Gaming! What a wonderful world of diverse weaponry and heroic characters! Pow!
Hello, this myTake comes from my experience of gaming, with about seven years on my belt. I am creating this to clarify to you new parents, and people who are genuinely curious, about the physical effects of gaming, how gaming affects others in my life and lastly, the misconceptions of gaming.
In this article, I will somewhat generalize children that play video games, as well as growing teens, like myself. I can't necessarily speak for older adult gamers because of my lack of experience being older than I am... My intention is not to bash anyone for pursuing the hobby of gaming. Also, I will speak both on behalf of gamers, and against them in some instances. Yes this is biased.
I am eighteen years young, and just nearly finishing high school. I am a very motivated person, I enjoy working out and fixing my self image. As mentioned before, I do like to play video games, and I am, what some may classify as a hardcore gamer. My gaming life began when I was merely a child of eleven years, when I had first begun playing online computer games. I enjoyed simple point-click adventures like "Swords and Sandals II," for instance, but that was not enough to fill my void of an intrigued mind. Perhaps, like a 'gateway drug,' computer games sparked my curiosity, and soon I found myself trying new platforms of gaming. Throughout my last seven years, I've played on these platforms (in consecutive order):
Online games (old laptop) > Play Station 2 > Xbox 360 > Laptop gaming > PC Desktop gaming (serious, competitive). I was also addicted to some of the freemium games on my mobile device during these times.
Through these generations of consoles, I've endured mainly all of the larger title games; such as the Black Ops series, the Halo Series, Team Fortress Two, Counter Strike: Global Offense, and many many more of the newer ones. I define myself as a 'hardcore gamer' because ever since I can remember, I have found time to play video games every waking hour that I can, for multitudinous hours on end. I would play games, ranging from two or more hours a day to many more hours over the weekends. I am, and always have been competitive with gaming, among both real friends and online friends. To say the least, I had a strong addiction.
So what comes about all of this gamer crap? What entails being a gamer? Well, here are some consistencies that have been prevalent in my lifetime, since I first touched the controller of the PS2.
The Addiction Itself
I want to briefly talk about the addiction in video games themselves and why we are so keen to them. Video games are in some way, shape, or form, a drug. They are also an amazing way to de-stress, and instantly relieve your mind of outside-world thoughts. When you are addicted, you are pulled into another universe of excitement, emotion, and comradely. Likewise, this new 'universe' is an incredible high for your senses. When you achieve something new, some hard mission, or an impossible achievement, the hair on the back of your neck stands, your hands shake, you jump out of your seat in excitement. Gaming can invoke some extreme emotions.
There are also the ones who experience very bipolar emotions like anger vs. emptiness when enduring a video game. I have several friends who break their keyboards in anger (numerous times) as well as some friends that experience extreme depression due to a video game.
All in all, video games are a roller coaster of drama. They are mostly good, but sometimes leaving you with a headache!
Firstly, I would like to discuss the matter of family. I was always a good kid, raised in a middle class family, not much else going for me. My parents bought me my first console when I was young, and I played it to my hearts content. I played it so much, in fact, that I was often cussed out by my father, grounded, sentenced nullification for weeks on end, and the likes.
As the result of non-stop gaming, I was neither distant, nor extremely close to my family. We still shared intimate moments, such as the holidays, or family get-together's. however, video games didn't disturb that aspect of family.
Not so much during the younger years, but definitely during my high-teen years, I will admit, my physical social life is quite stunted due to my gaming habits. Although stunted, its quite different than what you might be expecting. Hanging out with friends has a very different definition for gamers now. I solemnly hang out with friends in real life... but why? Well, all of my friends enjoy gaming, as I do. This means that we hang out virtually. Hanging out in real life can sometimes be boring, or unappealing because we aren't quite sure what to do, but in the cyber world, we are near limitless to whatever we want to do. We can all watch movies, play Cards Against Humanity, or play virtual golf, etc.
I'm not advocating that this is the ideal way to socialize, but it definitely is an interesting one. It is a complete alternative to being a physical socialite. Interpret this how you may. With the obvious lack of physical exertion, raw emotions, or seeing each other, this is, in fact, not the ideal scenario for socializing.
But what about girls? What about your love interests? Doesn't excessive isolation dwarf your speaking skills?
