When I was ten years old, the most technologically advanced video game systems I had were a PlayStation and a small Gameboy Color. I spent hours killing things every week – but they were Pokemon and enemies of Crash Bandicoot. And on TV, the only violence I saw was in Rocket Power or Hey Arnold. If I wanted to see a movie that was rated R, it took a lot of sneaking around my parents’ movie cabinets to find the occasional movie and a few hours free in the living room to have a TV to watch it on.
Now, young kids can access movies and see things that should be kept to a much older audience with the simple click of the mouse, or sometimes, the touch of their finger on an iPad. TV shows are packed with violence and Call of Duty Xbox online chat rooms are full of kids half my age. I am not saying that technological increases and the entertainment industry have poisoned our youth, but I do believe it has gone too far in contributing behavioral and educational difficulties in young kids—our leaders of tomorrow. Since I only have 60 seconds, click this link and please read this recent study done by the Mayo Clinic highlighting all of the effects on kids and what we can all do to help.
I was happy as ever playing Math Blaster and Backyard Baseball on my computer as a kid—why is there all of a sudden such a desire to play video games full of violence? This is a call to entertainment producers and video game creators to develop high-quality shows and games for our youth, a call to parents to encourage their kids to spend less time in front of screens and more time interacting with other humans, and most importantly, a call to each and every one of us to put the phone, video game controller, or iPad down and set a good example for our kids or younger brothers or sisters. It is hard to make the world better for everyone with just one idea, but if we all strive to positively impact one person every day, the world will be a better place.