Video Games and Texting

So, how do we get teens away from the video games and the texting?

  Somewhere in the 20th century, on the human path of developing greater machines and inventions, some remarkable discoveries and inventions gave birth to the first computers.  This was a collective result from the works of many, spanning the disciplines of math, physics, and engineering.  These were people, men and women, who of necessity spent thousands of hours learning their respective fields.  Decades later, we have computers that do almost anything. Smaller, faster, more powerful…machines that in the 70’s filled a room now fit in your palm.  Truly amazing stuff!

   But alas, with such amazing inventions has come a terrible curse. We have machines that allow us, by way of a video image, to immerse ourselves in a fantasy world, where we chase things, shoot things, run from things, or any other of a number of possible actions involving imaginary characters and scenarios.  Alternatively, using the same technology, we can communicate with one another, without being limited by distance or lack of realistic opportunity.  We can chat, email, and, most popularly now, text, almost continuously during our waking hours, simultaneous with any and all of our other activities.   All at once, even.  Wow! Great, you say.

   Just because we can do those things does not mean we should do those things, or, at least, not as much as we do.  Research has shown that the average teen spends between 4 and 6 hours per day engaged in “screen” activities such as video games and texting.   There is evidence that this has begun to affect the average achieved educational level of our young people, and this is creating an increasing negative imbalance between our country and the rest of the world in crucial “brain power” among the upcoming generation.  This will leave our country at risk in many ways in the decades to come.  But what to do?

  The answer is found in the limits we as parents set for our children, starting when they are young and continuing on as they grow up.  Think about it. Do we usually allow our child to do everything to the extent that they would choose?  Would we let our children eat 4 to 6 lbs of candy every day if they wanted to?  Hopefully not.  Ditto the screens then.