Video Games: The New American Pastime

Today’s food for thought:

As the Christian Science Monitor brings out, 183 million Americans play video games at least an “hour a day.” Virtually all Americans (97 percent) ages 12 to 17 play video games. And almost 5 million Americans play at least 40 hours a week—the equivalent of a full-time job.

Millions of people live, breath and play in virtual worlds. It is not only young people either. Atari hit it big in the early 1970s. Today, one quarter of all gamers are over the age of 50.

By the time the average American youth turns 21, he will on average have spent 10,000 hours playing video games over the course of more than a decade.

Consider that number. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000-hour rule. To achieve mastery in any field of expertise, he explains, takes about 10,000 hours of practice over the course of about 10 years. Experts become experts because they abide by this rule. “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good,” Gladwell writes. “It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Imagine what those 5 million Americans who spend 40 hours a week playing video games could accomplish if they instead devoted that much work to something useful. In just five years, this country would have 5 million more master designers, craftsmen, engineers, pilots, scientists, builders, artists, architects, painters, geologists, farmers, inventors, poets, screenplay writers, opera singers, tuba players—the list goes on and on. Imagine how different America could be if the 183 million Americans who spend at least one hour a day playing video games did the same thing.

And now imagine the world we might live in if all these people took just a portion of that time and spent it with their families and taught their children how to become experts themselves.

What a different, more prosperous, more inspiring, more beautiful world we would live in. How would your life be different? Are you willing to change the course of your child’s life?

Many people look at America and decry its deficiencies. People see its economy collapsing. They see America’s waning influence and its growing list of enemies. They see the political fighting and dysfunction in Washington and a house divided among itself. They see a nation of eroding morals and common decency.

And they wonder, why are these things happening, and why doesn’t someone stand up and put this nation back on course?

Full article: Video Games: The New American Pastime (The Trumpet)

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