Kill Your TV (And Your Kids’ Video Games Too)
I could kick myself. I don’t know why on earth we thought it would be a good idea to get Terra the Nintendo DS game system she wanted while we were in San Diego. Perhaps it was momentary amnesia…happy Baja-brain. Since we bought it five days ago we’ve been regretting the purchase.
It’s pretty amazing to watch the transformation in her, actually. Having been pretty much unplugged for 30 days or more, we got to see her relax into a contended ease that we haven’t seen in her for many years. We were so happy to see her blossoming into her joy for life and grateful to get to share in it.
Now we find ourselves in paradise, the beach just steps away from our camper, exciting adventures awaiting us all, and all she wants to do is play the Nintendo. Her mood has also changed dramatically. She’s short tempered. She gets irritated if we interrupt her while she is challenging a new level.
It’s sad. I think of the millions and millions of children around the world that have gotten ‘plugged in’ and are so hooked that they don’t remember how to do things without their various electronics. I also think about the violent video games out there and how that must affect a child’s ability to be youthful and playful. I don’t know that violent video games make violent children, but I think that there is an effect on that child’s ability to not feel compelled to keep playing…to beat the next level. To play more and more even though they feel terrible, haven’t eaten in hours, and are disconnected from the world around them in a high drama and violent time warp.
The games we bought for her are extremely benign. There is nothing violent in them and they are rated “E” for everyone. That doesn’t stop the compulsion to keep playing though and it’s sad to see her world consumed by this. I have to admit that I notice the same pattern in myself when I’ve gotten hooked in to my email and computer work while we’ve been down here. It’s an intense magnetism. It feels so compelling and necessary; an itch that must be scratched.
I can see that this is going to be a process for all of us. There will be times that we will dabble more in the first world electronics phenomena and times that we won’t. I hope that we can just stay mindful and to notice the effects of each as they are happening. So far, all I can say is that the way I feel when I am totally electronic free for several days at a time are when I am happiest and most available to life.