This is a picture of how it starts.
Now, it could very well be the beginning of a fulfilling life that also happens to include video games simply as a form of satisfying, freeing entertainment, or it could mark the start of a stunted, skewed social development.
After running a piece that contested the idea of gaming directly contributing to the lack of male maturation in our society, we contacted the authors of the book, "The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling And What We Can Do About It," psychologist Nikita Duncan and Dr. Philip Zimbardo. We had soem questions.
As part of the interview that we'll run this week, we wanted to know which aspects of video games could hinder the "growing up" process. After clarifying that they focused on the "excessive use" of video games in the book, Duncan added the following:
"The sheer amount of time spent on gaming – the average teenage guy plays 13 hours a week or 676 hours a year or the entire month of February – takes away from exploring other talents or developing social skills."
Obviously, this begs the question: Is 13 hours considered "excessive?" And furthermore, wouldn't we initially have to define games as something that could feasibly be hurtful? I don't think anyone would say that 13 hours of reading is "excessive" because the implication wouldn't make much sense. I will agree that over-indulging in just about any form of entertainment can have repercussions; considering that admission, though, is 13 hours still too much? Perhaps it is.
The issue here is that if 13 hours is the average, this means quite a few are playing more than 13 hours; perhaps 20, 25 and up. Also, we don't need a doctorate to know that our teenage years are a critical part of our development…you can see where this is going, right? If teenagers these days are spending a fair portion of their days and weeks in fantasy universes, can they really be developing at the same rate as those who are, let's say, living life? Or at least, experimenting with what life has to offer?
Everything in moderation. That's the key. 13 hours breaks down to a little less than two hours a day, which doesn't necessarily sound too "excessive." Anybody with hobbies would likely spend as much time doing what they enjoy doing, yes? So maybe the statement here is that gaming is more dangerous than many other hobbies and activities…otherwise, why even cite 13 hours as a clear negative?