Last week I was leading a parenting group and we started discussing video games. We weren’t talking about kids playing video games, in this case we were talking about husbands. There were three women who said their husbands spent countless hours in front of a video screen playing games. As my own husband has never even held a controller in his hand, and has absolutely no interest in learning, it’s something I’m not able to relate to. I have sons though that play video games.
As I was listening to these women express their frustration around the hours their husbands spent playing games all sorts of things went through my mind. There’s the issue of one parent doing the lion’s share of the childcare while the other parent is playing a game. There’s the focus and energy put towards a virtual world rather than the real world. Is this another addiction? Will these parents look back once their children have grown and regret the hours they chose to spend in front of a screen instead of being with their growing children? We can never get back those years. What is it doing to their relationships with the most important people in their lives? How is it contributing to family harmony?
We parents are our children’s role models. Everything we do we have to ask ourselves if this is what we want to teach our children. If you’re a parent who spends the evenings and most of the weekend playing a video game, what are you teaching your children? The moms who were talking to me had very young children. They weren’t anywhere near old enough to participate in the games and won’t be for many years.
What I think can easily be called an addiction, is resulting in complete disengagement with the real world. It’s a very effective form of escape. What are these husbands escaping? From a health perspective, how is it affecting the mind, body and spirit of a person who spends six or seven hours in front of a video screen interacting with a virtual world? The real world is a magical place and when we choose not to embrace it, we miss out on more than we can ever imagine.