I'm sorry. The jist of this article wasn't supposed to attack video gamers. I am not stereotyping those who play video games, or am I blaming video games one bit. I agree wholeheartedly that it is the parents fault if things cross the line, but you also must understand the M.O. of many parents nowadays. When most of us were young, and for some of us that are still young, we have pretty balanced lives, we understand the need for outside play. I bought my son an X-box a couple months ago, so I'm not saying that video games are bad. Some can be, and the social norm is shifting towards the general thinking that games that promote or seem to promote violence and sexual ideations are OK... just like PG-13 movies now are about the same as R-rated movies were 10 years ago. The general parent buys the video game system as as second babysitter (I have seen this countless times with the youth I counsel), and many times, kids fall into the trap of isolating in their rooms playing video games, while missing out on learning social skills while guests are over, etc. I'm not saying that about people at the cafe, but in many new-generation families. Again, video systems aren't bad, but many parents/kids don't set up appropriate boundaries.
Secondly, comparing a game system to a $1000 computer is assinine. My computer (which wasn't $1000) has a ton more uses than simply entertainment. I use it for work, family, etc. If someone bought a $1000 computer system simply for gaming, then I would include it in my list.
The whole article was supposed to challenge parents as they enter the holiday shopping season. If you had $500 to spend on your 10-year old kid, would it be better to buy a Playstation 3 or put it towards supplies to build a tree house. Making a point that the Playstation 3 has a five-year shelf-life instead of a 3-year helps make my case. Your Playstation 3 Christmas gift HAS a shelf-life. Your 10-year old or 12-year old won't be sharing his Playstation 3 with his children, just like my 16-year old son wants nothing to do with my Nintendo 64. It is out of fashion. It is past its prime. However, building a tree house and playing in it with your child provides tons of Kodak moments and memories that last a lifetime -- PLUS there is a good chance that little Billy can play with his children in that tree house and build a whole new generation of memories. If I'm shelling out $500 for a Christmas gift, I'd rather have the latter. Wouldn't you?
P.S. Paintball may be a violent sport (note my age-appropriate notice beforehand in the article), but it teaches much more than a violent video game if the proper approach is taken. Youth have to learn to ration/budget ammo, take care of their paintball equipment (respect and responsibility), follow set rules at the paintball place (if they don't, they receive immediate natural consequences of being banned from the field), working as a team, communication, learn safe gun handling in a more controlled environment (than using actual guns) and learn the consequences of making bad decisions during play (welts). It also cost money to paintball, teaching youth to properly budget their money and save for a goal. The average violent video game has youth shooting unlimited ammunition, leaves little room for imagination (all the carnage is broadcast in full color) and breeds feelings of invincibility (not only does it take numerous shots to be killed on most normal settings, but what's the worst that happens when you do die? You may have to start over, or at the last checkpoint.)