In “Distracted by Everything,” authors Dretzin & Rushkoft reveal that fifteen-year-old Yung Yo went from being the highest achiever in his class to the lowest (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/view/). His mother blamed an addiction to gaming for his precipitous drop in achievement.
She said, “Yo spends all his spare time on the computer playing video games, and not only have his grades suffered, but he now has difficulty having a regular conversation.” The medical community in South Korea calls this type of dependency on computer games an addiction. Admitting to the addiction and taking a break from gaming is key to recovery.
At the request of Yo’s teacher, his mother enrolled him in a free Internet Rescue Camp, a two-week program where there is no access to electronics, and participants focus on outdoor activities. The hope is that the time spent at camp will cure them of constantly depending on electronic devices in their everyday lives.
I’ve seen children as young as two-years-old using electronic devices such as cell phones and iPads. While technology will likely be the main part of their future, experts suggest that parents monitor children’s time on these devices so it does not lead to an addiction.
Dretzin & Rushkoft found that adults are also addicted to gaming. It has been noted that people have spent 50 plus hours at a time in South Korean gaming café . A few have died because they didn’t drink and eat enough while glued to their computer screens. American adults may not go to a café to game, but they can spend a substantial amount of time on electronic devices, tuning out everything and everyone around them.
Technology is here for us to use, but we shouldn’t allow its users to take over our lives. Dretzin said wide-spread computer usage in her family snuck up on her. One day while using her laptop computer, she noticed that her husband and teenage son were on theirs, too, and her two elementary-age children were playing on another electronic device.
When you realize that you are too dependent on gaming, making a conscious effort to not play as often, or stopping altogether for a while could possibly cure your dependence. Addiction is defined as “the condition of being habitually occupied with or involved in something” (www.dictionary.com). If you can’t go 24 hours without playing, you may be moving towards an addiction.
If you are faced with an addiction, ask God to control your thought life. 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” When you desire to pick it up, stop, and replace it with something else. Pray to God for strength to resist. If you desire to stop gaming altogether, take them off of your electronic devices. ■