Friday, July 27, 2007

Gamers ignoring kids

With the increasing popularity of games, in some demographic groups it will be harder to find somebody who does not play a game, than people who do. This means that everybody will be playing, the genius and the not-so-smart, the loving parent and the abusive parent. And this is the point of Halen A. S. Popkin, as she writes about the Straw couple, parents who had their children taken away due to neglect - neglect supposedly caused by their addiction to internet games.

Popkin's point, which is a refreshing view in these days of panics and witchhunts, is that when people neglect their children, they have problems, real, not-game-caused problems. A computer game may increase these problems in many ways: if you are a compulsive or obsessive personality, a computer game will play right into that. But the game didn't make you the person you are, and if the game wasn't there, something else would be. Neglect of children is, sadly, nothing new. If banning computer games would ban neglect, crime, bad grades, social insecurity and isolation, depression, suicides, war and drug abuse - then by all means, wipe those disks RIGHT NOW! It doesn't though. Telling ourselves it's caused by games is kidding ourselves, and it makes us look at the symptom, not the cause. Obsessive gaming isn't caused by games, it's caused by the problems of the people who play games. Remove the symptom, and there will just be an other one.

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