Monday, May 8, 2017

Gaming, Kids & Parental Obligation

Before you jump to conclusions thinking I'm going to say that gaming is the root of all violent behavior, or bad behavior in general rest assured that I'm not. This is a discussion about the problem with parents pacifying kids with things like video games. It's also going to be about parents who follow up harshly with discipline afterwards blaming the resulting problems on everything else, but themselves ...

Growing up in a household of three sisters, and two brothers I was offered a lot in the way of imaginative play time without the need for constant access to computers, video games, or even movies. I read books, played outside, drew, and tended to my school work when it was required of me to do so. While I can't say I was the most well behaved child in those early years I was never lacking for attention from my parents, my siblings, or my friends, because we were all a part of a proper social upbringing. It was the way of life back then. Sadly, when it comes to the family unit these days though such close knit relationships are often times hard to find. Parents are busy working to pay bills, and kids are either left on their own to do for themselves what needs to be done, or are babysat by the boob tube, internet, or video games. In comparison to today's family infrastructure life in the 70's - 80's wasn't as online oriented, and distracting as it is now. We weren't all in our own little worlds doing our own things while trying to escape the cruel world around us via the internet. In fact social entertainment based tech devices weren't as commonplace back then as they are in current times. People weren't glued to their smartphones, and what gaming was done was both innocent, sociable, and without online interactivity. Gaming within families was also more of a reward for doing good in school, or in other work related activities. Unless you were spoiled by rich parents ...

In today's families the gift of online/gaming access to children, while still very much a reward in the basic sense, is also a means to shut up the problem child so mommy and daddy can do their thing without aggravation. The parents of today, burdened by life's demands, often times make the mistake of giving younger children unsupervised online access to the internet as well as access to gaming consoles with online social features made readily available. The mistake therein doesn't lie so much with the curious child looking to do what's peer popular since children are naturally curious, but instead lies more so with the parents who are naive and ignorant in thinking that their little Johnny/Jane won't get into anything mischievous in their absence. It is this cardinal sin made by a majority of uneducated parents that leads to a dysfunctional family situation, and pent up anger issues that can eventually escalate into criminal activity. Nothing to to do with gaming or the internet. Sorry parents. The truth hurts sometimes.

If parents weren't too busy to tend to their own children, and would instill upon them proper social skills things more than likely would not get so out of hand. Of course the parents would also need to show caring, and compassion towards the child by being an active supporting part of their behind-the-scenes life. Things like taking away online privileges, and gaming access when needed being a vital part of that caring and nurturing. In truth it's often times what parents don't know about their children, and their online activities that leads to tragic happenings. Events which could easily be prevented if only the parents cared enough to get involved in their child's life. I have personally seen many cases where parents seek out scapegoats for the reasons behind their child's misbehavior. What that they fail to understand is that they caused the situation through neglect. By pacifying their children with video games, or any other form of entertainment they have effectively let said entertainment raise that child making that child dependent on that entertainment for attention. It is when the child is being threatened with his/her gaming console or internet access being taken away that this becomes more evident. The only escape, and semblance of parental guidance that child had was that connection, so when it's gone they are once again left wanting for social support that will more than likely be replaced by scoldings, and punishment.

Parents really need to stop giving unsupervised access to online activities, especially at an early impressionable age. Period. They also need to stop playing the blame game pointing their fingers at studios/producers as well since the content creators are giving them fair warning through a government regulated rating system. Pointing the finger at the child when the parents' own lack of parenting fails to instill upon the child the values that they themselves adhere to should also not be considered a viable solution to the problem. If you aren't being a proper parent, and are letting the idiot box raise your child, you need to own up to the resulting issues, and find a way to make things right. You are the problem, neglectful parents.

In closing I'll say this ... Gaming, porn, television, movies, and internet access are not to blame for a child's behavior, especially when it stems from negligence or ignorance of a parental figure. It is ultimately the lack of parents willing to parent their children that is the problem. If you don't want your children growing up into misbehaving delinquents don't let them discover the world by themselves through your absence, and lack of supervision. Teach them the values that you value. Values that are wholesome, and healthy. Teach them right from wrong. If you don't then I want you take a good long look in the mirror at your own reflection, because it is that person in front of you staring you back in the eyes who is to blame for all that has gone wrong.

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