Editor's Note: Below is a most interesting discussion of a lady whose two sons are consumed with "Videoland" and see school as a "bother". She seems to be making the case that an obsession with everything from I-Phones to computer games makes kids "refuse reality". Hmmm... I wonder why she's never heard of kids doing chores or raising farm animals or going hunting or fishing or camping or constructing items, etc. Funny me, I thought EVERY parent had the duty to instill into their children life-long hobbies/ways of life like reading or hunting or raising animals or collecting items. That's reality to me! I've never heard of a school that allows phone calls/texting all through the day! In the Cody Schools I can tell you it is forbidden and there are numerous policies stopping it for both students and teachers on duty. Hmm... Then at the end of this essay you sense the writer/mother of this piece is HERSELF ADDICTED to video games. So why is she seemingly amazed her kids are into "non-reality" stuff WHEN THEY ARE MODELING OFF OF HER. Oh boy... Must be pretty boring up there in Chicagoland with a postage stamp yard and the escalating crime reports coming at you on an hourly basis! It is every parents' DUTY to make sure their kids don't become "computer freaks". Period. The world is full of reality! Even in Chicagoland kis can be FORCED to do "real stuff". This lady makes it sound like her kids can do anything they wish. Now there's the problem...
Lost in Videoland
By Esther J. Cepeda
CHICAGO -- Last week, my eighth-grader engaged in World War I-style trench warfare. It involved students in his classroom arrayed in ranks and a great many wadded paper balls. My school-hating son called it his best class ever.
In his mind, it's just too bad that every day can't involve something as fun. He's like far too many kids today who believe school is boooring. A slog through snatches of books, subjects and skills is broken only by breaks in which friends can be visited and texts sent.
It is a daylong interruption to iPhones, YouTube, the Xbox, Netflix binge-watching and social media.
I say this not as an ex-teacher who has watched the gamification of knowledge-building take over the skills of focus and effort, or as the wife of a high-school teacher who has seen smartphones go from being banned for their distraction quotient to being allowed anywhere, anytime -- to the point that even the teachers text during class.
My concerned observation is from the viewpoint of a mom who never allowed broadcast or cable TV to be watched at home (VHS tapes and DVDs had a beginning and end, and were under my strict control) but eventually succumbed to begging and bargaining with good behavior to become the very reluctant owner of an Xbox.
Four years later, I rue the Christmas that I convinced myself that with the right balance, my sons could enjoy their video games but maintain a realistic vision of regular life -- as I did when I was their age.
But no. They've joined their contemporaries in believing that IRL ("in real life") the day-to-day grind is tedious and -- as my 18-year-old nephew described it to me recently, explaining why he quit his first real job and moved back to the comfort of his parents' home -- mundane.
Those of us of a certain age -- for whom "Pac-Man," "Galaga" and "Super Mario Bros." were not a truly larger-than-life, multidimensional immersive and social experience -- always knew that school was work and, with the exception of a few special occasions, everyday life was a little on the dull side.
For many of our youth, this world doesn't exist. Until you've put on a pair of headphones, grabbed your controller and strolled through the beautifully scored, eye-popping landscape of "Skyrim" for hours and hours that passed like minutes, you don't can't get it.
If you've never been engaged in a highly addictive three-dimensional lifelike murder mystery such as "L.A. Noire" or driven shiny, drop-dead gorgeous race cars across some of the world's most storied autovistas with the feel of the engine rumbling in your hands and the sound of air whooshing past your face, you might not understand the appeal.
I have intentionally kept myself from falling into the rabbit hole with Benjamin Franklin in "Assassin's Creed III," a game set in colonial America during the Revolution. I could immerse myself in an open world that would bring me into direct contact with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams for hours and hours at a time.
But what responsible, employed adult with a family to care for has time for that?
Our kids, though, live in those enhanced worlds with their real-life friends when not "burdened" by school. And so many of them come away with little tolerance for the, yes, mundane realities of life.
I love video games -- I'm hoping to spend much of my retirement with some sort of video-game console, so this is not a rant against them. And "Tetris" (my go-to favorite) is likelier than "Call of Duty" to make you feel violent. But I'm worried.
There's a big difference between the video-game world our kids have grown up in and adults who played many hours of Atari or Nintendo but still spent most of their time learning how to read, learn and study without any interactive, multimedia tech.
Teens today are playing in better-than-real worlds where you're invincible and can make money with little effort -- and being taught by teachers who have exhausted themselves desperately trying to entertain them into learning.
What hath we wrought?
If you're the parent of a totally obsessed video gamer who is now a successful young adult, drop me a line. I'd love to have some success stories to share -- and to help me sleep at night.
Esther Cepeda's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @estherjcepeda.
Read more at http://www.arcamax.com/politics/esthercepeda/s-1594040?fs#2J7RbVHZr2GZiXT5.99