Friday, January 14, 2011

The Dark Side of Internet Games

A professor, writing in the Peace Weekly on the culture of life, discusses the current popularity of playing internet games indulged in by our youth: another affront to the dignity of the human family. More than 10 percent of the young are addicted to these games and the number continues to grow.

In 1997, when the country was having difficulties with foreign exchange and the economy, the government tried to remedy this by fostering interest in the internet and in other worthwhile activities. This has enabled most of us to have high speed internet access and an infrastructure that makes Korea one of the most sophisticated internet users in the world.
This has given the makers of internet games a profitable enterprise, but we are now beginning to see the abuses and problems that have come to the fore in this new cultural development: problems for society and for the individual. Many of the games deal with violence: the use of guns, knives and other lethal weapons. And the graphics and sound that accompany the games increase the sensation of violence. Because of the immaturity of those playing the games, control over their actions is not easy; they often have a problem differentiating  the real world from the world of imagination.

The government, although concerned with these abuses, has helped the makers of these games by legislating in their favor. Germany has gotten involved in dealing with the unacceptable consequences of playing these games by rating the games and limiting the making and distribution of some of them.

Because parents are often away from home, working for most of the day, their children are left unattended at home with the computer always available. The professor feels that parents and schools should make sure there are other possibilities available for children to use their leisure time more profitably. Prevention is easier than the treatment of the addiction.

Pope John Paul said, in the "Gospel of Life," "There is too much concern for efficiency and pleasure to the neglect of the more profound dimensions of life."  The professor would like to see the Church put the Pope's words into action by encouraging the makers of these games to develop games that are not against the culture of life and designed only to bring in more money. Their responsibility, as socially concerned members of society, should be not only to maximize profits but to create  games that will help our youth develop into mature, responsible human beings.



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