So the other day I was trolling around Foxs’ news site (yeah I was THAT bored) and I came across this interesting video regarding kids and whether or not they should have more or less time playing video games.
Unlike your typical scene on Fox, where one person screams over the other trying to prove the obvious fact that yelling makes your points more correct, this conversation was not only civil it was quite thought provoking. If you’re too lazy to watch the video I’ll do my best to summarize. On one side of the argument is Susan Maushart who is the author of the book The Winter of our Disconnect in wich she chronicles her struggles with her kids addiction to gaming. Ultimately she decided to cut them off from all technology for 6 months. She found remarkable results with her kids. They were more productive in school, slept better and overall had a better attitude. On the other side is Jane McGonigal, who is a programmer for a game company and also has a book out Reality is Broken which lends itself to the argument that technology and gaming allows kids to be more social. Finally, in the middle you have the host (I forget her name and I am to lazy to look it up) who takes the position of the middle ground where her kids have to earn game time.
On one hand I am a technologist. I love technology. I easily see the benefits of gaming. Before I really was a gamer in college the thought of me typing this blog would have put me in to a cold sweat. Gaming has definitely made me more social, more organized (playing an MMO makes you plan stuff like crazy) and more aware of how I have to work with others. Even this weekend I had a 3 day LAN at the NerdPalace. 72 straight hours of Halo, MvC2 and about 12 other games. I ended up hanging out with about 30 complete strangers and had a wonderful time. I honestly do not think I would be able to do that without gaming. This is even more demonstrated in my technology advocacy. Can you seriously imagine your life without a cell phone? The ability to contact people at a moments notice anywhere in the world has transformed nearly every single aspect of your life, even if you are not an avid user.
However, even with saying that I would be lying if I didn’t admit that at least once a week I completely unplug. Cell phone off, no gaming and usually I just sit. While technology allows you to access a nearly limitless amount of information therein lies the problem it’s just too much information. I catch myself at work once in a while. I type an e-mail and halfway through I end up switching to another website to see some news, then it’s a hop over to Facebook to check to see if anything is happening there, then another website and before I know it I have spent 20 minutes typing a single e-mail. I can easily see a young person being even more overwhelmed.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.