The Virtual World

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If you live with boys like I do, you know that there are basically two types, the outdoor sportscentric group and then the indoor electronic group. 

The outdoorsy group doesn’t stay inside for anything.  They leave the house in the morning and are home in time for a meal and to sleep.  They are always outside honing their skills, preparing for the next game. The electronic group doesn’t quite understand the concept of physically going to a friend’s house to play or being outside for fun because they don’t have to.  They have technology at their fingertips.  They will call their friends on Skype and sign into a common server where their ‘characters’ can interact virtually.  Their skin glows with the irridescent ghostly shimmer of never seeing the light of day.  They should never have wrinkles or hyperpigmentation, not that they care.

They position themselves strategically in front of their PC.  Headsets sitting precariously on their heads.  It begins with the call on Skype and a brief exchange identifying availability, then time and place for hooking up virtually.  They sign into their accounts, and then the avatars take center stage.  On one hand, fingers frantically typing on their keyboards, while the other masterfully maneuvers the mouse navigating the avatar thru whatever trials they wish to encounter that day.  Erstwhile, the players verbally banter back and forth as though they were together in the same location until one of them is forced to log off by a parental unit, and then play stops for everyone.

This whole process of interacting virtually begs to ask the question if this type of quazi human interaction is enough for this young generation.  Outside of not getting enough physical activity for health reasons, is playing in a virtual environment sufficiently advancing their interpersonal skills and teaching them how to survive in the world?  Is this a component of evolutionary advancement where humans become so dependent on computers that they essentially begin to morph into a human-computer hybrid?  

It does familiarize them with the technology available to them, so if they choose to follow a career in technology or a career that uses technology (which most do) they are learning valuable life skills.  They are not isolated nor are they alone.  They don’t leave the safety of their home.  They appear to be intellectually stimulated albeit physically unchallenged.

Optimally, I think the sporty and the electronic personalities would merge to create balance.  I think I will soon be sending my boy outside to the park………..

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] /



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