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Everything your parents told you about computer games was wrong.

Stop playing games and go outside! – Nag, nag, nag

Think back to all those times when you were a kid and your parents would complain about you spending too much time playing games. Well, they were wrong.

While it true spending too much time in a dark room and lying or slouched in front of a screen has its negative effects on our vitamin D production, our pallor and our muscles, there is one major advantage all this game playing had on us all. It made us tech savvy.

Continuous development of new Technology

Why is this important? Well both my parents are close to clueless when it comes to using things like email, or even creating a website for their businesses. They also struggle with smartphones and tablets. I had to set up my fathers email account for him and frequently help him with computer tasks like sending attached documents, uploading or downloading files and other tasks.

When a customer asked him to email an invoice, he had to ask me to help. Credit to him, he is a pensioner born just at the beginning of the second world war with very little exposure to computers, but he recognises the importance of computers nowadays and does try his best.

He even attended a course at the local library: computing for senior citizens, but it is frustrating for him. I’m not sure some of these things can be taught in the traditional way.

On the job learning

A lot of people learn you these things ‘on the job’ so to speak, by getting them and playing around.. My mother is a bit younger and has more exposure with computers, faxes and photocopy working with computers in an office but in some ways is even more behind than my father.

She doesn’t have a website for her business, though I mentioned the idea years ago. She also still relies on various other friends with computer skills to do everything for her like set up Skype accounts, set up an iPad, even choose the passwords for her. Its kind of sad.

A few observations

People without these skills struggle with swiping their fingers on the touchscreens of smartphones. Motor skill in this manner haven’t been as well-developed.

They are frustrated very easily to the point losing their temper or swearing. Some of them still don’t see the value of new technology and lose out on lots of potential business, sales or money by not embracing it as part of their strategy.

Gen X

For my generation, I’m a typical generation X’er, who grew up with computers. I started off with an old ZX Spectrum 48k, then a Master system games console. I had an old IBM and remember the old Dos operating system. It was so much basic compared to Windows.

When Playstation 1 came out, wow, that was something incredible and I also loved playing Civilisation 2 on Microsoft. I spent days, perhaps weeks playing that game. A lot of friend my age had computers and played games. I think this exposure has made my generation easily adopt and adapt to the new technology of smart phones, websites, emails, social media, apps and even other things.

I’m certainly not a computer whizz. There’s loads of things that get me regularly about computers. I totally respect people who can understand different computer languages and can programme or know how to build websites, fix or troubleshoot computer problems. They obviously have a high level of intelligence and I am jealous of them.

World of Warcraft is good for you

One of my close friends has a son who would spend hours playing world of warcraft. Honestly, that game is way beyond me. He would be locked away in his room. His girlfriend or his best friend would often join him all together playing the same game. And I can only say it did him no harm. Quite the opposite. He was polite and well-adjusted. He looked healthy and in fact was so clever he was able to train to become some kind of specialist computer engineer by himself using downloaded pirated learning materials, which enabled him to study and pass a specific qualification that would have cost thousand of pounds otherwise.

Balance

Of course there needs to be balance. As a kid, I would also go out and play games with other kids in the neighbourhood. We’d walk all over the place or ride bicycles. Also it was common to play video games with other kids especially if you got a new game so it became a social and bonding activity.

In this way there was a balance. Theres always a fine line to draw. Like anything in life, they can be addictive in a harmful way or used as a means of avoiding problems and so it is worth watching out for that.

In terms of negating the potential harmful effects. There are some steps. You use it as a treat, perhaps only on a Friday or Saturday night. If you play a game, you try to adopt good sitting posture like the woman sitting cross-legged in the image above. You avoid snacking whilst playing. You play with family.

Keeping up with technology

But looking ahead, I can see how easy it is to fall behind in understanding technology. I see it with my parents. I don’t want to fall too much behind in the future, because I am sure, our technology will continue to develop and become more sophisticated.

And no mistake, things will only get more and more technology-based in the future. Though thankfully, the exception to this will be traditional medicine and acupuncture which I believe will still likely be practiced in a similar fashion to the way it was practiced 3000 years ago. Because where the human body is concerned, we are still the same. Unless we get replaced with androids or surrogates (as in the Bruce Willis movie).

But in regards to other areas of life, communication, administration and daily living, it is worth keeping up with technology and not getting left behind. So for this reason, I think I might just buy myself a Nintendo Switch. Because its good for me.


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Video: The Genki Health Channel

The article above has been adapted and is available as a YouTube video on The Genki Health Channel. Click below to watch:

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