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  1. #1
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Default Ruining kids lives?

    I was reading through "And Another Thing" by Jeremy Clarkson and he expressed that in his opinion kids shouldn't go round climbing everest or have every toy ever known not because it can turn a child in to a demonstrative nightmare who screams when you refuse to buy them a new Alienware PC each time an upgrade comes out but more because by the age of about twelve they've little left to do with their lives except work and wait till their dead. This kind of makes sense to me and I can see how it could cause the general nose dive in children's attitudes and aspirations.

    I noted that the successful people of my kind of age are all heavily into computers or some emerging market. These were not heavy consumers they were innovators more obsessed with fiddling with old components than laying their hands on the latest and greatest pieces of preformed fully functioning all singing all dancing tech.

    It seems as though attention levels have gone down with fewer kids developing a taste for the slower interests and more and more going for the quick fix. Even in the realms of role playing games you can see this trend. Games Workshop is consistently dumbing down it's rules and making everything faster so a game only lasts the same amount of time as a DVD. Instead of the RPG shops stocking the various different genres of roleplay they now seem swamped with a dozen dozen different trade-able card games which take about thirty minutes to play.

    As a person who likes involved experiences with nuances to master and not just a fiddly control and the computer ramping up it's silicone reflexes to virtually clock speeds I find it increasingly difficult to find anything suited to me and yet if I had ADHD it seems that I would be well catered for!

    Basically with children I see one strain of thinking reign supreme "I want my kids to have everything that I wanted when I was young". Now this is a fine and noble goal in concept but I think that it's being employed with naivety which I would find difficult to match in almost every other field of thinking. Sure if you can give your child everything they ever wanted and still produce a child who would give it all up for a good enough reason then yes you've mastered it but what about if you don't manage that fine pinnacle of achievement? If your child is given everything then where is the sense of value? If they have seen the view from the top of the Eiffel tower by the age of six then at seven that is something not unusual. Why, unless the experience was profound, would they bother again with the idea of "let's go up there the view will be amazing"?

    So are the kids of today having their futures dampened by the parents heading off at the pass all those things which should be built up to?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    For a long time, I think this has been a typical concern of parents. It's why we get the old jokes about, "Well, when I was *your* age...!"

    It is just more prominent now in the United States (and maybe elsewhere) because our economy is built on disposable income. Lots of money is spent on acquiring ultimately useless things, things that will hold our attention for a few weeks at best and then get discarded. And the Sensory nature of many people means they want tangible things to focus on and toy with.

    I think children with resources but without money are in the greatest position -- because they are forced to use their minds to imagine what is possible with what they've got. (Talk about exploration, creativity, imagination!) Too much stimulation/gratification makes us lazy fat cats with little motivation to do anything. The more we have, the more bored we become.

    And I empathize about the "dumbing down" of games. I remember buying an D&D Basic and Expert set in sixth grade (1979-1980?) and the hardcover books the next year. I loved it so much... learning the system, figuring things out for myself.

    But the goal now is marketing to the short-attention span generation, and to the highest number of people (to get market share). So games that are too complicated will be shunned.

    I helped with a fledgling RPG from 1995-1997, and this was before AD&D went skill-based. It was a great game, it used percentile dice, skills impacted actions tremendously, and you could construct your character from the ground up. It also had a really neat alignment system (Giver/Taker), where your actions would slant you in a particular direction. So the game itself contributed to the exploration of personal morality. (The game designer/company pres was an ENFJ.... surprise? )

    The problem was that the game was too complicated for the average person. Once you learned it, it was pretty neat. But until then, it was a real pain to figure out. The game just could not get enough market share to last because of that.

    Nowadays, the only complicated games that work are MMOs. Because computers deal with the hard system implementation and can be as complex as they like; the user's actions are simple.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I can't be the only one who really just wanted a stable home with two loving parents, no utilities getting shut off, not having to eat macaroni and hot dogs because we ran out of money before we got groceries, and to always have toilet paper as a kid, can I?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #4
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    For a long time, I think this has been a typical concern of parents. It's why we get the old jokes about, "Well, when I was *your* age...!"
    That seems more to do with newer generations benefiting from the sacrifices and toil of older generations to me but yeah it did run through my mind. I discarded it as non sequitous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    It is just more prominent now in the United States (and maybe elsewhere) because our economy is built on disposable income. Lots of money is spent on acquiring ultimately useless things, things that will hold our attention for a few weeks at best and then get discarded. And the Sensory nature of many people means they want tangible things to focus on and toy with.
    I think it's more of a comfort reflex than ingrained though. There must be something really dislikeable about life to some that they wish to be completely distracted and not run the risk of noticing exactly what it is that they're living in.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think children with resources but without money are in the greatest position -- because they are forced to use their minds to imagine what is possible with what they've got. (Talk about exploration, creativity, imagination!) Too much stimulation/gratification makes us lazy fat cats with little motivation to do anything. The more we have, the more bored we become.
    Exactly. Though you're starting to sound quite Yoda-ish you know
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    And I empathize about the "dumbing down" of games. I remember buying an D&D Basic and Expert set in sixth grade (1979-1980?) and the hardcover books the next year. I loved it so much... learning the system, figuring things out for myself.
    Oh you still have to do that. They leave so many holes in the rules because they're lazy and have short attention spans it's ridiculous. Mind you I brought this up on Enworld and was told "they're not design flaws...they're design features put there deliberately". Bloomin sycophants!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    But the goal now is marketing to the short-attention span generation, and to the highest number of people (to get market share). So games that are too complicated will be shunned.
    Oddly the highest accolade often goes to the most complex system...mind you I guess if all you do is play the basic stuff then you probably don't care enough to vote.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I helped with a fledgling RPG from 1995-1997, and this was before AD&D went skill-based. It was a great game, it used percentile dice, skills impacted actions tremendously, and you could construct your character from the ground up. It also had a really neat alignment system (Giver/Taker), where your actions would slant you in a particular direction. So the game itself contributed to the exploration of personal morality. (The game designer/company pres was an ENFJ.... surprise? )
    Oh boy. I bet they thought the delineation was as clear as day
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    The problem was that the game was too complicated for the average person. Once you learned it, it was pretty neat. But until then, it was a real pain to figure out. The game just could not get enough market share to last because of that.
    Ooo check out the HERO system. There's in brief rules available as a freebie pdf. Now that game can be very complex and all encompassing and yet it wins awards. Mind you though it's most definitely not suited to those who can't hold large amounts of information in their heads and be able to manipulate it in detail with cascading effects. Well at least that kinda thing helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Nowadays, the only complicated games that work are MMOs. Because computers deal with the hard system implementation and can be as complex as they like; the user's actions are simple.
    Oh I see that as the death knell for real rpgs. No more meeting as a group...nah never leave your seat and play "open ended" plots. Yeah as long as your definition of open ended is A or B and you don't mind the same binary choices with actions. I recall the text based rpg games they used to have like the neverending story (it really never did, I got stuck and went in circles for weeks!!) and I always see through the flash new graphics to the same choices. In a computer game they'll never let you use create water over the course of a few weeks to basically flood a dungeon and thereby drowning all the demons and icky stuff which was sealed in there. That's the difference. A decent DM is more precious and rare than a black orchid in magic!
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  5. #5
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I understand that. I still play my Super Nintendo occasionally. I've always liked to read, too. I see a lot of other people who just want to play an action game or something for a few minutes and then stop. Some people also get really excited about something just because it's hyped, or because it's new, and I really don't get that kind of thinking. I prefer RPG's, but it's hard to find them these days, and they're usually just not as in depth. I think that's why I played my SNES for so long.

