Imagine that you have a pretty good life, and within a year you have lost everything because of addiction – not to alcohol, drugs or gambling, but to playing a video game. I read this article on Kotaku several years ago, but had forgotten many of the details. When I read through it again a couple weeks ago, it was as depressing as when I read it the first time. (The good news, obviously, is the man put his life back together.)
The scary thing about this article is that not only could I have been this guy, I recognize some of his bad behaviors and bad attitudes in myself, especially 15 or 20 years ago. Only by God’s grace did I avoid falling into the abyss that this man fell into.
There was an excellent book a few years back by Michael Kimmel describing how many men are avoiding becoming real men by living in “guyland” – a period of extended adolescence marked by (above all else) the avoidance of heavy responsibility. Go read it. There are a great many reasons why this phenomenon exists, but it is very destructive to the men living in guyland and for society as a while.
I have joked before that you have not lived until you have stumbled into work bleary-eyed and half awake on three hours of sleep because your newborn will not stop crying and go to sleep unless he is being held. But that is an incredibly effective weapon to kill guyland – responsibility. When you are caring for a baby, you cannot be absorbed in yourself. The core of manhood is responsibility.
I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with video games, or any other form of entertainment that causes young men (and older men) to abandon manhood and responsibility to live in guyland. Anything can be a snare and can lead you into the abyss of self-absorption. So how how does one avoid or escape guyland? Embrace responsibility. Embrace service. Embrace work. And if God gives you children, embrace caring for them, teaching them, disciplining them and taking responsibility for them. Taking care of children is an incredibly effective method of sanctification.