We’re losing a whole generation of young men to video games
[NYPost] One night in the mid-1990s I tried out a computer game called “Civilization.” You started with a screen that was completely black, except for one square of land. As you pushed outward from this base, you’d make discoveries about the land around you and its inhabitants. You’d start to build a society, first primitive stuff like granaries, then advancing to roads and weapons.

Trade-offs would arise: Should I build a library or a cannon? As your world advanced, you’d run into other civilizations. It was disconcerting to discover somebody else had a battleship while you were working with catapults. As I was journeyed through all of these fascinating challenges, I discovered to my surprise that the sun had come up. Something had gone haywire with time. It was already 7 a.m.

If you had asked me at any point in my relationship to “Civilization” whether I was happy, I would have said no. I was ecstatic. I was euphoric. Making simulated granaries. Building simulated roads. Firing simulated cannon. These were my obsessions.

After a while I realized that becoming master of a fake world was not worth the dozens of hours a month it was costing me, and with profound regret I stashed my floppy disk of “Civilization” in a box and pushed it deep into my closet. I hope I never get addicted to anything like “Civilization” again.

Today millions of people, disproportionately young men, are similarly caught in the throes of video games, which are far more enticing than their 1990s counterparts and often involve many players engaging at once. The hand-eye coordination of these men is no doubt impressive, plus they form friendships and learn to work through problems in teams.

Surveys tell us that these men are happy. The 1990s fear that playing first-person shooter games turns you into a violent psycho has been debunked.

The problem is that for many young men, video games have become a substitute for living. They’re so addictive and soul-consuming that they’re unlike other leisure activities. Every hour spent on “Ghost Recon” or “Grand Theft Auto V” is an hour that could have been spent more productively.

Sure, that’s also true of golf — but rarely do you hear that someone has quit his job and is living in Mom’s basement obsessing over putting.

The problem is that for many young men, video games have become a substitute for living.Yet video-game addicts are engaged in a mass retreat from life. Men aged 21 to 30 worked 12 percent fewer hours in 2015 than in 2000. The percent of young men who worked zero weeks over the course of a year doubled in that period, to an alarming 15 percent. Those working hours were largely replaced by gaming, and fully 35 percent of young men now live with their parents or other close relatives, up from 23 percent in 2000. Their unemployment rate jumped by 10 percent.
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The editorialist does not say if the inflection point was in 2009, hard on the heels of the economic meltdown and followed in turn by a severely anemic recovery in which the new jobs reportedly went to illegal immigrants rather than Americans, full time employment was redefined by Obamacare as 30 hours per week, and colleges became blatantly hostile to the men who ventured there. Could it be that young men gaming is an effect of Democratic policy choices rather than merely an addiction to pleasure?

Posted by: badanov 2017-07-11