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 Some thoughts on video games

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The Ska Boss
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PostSubject: Some thoughts on video games   Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:50 pm

Ok, so... You may or may not agree with me, and you may or may not believe in my sources, seeing as I tied this in to my own religion quite a bit, as I wrote/submitted it to my Church's magazine. But, here are some things that I have learned. I hope you can learn something from it. It might have to be in two posts.

Virtual Destruction—It’s Reality

Video games are a destructive vice that prey upon people of all ages. They are like a contagious disease, and at the current rate of growing popularity, will soon become an epidemic, if this has not already happened. They are addicting, a waste of time, and have adverse effects on study habits, social interactions, and life in general.

A video game addiction can be just as real as a drug or alcohol or pornography addiction, and almost just as damaging. Playing one video game won’t send someone to hell, but more often than not, it’s not just one video game. They hook people. They are like the maka-fekes that President Monson talked about in the April 2006 General Conference. Once someone is entangled in the hellish chains of this vice, it is difficult for that person to break free. His time, talents, gifts, and energies will be wasted. Important things will be replaced by unimportant entertainment. Video games become a way of life, and that life goes down a path that is a dead end.

There are 52,560 hours in 6 years. That’s a long time. From the ages of 13 to 19 I was addicted to video games. I would play an average of 2 ½ hours per day. That is approximately 5,475 hours of straight game play, which translates to 228 days and 3 hours, or 7 ½ months of doing nothing but playing video games. Not eating, or sleeping, or doing anything else—just playing video games. Think of all the things I could have done had I spent my time doing something productive! Now, I know that the average teenager doesn’t spend 2 ½ hours a day reading the scriptures (although had I done so, I’d have the standard works memorized by now), but someone could at least get in twenty minutes a day to study the gospel. And then there are things such as learning an instrument, or working out, or mountain biking, or going places with friends, etc. I could have gotten a lot done, and I sure could have learned a lot more valuable things than how long it takes a Pokémon to evolve. In general, playing video games is not a sin, but we need to manage our time well. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught us to, “Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in… playing video games... Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it”. Jacob also counseled us to use our time wisely. “Do not [give]… your labor for that which cannot satisfy” (2 Ne. 9:51). Elder M. Russell Ballard likewise instructed about wasting time:
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord gave a similar warning in these words: “Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known” (D&C 60:13). Why would I speak of that with you? Because one of the ways Satan lessens your effectiveness and weakens your spiritual strength is by encouraging you to spend large blocks of your time doing things that matter very little. I speak of such things as sitting for hours on end watching television or videos, playing video games night in and night out… I speak of letting things get out of balance. It is not [playing video games], but [playing] hour after hour, night after night. Does not that qualify as idling away your time? What will you say to the Lord when He asks what you have done with the precious gift of life and time? Surely you will not feel comfortable telling Him that you were able to pass the 100,000-point level in a challenging video game... One of the greatest challenges of this life is the ordering of priorities. If we do not do this wisely, then things that matter most in life are at the mercy of things that matter least.

And as my mission president told me, “Time is not measured in the eternities. If you cannot manage your time well now while it is measured, you cannot, and will not be worthy to, in the eternities” (Bradford). In my personal study I came across a scripture that reiterates this. “It is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father” (D&C 72:3-4). Furthermore, Preach My Gospel tells us that, “we will all stand before the Lord at the last judgment and give an accounting for what we have done with the opportunities He has given us”. As Elder Ballard taught, we do not want to have to tell the Lord that we wasted the precious gift of life that He has given us on things that simply do not matter.

