Friday, July 1, 2016

Gaming?!?! A Call to Arms

     It seems a lot of folks these days are into gaming.  Playing electronic games of all types is seen virtually everywhere.   Some drift from game to game to have a changing experience.  Some have a few games they play occasionally.  Still others pick one game and immerse themselves.  What I have found amazing is discovering how many people have a positive view of gaming in general.  Over the last few years I have talked to a lot of people and often steered the conversation to gaming just to see how many had a positive outlook.  My guess would be upwards of 90%.  Most of the folks in the negative range of 10% were older.  Many of them much older than I.
     I know one young fellow (I'm going to guess he is in his mid 30's) who spends almost all of his time gaming.  As I understand it, he is playing one game and it seems to have taken him over.  He has so far lost his job, his family, and his home.  He is drifting now from place to place staying with friends but spending most of his time in public wi-fi spots with his tablet and playing his game.  He looks to me to have lost 50 pounds or so and looks far older than his years.  I had known his father for years when he broke down and told me about his son.  I knew his son and had met him on several occasions.  He seemed most amicable and seemed to be quite an intelligent young man.  Rest assured this whole situation was a shocking and eye opening experience for me.
     Not to long ago, we decided on Chinese take-out for supper one evening.  Upon arriving to place our order, we saw a young couple sitting on a bench just outside of the restaurant.  One was looking at a tablet and the other was involved with a rather large cell phone.  We ordered our food and while we waited I walked over and looked out the plate glass window just behind where the couple was sitting.  They were both playing some type of game.  I have no idea how long they stayed because we got our food and left.  What was funny was when we came back a week later to get more Chinese food,  I like to comically say they were still there.  I'm sure it would be more apropos to say they were there again.  My daughter found it humorous when I so profoundly and adamantly  insisted they were "still" there.  By the way, they were still playing games and I will point out I never once saw then communicate with each other.
      I just read a story at ABC News about a man who pinned his six year old son down on the couch by sitting on him while he and his girlfriend played games on the TV.  The boy stopped breathing and died.  Of course the father has been charged.  If the story is still up, you can read about it here.
     My response to all of this is "OH MY LORD IN HEAVEN!  WHAT HAVE WE DONE?".  I don't know how to react.  I am completely dumbfounded.  Granted, I know a great many people who play the occasional game on the internet and are not or don't seem to be adversely affected but what can be done for the ones who are?  The only course of action I see that can be taken is prayer.  I understand addictions of all kinds affect all types of people and as is usually the case, rock bottom must be hit before they ask for help.  This gaming thing seems to me to be an odd addiction I have never even thought of before.  I have simply told the young man I know that I am available if he needs to talk and I have told him I am praying for him.  He has yet to even recognize he has a problem but when he does, I will do my best to help him regain himself.  I would encourage everyone to make it known that you also will be available if someone needs this or any other kind of help.  It is not words but rather deeds and a love of our fellow man that will pave a path for us to God's kingdom.

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