Dear President Obama…

Dear President Obama…

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.

16 responses to “Dear President Obama…”

  1. Jason says:

    “I can see where the president is going with this. I really can.”

    I have to disagree with you, I don’t think you do.

    The President was NOT telling us that it should become obsolete (although ‘removed’ would be a more accurate word) from our daily lives but should not become such a high priority. He does seem to understand that entertainment is important but that too much entertainment can be a bad thing as it prevents us as humans from being productive in our lives and useful to society. Which I have to agree with him.

    When he said “putting away the Xbox” he wasn’t speaking literally, as people so unfortunately think he’s doing. He was simply mentioning a specific type of Video Game (in this case a console) that is very popular to further identify and connect with his target audience. Although I must say I am very proud that you didn’t get on his case about him specifically mentioning the Xbox.

    In conclusion the point of your article, I feel, is invalid. You try and make a case of why video games should be left in the household and why people should be allowed to play them. The reasons you did give are good and sound, but they weren’t relevant to what President Obama was trying to say.

  2. Ares says:

    Yes Jason but he singled us out. What about people who watch sports all day? A game is 3 hours long! And most of them will watch another right after it. Surely sports junkies should be singled out first. And then there’s the movie watchers, the reality tv fanatics, ect. I know the target is kids here but parents play a role in that. Obama should not concern himself with entertainment choices at all. It is none of his business. There are more important issues. As a gamer he singled me out regardless how much playing time I have, I don’t want another nagging voice in my life. Seriously, if Bush said this, you’de be all over him, right? I take care of my kids, he takes care of our taxes. How does that sound?

  3. boomy says:

    I completely agree with you. I am a huge gamer. I never learned how to moderate. Now, at my age, I should be top of my classes and everything that goes with it, but I am playing way too many hours, working way too many hours. No way to put effort on my homework. I live in Canada and the same issues happen over here. The government is trying to do the same. Eliminating video games will not solve the problems… The only way I see to solve it is to learn moderation. Moderation for video games is also moderation in many other part of my life… Which is really good to learn, and it is still possible to have some fun playing a few nice looking games 🙂

    Moderation should be emphasize just like Mr. Gutierrez said in this article. Learn moderation and we are solving so many issues… (alcohol, drugs, cigarets, video games, just to name a few) which cuz many health problem that cost a lot of money from the society… I live in quebec so its all public health care. All the money comes from workers. 🙁

    Take care all
    Play with moderation

  4. George says:

    I agree with Jason. You missed the entire point of his speech. “Xbox” does not even refer to video games, it refers to anything, ANYTHING, that diverts a student’s attention from their education. You cannot deny that video games do that. I’m a college student and I have to tell myself to put away the games all the time…and I”M A COLLEGE STUDENT. Imagine how hard it is to stay disciplined for a student in elementary school.

  5. Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the response. 🙂 Above I did mention the word “moderation” which I used to indicate that too much of anything can be egregious to the growth of our kids, let alone us as people. I’m definitely for and agree with his outlook that entertainment, especially in the growth of our children, should be kept at bay while further pushing them to pursue education. This can be said about anything, though. If you look at the number of children with the educational disadvantage that everyone else has, though, you’d see where I’m coming from. I’m not arguing that his case is blatantly wrong; I am arguing that instead of lecturing our country on steering kids toward the righteous path of education, that maybe things like more funding should be implemented to give each of our kids a fair and equal opportunity in learning. Let’s put it this way: When I was in elementary school, I had to share one book with three kids… alternating between who takes it home. How can you expect for education to even flourish in this country when issues like these procrastinate educational growth?

  6. Ares says:

    @ Ralph
    Hey, brother, settle down, lol. Who here feels prosecuted? I sure don’t. And even if it DID become illegal to game, I wouldn’t be worried about it. Nerdy? Halo? I’m no nerd pal and I don’t play Halo so stop generalizing. And btw your language is offensive and low brow. YOU need to get a life and stop going to forums if you’re going to run people down. I never attacked anyone in my message above. You on the other hand need to apologize to everyone who had to read what you wrote. And just for the record, I play very casually dude. I have a pretty heavy job. It just so happens I do love games and this is NOT the first time Obama has mentioned gaming. If you don’t care about gaming, then don’t write here.

