Wed. Feb 1st, 2023

KELSEY REED: Hiya, and welcome to Concurrently: The Information Coach Podcast from WORLD Radio and God’s WORLD Information. We’re right here to come back alongside you as you disciple youngsters and college students via cultural developments and present occasions. I’m Kelsey Reed. I’m right here with Jonathan Boes.


KELSEY: Collectively we wish to mannequin dialog and apply instruments you should use at dwelling or within the classroom. We’d love so that you can ship in your specific questions to handle in future episodes. However for as we speak, we’re laying a basis and sourcing our materials from information tales we’re studying and writing via our work at God’s WORLD Information.

JONATHAN: In the present day, we wish to discuss one thing that’s at all times out and in of the headlines. There’s at all times some new examine or some new report. It’s the topic of video video games. There are such a lot of questions on video video games, and I really feel like particularly this final 12 months—the loneliness epidemic, an absence of motivation, an absence of friendship—lots of people level to these issues taking place within the lives of younger males and teenage boys particularly, they usually draw video video games into it. They level to the presence of video video games within the lives of those younger males and wish to make video video games the offender. That appears to be the pattern of lots of completely different headlines articles we’re seeing. So how can we kind via this situation correctly, as an alternative of merely passively accepting what the headlines are telling us?

KELSEY: I actually recognize that we’re a distinct shade than in our final episode of what I’d say is the same epidemic. We talked a bit about how influencing and social media affect impacts our kids’s lives. And infrequently we’re seeing that social media affect is usually pernicious to women. It’s most damaging within the lives of ladies when it comes to that affect on them. Against this, what we’re seeing within the lives of younger males is that this video gaming: what it seems to be like for them to spend hours and hours—as an alternative of scrolling on social media—they’re spending hours upon hours in entrance of the online game. Being a girl, I can actually discern the will for relational connection that comes with social media. However for me, gaming doesn’t have that very same attraction. So I wish to know, what do you consider that? How does that come near you, Jonathan?

JONATHAN: After I was a child, a lot of video gaming was on the sofa with your folks. Everyone has a controller. You’re enjoying on the identical display screen, making an attempt to not peek at what the opposite individual is doing so that you’re not dishonest. And it was truly an awesome technique of connection for me. Rising up, I used to be sort of a shy child. Typically I had hassle connecting with different youngsters. And you already know, C.S. Lewis in The 4 Loves—you’re going to note I discuss C.S. Lewis an excessive amount of on this podcast—

KELSEY: Oh, it’s by no means an excessive amount of. It’s by no means an excessive amount of.

JONATHAN: I’m three for 3. However he writes about the concept that, typically, the best way males type friendships shouldn’t be dealing with one another, not essentially speaking to one another about one another, however targeted on the same aim. Doing a process collectively. And that undoubtedly proved true in my life, partly via video video games. I can level to a number of friendships the place breaking the ice was enjoying video video games collectively on a sofa. However I believe it’s rather a lot completely different these days. So many video video games have moved on-line. I nonetheless play video video games from time to time, and it’s uncommon to discover a online game that has native multiplayer, the place you possibly can sit with your folks on the sofa. Virtually each recreation is online-focused, the place you’re enjoying with strangers who’re disembodied voices.

KELSEY: Even if you get a gaming system, I discover that it comes with one controller. It’s a really completely different factor than after I was rising up with, ahem, the primary era of Nintendo. However anyway, sure. It’s very attention-grabbing. It’s one thing that I’m observing in your story— video games supplied an opportunity for connection, supplied a shared venture. I like that concept. Prior to now, we’ve talked about what it means to be shoulder-to-shoulder for one thing, it collectively. And in order that jogs my memory, if you’re speaking a few shared venture, the posture of being subsequent to at least one one other. There was one thing in that that was superb for you. And but one thing has modified. So what else would possibly we are saying that we’re noticing? Is there the rest that we’re discovering is part of the brokenness? Or what have we additionally seen that’s nonetheless good about this gaming tradition?

