I believe video games have the potential to make or break our society. It’s great that they can create jobs where people can earn real money doing so, and they never have to leave their house. It’s great for disabled or handicapped people who physically or mentally cannot have a job in an office where they have to interact with humans. But, it has potential to do real damage to our society as well.
In Synthetic Worlds, Castronova discusses the growth trend in video games. And with the advancements in video games, the advancements in violence and obesity have grown too. The amount of children who are now obese (and people in general too, not just kids) in this generation definitely correlates with video games. Children get so addicted to these virtual worlds, like World of Warcraft where it takes hours and hours of playing to “level up” and advance in the game rather then a quick game of Mario Kart like in the 90s.
Studies have also been done correlating the violence in video games and seeing if they cause violence in real life, and I don’t know if I agree with it. But I do agree that children of young ages are being subjected to TOO much of everything in these video games. Violence, sex, bad words, etc. This is the idea of “synthetic worlds” that Castronova describes as a virtual worlds that grows with the outside world “like two vines on a tree, each one imposing more influence on each other’s development year by year.”
These are reasons why we should care about virtual worlds. We don’t need to care about them and their manifestations, and we don’t need to join and spend hours playing in order to “care” about them. But we do need to recognize what they are, what they mean to our society, and what they do. Before this generation, they were not relevant or important but now they are a powerful new communication technology and this is why we need to persuade people to care about them. We need to persuade people to care about them because they are new, where as we don’t need to persuade people about being doctors because that practice has been around for centuries.