Let’s Not Equate Porn and Gaming

Thanks to a Rick Warren tweet, I ran across this article that’s racing across the internet.  Called “The Demise of Guys: How video games and porn are ruining a generation,” it begins:

Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?

Increasingly, researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.

Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz.

Video game and porn addictions are different. They are “arousal addictions,” where the attraction is in the novelty, the variety or the surprise factor of the content. Sameness is soon habituated; newness heightens excitement. In traditional drug arousal, conversely, addicts want more of the same cocaine or heroin or favorite food.

The consequences could be dramatic: The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next thing is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.

As a gamer (In fact, one of my proudest media moments is this profile by an online gaming magazine), I cringed.  Look, I know that many, many men and boys spend too much time gaming.  There are also many, many men and boys who spend too much time watching television, playing golf,  or obsessing over sports (and sometimes all of the above) — you name the diversion, and you’ll find people who indulge in excess.  But it’s a category error to equate games and porn.  To do so exaggerates the danger of games and minimizes the evil of porn.  So if I stay up too late Saturday night playing Diablo 3 (and I probable will!), is that remotely comparable to downloading porn?  Simply put, overuse of video games is destructive.  Any use of porn is sinful. What’s next?  An article proclaiming that women are ruined by adultery and Pinterest?

We must, however, do a better job working out the relationship between balance and absolutes.  How many people, having proven themselves incapable of achieving proper balance now argue for absolutes?  No television!  No games!  No carbs!  Conversely, we have so much trouble with the true absolutes — particularly sexual absolutes — that I’ve seen Christians more forgiving and tolerant of unscriptural divorces than they are of bad TV or even inefficient automobiles or non-organic food purchases.

Yes, it’s absolutely true that we guys have problems.  And it’s absolutely true that by many measures we’re approaching a moral and cultural crisis in young men.  But porn is pure poison while a good game is more like a bowl of ice cream: delightful in moderation but destructive in excess.

My Channel 2 News Segment: Books-a-Million Listens to Customer Complaints

Thank you, Channel 2 News here in Nashville for following this story! And thank you, Books-a-Million, for listening and changing that aisle!

 

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Books-A-Million Listens to Concerned Shoppers and Changes Its Sexuality Display!

How rarely do things in life work out this well?

As I mentioned, on Friday I was doing some pre-Mother’s Day shopping with the kids when I noticed a graphic photo of people having sex on the cover of a book.  Yes, the book was about various sexual positions, but it was right out there for the entire world to see.  The photo wasn’t suggestive, it was completely showing two naked people having sex.  I promptly turned over the book and told the staff that someone had apparently played a prank on them near the military history.

“The books in that section are exactly as we arranged them,” they explained to me.

After I called the corporate headquarters — right there in the store — I came home and did what any concerned parent in the modern age might do.  I blogged.

When the post went live, it immediately began getting traction in the blogosphere.  Then, I suggested to my Twitter followers to Tweet the corporate headquarters to raise awareness.  You guys did just that!  Thank you!

News of the public outcry reached The Tennessean.

When they  reported on the blog – which had gotten a few thousand hits – it put even more pressure on the store. But the store still refused to remove or camouflage the offensive book covers.  Today, Channel Two News called for an interview, so I met them at the store.  When I arrived, I checked my e-mail and found a note from corporate headquarters.  It read:

We appreciate your input on this matter and that you took the time to contact us with your concerns. 
It is not our intent to offend any of our customers with any product that is sold in the store. Books A Million offers a large selection of titles on various topics so that we may provide selections of interest to all ages. We value our customers and consider it a privilege to serve our stores communities. We wanted to let you know that we have taken action to respond positively to your concerns. We are removing the top shelf presentation and ensuring that no graphic covers are front-faced within the Personal Growth section.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. 
Best regards,

Jeanne Nelson

I was elated at the news.  After my interview with Channel 2 News (which will air tonight at 10:00), we walked through the “Sexuality” aisle and found that they had, in fact, kept their word and removed the books from the sight of shoppers.

Thank you, Books-a-Million corporate headquarters and Books-a-Million Spring Hill for helping parents protect themselves – and their children – from seeing these inappropriate images.

We appreciate your concern for your shoppers and for the community!

 

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The Tennessean Investigates Books-a-Million over Their Pornographic Sexuality Display

 

I was delighted that The Tennessean saw my blog post and did a little investigation themselves.  Apparently, the store in Spring Hill is not following corporate policy when they display pornographic images in full sight of children. (Think I’m overreacting?  This is just one cover — warning, obviously! — that my kids almost saw.)  The Tennessean went to other stores in Nashville and uncovered the fact that other stores did not have such sexual displays:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Author Nancy French had to do a little extra mothering on a pre-Mother’s Day shopping excursion to Books A Million in Spring Hill.

She was steering her children – ages 13, 11 and 4 – down the military history aisle when saw something that shocked her. She told them to freeze and turn around.

There, on a shelf labeled “Sexuality,” was the book 365 Sex Positions, complete with a cover photo featuring a nude couple demonstrating one.

Read the rest of Heidi Hall’s article here, and if you haven’t already called their corporate headquarters the number is 1-800-201-3550.

Also, here are some suggested Tweets:

@booksamillion ok with #porn near the kids’ section? The one in Spring Hill, Tennessee is! Please RT 2 fight indecency: ow.ly/aV4AM

Check out what sexual book covers @booksamillion believes is ok for kids to see: ow.ly/aV4AM #porn

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