JONATHAN: Earlier than we even get into video video games themselves and what we are able to affirm or what we are able to problem, I believe we are able to again as much as speak concerning the goodness of relaxation and play—but in addition how these issues can develop into not good in a sure context. I ponder in case you have ideas on that, particularly because it pertains to video video games. However much more normally, I believe relaxation and play have an actual goal—however how do they play out in video video games? And the way can additionally they flip into one thing that’s possibly not so good?

KELSEY: That’s such an awesome query for us to wrestle with. While you ask it, I instantly take into consideration the rhythms that the Lord gave us within the first days of creation. Relaxation and work have been at all times part of the design, the superb design we got. And, clearly, He additionally gave us this skill to create manifold issues. He advised us to exit and to form the world. Effectively, the place we’re at in our present age, a part of shaping the world means creating video video games. So we’re creating one thing as we picture the Lord. However even it must comply with that sample of relaxation and work. It wants to suit into our sample of relaxation and work.

So an awesome query to reiterate is: The place does our utilization of the display screen or our utilization of social media—or specific to as we speak, our utilization of video gaming—the place does that match into the wholesome human sample of relaxation, possibly even play and work? The sample wants to incorporate even joyful abandon generally, nevertheless it by no means simply stays there. We don’t glut out something. It’s not good for us to spend 15 hours doing something,

JONATHAN: You used the phrase “rhythm.” That’s an awesome phrase to convey into this, the thought of the rhythm of labor and relaxation. Such as you stated, we see that in creation. You will have the six days of God making issues after which the seventh day of relaxation. There was a time in my later teenage years when the sport Skyrim got here out. You’d flip it on, and it felt like quarter-hour. Then you definately’d take a look at the clock and three hours had passed by. And also you’re identical to, “The place did that point go?”

KELSEY: That was Closing Fantasy X for me. After all, one in every of my college students launched that into my life. However Closing Fantasy
was a kind of time suck video games. “The place did it go?”

JONATHAN: And I believe there’s something distinctive about video video games, that they will suck time like that. I don’t assume that essentially makes it incorrect, however I believe it does name for us being conscious of that, and of the rhythm of relaxation and work—each as people but in addition as dad and mom who’re setting rhythms for our youngsters.

KELSEY: So we’re speaking concerning the rhythm, and the way it’s not good for us to spend 15 hours in entrance of something. We additionally talked concerning the phenomenon of it being completely different for women and boys. As a mother of ladies, I’ve seen the phenomenon is completely different for them. I’ve talked about earlier than that social media appears to be extra of the draw. They like video video games, nevertheless it doesn’t suck them into that point spend in the identical approach social media does. However I do know that what’s happening on the mind degree is that it’s a dopamine hit for them, in the identical approach that for boys the online game provides them the dopamine hit. There’s a wonderful article and podcast that’s been launched not too long ago from The Gospel Coalition by Sarah Zylstra. I believe that’s the way you pronounce her final identify, and her article is “Gaming Alone: Serving to the Technology of Younger Males Captivated and Remoted by Video Video games.”

She does an awesome job of discussing that it’s a dopamine hit. It’s one thing that rewires our mind, when we’ve that chemical expertise, that quick response to one thing we’re doing, and we’re seeing it’s productive or at the least react to us. So in video gaming, we’re having publicity to one thing that doesn’t essentially domesticate these rhythms. It provides us this cost, this feel-good expertise, and possibly breaks these healthful rhythms we’ve been speaking about.

JONATHAN: That’s one other factor to concentrate on. I believe that’s completely different in video games as we speak, versus even a era in the past. Not that there wasn’t the “dopamine hit” side of them. Nevertheless it’s the best way that’s mined by present videogame corporations. There’s the rise of the microtransaction, which drives gamers loopy, nevertheless it additionally sucks them in. It’s an enormous business. Quite a lot of these actually standard video games these days, like Fortnite, you don’t pay something for them up entrance. They’re free to play, which seems to be superior. It’s like, “Oh, cool. I don’t have to pay something to play this recreation.” Nevertheless it’s full of those little purchases you may make to improve your character, to realize abilities. And people add up. And the best way they earn money is by conserving you enjoying, conserving that dopamine hit coming.