When bringing up the issue of speech impediment, I find that more than not, I can often use my voice when I'm using an application called 'Discord,' which allows me to converse with my friends while we competitively game, play cards, or whatever (via headset). That being said, I still have retained my speaking skills when in the instance of talking to friends, talking to girls, giving speeches, etc. My voice hasn't diminished just because I spend most of my days in front of a computer monitor.
This is a popular misconception among anti-video-game advocates. "My child is not completing their work on time! They are lazy and just play video games!" This is mainly due to the lack of parenting that is instituted within the household.
And it is very true that video games cause the symptoms of laziness, non-motivated, absent mindedness children/teens. I've been there. However, I believe I had a decent amount parenting, which was really the main solution, and here's why.
I was taught to keep my shit clean, get shit done on time, and to kick life's ass. If you are teaching your children anything less, then you might end up with a game addict of a child who doesn't know their direction in life. That being said, I was always a grade A student in school, never got caught up in drugs (This is ironic in the sense that I play video games to achieve my 'high'... heheh.). Even though I played copious amounts of Halo/Black Ops/CSGO during the week, I would keep my grades up, my parents happy, and a good amount of hours to spend with my games. Surprisingly, video games did not affect my work habits. :)
Physical Fitness & Body
I was never a physical child. My teen years have not been terribly physical either. I played numerous sports for a decade, but I didn't find them very amusing. This had little to do with a video game addiction though. As a result of lack of physical fitness, and consistent gaming, here are some of my bodily conditions:
- Had mild asthma for some several years (gone now)
- Poor back allignment/posture (not severe, but lightly "S" shaped)
- My eyes are most likely going to be fucked up when I'm older. As of now, I rarely experience actual eye troubles. I'm still a 20/20 in vision, but feel like it could worsen very quickly.
- Low stamina
- Diet consists of healthy meals (mainly enforced by my parents)
I do have hobbies besides gaming! That isn't necessarily true for all game addicts.. but here, its about me. I enjoy puzzle solving (Rubiks cubes, Sudoku puzzles, general analytical puzzles), Virtual art design, music, talking to friends, and compiling videos to create 'frag movies' (in essence... nerd stuff!).
CS:GO Market Investments
I would just like to talk about this specific incident that I have involved myself in, whilst being a gamer. That is, in all of its glory, the "Steam Market." With gaming comes addiction. One of the options you have in playing CS:GO, is investing real world currency into its 'skins' market, where you can pay real money to dress up your weapon skins in pretty colors, varying in price, from cheap, three cent skins, to an astonishing, fifteen thousand dollar virtual knife. And that's not the most expensive item. You can imagine where I'm going with this.
I, myself, have invested about eight hundred dollars into the community market of CS:GO. With this, I have collected many weapon skins that I am able to trade around with other players. This is much like real world assets, in that you have the opportunity to make big money on holding onto investments, making profitable trades. You also have the opportunity to lose it all in a few clicks of the mouse...
How scary are CS:GO skins though? There are MANY illegal gambling sites allowing children under twenty one, to gamble (including myself). Just for an example, I have fallen victim of gambling a maximum of a one-hundred and twenty dollar knife, and lost it on a thirty five percent chance.
While many profit from gambling, more people lose their money to it. These types of sites often make pre-teen gamblers addicted to gambling in real life later on. Thankfully, I've stopped myself.
I've grown up, fond of technology. So, I figured that my future career needed to, INDEED revolve around some sort of technical platform. Since I am fluent with computers, and am an analytical sort of person, I've decided that I know exactly what I want to pursue in college, as well as for the rest of my life. I want to have a career in the field of Cyber Security.
I have already been accepted to my desired college and plan to enroll in a 4 year course, designed to keep me updated on world trends, and how to deal with foreign cyber entities, whom access all of your restricted data. Keep in mind that this interest of mine was completely sparked off of my interest in video games for the past years. I'm not here to boast about how good my future might be though. My point revolving around this topic is that video games had a positive benefit to my future. It gave me a sense of direction, purpose, and exposed my passion. Again, this isn't the case for all gamers around the globe, I just happen to have a kickass arrangement for my future.
Keep in mind...
I am here for any of your questions. Feel free to ask me anything. If not, then I hope I offered you some insight!