This one may not be popular, but I have a confession to make and I need those of you who are sympathetic to my position to affirm that I'm not the only one. I am a campus minister, I try my best to make relational connections to guys at the university and I don't do it through video games. There, I said it...
One could argue that I don't play video games because I'm not that good at them, and they would probably be right. However, if I put in the hours and hours of practice that some of my students put in, then I might just be half good. And I guess that has always been the main challenge for me. Students come to the university to study, get a degree, perhaps get a spouse or at least a group of friends, and this sets them up for a life of honest work in their field and life long relationships. But many students, and I mean many, see school as a time to have fun, live life, and practice self expression (but I'll save this for another time). Part of the having fun is video games, and no I don't think video games are EVIL and I don't think that they turn you into SATAN. (although I am weary of much of the zombie apocalypse talk...as if the regular human one won't be scary enough)
So, I have had some heated discussions with students (guys) over this and I had a person tell me that one of the requirements for a campus ministry position was to spend time playing video games with students. (I didn't apply, but I really thought that was interesting) So what's the big deal? Well, if you play video games once a week or may a couple hours on the weekend, then don't get up in arms, I'm not talking to you. I watch football on Saturday and even occasionally play a little solitaire before bedtime (rebel I know) but I want to address the guys who get defensive before I even plead my case, the ones who play all night, have it hooked up to the internet for "interactive" games or "team games" and the ones who make it a central part of conversation as if they are really doing something great in the world by shooting soldiers and the occasional civilian as part of the virtual army (minus all the PTS and other consequences).
Listen to this quote from 'The Demise of Guys': How video games and porn are ruining a generation By Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan, Special to CNN: View the whole article here.
Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?
WOW - did that article just place video gaming in the same boat as pornography? Think about the ways we (campus ministries and churches) have ministered to young men with porn addictions. We have had small groups, accountability partners, one on one sessions with the ministers, we have recommended counseling and we have even taught against it because it degrades the very women who are in the ministry with us (the people that surround us every day).
How have we ministered to guys who play video games? The list isn't very long, if it exists at all.
Stories about this degeneration are rampant: In 2005, Seungseob Lee, a South Korean man, went into cardiac arrest after playing "StarCraft" for nearly 50 continuous hours. In 2009, MTV's "True Life" highlighted the story of a man named Adam whose wife kicked him out of their home -- they have four kids together -- because he couldn't stop watching porn.
What if addiction to video games produce the same relational problems as does pornography? What if guys are more and more motivated by arousal and excitement without knowing how to be intimately involved and even opening up and sharing - what my good friend Rusty Woods would call "being vulnerable".
There is more here but I don't want to be too long (you'll never come back).
I want to help develop Christian men, men who are dedicated to God. I want them to love their families, to be faithful and loyal to their wives (if they choose to get married), to spend time with God every day, and that foundation must be laid in college, away from mom (and dad, if they have one), on their own, they must navigate the waters of porn, video games, and so many other things. So, this is why I don't play video games...and why you will not see them in the common areas at the Christian Student Center at the University of Memphis...if you are a guy and struggling...it is a safe place for you.
Our communities are desperate for men who will be relational, intention, and mature. I'm doing my best to live that, and to bring others with me if they dare.
Want more? Go to www.demiseofguys.com
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.