Family First Friday #8 2015–Dumbfounded.

So this morning for seminary, for one of our flex days, the kids opted to eat breakfast and just sit around the table and visit.  I thought that would be great!  So we did it.

While we were there, two of the guys were playing a game on their phones.  They were communicating back and forth about the game and strategy.  Being completely game illiterate, I asked them about their game and their progress.  Turns out they belong to the same ‘clan’ (please forgive me if it is obvious that I do not know the lingo or how these things function, because I really don’t).  Then they went on to tell me that they pretty much spend all their time playing when they are not doing other things and they can do it together where ever they are, some of their clan even live outside of the area.  I guess the thing that really floored me was the fact that they went on to tell me how people make money doing it and how other people pay money to buy things in the game.  That is where my brain just went, “WHAT?!!”  People pay money, like cash, to buy virtual products to enhance their play??  To play a game??!!  WHAT?!!

I was seriously dumb founded.

Do you think these little huts are full of people playing virtual games?  Copyright Karen Larsen photography

I struggle to pay for all of the things we need to pay for here at our house, for our children, for their medical and dental care, for their music desires, for their education, so they have clothes to wear and food to eat.  I have been seriously over our budget lately because Spike had his emergency room visit and all of his allergy testing and extra medications, all of which are outside of our budget.  My kids are working their way through college because we cannot afford to help them, any.

A girlfriend who home schools her children has been teaching her children about Nigeria.  In her research, she learned that the people in Nigeria are poor enough that they cannot buy things from stores (if they even have any) so most of their toys are home made.  She decided to allow her children to feel what this might be like.  She took all of their toys away for a time as they try to immerse their learning into what it may be like to not have any toys.

I know there are people in my city who do not have enough food to eat, or clothes to wear, or ability to transport themselves from place to place, or have a warm place to sleep.  IN MY CITY!!!  Let alone all across the world.

These are just the things I am aware of.  I do not know 90% of the suffering that takes place across our globe to those people who are our brothers and sisters, and we (people I know) are spending money to buy VIRTUAL products???!!!  Things that are not real and have no tangible value??  And they are doing it of their own free will and choice??  And they are wasting their intellectual power and capacity and time in a game of virtual entertainment?

It was a complete slap in the face to me.  How have we come to this??  How has Lucifer tied up our desires and interests so completely that we are spending our time and resources for that of no worth?  For something that gains us nothing…………not in mortality or eternity.

Please don’t  misunderstand me.  I am all for relaxing and finding something to unwind, for wholesome recreational activities.  I love hiking, going to the beach, walking in nature and enjoying the scenery.  I am willing to spend my money to participate in some of those things.  But they are real.  Being there fills my soul and rejuvenates my spirit.  I love board games and sports and things that help me build relationships with the people around me and those I love.  I just really do not understand how these games do any of that.

Am I alone in my loathing of most things virtual?  Have you read of the people in Japan who have DIED ( 30 something year-olds) because they were so into gaming that they didn’t get up off the screen to take care of their bodies?   In one story I read about, a man died, laying at his computer, slumped over for 10 hours, before anyone noticed he was dead.  I guess he would stay there for days at a time playing and sometimes sleep on the keyboard.  So when he slumped over, dead, no one thought it was any different than another time when he was asleep.  When the emergency personnel came into the gaming cafe to remove his body, the other players didn’t even notice, or stop their play.  Seriously??!!

How have we become so blind?  So disconnected to others?  So into our own thing?

As parents are we aware of what our children are doing and how these games and the way they are spending their time influences their thoughts and their learning and their plans??  I have never been more grateful that my high school teens and younger children do not have cell phones or complete unrestricted access to the internet world than I am today.  I love technology.  It does amazing things and has amazing applications.  It also has many, many dangers.  There is nothing wrong with moving slow enough in the virtual world to be able to navigate it wisely.

Please seriously consider and ponder about how you and your family use the technology available to us.  If you find that you have been indulgent with yourself or your children, do not hesitate to take steps backwards, miles backward, if you need to go that far.

That is my rant.  My adult children know how I feel about video games.  We have had numerous discussions.  They do not completely agree with me.  That is fine. I am not responsible for how they choose to spend their adult time.  I do believe, however, that as they age and begin to grow their families and teach their children, I bet they lean more with me than against me.  I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to see how that all works out, being that none of them are married or have any children at this point.

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