I recently published a book entitled Great Games! – it is a book filled with hundreds of fun games for families, groups, and children. Interestingly enough, as I began to tell friends and neighbors about the book, I was absolutely amazed by a few comments and reactions I received from certain people. Several people, for example, told me that we as a society just don’t play games like that anymore. One particular neighbor actually informed me that because the book was family oriented and did not have shock value, it most likely would not be successful.
First of all, the only limitations in life are the ones we create, believe, and nourish within our own minds. This book will be a success because I believe in it, I am willing to work extremely hard to make it a success, and our society needs this book – not because it has many fun games, but because the entire purpose is to bring families together more and provide wholesome entertainment for everyone. In fact, while I recognize that shock value and immorality does sell, that fact alone inspires me even more to tell the world about this book because of how much individuals, families, and our society need to spend more time as a family participating in wholesome activities rather than participating in and viewing the immoral and inappropriate entertainment we are daily bombarded by.
In addition, what people also fail to realize is the positive moral and social impacts that playing games has on individuals and families everywhere. How can anyone argue against or dispute the fact that our TV programs, movies, video games, and any other form of entertainment are filled with immorality, violence, foul language, graphic images, and pornography. In addition, an excessive amount of playing video games, watching TV, going to the movies, listening to our iPods, or wasting time on the internet is certainly not helping improve communication and social skills (not to mention intellectual skills). Similarly, how can anyone not agree with the fact that spending time as a family – yes, even if it is simply playing games – has incredible positive ramifications that the majority of the entertainment of the world does not provide? Because this is true, it should give much more significance to the moral and social ramifications that playing games as a family – or participating in any clean and wholesome entertainment – can have not only for us individually and as a family, but for our entire society.
Below are listed 10 moral and social impacts that playing games can have. As you will notice, there are also incredible intellectual, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits as well (not to mention the increased communication abilities that result). The reality is that these same principles apply to all clean and wholesome entertainment; but for our intents and purposes, we will focus on how playing games actually does have incredibly positive moral and social impacts:
1) The negative moral impact of our society’s media and entertainment:While I recognize that there are certainly positive things that come from the media and entertainment of our society, I am also not ignorant of the fact that the vast majority is extremely sexual, violent, materialistic, indulgent, and pornographic in nature. The effects of this daily bombardment are evident everywhere, demonstrated by the ever-increasing disrespect, idleness, obesity, lustfulness, selfishness, and laziness that plagues our society and diminishes our potential. Again, this is not so much about playing games or even participating in clean entertainment so much as it is about ensuring that individuals, families, and our very society develop the attributes and character necessary for personal happiness, family success, and societal progression.
2) Marriages and families are torn apart: I wish it weren’t true, but unfortunately for us all – sex, immorality, and immodesty sells. As a few greedy individuals and companies make a profit from this sleazy material, the realistic and sad result is that – thoughts are corrupted, commitments and responsibilities are discarded, selfishness and temporary gratification become more important than self control, sins and crimes are committed, addictions are developed, families are torn apart, marriages end, and slowly our society’s very foundational values have disintegrated. Keeping thoughts clean, turning away from temptation, or altogether avoiding pornography is becoming increasingly more difficult considering the fact that – the vast majority of movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, advertisements, and websites are immoral, immodest, sexual, and pornographic in nature. We are daily bombarded … and thus daily fighting a battle. It is a battle to keep our thoughts, actions, habits, and character clean and pure and chaste. Again – this is not about playing games – this is about keeping commitments, being faithful to our spouse and children, and ensuring that our marriages and families are not torn apart.
3) Winning and Losing – and the importance to deal appropriately with both: Let’s face it, each one of us will experience much failure and success throughout life. It is one thing to lose a video game in solitude, it is quite another to be defeated in a game with peers or family watching. But learning how to be a humble and fun winner, and also a good sport and not a sore loser will translate appropriately into the other successes and inevitable failures of life.
