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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Games provide unhealthy distraction

In my last column, I discussed the lack of work ethic displayed by today’s students. I explained why parents have a critical role in their children’s success. However, it is not entirely their fault. There are many distractions these days that distract students from their primary task.

I believe the greatest difficulty facing students now is the entertainment industry, with computer gaming in particular. Modern computer games have changed from the simplistic games like “pong” from the past.

Now there is a constant push for more and more realism. This is because game companies are working harder and harder to immerse gamers into their creations. Their goal is to make the user forget about the outside world, and create an incredibly lifelike universe for them to interact with.

Each successive game release pushes the limits higher and higher, so that the latest games appear extremely lifelike. Why is this a danger? Aren’t games all about just having fun? This is true, but I believe there is more to this than just simple fun.

These realistic, lifelike worlds are designed to provide an alternate reality. Gamers are supposed to be drawn into the game and continue playing. The latest crop of games known as Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG in game speak) create a persistent online world that gamers can enter at anytime.

Users can play for hours on end, trying to earn more abilities for their character. One of the most popular of these, “EverQuest”, is rather well known as being addicting. In Oct. of 2002, a 24-year-old South Korean man died of exhaustion after playing online games continually for 86 hours at an Internet Cafe. Just weeks later, a Taiwanese man also died after playing for 32 straight hours. The games the men were playing were not disclosed.

The reason the gaming companies make games so addictive is simple economics: the more gamers are playing the game, the more money the publisher makes.

Although most games are admittedly not as addicting as “EverQuest”, the same philosophy exists. Games are attempting to draw the user in and keep them playing. The older generations do not realize that this is an issue. At a young age this is not a huge problem, except that as children grow up, they will continue playing.

They are exposed at too young of an age to understand the dangers of spending too much time, or becoming too wrapped up in a game. For the same reasons, alcohol is forbidden for minors, I also believe that parents should be extremely careful about how much time their children of all ages spend playing games. Moderation, as in all things, is the key here. Games have the potential to be addicting, so their use must be limited.

It is my belief that games are one of the most serious dangers facing this country. This sounds like a rather overdramatic statement, but I stand behind it. Games are a huge distraction, and one of the primary causes of the relaxed work ethic I mentioned in my previous column. As more and more games are being made that cater to a “mature” audience, I fear that people will not grow out of their habit of gaming. A society that will not work, and would rather spend its time playing games is in deep trouble. People need to step up and take notice of what is happening, before it becomes too late.

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