Kids and Computers

It’s a worry: Kids and Computers.

For they seem to spend too much time on them and too little time anywhere else.

Not all them. But many. I think there’s many parents, educators, think that.

I certainly do.

But I was thinking it was to be expected, really, wasn’t it? And it is merely a manifestation of a natural human truth.

Children are curious about things. Children want to know. Children want to play.

All that’s going on is they want to know what’s in the computer – and they get directed towards games, then they want to know how to play the game, then they want to know how to win, then they want to play.

Something like that.

In their world there’s nothing offers as much stimulation as a computer game. It bombards the senses like nothing else ever has done. Visual images, sounds, intellectual challenges, rewards, dangers – I’m quite sure there’s visceral and chemical changes occur throughout the playing of a game.

There’s nothing else around so conveniently offering all this.

You could argue that a game of football or such would provide much excitement and a bombardment of physical excitations: visual, auditory, tactile. Noises, sights, feelings.

Yes. Too much so, perhaps. Too much danger of discomfort anticipated before the event for most children to want to go there. Too much exertion during the course of it without reward for them to want to remain. Too little after reward for retrospection to make them want to repeat the thing.

A real world game of football is an almost irrevocable commitment, isn’t it?

A computer game can be abandoned at any time.

So the rewards are obviously greater. In the immediate. At that level. Perhaps not in the long run and perhaps not at some elevated level considering the advancement of the organism as a whole, incorporating its social involvement. But at the immediate level of a schoolkid (or adult) sitting at their desk it’s the best thing going. Without a doubt.

So it is perfectly natural and easily understandable.

So what’s the problem? Is there a problem?

I don’t know.

Have to think about it.

Right off the bat it seems obvious that there’s a danger the ‘players’ will attempt to live their whole lives in that unreal ‘reality’. Which just can’t be done.

Don’t have to argue whether it’s good or bad to do so, the fact is it’s not possible.

There seems to be more than just a danger that they’ll be divorced from reality. It seems obvious that’s exactly where they are. And that doesn’t seem good. They’re orphaned. They’re deluded. They’ve lost reality.

That can’t be good, surely?

Or does it not matter? Often quoted is the danger of such ‘players’ segueing into drone pilots sitting in a room far, far from a battle zone and bringing death down on combatants and non-combatants alike with an unemotional total disregard for any humane feelings, considerations.

Perhaps even childishly excited and happy at some successful ‘strike’ as it kills unwarned, unsuspecting people. In fact we’ve seen that in released videos of night time ‘kills’, the ‘pilots’ excitedly and happily remarking on the killings, laughing at the antics of those revealed by the infra red cameras trying pathetically to get away, to hide.

But how real is this danger? Perhaps very unreal. Inasmuch as it will happen alright – it is happening now – but in fact it has always happened, since the dawn of time.

In the old days they didn’t have drones and infra red cameras but they still had people enthusing in the death of others, still had people coldly, calmly and happily arranging mass butcherings of combatants and non combatants alike.

And that, too, is happening right now. Alongside the more sophisticated stuff.

So perhaps there’s something to worry about alright. But it’s not the ‘removal from reality’ of the computer obsessive but the ‘removal from reality’ incipient, apparently, in all people all the time.

A slight deflection in target.


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