This generation is so dead. You ask a kid, ‘What are you doing this Saturday?’ and they’ll be playing video games or watching cable, instead of building model cars or airplanes or doing something creative. Kids today never say, ‘Man, I’m really into remote-controlled steamboats.’ ~Jack White
I know I’ve talked about video games, Gamers Start Small & Grow & Gigi Our Original Gamer – Pac-Man, and the issues and arguments that seem to accompany them, No Video Games? Running? Why Do I Have To?. So it should be no surprise to me that Kyle’s video games are not falling by the wayside, in fact they are advancing at a rapid rate!
Again, I’d like to reiterate, I have no qualms with video games, I do like to play a game or two, but I do have a problem with video games consuming your entire life. If I’d let Kyle, he would play his Minecraft or whatever game he’s on, ALL day. No joke! Not taking a break, not getting tired, not thinking about anything else, not even getting distracted. Maybe I should be giving him kudos for his dedication to this discipline.
However, I can’t get past the detox I have to go through every time I ask Kyle to wrap it up to do something else, or when he has to stop because he exceeded his video playing limit. (Yes for the record I do try and monitor and reasonably limit how much time he plays video games on his computer – the only thing he uses it for. No schoolwork!)
Yes the detox. Telling Kyle he has “five minutes left” or “wrap it up buddy, your done for the day” or “take an hour break” is almost devastating to his ears. He’ll give me a look, like I’m talking Chinese, as if he doesn’t comprehend what I said to him. Or even better, he instantly starts to whine and grumble like a tiny child. But the absolute best, the one action that really gets my goat, is when he doesn’t even lift his eyes to look at me when I’m talking to him, and he continues playing as if I’m not even in the room, then to appease me with an “Ok”. I know he may think my instructions are negotiable, but I have news for him. Nope! That laptop is closed, permanently.
Sometimes it feels like I’m peeling that electronic device from his fingers. I imagine this is what it would be like to pull drugs from a user. He really does get addicted to these games, like many other kids his age.
Fortunately, Kyle knows when I mean business, I mean it and there’s no messing around. Granted, I do give him his time to play and allow him the chance to save whatever he’s on before shutting down his operation, but the minute the attitude comes and the arguments surface, I loose it. Especially when I hear, “Why do I have to?” and “Why can’t I play a little longer.” and my favorite, “Why do I have to take a break?”; that’s when the computer is completely taken away, to not make its appearance until the following day.
This week while walking with a friend of mine, Holsters, the very same topic came up. Her nephew has the same demeanor, and he’s two or three years younger than Kyle. She’s beside herself. Plus she doesn’t have the same authority I do, to enforce what’s right. These kids just want to be slugs and sit around with their head in fantasy land, not facing reality. Young people are not going to be able to cope with real life if they don’t start taking baby steps toward it now. (I’m not even going to get into the diet that accompanies the hour long stents of video game madness.) No wonder they are whiny and miserable and tired all the time.
Seriously, I wish more parents would stop using video games as a babysitter and get involved with their kids. And I’m not talking about joining them on the controls, although in moderation, that could be a good bonding experience. I’m talking about building a cabin or a chicken shed, or dig up the earth looking for dinosaurs. I know I’m going to extremes and being silly, kinda, but there is so much to do! Do it. And get creative, it will entertain all parties.
Video games are a bit of an enigma with me. Last weekend Kyle made a comment that he had a lot to do. “Really what do you have planned for today?” Silly me, he had to finish building his house in Minecraft. What? I said, “Kyle building an imaginary house in a video game is not considered work, nor should it ever be a priority.” He gave me the “whatever” grin. I believe he even rolled his eyes at me!
This was my time to sound like an old timer. I told Kyle, “Now if you go out and build an actual house, that someone could live in or a play area, now that’s considered work and worth your time. I would also help you build it, but not a digital house that doesn’t benefit anyone.” His response? “My people need somewhere to live!” Yikes! I should have stopped there, but I didn’t and I began to explain how we built a fort (yes we took small trees chopped them down and build ourselves a fort to play in, in the woods) and a cabin. Seriously, we did this when we were in elementary school. I didn’t mention that we were unusual kids for our day, I didn’t find it a need when I was trying to make my case.
Not taking the hint Kyle didn’t seem to care or really comprehend what I was saying, I continued, “Look, your dad and Casey and Joel (cousins) build the party shack just to hang out in when they were in high school and not to play video games.” Again, I didn’t get into what they did up there, nor do I even want to know, but that’s not relevant to my argument.
Kyle knows the cabin very well. We sometimes hunt around there and when Kyle was younger, Casey would come home and take him for a walk up to the permanent structure, remembering Ryan, The cabin is equipped with a wood burner, windows, a porch and a shingled roof. Definitely no dive.
Quick story. I don’t know how many times this happened, but I do know it was at least once. The guys, Ryan, Casey and Joel, plus whoever else was hanging around, called to have a pizza delivered. They actually gave directions to the edge of the woods and told the driver to wait there, someone will meet them. To me that’s the funniest story. First of all this took place late at night and secondly, no delivery driver would even do that today for fear of being jumped. Lastly, who just orders a pizza to have it delivered to the woods? I would have walked to my parents house to wait for it and then carried the pie back up. Not those guys. They got hungry and ordered a pizza to be delivered in the woods with no real address. Too funny!
Now back to my video game rant. On Monday Kyle text me asking for an apple pie recipe we recently made. I had mom type it up and email it to him. I text him back letting him know it was on the way to check his emails, no response. Again, I reached out to him via text message to ensure he did indeed receive the requested information, no response. I tried calling, to only be put into his voicemail. Fine, it must not be that important, even though I believed he needed it for school.
The next day I got a text saying “Got it”. Ok a day late but whatever. Then yesterday, just after he got home from school, he CALLED me, not texted or emailed me but he picked up the phone to make the call, asking for his password on Minecraft. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing from Kyle, no matter the reason, but seriously? Evidently, he updated the game and it logged him out, therefore his password was not saved. Crisis! He wanted me to jump up immediately to access our password list to give him his login information. Fat chance kid! I told him I’ll get to it later, after asking if he had homework and if he practiced his piano.
I guess it doesn’t feel so good to be blown off, because the next thing I knew, I saw an email come through resetting the password. (Yes I have all his emails copied to me so I can monitor his activity.) That kid is something else! Instead of waiting for the info, he had to have it right then and there, immediately. So he reset the password to play his game. Funny thing, he never gave me the updated password. I see another issue in the near future.
Not to be all negative about Kyle and those stupid video games because he sometimes does pretty good with playing in moderation, sort of. Granted, I do need to tell him to log off when the hours have been racking up. By no means does he usually volunteer to be released from the video game addition, but once he’s off, he’ll play other board games, go to the movies, sled ride, cook, or my favorites, play the piano and reading. He just needs to be guided toward other activities. I’ve noticed he really doesn’t pay attention to the hours spent on the computer. I suppose that’s my job. I’m very thankful he does have other interests, even though they tend to take a backseat to the video games.
I’m hoping this is still a faze, but maybe I’m the one living in the imaginary world.