My son is addicted to video games…REALLY!!!

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~ At coffee recently a late 30ish mother joined the table my friend and I were sharing,

I overheard you two talking about video games and it really hit home. I feel like I’m at my wit’s end. My 18 year old son is addicted to video games. He does nothing but play video games. I can’t get him interested in anything else. I’m really worried” she said

It’s fascinating to me how so many different things in life have become “addictions” in recent years. It’s not enough to drink a glass of wine with your dinner or to play video games once a week or so….instead people in the Western World seem to lean toward extremes.

While some people have told me video games are actually a social activity (because online players can connect with each other over the game) I can’t help but think that playing video games with people is hardly the same as being outside on a bicycle or face to face with a friend at coffee.

Why does so much technology in Western Culture seem to disconnect humans rather than bring us together in face to face community?

We are social creatures. We thrive when we are able to experience face to face connectivity with each other, and there are plenty of studies that point out the psychological dangers that can occur when someone is too far removed from community and social interaction.

My recently released book deals with the issue of technology and community. A few years ago I was having a series of conversations with a friend about the way community seemed to be disappearing and how technology was replacing it was something far worse.

Social networks like Facebook tell us they exist to connect humans together in a positive manner, but I have serious misgivings about that premise. After all, when you see all the gossip on Facebook, and when you see study after study come out that talks about the realization that Facebook is really about creating an image (generally a false image) about oneself, a picture forms that is rather frightening.

Social networks are not evil, yet when people make the main bulk of their community based in the Internet and video game world, psychological problems can occur.

In my novel, I sought to communicate some of the problems that might take place as technology continues to progress without little thought being given to the progress that is being made.

As Neil Postman said, “Scientists don’t ask ‘should we do this?’, they generally only ask ‘can we do this?’” 

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg perpetrated numerous acts of evil against his former partners and the co-creators of Facebook, how many users to the site asked the question, “Because Mark Zuckerberg is an immoral guy, should we really be using his website?”

There are plenty of other social networks and there are plenty of other ways we can connect in real face to face community, and until we start asking ourselves “what is the best way to live”, I fear we will continue on this trajectory toward technological addiction, and it may not end well.

If you have a young adult who is glued to their phone or video games, I highly recommend picking up a copy of my novel for them, perhaps it will help them view technology with a different perspective.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,


Categories: Culture & Society

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12 replies

  1. I have never understood why parents would buy only gaming systems for their kids. (It’s all about computer technology that drives all information technologies). That’s like parents buying only soft drinks for their kids and then complaining they are addicted to soda. Well, yeah… duh…

  2. The technology as we know it makes it easier to connect with more people at the same moment in time that have the exact same interest.
    If one would ask me what that means it is our need to belong to something bigger that has our interest.

    Reason to say so is when having coffee the tables are set up for 2/4//8/12 or even 24 so to speak. Notice how groups form and people talk about one single thing and every group has its own subject. Parties or other gatherings do the same.

    We specialize ourself to be unique while belonging to a specific group/community.

    I guess that is what the technology is ding with us and also digging deeper into our society. It is what is even requested of us.

    Being a jack of all trades like myself gathering info about everything, tip toeing in to the many ponds, is a thing of the past.

    And that ‘specialisation’ might just be the cause of our behaviour. We seek recognition.

    But this is me seeking an answer with what little knowledge I have.

    Here is to a great article. Cups up! I salute you.

  3. I know a guy in his 30s that decided playing video games was more important than saving his marriage and when his wife finally left him years after she first brought up how destructive his video game addiction was he acted very surprised and got defensive instead of admitting he let things get so bad. He wasn’t happy with himself or his life and thought that playing video games allowed him to be someone else, someone successful, even if it wasn’t real. He didn’t want to do the hard work of fixing the things he wasn’t happy with so he retreated into his virtual world because it was easier. Now he has to face the consequences and he isn’t handling it well. Because he spent so much time in a false reality he’s forgotten how to function as a responsible adult. It’s almost like he doesn’t fully realize there is no reset button when you fail in real life. It’s uncomfortable to watch my friend have to deal with her soon to be ex husband and his erratic and illogical behavior and I worry most about the influence his actions are having on his young children. Whether it’s drugs, gambling or video games there’s always a similar reason people become addicts and that’s what we really need to address. Until society can make real life something people aren’t desperate to escape from there will continue to be a large percent that won’t want to deal with it.

