some people lack the ability to self-regulate and balance their lives. I think gaming can become an addiction, like food or alcohol. It helps people zone out and forget their existence while playing. Luckily, I suck at video games, but I know a few people who can’t stop playing them. 🙂

  14. “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?”

    Yes. I think that we are depressed and therefore use these things as a distraction.

    Also, social interaction is hard to do without someone getting angry because of different ideas of religion or politics.

    To avoid such conflicts, humans like me tend to isolate from others. Online is an entirely different story than this.

  15. “The cure for loneliness is community.” Well said, my friend. As I read this I thought about our blogging community – to the extent our personal highs and lows are affected by the amount of “likes,” comments or followers we have. For myself, a real life, actual community outside of the blog world is vital. XO

  16. Sadly and unbelievably how electronic devices have taken over humans interaction, feelings, and life.
    Can you believe that I had a 32 yrs old man admitted in the hospital caring his Ex-box game and got so mad that wasn’t allowed to instal his game. So sad and weird..
    Now I’m putting my phone away and enjoy my coffee in NY city 😉

  17. Reblogged this on Clothed with Joy and commented:
    As my friend Kenneth Justice says, “The cure for loneliness is community. ” He’s writing about something I am passionate about today, friends. As bloggers, how often do we get caught up in checking for “likes,” comments or followers? What?! I love this post! I poured myself into it – yet, no one is even reading it, let alone “liking” it… I know I fall in to that trap. I LOVE my blogging community, but my real life, physical, breathing, face to face community is vital to my well being and emotional wellness.

  18. Our life, lately, became a pale shade of the constantly promised future, and even the spiritual guiders seem to be more of opportunists rather than messengers and representatives of humble but stubborn willingness of emotional self-sacrifice rooted in the intellect hidden in the Nature and the Universe, by God.

    On the one hand, the merit of the age is an unprecedent achievement, bringing health and life-long learning, and unhiding the veil of information. Yet, without real change, and supporting environment, redisconvering of the true meaning of siblinghood with what we could provide extra energy to the parent-child and conjugal relationships, we mistakenly recreate personal gods.

    We are greater idolmakers than ever, and we stuck more than Laban who happened to massacre his own blood for his idols.
    Now, we can name cars, houses, espacially money, techincal equipment, nothing to really share, and make ourselves kings and queens in another reality, where there is no time and practice for growing and mature, the world of instant solutions, something never happens in the Nature and the Universe.

    Your friend/acquintance happens to be one of us: joy, satisfaction, happiness are his possible goals.
    And -like the most of the people in the late western-type societies- chose the instant way. In vain…

  19. Our life, lately, became a pale shade of the constantly promised future, and even the spiritual guiders seem to be more of opportunists rather than messengers and representatives of humble but stubborn willingness of emotional self-sacrifice rooted in the intellect hidden in the Nature and the Universe, by God.

    On the one hand, the merit of the age is an unprecedent achievement, bringing health and life-long learning, and unhiding the veil of information. Yet, without real change, and supporting environment, rediscovering of the true meaning of siblinghood with what we could provide extra energy to the parent-child and conjugal relationships, we mistakenly recreate personal gods.

    We are greater idolmakers than ever, and we stuck to these idols more than Laban, who happened to go and massacre his own blood for his idols.
    Now, we can name cars, houses, espacially money, technical equipment, nothing to really share, and make ourselves kings and queens in another reality, where there is no time and practice for growing and mature, the world of instant solutions, something never happens in the Nature and the Universe.

    Your friend/acquintance happens to be one of us: joy, satisfaction, happiness are his possible goals.
    And -like the most of the people in the late western-type societies- chose the instant way. In vain…

  20. so what we need to be considering is how we can cultivate genuine community that also allows for people to be individuals?

  21. I get where you’re coming from, but I’d argue that with the advent of online gaming, video games can be very social experiences these days. I play, chat & laugh with friends while online gaming frequently. I’ve made some good “real life” friends that way. So much so that gaming “alone” seems just strange these days 🙂

  22. Even the rate of depression and loneliness are increasing at the other parts of the world.

    >

  23. I’ve also wondered how much damage some of the devices themselves have caused. Did you know that the older TVs and monitors (before flat screen) created low levels of x-ray radiation? And our phones create some radiation too (people used to be more concerned about that). I just wonder about long-term exposure.

    The impact of the values taught by various media is also concerning. For example a romance plays out in a few hours in a movie, but relationships take time.

    I happen to be working on a video game, and these are some things I think about.

    Have a good day Kenneth.

  24. Video games and t.v. are addictive. Just like drugs, they allow you to tune out reality.

  25. I’d bet money on the game being Destiny. My boyfriend has been the same, though he usually puts up a very small fight when I ask him to do something with me. For the record, it is a MMO. He does play and speak to other people. That only means so much though.

    Personally, I think video games are the same as books and movies. The media itself is not the problem. It’s the type of genre, how it’s made and how much time you spend with it that makes all the difference. A person would feel just as cut off from society obsessed with books and/ or movies as they are with video games.

  26. Conventional human interaction might be healthy for humans but it makes me wonder if it is similar to eating healthy. It is good for you but people don’t really like it.

  27. i’m an old guy and I remember growing up in the fifties and sixties when I had a zillion buddies . . . I don’t like the way it is today, but I don’t get depression and I thrown myself into art and dogs to alleviate the lonlies. . . . computers are cool, but nothing beats a good beer and bullshit session while playing euchre with a bunch of friends in the local joint. . . .

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