  7. @ Ares

    You, my friend, have spoken. My first born will be named after you; hopefully, it’s not a conjoined twin.

  8. gaz says:

    obamas right. put away the xbox360. then buy a ps3 an use that

  9. Ares says:

    @Mr. Gutierrez
    LOL, rock on! Being named after the god of war has its advantages. Thanks for the article, brother. Some of us here appreciate fine talent and great reporting. Dills like Ralph hurt the cause. Cheers.

  10. Ben says:

    I just think it all comes down to the fact that just needs to stay out of our lives. Obama’s ideology compells him to think he has to have a say on everything. “Big Brother” typifies Obama. I disagree with the reference to schools being underfunded. That is a completely inaccurate statement. I work in education, and I can with boldness tell you schools are not underfunded. It’s the content of what is being taught in the classroom, mixed with lack of expectations. Yes, video games may have a tiny role in some problems, but I think (and believe) PARENTS aught to be doing a better job of guiding their children, NOT the man in D.C.

  11. @ Ben

    Just curious, do you work for all systems of education throughout the country? Because over here in New York City it is proven fact that the school systems over here are underfunded. What do I know, though, I just lived here my entire life (same thing goes for schools in Detroit, etc.)

  12. To be honest, if he was referring to “anything and everything that could distract kids today”, he should have said that instead of obviously focusing on a popular gaming system. How are people supposed to take that? I respect President Obama and all, but he shouldn’t be speaking in riddles. If he didn’t mean it the way he said it, he shouldn’t have said it in the first place.

    Great article, Yaris!

  13. Brendan Ecock says:

    This just makes me hate crying children at the movie theaters and the government even more for some reason. I loved this article.

  14. name says:

    he has a point in trying to guide parents to monitor peoples gaming times.
    i was the same when i was younger, if my parents were not home i would sit playing games all day and not do any homework.
    but if you think the american government is strict on videogames come live in australia you have no idea.
    we miss out on half the games because they get banned.
    we get the games weeks if not months after the US.
    and hell now there trying to implement a internet filter so if a game gets banned sites like ebay and co will not work.
    in other words if said filter goes up it will be impossible to import banned games into the country.
    free country indeed, o im sorry did i slip into communist china?
    soon we will be told which shoes were allowed to wear outside the house.

  15. angelica says:

    Yes, I like to game and yes I am a voice within the education system. You are correct to say that NYC schools are underfunded. I also beleive if one wants to succeed, one will work with what you have and make it to the top, even if you have to share your books. I grew up in the projects, I grew up on welfare and I earned my 1st 6 figures when I was 25, its called ambition. Most kids today lack this!
    You see I agree with Obama, when I grew up my mother did her job of raising me, she cooked me dinners, she made sure my hw was done, she took me to the bus to make sure I felt safe going to school and she talked to me cause she wanted to be part of my life. Most parents today let the xbox, ps2, psp, wii, pc, mobile, and tv do their job. Gaming is entertainment and should be provided to kids as a reward. Nowadays its a substitute for parenting. Its really sad…
    Our kids need to get active again, play a sport, read a book, and yes be rewarded with playing video games (there is a lot of positive learning in video games). I think this is what Obama meant. Moderation is good! Most kids spend too much time playing…they need to get educated, cultured and develop social skills by intreatcing with others. Having your xbox act as your babysitter is simply NOT ok!

  16. @angelica: While I agree, gaming shouldn’t be used as a babysitter, I don’t think it should be solely used as a reward system for doing well in other areas of life, either.

    Entertainment shouldn’t be a “reward”, per se, it should be a way to relax, get your mind off things. Kids need that whether they are straight A students or are struggling in school. I know gaming during school, although in moderation, of course, helped me relax and focus on my school work…and I definitely wasn’t the best student. Its a good thing my parents didn’t “put the Xbox away”, otherwise I would have had a rougher time of it.