Yesterday did New York Times ran a story that focused on children spending too much time playing video games and using their phones during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today that story was on the front page of the newspaper. That seems strange considering how the world is falling apart and democracy is dying before our eyes, but yeah, sure, let’s consider that kids may play too much Roblox.
The item, that ran on January 16th, quoted some experts and presented many “scary” numbers about screen time. But it also glossed over the fact that video games and the internet have helped many people, children and adults, stay connected and healthy during this terrible time.
The whole post is also oddly posted by a random little family currently struggling during the pandemic. Your son plays a lot of video games to get in touch with his friends. His dad and mom are concerned about how much time he spends in front of the screen, but they also know that this is one of the few ways he can safely socialize while covid-19 is roaming the world wild. I imagine this is a difficult situation that many parents around the world are going through. However, if we just highlight children and how much time they spend, it ignores the fact that we all, not just children and teens, are dealing with increased time and a lack of real human interaction. Instead, the article goes on and on about how potentially unhealthy and dangerous all of these scenes could be to children. How children have to separate more. How children play too much Roblox.
“What are you going to do when you’re married and stressed out? Tell your wife you need to play Xbox “This is a quote from the mother in history when the son explains that after his dog died on New Year’s Eve, he used games to distract himself from the sadness. It is portrayed as negative. However, I can list numerous times when I was.” and have used other video games to relieve stress or escape a terrible day. I’m not trying to throw this mom under the bus. I can understand the frustration she and so many others are going through.
The real question is why this frustration is on the front page of the business New York Times, featured in an article portraying video games and the internet as dangerous, addicting things that ruin our children and keep them captive. The article literally begins with a quote from the father about how he feels like he has “failed” his son playing video games and using his cell phone. It’s like something I would have seen on a local news show in the 90s, with clips of kids playing NES in the background.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen it Larger and older outlets only focus on children playing games and try using scary and scary numbers to create a narrative that completely ignores reality.
Are there reasons to worry about how much time we all spend online? Probably. Spending 12 hours on Twitter and breaking recent tragedy probably hurts me in ways I don’t quite understand. However, at the moment things are different. The world is battling a global pandemic that kills thousands every day. Many of us are trapped inside and deal with all the stress and boredom that it brings with it. Through all of this, we keep working, going to school, raising children, and dealing with hundreds of other problems. I don’t have to tell you how hard life has got for so many of us in the past year (check calendar)? (Holy shit …)
So when you or your children have to flee and want to play something Minecraft and maybe you end up playing a few hours more than usual, don’t worry. We all rely on digital apps and services to stay connected and be happy. Binge some Netflix. Have a zoom session with family and friends. Or play something Call of Duty Warzone with your distant siblings.
Life is hard enough now. Don’t beat yourself up for taking care of yourself or your kids having fun with their friends.