In a bizarre approach, we’ve come full circle. Prior to now, you’d have video video games simply within the arcade, designed to make you retain placing in quarters. After which we had this good reprieve for a number of generations of at-home console video games, the place you couldn’t even hook up with the web, you couldn’t pay something however the upfront price. And now we’ve come all the best way again to video video games designed to maintain you paying, not simply with cash, however with consideration.

KELSEY: Precisely. I used to be going to say that I’m low cost. If we play something on-line, we gained’t make the in-game purchases. However the best way you’re employed round that’s you watch an advert, and you then watch one other advert for it to unlock the issues that you’d in any other case should pay cash for. So nonetheless, you’re paying along with your consideration. The whole lot that it does, it seeks to have you ever linger lengthy on the display screen. The extra consideration you give it, the extra time you give it, the extra profitable the sport or the producers of the sport are.

So there’s a motive behind the gaming we’d like to concentrate on, even similtaneously saying there’s not essentially something inherently incorrect or damaged concerning the recreation itself. However who is likely to be behind the sport? Let’s take into consideration their motives, and tips on how to assist our kids discern these motives as we search to assist them with the disciplines of turning the sport off. In order any individual who as a younger man performed video games, what have been a number of the most useful disciplines you related to? How did your dad and mom communicate to you about gaming? Or what was your expertise that precipitated you to appreciate you wanted a restrict?

JONATHAN: In all probability the expertise that led me to appreciate I wanted to restrict was after I performed Spider-Man 2 all day and went to mattress at night time and will nonetheless hear the sound results in my head audibly. However yeah, I had dad and mom who set a restrict for me, and the expertise of enjoying sure video games the place it will really feel like no time had handed in any respect. You’d lookup and hours had handed. And you’d sense, “Man, the place did that point go?”

However I didn’t cease enjoying these video games, as a result of I nonetheless actually cherished a few of these video games. To today, video games like Skyrim—that’s an extremely designed recreation—and from time to time I nonetheless get pleasure from enjoying that recreation. However I’m conscious of how simple it’s for time to get sucked into this. So you could have limits for your self, or some sort of limits to your youngsters if they will’t set them for themselves, to assist set up more healthy rhythms. As a result of it’s very easy not to concentrate on how a lot time is passing.

KELSEY: We talked final episode about what it means to glut out on sugar. Some youngsters acknowledge that was horrible for them. There are indicators we are able to even assist them pay attention to, you already know, “Did you discover how that gave you a headache?” Or on this online game story, we might help spotlight, “Did you discover the way it saved you up all night time, since you simply have been listening to the sounds in your head?” That’s what it was for me. I dreamed concerning the music on a number of the fabulous pc video games we bought to play. They have been designed for one of many outdated computer systems, the Amiga—Myst and Riven and a bunch of the longer puzzle video games. That’s what drew me in, these puzzles, and the music was fabulous. The graphics have been fabulous. However for me, I didn’t acknowledge I used to be paying for it till I bought off and I had my headache or I had cramps from sitting in a single place too lengthy.

As dad and mom, we’ve these kids, significantly teenagers, who’re beginning to belief their very own discernment increasingly. They’re leaning on their very own understanding. And generally we’ve to assist them observe these penalties they’re feeling, gently asking them a query to be able to assist level that out.

JONATHAN: I can think about any individual listening to this and pondering, “Wow, this online game stuff simply sounds actually addictive and unhealthy. Why even mess with it?” So what do you see as one thing good about video video games? Is there a goodness in that want to play video video games? Is there one thing we are able to affirm on this?

