The instant access to information and external stimulus is overwhelming today, particularly when you compare it to a model of my eighties childhood, a time that was revolutionised by the arrival of the Walkman. Children today are super tech savvy, because they need to be. They live in a world that demands it. Most kids have an Ipad or a PC, or both, and almost every home appears to have succumbed to purchasing a gaming console in one form or another. The world of gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry and billions of people can't get enough of it.
Both of my children are avid gamers and can easily while away hours and hours playing in virtual worlds and living out imaginary lives and realities. Both Craig and I also like to game from time to time, and I know that we used to game an awful lot when we were younger and didn't have so many other responsibilities. That first version Playstation console got the biggest flogging from us when we first moved in together, but I don't remember it being the only passion that we had.
Seth is insanely passionate about gaming, he would eat, sleep, and dream it if we didn't put restrictions on it. He lives for it, it's not just a hobby, it's what motivates him. It is not just him, it appears to be most of his friends as well, in fact from what I can ascertain, it would seem that most youths around 10 to 19 years old seem to be totally obsessed with some form of technology. I believe that this tech obsession has risen with the ability to play together online and share experiences through gaming or online social media platforms.
I don't want to sound like I am out of touch or that I have a problem with gaming when I say this, because I actually think that a certain amount of gaming or similar is a really useful stress relief tool and I completely understand the desire to want to go further or gain a new high score in a game, I've been there and done that myself many times. However, when it becomes a person's only passion, surely that is a bad thing right?
Lately I feel like I am fighting a losing battle with Seth in regards to gaming. He does have a number of other things that he likes to do. Like play guitar, read, draw and make art, film stop motion clips and build things - mostly Lego things and he is also really good when it comes to doing his share of chores and helping out when he asked to. However, he only does these things when I make him get offline and do them, which means that they are no longer passions or initiatives of his own volition, they are the things that he does so that he can get me and Craig off his back and then get back online. That's the part that bothers me about it. Not that he loves to game or that he get 100% immersed when he is doing it, because I totally get that, it's the fact that it appears to be the only thing that he gets passionate or excited about anymore.
Craig just laughs and says that he will discover girls soon enough and things will change, but it still worries me, and I fear that I am losing my son to online fodder. I know that sound super dramatic, but I don't want him to only experience joy when he is hooked up and disconnected from real life. I would bet that there are a lot of other parents that feel the same way about this. Their kids are not bad kids or disobedient kids, they are just really addicted to the thrill of online gaming, which means that they are present but completely not present at the same time.
It's really hard to know the best course of action as a parent on this one. We do restrict the amount of time that he has, and he doesn't fight us on that because we keep it fair, but how do I get him excited about other things? What compares to a virtual world where you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you chose to do? An open world that you can be lost in with your friends where you can look anyway you wish and do things that you could never really do in the real world? Nothing is the answer, nothing can compare to that. The virtual world is far more exciting than anything that happens outside of it, and that is why I am losing this battle and it's getting harder and harder to get him passionate about other things, but it feels like shit to admit defeat so I will just keep fighting and hope that something comes along that reignites his passion levels for the real world again.
Release Date: 2016
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 104 mins
An unexpectedly pleasing coming-of-age comedy, directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig with a script that would have impressed John Hughes if he was still around today.
Agonising awkwardness, self loathing and uncomfortable interludes are the main here, but there is also a meaningful premise playing in the background that pushes this little gem out of the realms of mediocrity and into the halls of notoriety.
Awkward Nadine is constantly eclipsed by her all-star big brother. When her father suddenly passes away, things go from bad to worse and Nadine feels like she has no-one to turn to during her troubled teen years.
This is so amusing, I was reminded of all of my own weird insecurities and teenage hang ups as I watched Nadine struggle with her need for approval and independance. Hailee Steinfeld is fabulous as insecure Nadine, as is Hayden Szento as Erwin, and Woody Harrelson brought some much needed levity to the entire script as Mr Bruner the reluctant social worker.
The Edge of Seventeen is a terrific modern coming-of-age tale that is guaranteed to give you a laugh or two.
FINAL SAY: You need to watch out for run on sentences.
4 Chili Peppers