My pre-teen and teen life was consumed by playing SNES, PSX, and PC games. It was spent pretending I was the character on my screen. I was overweight, socially stunted, and unable to face the world.
I went through about 8 years of severe depression. Diagnozed with severe chronic depression, adhd, and social anxiety, I was left wondering if I would ever be able to cope with life. I often asked myself how much gaming impacted my lack of social development. How much did it impact my development as a man? Usually I justify it by telling myself that we all forge our own path in life, but it's hard for me to not think about what I would have accomplished had I not lived my life online.
The current generation of teenagers never had to go through the feeling of being cast aside socially because then used computers. My sister, 15, is more connected than I ever was but has friends that do the exact same thing. It's just what they do in their spare time and sometimes while hanging out together. My girlfriends son, 14, is the exact same way. It's amazing to see them balance it all with normal social lives. I do still wonder how much it's impacting their social development as a generation. Is it just because their entire generation has justified their excessive computer use by involving their friends?
I worry about the impact it will have on them later in life. I know the impact it had on me. Even if I did play games with friends online and in LAN parties, the fact is it provides very little real life social experience. It's sheltered and safe. Life isn't that way.
My heart goes out to all of the people out there that game, feel like an outcast, and feel safe not living in the real world. Do I like most of what I see everyday? No. It's the world we live in though and at some point you'll have to face it head-on. Live life for the beautiful moments, not for the grind.