4) To learn how to follow rules, not cheat, strive for goals, and deal with challenges: If someone can not follow the rules of a game, will they follow the rules of life? Perhaps that is a stretch, but it is important to consider regardless. If someone can learn the important lesson of not cheating in a game, will that translate into their studies, work habits, and relationships? Many games also have ‘missions’ or objectives, and often a player has to implement a strategy or develop an action plan or goals to accomplish that ‘mission.’ Not a bad lesson to learn, in my opinion! And every game certainly has its challenges, set backs, uncontrollable twists and turns – learning how to not only adjust, but deal with them maturely and appropriately is certainly an attribute that can be translated into other areas of life!
5) Avoid the consequences that result from selfish, crude, and lustful entertainment: Perhaps the greatest problem with the vast majority of entertainment of our society is the fact that it is so completely self-gratifying in nature. How often are businesses started, movies made, and shows performed to simply fill time, collect money, and satisfy selfish desires and lusts. Temporary satisfaction, immediate gratification, and discarded integrity and commitments unfortunately replaces the real joy, confidence, health, savings, conscience, and happiness that good, fun, and clean entertainment can provide. Usually the only result of such selfish and lustful entertainment is shame, embarrassment, guilt, time wasted, money lost, responsibilities avoided, commitments disregarded, and even potential legal consequences that seem to inevitably be a companion to such forms of entertainment.
6) To have fun and participate in enjoyable, social, and wholesome entertainment: Perhaps most importantly, playing games is just fun! It is recreation, entertainment, and enjoyment – but in a positive, constructive, interacting, and learning environment. Not only can one develop self-esteem, develop a skill or talent, become proud of an accomplishment, or simply develop the ability to interact and work with others – they also have fun! There is something to be said to the simple and positive psychological benefits that will inevitably result when children, teens, adults, groups, and families spend more time playing games together and less time in front of the electronic devises that comparatively can not produce the same positive benefits!
7) Developing the ability to communicate and interact with others: How unfortunate it is that an increasingly large amount of our youth today can not converse with an adult, look them in the eye, or even show any respect for them. Is this so because of the reality that many of our youth are spending much of their waking hours in front of a computer, or playing video games, etc. I am sure there is some correlation. Turning off the TV and computer and playing games (not video games) allows and sometimes forces an individual to interact with, speak to, and be involved with others. Yes, you are just playing a simple game – but hopefully an important skill and attribute is being developed in the process.
8) The ability to work with others in a team environment: In correlation with the above point, playing games allows (forces) an individual to work with, interact with, and play as a team. Again – it is just a silly game right – but welcome to the real world of the absolute necessity of working and dealing with others. From group school projects, to participation in community athletics, to the eventual work-force – learning to work and deal with others, and being part of a ‘team’ is an important skill to develop for the realities of life!
9) The absolute importance of educating, using, and stretching our minds: In my opinion, it takes very little (if any) effort at all to watch a movie, surf the web, or play a video game. Why is high school, college, and that eventual first job so difficult … because a child has not developed the ability to use their mind in a creative, disciplined way. Playing games is not only fun, it requires us to be creative, think fast on our feet, pull out information and facts we once learned, deal with a challenge, etc. Games force our minds to be active, not idle! Games require social interaction, not introverted self-removal. Games use and require a portion of the brain that enhances other aspects of life.
10) Learn from others: One of my most favorite things to do when playing games is simply to observe other players. How do they think, how do they act, how do they deal with victory or defeat, how do they interact with others, etc. The moment an individual steps away from the TV and computer (and its unending negative influences) and starts to interact with and observe others, they will soon find that they can be influenced positively (or even learn from bad examples) by observing and implementing the actions and attributes of others.
In conclusion, it is important to note that there are certainly many forms of entertainment that are wholesome, clean, and uplifting; however, it is clearly evident that the vast majority of movies, TV shows, advertisements, commercials, websites, and even songs epitomize the immoral and negative impacts of our society’s entertainment that this article discusses. Because of this daily bombardment, it is not enough to just play games and participate in clean and wholesome entertainment because the immoral entertainment seems to always bombard us – whether we seek it out or not. We each must make a resolve to turn the TV off more, turn off the internet more, put down the magazine more, etc. and ensure that the negative influences of our society’s media and entertainment do not destroy who and what is most important in life – our family!