Benton Copeland ’20
Editor’s Note: This article is the second article in the first part of a seven part series of opinion articles written by Dr. Erb’s English class for publication in The Oracle (The first part can be found here.) Each article will have a “response” written by another student in the class.
The controversial video-game ban for underformers at Woodberry should stand, as it promotes face-to-face interaction and develops better social habits from the second a boy steps on campus.
In the world outside of Woodberry, video games are commonplace with people of all ages. They provide a fun way to relax and escape both alone and with friends, and much to many parents chagrin, provide seemingly infinite entertainment indoors instead of out. Woodberry, however, is not the outside world. As an institution trusted by parents to help their boys grow into thinkers and leaders, a distinction must be made between what is normal outside of Woodberry and what is expected within.
I strongly disagree that the driving belief behind the video game regulation is academic success. Though the rule certainly sets underformers up to develop better time management skills, social development and face-to-face interaction can happen more often without the distraction of video games. Woodberry isn’t meant to turn students into academic robots as much as thoughtful leaders. For an overwhelmed new-boy or underformer, video games provide an easy cop-out from interaction, whereas without games, students are more inclined to interact and pursue interests outside of a screen. Quoting Woodberry’s mission statement, “The purpose of the school is… to train it’s students towards useful contribution to the democratic society in which they live”, a purpose which is hindered by allowing students to be sucked into video games for hours at a time.
Though games may help coordination, memory, and problem-solving to some extent, problem solving can more effectively be improved by solving actual, real life problems, and coordination can be refined through one of the 15+ sports offered at Woodberry. Not in shape? Worried that you’ll get cut? Gamers listen up: many of these sports take every student that tries out.
Video games don’t inherently impact one’s social ability or academics, but when abused, they can seriously affect both. In a structured environment like Woodberry’s, regulating the use of gaming consoles curtails the risk of video games hurting social and academic performance.
The views expressed in this article do not, in any way, represent the views of the editorial board, our faculty adviser, Mr. Guldin, nor the opinion of The Oracle as a whole.