HAVANA TIMES — Opportunities for playing games on the Internet are becoming more numerous, with the fastest growing categories being those directed at children and teenagers.
The world of video gaming has attracted people of all ages, but children seem to be the ones who have the most fun in this virtual world of competitions as they challenge their friends to see who can get the highest score.
What is becoming increasingly frequent is criticism in the international media concerning the harmful impact on younger children of these games, whose content is typically war or violence, such as with the famous 3D commando games.
Here in Cuba, children actively involve themselves in this type of entertainment, but whenever we hear about these videos games in the news, it always seems they’re referring to some foreign phenomenon, something happening elsewhere.
We see classic lines like: “The evils of the capitalist world are suggesting to youth a universe filled with horror and sensationalism.”
Such sharp criticism of those societies contrasts with the software developed in institutions in our country through UCI (the University of Computer Sciences) and virtual games created for our children. The games designed here are aimed at improving the quality of learning and intellectual development while serving as entertainment at the same time.
These programs are part of the “Jovenes Club de Computacion” (Youth Computer Clubs) that exist nationwide. Special hours are scheduled so that children can play games at these facilities, where supposedly the Cuban games are the only options available to them – since it would be impossible for any kid here on the island to download a virtual game from the Internet.
But nothing that is online is unreachable, since there will always be those who are ingenious enough to succeed at finding a way to obtain these games, which of course make it into the hands of those who covet them the most.
Consequently, now we find children and their friends going around with USB flash drives packed with virtual games, with commando and interactive 3D games being the most common.
Those kids who don’t have computers at home (the majority) go to the computer clubs, where they stick those flash drives into USB ports and begin playing. There they find members of the Russian mafia or they enter into military actions in the Middle East as ground soldiers or bombers fighting against the most heartless terrorists.
All of this is outside the control of the world of adults, whether it be those in charge of the youth clubs, teachers and administrators, parents or the media (whose campaign against this gratuitous mayhem falls on deaf ears).
The sad reality is that Cuban children too are immersed in this grim world of virtual gaming, where they are unable to avoid these teachings modeled around virtual violence.