KELSEY: I do assume there’s. I imply, whilst we talked, I considered a number of the magnificence I’ve skilled within the design, and a number of the methods it actually helped my mental growth to play these puzzle video games the place you’re wanting and also you’re looking. I performed them with my dad, so I had any individual who was just a little bit older than me. It was our second to share in fellowship and even mentoring. There have been issues that have been so nice about that, and that I believe we are able to search to emulate once more. The fellowship points.

However one of many issues additionally talked about by this text is simply the goodness of play. We’ve talked about rhythms, possibly emphasizing these rhythms of relaxation and work. However I wish to return to the truth that play is one thing we have been designed for, and that we have been designed for pleasure. There’s the chance to expertise that—once more, inside wholesome limits—supplied to us in these nice designs. So how can we have interaction it to reap one of the best good thing about play and of pleasure and of lovely design and of creativity?

Dad and mom, you could ask these of your self and of the kid who’s in entrance of you. As a result of it’s not going to be the identical for each little one, identical to it’s not the identical as we’ve illustrated between ladies and boys. We’re wired in another way. We search various things to create these dopamine hits. Our kids are additionally so various from each other. Even between my ladies, I’ve one little one who would in all probability be extra addictive in nature in direction of these issues on the display screen. After which I’ve one other little one who couldn’t care much less about what’s on the display screen or the online game. She will be part of her sisters in play after which simply unplug and go to work her craft, work her artwork, work her music. the kids in entrance of you. That is a kind of the explanation why we maintain emphasizing that we’re coming alongside as an alternative of telling you, “That is what knowledge seems to be like.” As a result of solely you have got that relationship the place you see how your little one is presented, how they’re wrestling with the curses that come from the autumn, what’s the specific limitation or battle they’ve in their very own flesh.

JONATHAN: And one other factor: We are able to have interaction with video video games, many video video games, the identical approach we have interaction with movies or books. As a result of particularly these days—not as a lot the net video games like Fortnite and Name of Responsibility—lots of video video games, particularly issues popping out of indie builders, smaller video games, are actually telling attention-grabbing tales and really utilizing the type of online game to do stuff you couldn’t actually do the identical approach in one other format.

And the identical approach you’d stroll a child via the method of participating deliberately with what they’re studying, it’s truly one thing that might be engaged with beneficially. Patrick Miller wrote an article for Christ and Pop Tradition, known as “The Case for Taking Video Video games Critically.” And he talks about that too. He truly introduced it again to one of many Closing Fantasy video games. There’s storytelling energy on this medium.

I do know for me, an expertise I cherished was this recreation known as The Stanley Parable, which asks questions on free will. There’s a narrator within the recreation who describes all the pieces you’re doing. You come to a spot the place there are two doorways in entrance of you, and the narrator says, “Stanley took the door on the left.” However you possibly can select to take the left or the fitting. And your expertise modifications relying on what you do. It’s only a enjoyable expertise, once more, again to the thought of play. However you may also take a recreation like that and the locations it goes and really have interaction with what it’s saying. It’s not only a throwaway expertise of play. I believe there’s an entire world of tales there that folks generally overlook.

KELSEY: Sure. While you’re speaking about these selections and watching these unfold in a recreation, in fact I instantly consider chess. However the different connection level to me is simply story normally, as you stated, with movie, with books. We reside in a world and are created in an embodied sense to reply to story. We reside throughout the story. And so each different story ultimately or one other displays on that story. It exhibits us one thing of brokenness or of man’s want, or one thing of magnificence and of the great thing about redemption, of the hope of Any person coming to avoid wasting and to make all issues proper. So justice. The entire vital themes are labored out in story.

One other factor we are able to affirm in video video games is that they’re an opportunity to reside inside story and to expertise the issues which can be vital—the themes which can be vital—on this world. Even simply listening to good story wires us for discernment of our world. Story shouldn’t be a throwaway factor. It’s important to the best way it shapes our pondering, and even our engagement of the world round us. The capital S Story during which we reside. I like that time.