    I mean, I remember having to read the manual and edit my config.sys and autoexec.bat files a few times, modify IRQ allocations, and tweak settings on device drivers to get something to run. I learned about all these commands, and things like that. Now I just plug something in, and it's detected automatically. I don't get any control over how it's configured. It runs, but I think I've realized that configuring the computer to play the game is more fun/rewarding for me than actually playing the game. Isn't that weird?

    Anyway, I see your point. Everything is getting "easy" these days, and people do focus too much on the obvious, the "quick fun." Skimming the cream off the top, so to speak. They burn themselves out by only seeing the positive, so things can only worsen from that point.

  6. #6
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I can't be the only one who really just wanted a stable home with two loving parents, no utilities getting shut off, not having to eat macaroni and hot dogs because we ran out of money before we got groceries, and to always have toilet paper as a kid, can I?
    Oh yes you could be...






    but no you're probably not

    I did think of you when I wrote this. Your obviously counter culture. You rebel
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  7. #7
    Senior Member xNFJiminy's Avatar
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    It's attitudes to life and experience that make children disappointed in later life, not over-exposure to many material things, IMO. Humans are adaptable, and if we experience a lot of concrete things we'll work with them differently than if exposed to few, but potentially with equal achievement and enjoyment. What causes those attitudes is a whole other discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    If your child is given everything then where is the sense of value? If they have seen the view from the top of the Eiffel tower by the age of six then at seven that is something not unusual. Why, unless the experience was profound, would they bother again with the idea of "let's go up there the view will be amazing"?
    If other factors allow, they'll develop their own sense of value, not based on availability or financial worth. It is a very strange habit most people in uber-developed nations have, to measure value in those ways. Why does it matter whether something is unusual? That is the message, originating in the marketing world and spread socially I believe, that nothing you have or see naturally is good enough, you must always seek more to be happy (which is contradictory when you think about it... in order to be happy you must believe that you've nothing to be happy about?). Don't believe it, myself, but if I did I suppose it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and a hard habit to break. The view from my grandparents' house has never lost its appeal to me, in fact I've appreciated it all the more as I've grown. If anything, if I hadn't seen it as a child, it might be less special now.

    Anyway 'there's more to be seen than could ever be seen, more to do than could ever be done', remember?

  8. #8
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Anyway, I see your point. Everything is getting "easy" these days, and people do focus too much on the obvious, the "quick fun." Skimming the cream off the top, so to speak. They burn themselves out by only seeing the positive, so things can only worsen from that point.
    Exactly and with the tendency to spoil children all you'll produce is consumers. I have to wonder who the creators will be, the designers, the ideas people.

    Though I would say that perhaps the SNES is a bit extreme IMO. You still playing the Legend of Zelda? Ooo if you have the hardware you may enjoy the Elderscrolls stuff they've brought out. That's too slow even for me!! Oblivion to my mind is like a gentle stroll, not what I'm looking for in entertainment really but it could be the kind of involved stuff you like.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  9. #9

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    I think I see your point, Xander.

    In the last three to four years, I've been virtually campaigning amongst those closest to me to stop buying multi-coloured plastic toys which don't induce creative interaction and rather opt for wooden, metal (non-lead), and inspirational toys. Isn't it odd how so many of these modern toys are becoming the focus of things like high-lead content? Most importantly, I see all the colors and such as being a source of sensory overload and assisting in shallow imaginations/lack of creativity.

  10. #10
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xNFJiminy View Post
    Anyway 'there's more to be seen than could ever be seen, more to do than could ever be done', remember?
    "There's nothing more boring than someone who says everything is boring" try telling that to the next disaffected teenager you meet

    You do have a point but I think you overestimate the masses. It's long been my experience that a singular human being is an intelligent thinking creature possessed of insight and cleverness no matter what their education or apparent intellect. People however are sheep.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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