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« Two dinners for the sake of joy | Main | Your choice: sex or violence? »


M Light

I don't really see how the old childhood could be dead. Maybe I'm naive (okay, not maybe - probably). How much time can kids spend playing video games anyway? We don't have a TV game set, but our 9 yo son gets bored watching friends play theirs. His computer game time is limited by the fact that there's only one fast computer in the house so time on it is split between 3 or 4 of us.

Anyway, he still spends plenty of time playing with friends outside. They get home at around 3 so even if they spend an hour on video games, that still leaves a few hours to run around outside before dinner (and more time after in the summer).

I never played war as a child so I'm really weirded out when younger son and his friends play. There are also so many kinds - knights, modern soldiers, space aliens, etc. It's best for me to go and garden and not listen too closely.


I think there may be an estrogen unity in being weirded out by the war games. My gut reaction to boys playing with guns is much more extreme than my reaction to being reminded that the movie Big had a sex scene.

Footnote: my nephew isn't allowed to play with guns, so Grandpop bought him a toy helicopter that shoots a net to relocate a lion (lion included). My sister tries to get him to say he is going to "catch" people not "shoot" them. Good luck on that one, sis!


It may be the media that's skewing my view about the death of old childhood. Boys Adrift suggests the problem is quite widespread-- if I remember correctly it's one of the main causes of the downfall of the American young man phenomenon he's describing.

Kudos to your son. I hope he's still more the exception than the rule.


Neat idea about the helicopter, but I agree, if you don't give a boy a gun, he will find a stick.

M Light

I'd totally forgotten that Big had a sex scene. At one point, I was hoping to write a post about why some people are more disturbed by sex in movies and some are more disturbed by violence, but I haven't figured out why yet. I know women that fall in the former category, and men who fall in the latter, so it's not just gender.

I figure there's no need to buy boys toy guns because they'll make them out of anything they come across - Legos, sticks, or an L-shaped piece of cheese. Not giving them guns encourages creativity (grin).

DF, I don't remember if I ever asked you about Boys Adrift - whether you saw that in high school students (though your school is not an average sample). I don't know that many teenage boys/young men so I have no idea how widespread the author's downfall theory actually is in reality.


Mlight-- I will definitely post on the violence/sex dichotomy; thanks for the idea, if I may steal it.

As to Boys Adrift, I suspect the best people to answer the question-- whether teen boys play too many video games, etc.-- is best answered by the boys themselves, because as a teacher I most often see my students' best side, and I do not see them in their off hours or late at night. Maybe some of my alumns would care to comment, at least on the video game frequency. Do video games interfere with the rest of life, not just school? I've heard they do.

M Light

Steal away. I feel like there must be something behind why people have more difficulty with one than another (that is, for people who don't either have difficulty with both or with neither), but I haven't figured it out yet. Political persuasion also doesn't seem to work - at least not among the people I know.

I'll be interested to see what conclusions you draw.

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