So to begin pivoting in direction of that self-awareness we attempt to do, the place we’re eager about the best way we’ve talked, the instruments we’ve employed to additional our dialog, I’m going to allow you to make a stab at it. First, what are a number of the instruments we’ve already been working with as we speak?

JONATHAN: We’ve undoubtedly been what we are able to affirm and what we are able to problem. And we’ve additionally operated just a little bit in emotional intelligence, speaking about the best way particularly boys join with one another.

KELSEY: Sure. We’ve talked about some developmental understanding, the variety between growth for boys and growth for women. So we’re asking questions that assist to spotlight what we’re observing when it comes to the variations between the kids in entrance of us, even the variations between the sexes. We’re utilizing that very, crucial instrument of asking questions, and making observations. That’s one thing we use from a instrument we prefer to name SOAR, the place we get a way of, “What is that this overarching factor we’re eager about? And what observations can we make about it?” Earlier than we begin to leap into that evaluation or determine whether or not or not we like video video games, we’re making an attempt to decelerate and observe the nice threads we are able to pull aside and identify rigorously, in order that we are able to then additionally decide what’s worthy, and what would possibly have to be critiqued.

Different issues we’ve been utilizing as we speak: We actually wish to make sure you hear the biblical narrative each single time we discuss what we’re affirming or what we’re difficult. So we’re it via a redemptive lens, or the lens of the redemptive narrative. Issues have been created pretty much as good. The Lord set good patterns for us. And so we wish to see: How do these match into these authentic good intentions of the Lord, and the nice methods we mirror Him? Once more, earlier than we leap into what we’d critique or see as part of the fallen nature of the world round us.

JONATHAN: Additionally simply these theological foundations. Having a theology of relaxation, having a theology of labor, having a theology of play. These issues come to bear on a subject like this.

KELSEY: I wish to give a few of that biblical provision for pondering. We like to level in direction of these issues, these themes in scripture we’ve been working with, at the least within the background of our thought, and convey it just a little bit extra to the forefront.

We see that the Lord gave a mandate to people who He created, to create like He created, beneath Him and with the entire supplies that He had made. So we glance in Genesis 1, beginning in verse 26, when He says: “‘Allow us to make man in our picture, after our likeness. And allow them to have dominion over the fish of the ocean and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all of the earth and over each creeping factor that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His personal picture, within the picture of God He created him; female and male He created them.”

And He blessed them. And God stated to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion. Behold, I’ve given you each good factor.” And He noticed all the pieces that He had made—that is dropping right down to verse 31—“And God noticed all the pieces that He had made, and behold, it was superb. And there was night and there was morning, the sixth day . . . And on the seventh day God completed His work that He had finished, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had finished. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, as a result of on it God rested from all His work that He had finished in creation.”

You may hear that a few of this was paraphrasing, highlighting a number of the phrases we’ve used and touched on. If you wish to do a deeper examine along with your youngsters, go to Genesis 1-2 and see these rhythms, and acknowledge possibly in them the goodness of what it means to have interaction within the work of creation alongside the Lord and beneath His authority. But in addition, simply as He sat down, simply as He rested, to hunt these rhythms of relaxation and to place them of their correct locations. We’re studying how to do that alongside you. We’re excited to have the ability to be co-learners and co-laborers with you. And we welcome you to ask your questions. Ship them to [email protected]

JONATHAN: That’s [email protected] We’d love to listen to your questions, or even when there’s a present occasion or a culture-related situation you’ve been working via along with your youngsters, we’d love to listen to about that. Even in the event you don’t have a particular query about it, we’d love to listen to about it so we are able to discuss it too and stroll alongside you as you’re employed via it.

KELSEY: Dad and mom, lecturers, mentors of scholars: You’re uniquely positioned to have the best impression on the youngsters and college students in your lives. In Christ, and by the ability of His Spirit, we’ve considerable provision. He has geared up you for the work.

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