Every now and then I see these memes or status updates from, let’s just say, people saying things referring to when they were younger how they didn’t have video games and played outside and didn’t have cell phones and that the street lights were their curfew and you get the idea. Then I see all these likes or retweets of, let’s call it, support or agreement, and I sit there wondering who these people are on their computers and smart phones disparaging the time kids play video games or watch TV?
Beware: Historical Content and Sarcasm
The television has been around since the late 1920’s. Video games have been around from roughly the early 1970’s. And while not every home in the United States may have had either, if you were a kid in the 80’s or 90’s you most likely knew someone who did and where the local arcade was even if it was at the roller skating rink in the next town over.
Owning My TV Time
I remember the TV we had in our den from the time I was five. It was a big HUGE box. During the day I would go to school and play with my friends out in the streets until dark, then I’d go inside and watch TV until bedtime. Somewhere in all that I did things like homework, and yes, even played with my Barbies in my room or read a book. Still, I probably logged in a good 15 or so hours of TV watching a week.
My mom even went through these periods where she would cut the cable off for a year, so some years we’d have cable TV and some we’d just have VHS movies. Sometimes I’d go through these fazes where I’d watch TV every available moment then lose interest for a while, preferring to play Barbie versus G.I. Joe with my brother, which was basically us taking turns throwing toys at each other from our bedroom doorways directly across the hall from one another.
I knew a few kids who had Atari game systems when I was still in grade school, and whenever we were on good terms they’d invite me over to play. My brother and I had a few of those hand held one game devises. I even played in the arcade at the mall, the skating rink (even when I had gone to skate), and at the movies after the show. Then my mom got my brother the first Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and it was all Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man after that.
OK, not really.
Through middle school and high school I still did things like actually go to school, homework, talk on the phone (which was attached to the wall in my house), and even dated and participated in after school club activities like Environmental Club and Junior Civitans. I did makeup and hair back stage for the school musical. I went to dances, and football games. In short, I was an active young lady.
However, no matter what else was going on or what I was doing, there was always time to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation or Saturday morning cartoons or whatever cool movie was on HBO (when we had it). There was always time to play video games, too. I even made it through college finding time for TV and video games.
Now I’m an adult, married with kids. They go to school and I write. We play board games like Scrabble and Trivia Pursuit: Star Wars. We build with Legos and Mega Blocks, and play with Barbies and dinosaurs (sometimes Barbies versus dinosaurs). We visit the Natural Science Center and the Zoo. We even do art time..a lot! Still, again, there is always time for TV and video games.
What about you? Do you watch TV or play video games and still have a life? Has this ever NOT been the case? (You can pretend those were rhetorical questions if you want.)