Online Gaming: Fear, Fiction and Fact

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Tyler Monk, Chinook Multi 4-H Club Speech

Tyler Monk was a participant in the recent Chinook Multi 4-H Club 2013 Club Level Communication Competition. The following is a speech he prepared and presented at that event.

Thank you masters of ceremonies, honourable judges, ladies and gentlemen, and my fellow 4-H members. My name is Tyler Monk and this speech is about online gaming – fear, fiction, and fact.

Online gaming is a relatively new development in our society, and since many parents didn’t grow up with online gaming, they are afraid of their children playing online. Here are some of the many things parents think and feel about online gaming:

Parents think their children are going to be violent and become criminals.
Parents thing sitting too close to the T.V while playing video games can cause you to require eye glasses.
Parents fear that their children will pick up bad language on online conversations and Internet debates.
Parents think that their children will become unhealthy and obese.
Parents think that their children will have no social life.
Parents are deeply afraid of Internet predators.
Here the actual facts about all of these fears and fictions:
It is false that children will get violent and become criminals just because of video games. Whenever you hear about a school shooting, the media and the public like to blame it on games like Call of Duty, but the truth is just that the shooters are mentally ill, and some of them may have played video games. Sometimes the shooters might say “Call Of Duty made me do it,” they are just trying to make an excuse so that they don’t have to come to grips with what they did because, it probably hurts them to think about it in their minds. Before video games, people used to say “The devil made me do it” and parents used to blame heavy metal music for violent behaviour. The more things change, the more they stay the same when it comes to the human condition.
If you believe video games can cause damage to the eyes you are both wrong and correct because video games can cause eye strain after long periods of playing three or more hours without taking a break, but even that is temporary. Very rarely and I mean rarely can video games cause Myopia or nearsightedness, so just monitor the time your child is playing video games and they should be fine.
For my next fact I’ll just say that your children are going to hear bad language everywhere in life and the world so there really isn’t a way to prevent it. But they are more likely to pick up bad language from you, or at school or even from the crazy kook who lives next door!
If your child plays nothing but video games and sits around all day snacking on junk food then will of course they are going to become obese. They need a balanced healthy lifestyle so that they are not just playing video games or just exercising. Too much of anything is bad for you.
Some parents think that their children will grow up having no friends and no social life when really it’s as simple as limiting the time they can play the video games and making sure they are involved in social activities like 4-H clubs.
The fear of online predators is valid, but there were predators to be afraid of long before the Internet was invented. But the good news is that there are very few of them, and you can teach your child how to be safe. Just like you tell your children not to talk to strangers, you should make sure you child knows what is appropriate to say online in front of strangers. For an example, they should never say their address or their real name. Parents should check the computer history to see what sites your child has been visiting and listen to their online conversations just to make sure everything is safe.
Computers and technology are a big part of our modern life, and parents should help their children develop the skills to use the Internet safely. Children need adult guidance to be ready for the real world, and parents need to realize that online interaction isn’t just a game – it’s part of real life now.

As Winston Churchill once said, “You have nothing to fear but fear itself.”