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Response To Healthy Gaming

In the past I've endorsed the Minimalist Mom to help you declutter. 
She recently interviewed a doctor who designed a program to help your child game "healthy". 
I was interested in what he said. Perhaps this would be our magic answer.
Here's the interview.
Please make sure you continue to read my evaluation of his methodology for there is much that I do not agree.

In response to “Healthy Gaming.”

I listened with excitement. Especially as he told of changing the addiction patterns of children/teenagers to be acceptable and healthy.
Maybe this was our answer to addiction that plagued our son.
But as I evaluated his content and methodology, I realized it would not.

His premise isn’t even addressed. Is gaming healthy?
He assumes so. I would disagree. Why? Let me address some other points first.

He advocates not banning video games totally, assuming video games are neutral, though he clearly states games are designed to be addictive.
Would he also not ban drugs and alcohol with his children, but merely limit their use? The principle is the same.
If something is addictive, do we toy with it or assume that we can be disciplined and control it?
I know I don’t have the self-discipline to control things in my life.
Why would I think a child who hasn’t the wisdom to evaluate right and wrong be able to control something he wants?

I trained my boys that if something is addictive, it is best not to start, but this was after they had obtained some maturity and when they were evaluating their own beliefs as teenagers.
Permission to partake in alcohol can be justified Biblically, yet would I have enough self-discipline during a stressful time in life not to make it a habit forming problem?
Probably not.
Therefore, it is best not to start.
[For the same reason, we did not pursue drugs for ADD. (I wouldn't discount its helpfulness for short periods of time, more for the parents' break than the child's corrective behavior) 
These drugs are addictive and controlling, even to the point where the military will not allow those on them to be deployed.
There are other ways, albeit labor intensive, to accomplish the same thing, sometimes.]

He also assumes knowledge will bring correct action.
That is the premise the government uses in their smoking and drugs campaigns. If kids know not to use drugs, they won't.
But one of the nation's greatest heart doctors smoked.
Didn't he know and see what smoking did to his patients? Absolutely.
That knowledge did not change his own actions. 
It may be a start, but it is not a cure. For the hospital provided a special place for him to smoke before he performed his surgeries!
His knowledge of smoking's dangers did not make him stop smoking.
Nor has knowledge alone kept teenagers from starting.

He further directs parents to start training them when they are young to use gaming with control. He starts with his own two year old.
This idea seems right, after all, aren’t we to discipline when they are small?
But his methodology is based on children having the reasoning ability to process good and evil when they are two years of age.
Studies have shown children do not process until eight.
That is why we do not “reason” with our child for obedience. Although I admire his desire to try.
Also, studies are increasing where use of any technology, tv, I-pads, etc, are detrimental to young children's attention span and eye sight, just to name a few. 

He assumes gaming is a necessity because technology is here to stay.
Parents can’t turn back to the days of no technology, therefore they must embrace the games as a part of our lives.

I do recognize phones and computers have become much more part of our day than was in our parents’ day.
And finding a balance in its use becomes more a necessary but difficult discipline.
But that does not mean we must allow it in our “spare time” or to take over our children's childhood. 
We do not have a television, thus the “noise” of technology doesn’t permeate all of our lives.
Nor do we provide phones until our boys were driving and it was necessary for safety. 
Our children are not considered "normal". But as Christians, are we striving for "normal"? 
We often get asked, "Why are your boys different?" That may be one of the reasons.
Television and social media influence our children more than we do.
And the influence is not good.
Is that what we want?

Studies are now showing the crisis of having our children exposed to technology.
Children need playing outside to stimulate imagination, decision making, creativity, social skills, and so many other necessary skills.
When their "real" childhood time is so limited, why would we settle for anything less? Or justify a fake alternative?

When asked about the games content, specifically killing and guns, the doctor’s response was that it didn’t matter.
In fact, he said the use of guns in video games helped potential killers act out their aggression through the use of games rather than in real life, thus limiting their “real” aggression. 

This thinking ignores the Bible which says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.”
If a person dwells on wrong, (regardless of whether it is in a video game or not), he is wrong.
Jesus told the Pharisees, A man who lusts in his heart has already committed adultery. 
Thoughts and actions are the same to God.
Killing, even in thought, cheapens our view of man, made in the image of God.

The doctor also states that as they use his methodology to wean gamers from constant use, the concept that 100% success is not their goal, but to bring reality back to the gamer’s life 50% would be acceptable. (This point, I may not have understood his concept clearly, please evaluate carefully.)
I’m thankful when Christ saves us, He doesn’t have that mentality.
He doesn’t say, “you’re 50% fixed, that’s good.” He saves 100% and expects 100% in service back. 

Overall this was a wake-up call to me to discern what the world is saying and hold it to the light of the Scriptures—in spite of the light that the world holds to solving problems only God can solve.
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or anything else, true sobriety comes by embracing the Savior, nothing else. 


Displaying 1 comment

I totally agree with you. Many things can be addictive, even simple games on the computer, and that's for adults! Children have no ability to correct themselves without help, and who is going to help them if not the parents?

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