Documentary follows video-gaming teens
Friday, May. 02, 2014

Documentary follows video-gaming teens

Sister and brother Tara and Jazzy Thomas enjoyed watching “Play Again” at the Studio-C Cinema series at the Cornelius Arts Center.

On April 25, Studio-C Cinema presented the movie “Play Again” at the Cornelius Arts Center. Thanks to the Cornelius PARC Department, in honor of Earth Day, tickets were free for the “sold-out” crowd.

The movie, a documentary from 2010, follows six teenagers who spend five to 15 hours a day playing video games or online. The teens had no connection to nature or actual playing, and they were sent to a wilderness camp to experience the outdoors.

In the movie, a young teen is surprised how real actual reality is in comparison to the “reality” in video games. Another teen complained that there was no purpose in taking a walk unless you “actually went somewhere.”

After the camp, the teens were supposed to “fast” from computers. In their recorded diaries, some of them sounded like addicts experiencing withdrawal. One teen returned to her online gaming habits immediately upon her return home.

After the movie, Robert Maier, who manages the Studio-C Cinema series, led a discussion with many of the adults, teens and kids who attended the movie.

One woman talked about her experiences watching TV, discussing the “rabbit ears” required to get good reception. I was surprised that many young people there knew that “rabbit ears” is slang for antenna that used to sit on top of the television.

Maier asked if anyone either didn’t have a TV or didn’t have cable television. Surprisingly, several people raised their hands.

One man talked about not having a television and being “forced” to actually have conversations because it wasn’t possible to focus on the television.

One dad talked about feeling “invaded” because his children spent so much time on their computer tablet. It was almost as if they were “stuck on it and couldn’t get off of it,” he said.

A mom said she’d noticed that teens who play video games feel that “everything’s a contest” and think they “always have to win.” Video games may keep some teens from being able to keep their attention focused on anything for very long.

Cornelius residents and siblings Tara and Jazzy Thomas of Cornelius said they enjoyed the movie.

“I loved it,” said Tara, 11. She said the movie did make her more conscious of all the time she spends on her computer tablet. Tara also said she has lots of nature at home with her family’s four chickens, Rouge, Raven, Eagle and Red.

Jazzy, 8, said the movie was “pretty cool. It made me think about going on an electronic fast,” he said.

Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at

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