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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:50 pm

This addiction can also have profound effects on study. I performed terribly my first semester here at BYU-I before my mission. I would stay up late playing video games, and therefore could not always wake up on time for my classes. I also would play during the time that I should have been doing homework or studying. I would say to myself, “I can play just a little. I’ll play for twenty minutes, and then I’ll go do my homework.” More often than not those twenty minutes turned into several hours, and I would never get my homework done. I ended up with a horrible GPA and was put on academic probation. Now I’m paying the price for my childish carelessness. My cumulative GPA is low, and it will take several semesters of me getting a 4.0 to even be able to qualify for scholarships. In a past issue of the Ensign, one young man spoke of the effect that video games can have on both study and social life. Said he: “These games distracted me from studying. I spent all of my free time playing these games so I could be better than everyone else.” He then counseled, “Use video games as well-earned recreation, not as an escape from things you are supposed to be doing.” (Powell)

Playing video games excessively can also have diverse effects on life in general. Social interactions are hindered by a video game addiction. I recently spoke with someone who pointed out to me how difficult it can be to carry on a conversation with a young man who has a video game addiction. She commented that it is as if he has no personality. Video games hinder him from being who he really is. Also, when a young person has a video game addiction, he will most likely not spend enough time interacting with others. The needed social skills for life will not be learned, and this will be a setback for him later on. This can be very damaging for prospective missionaries, especially at this university. If they spend too much time playing video games, it will be detrimental to their preparation to serve as a missionary. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke of this quite clearly. “Prospective missionaries also must be prepared with the social skills needed to serve a mission. More and more, young people are isolating themselves from others by playing video games… Much of missionary work involves relating face-to-face with people, and unless you set the bar higher in the development of your social skills, you will find yourself underprepared.”

But this counsel is not limited only to those who have yet to serve a mission. Returned missionaries are falling into this trap more and more. It is a spiritually deadly side-track to young men and women of God who have returned from honorably serving the Lord by giving two years of their life to Him. As these servants of the Lord resume their daily lives at home, they realize that they have more time on their hands than they did in the mission field. They are used to having every hour of every day planned out, and now that the mission rules are gone and there are other things in life that must be pursued, they return to former activities for entertainment. Rather than pressing on towards the future, many of these young people fall back into their adolescent past through certain habits they once had, including video game addictions.

Video games can also destroy a marriage. The sacred bond between husband and wife needs to be continually nurtured. When the husband has a video game addiction, his wife and children suffer because of it, as does he. I spoke with one sister of the Church whose husband has a video game addiction. She said, “It’s been a detriment to my marriage. It’s like video games have become the passion of life and other passions get put aside… It’s a very real addiction. He will sit upstairs for hours and hours and doesn’t spend time with me or the kids, and it has caused him depression. I wish that he would get in touch with his real passions and not be addicted anymore” (Anonymous).

It is true that, for the most part, men have the biggest problem with video game addictions, but this has also become increasingly problematic among young women. A young woman who is dedicated to the Lord, has ambition, and has learned valuable homemaking skills is far more attractive than one who has spent her time playing so many video games as to be able to out-play all the men in her college Family Home Evening group, however impressive that may be.

Now, I’m not saying that it is an evil sin to play video games. But it can lead to addiction and destructive behavior, which are sins. All things must be done in moderation; others must be avoided completely. When all is said and done, normally one can rely on good common sense when making decisions about what to do, when to do it, and for how long. If people are true to themselves and don’t try to rationalize or justify wrongful behavior, they will normally make correct decisions.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Works Cited
Anonymous. Personal interview. 23 Mar. 2008.
Ballard, M. Russell Be Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of His Might. Diss. Brigham Young ….Univ., 2002. 22 Mar. 2008 …..
Bradford, Dale. Personal interview. March. 2007.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The “Preach My Gospel”. 150. 2004
Monson, Thomas S. "True to the Faith." Ensign May 2006. .
Oaks, Dallin H. Good, Better, Best. General Conference, Oct. 2007, The Church of Jesus Christ of ….Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007.
Perry, L. Tom "Raising the Bar." Liahona Nov. 2007. 22 Mar. 2008 ......
Powell, Stephen F. "Game Over." Ensign Aug. 2005.

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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:41 am

Are you a Mormon, Mr. Ska?
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:57 pm

I believe he is.
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:42 pm

This thread is like a year old. Crazay.
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:15 pm

We're coming up on our two year anniversary!

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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:36 pm

Whoa!
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:46 pm

What was the date of the FoB raid?

You know, the one with Diego. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on video games   Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:00 pm

Trivia? Hmm.... Without looking in past threads, I'd say it was Dec. 27, 2007.

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