Is playing video games inherently bad?

I have often heard people criticize video games and young men (and older men!) who play video games. I understand the point being made with these criticisms, that young men who spend many hours of their days and nights playing video games are not becoming mature, responsible adults who can provide and care for a family. Video games are a legitimate source of entertainment, but should not be a vehicle to escape the responsibilities of manhood. I understand this because I used to be that guy – the 20-something adolescent.

These criticisms paint with too broad of a brush. Video games can be a means of escaping responsibility and remaining a teenager forever. This is a way for young men to continue living in “Guyland” instead of actually being men. But that can also be said about television, movies, novels, sports, board games, music, web surfing, watching funny videos on the Internet or any other kind of entertainment. I do not think that video games themselves are a vice, though they can be.

The problem is not video games themselves. The problem is “Guyland.” Excessive time spent playing video games is just one way for young men to escape being responsible adults – from truly being men. A “guy” who is determined to avoid manhood can smash his video game console and then get lost in something else just as easily.

What that “guy” needs to do is be committed to the responsibility and respectability of manhood. The first step to manhood is being part of a Bible-believing church with pastors, elders and older men who are committed to helping “guys” escape the extended adolescence of “guyland” and entering manhood.

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