What impact are video games having on young people (men in particular)?
Entertain this line of thought with me for a moment.
What impact are other people having on young people (men in particular) that pushes them toward video games?
A thought burst into my mind this weekend. I was sitting in my grandparents' living room playing Halo with my youngest brother. It is how he and I bond. I figure it more plausible for me to play video games with him than it is for him to start cooking with me. I will confess, I am more the damsel in distress than I am a sidekick. He is constantly barraged with "Jonathan, where did you go?" "JJ, what kind of gun is this?" "What button do I pull to shoot again?" "Wait a minute...how did I get here?" or the classic "Jonathan, HELP ME! He's beating me up! HELP!" It is certain that he spends more time telling me to, "Stay back; it might get messy in here" than he does playing.
I realized something this weekend.
He is protecting me.
In one of the only ways he knows how, he is protecting me.
I take very seriously my role as an oldest sister with two younger brothers. Those two will someday, Lord willing, be husbands, fathers. My part in their lives right now is to prepare them for that. I have the privilege and responsibility to 'grow men.' I get to stand there and offer a polite clearing of the throat if the door in front of me is not opened.
I am training them to be warrior-princes. To be poets. To be the best husbands and fathers that they can be by making them the best brothers they can be. I have Jonthan trained to offer his arm if we are crossing a street or if we are in a crowd. This past weekend, there was a very large, very strong, very scary questionnable character following me around the library. Justin has become observant enough that he realized my plight and quickly placed his 5'11" 200 pound frame between myself and the threat.
So, how does this all tie in?
For years, I have heard it told that men like being the warriors. The heros that rush in and save the day. That's how they are wired; that is who they are. But the modern-day woman is attempting to be a little heroin all her own. I have witnessed incidents where a poor unsuspecting gentleman has nearly lost his head for opening a lady's door. (The nerve!)
Is it any wonder that some men are just drawn to video games, then? Games where they get to save the damsel in distress from all the big ugly, four-headed, alien things. Games where they can die and come back to life immediately and just give it another go. After this weekend, it doesn't suprise me. Not in the least.
Not all video games encourage unnecessary violence. I don't think video games are all wrong. In fact, I do enjoy them, as stupid as they make me feel sometimes. There is just so much concern about the pull they have on our young people, especially when it comes to young men. It should be of no suprise. Men are drawn to video games like girls are drawn to fairy tales. Inside that world of make-believe lies everything that our hearts were designed to be: warriors and princesses.
You want to get a young man you know away from the gaming system? Take on the responsibility of allowing him to be a hero in your own life. He doesn't have to be your blood brother. At this moment I have many many brothers in Christ. Men whose lives I strive to make better by just being a lady. Men who have made my life better by being heros, 'big brothers' to me.
It stands as a challenge: to take the heroics of the video game and allow them to be lived out in real life.
Maybe I am totally off-base, but it is certainly food for thought.
You never know for sure how your actions affect the lives of those around you.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Tim 4:12
A Video game Fun Fact:
A friend just shared this with me (one of my 'big brothers'). The opening theme for Civilization IV is actually The Lord's Prayer in Swahili! To hear the music, visit the composer's site.
Now, next time you have a friend playing this, use it as an opportunity to witness!