Dear President Obama...

By Yaris Gutierrez

September 11, 2009

For years on end, gamers have been plagued with the same continuous rants from religious aficionados, parents, and political deities that gaming harms the minds of our youths and promotes an egregious form of thought and violence. With the constant evolution of graphical capabilities within gaming, the attraction to experience something in a different form of entertainment tends to appeal crowds of every form; whether its children, teenagers, adults, the elderly, this consistent transformation in technology grasps the minds of all. This doesn’t only apply to gaming, of course. This applies to the movie industry, the music industry, and anything else which profits from the technological gain that distracts our consciousness. I won’t deny that too much gaming without constraints, in fact, can decay the minds of our children and so forth. But this goes for anything that we consume without moderation.

President Obama, for the second time this year, addressed parents of our country to be much more attentive to our children, which included “putting away the Xbox.” Does gaming really distract our children’s mental fruition that much that it needs to be controlled to a point where it should be almost obsolete in their daily lives? I would have to say no. I can see where the president is going with this. I really can. Like the majority of the people arguing the same case – or people arguing the case of violence in videogames – a medium of entertainment that’s followed by millions worldwide should not be singled out as one of the main reasons why our children are becoming more distracted on both physical and mental levels. Removing video games won’t increase a child’s intellect; Bad parenting and lack of funding to schools that need it lead to this intellectual decline. Gaming is a form of entertainment as are movies, wrestling, toys, theater, music, and sports. Should we just ban it all because they contain elements that can distract the genius of the youths of today? Instead of penetrating the issues that do affect a child’s mental development like lack of books in the majority of the schools in rural, poor neighborhoods, people want to blame parents for allowing their children to play their console of choice. Supply the tools for intellectual growth – give them books, teachers that know how to actually teach, classrooms that aren’t overpopulated, programs that encourage mental augmentation. We can point our fingers and constantly blame the parents for not attending to their child’s scholarly maturation, but, realistically, the same advice can be given to the very folks who affect their lives outside the home; the very people who can make the necessary changes to promote healthy, fortunate and equal educational opportunities throughout the country for every child – our country’s leaders.

Everyone wants to have an opinion with regards to eliminating gaming from the lives of our children. Instead of offering the choice of moderation, as should be done with everything else, the total exemption from this form of entertainment is what’s offered as advice. People like you, President Obama, fail to realize that games aren’t just about running around and decapitating a zombie’s head. Video games have benefits to children which most of us overlook. It promotes good eye-hand coordination, reading, problem solving skills, overcoming obstacles, critical thinking and competition – skill that educators applaud.

A study showed that almost all teens and kids – 97 percent – play video games, and that the most popular types of games are not violent. Instead, they involve racing, puzzles and sports – the types of games that are good for them to acknowledge.

Without moderation, anything we do as people is either too much or too little. Anything not done in moderation impacts all our lives negatively. Instead of focusing on eliminating video games from the living rooms of our homes, why not focus on more important issues that have plagued our citizens for decades including a fundamental healthcare system or creating jobs for the unemployed? We need a working government that works for its people; not one that saturates on problems not worth pondering over. Just an idea, Mr. President.

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Yaris Gutierrez

Born and raised in New York City, Yaris is one of three co-founders at DualShockers. Gaming since the inception of Nintendo in the 80's, he has grown to avidly appreciate games of every genre, maturing his preference specifically now to third-person action games, first-person shooters and JRPGs. He's a software engineer, father and husband during the day, and mildly attempts to hold onto his "hardcore gamer" title during the evenings. An attempt that he tends to fail miserably at.

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