    • @ dobetteralways

      You say Until society can make real life something people aren’t desperate to escape from…

      Society? Right there is the problem.

      It’s not ‘society’ that turns on a video gaming system to the exclusion of dealing successfully with reality. Blaming society, or holding out hope that somehow society is going to fix such problems, is a tactic only of diversion from addressing the problem as it really is and, in effect, maintains the problem. The reality each of faces just is… how we cope with it falls squarely on each of our shoulders and dysfunction is a personal responsibility.

    • In the past people were bred tougher, diseases took out the weak and if you were willing to put in the work you could make a living for yourself. Somewhere along the way things changed. Entire generations of people were never taught how to cope with hardship. Generations of people have lived depressing lives with no sense of purpose. Childhood traumas that were never dealt with create long term issues that cause continued self destructive behavior and more often than not a new cycle of dysfunction is created. When I say society needs to create a world that people don’t want to escape from I mean that people, all the people, need to stop focusing on trivial matters, money and power and instead focus on community, empathy and balance with the environment. I can be as strong as I want but I’ll never be happy living in a world of other people that tell me every day I don’t matter unless I’m rich, or have the most followers or the newest technology. I’m smart, I’m talented and I have excessive mental fortitude and I know we’re not all created equal. It would be so callous to judge others by my abilities. I’ve suffered numerous traumas and overcome so many challenges and there are times I look at others and think “why can’t they do this, it’s easy, if I can they can” but then I remind myself that we have different lives, different histories, different knowledge and different perspectives. They aren’t me, they have different strengths and weaknesses. Yes there needs to be a renewed emphasis on taking personal responsibility but if you really don’t see that society is broken you might want to do a little research and a little soul searching. Maybe you’re happy living in this shitty world man has made but far too many people aren’t. People are more disconnected now than they ever have been and when you feel alone you’re likely to make poor choices and you’ll do almost anything to escape feeling that way.

    • @ dobetteralways

      I learned at a young age that I could change the world… by changing my perspective.

      By empowering myself to take responsibility for my life – no matter what the circumstances may be – I have done just that. By expecting others/the world/society to do what I cannot/will not do to give myself purpose/find meaning/seek happiness, I am setting myself up for disappointment and failure… every time. That’s why I said the mistake was looking outward rather than inward and forgetting that reality just is…. and to expect it to change on my behalf is a guaranteed way to become dysfunctional. That’s not how reality works and expecting/demanding it to change on my behalf is itself a symptom of dysfunctional thinking. New learning is required if corrective change is to happen.

    • Look, clearly I’m failing to properly communicate with you. I completely understand what you’re saying as the concept you’re touting is something I’ve long employed since childhood. Since you don’t seem interested in understanding the message I was trying to convey lets just agree that while we both understand your point any further attempts on my part to explain my message would be a waste of my time. You have your opinion, I have mine. I thank you for sharing yours.

  4. I found your post and started writing a reply to it but it became too long, so I wrote a post about my thoughts on video game addiction. Feel free to check it out, I’d be curious to hear your opinion on what I had to say.

  5. Can’t blame the kids when I see adults wasting time in video games.. Annoying and discouraging education to their kids or younger siblings. Upgrading Lazy Generation!! 🙄😣😄

  6. Such a simple solution. Take away the video game or the phone. Unplug the modem and take it with you when you leave the house. Not much you can do about adults who live on their own, but teens who still rely on parents for most things in life? And yes, I do follow my own advice – regularly!

  7. it’s a culture problem, the most never even know they must educate their ego to survive. To legittimate all ego cos this is the psicologically meaning of consumism, they will not educate any ego and you must do yourself. Everything can be an addiction also coffe and blog or sex or car or games or food everything but to solve the problem all need to educate theirself


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