DSM: R: DSM Video Games

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (ardeshir@sympatico.ca)
Date: Wed May 09 2001 - 12:36:51 EDT


Hi there:

Joe Jackson wrote:

> ...
>
> When I was a kid we played outside all the time because access to enriching
> things like television, video games, PC games and the internet either didn't
> exist or were very limited. We played in the dirt because we were bored
> shitless. We dreamed up scenario using plastic army men and sticks.
> Definitely not as good as computers.
>
> I'm not really sure why you would think of television as sugar. We have two
> televisions with satellite, and all our kids ever watch is Animal Planet a
> half hour a day or so. Television is enriching in quite a few more ways
> than sugar is (although sugar has plenty of non-nutritive enriching
> properties). Is it because TV is stimulating and sugar is stimulating as
> well?
>
> Anyway, our kids watch as much TV as they want. When they were young they
> might have spent an hour or more a day, but then they moved on to better
> things. Lots of kids (especially the conventionally-schooled neighbor kids)
> watch more TV, but I think that's because adults make their lives
> fantastically dull all day and then they leave school exhausted but craving
> stimulation. The manic-depressive pattern of the classic workaholic.

I agree wholeheartedly with this post.

My boys also watch as much television as they like, and it
hasn't spoiled their mental "teeth". (Come to that, they eat
as much sugar and chocolate as they like too. It has spoiled
one son's teeth rotten and yet not those of the other son. I
myself drink cola all night long -- little sips whenever I
wake up, which is quite often -- and despite my dentist's
forebodings, have had no problems with my teeth from it.
So perhaps it's not the sugar *per se*, but the mix of sugar
with the different bacteria in the mouth, which probably
varies from person to person. BTW: I brush my teeth only
once a day.)

I came from a country, India, where was no TV (when I
grew up, in the '50s), so when I first saw it I watched as
much as I could -- the good, the bad and the ugly. But as
time passed I watched less and less. Now I only watch
those programs which I think are superb. (And I even
stay awake late at night if I think they are *really* good,
like *Miami Vice* re-runs!) But the total number of TV
hours I watch has gone down drastically.

Same with the kids. They too came from a "country" -- the
womb -- where there was no TV. Initially they watched
every show ... as long at it was a cartoon! Now they watch
only the programs they like, and that's a lot fewer.

As to work / play, I live by the dictum enunciated by
George Bernard Shaw through the mouth of one of his
characters, a defrocked Irish priest: "I dream of a heaven
where work is play and play is life -- three in one and one
in three." My long-time pen-pal, Robert Rimmer of
Quincy, Mass., who wrote "The Harrad Experiment" in the
'sixties, has written a much more recent novel about this
concept entitled "The Byrdwhistle Option", which I think
describes the concept beautifully.

I apologise, by the way, if my e-mail exchanges with Cindy
have given the impression that I think computer games are
good because they allow *important* skills to be devel-
oped -- I think they are good because they allow *fun* skills
to be developed. I too would love to fly low and slow over
the trees and lakes like Cindy, but I don't -- yet -- have the
money even for an ultra-light. (But I have H-I-G-H hopes!)

But seriously, Cindy, flying well beyond supersonic
speed without crashing, as low as you possibly can over
mountains and through canyons, and then zooming up to
far above 60,000 ft where the air is so thin the controls
won't work any more, and roll around up there totally out
of control without *fear* of crashing, is a *great* thrill! So
is trying to get back to the airport from there, when the air-
port is 400 miles away and you have no fuel left in the tank
... and so, too, is diving down onto the runway almost verti-
cally at more than 500 knots, pulling up and air-braking
down to 200 knots at almost the last minute, and then landing
safely. You can't do all that in a float plane, now can you --
any of it except for the "landing safely" bit at the end.

Nowadays, thanks to video games, for just $10 (in Canadian
money, at that!) anyone can get to fly a (US) $100,000,000
jet, and experience almost everything it has to offer, including
blackouts. Talk about saving yourself money!

All the best,

Ardeshir <http://homepage. mac. com/ardeshir/education. html>

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