OPINION: Net cafes strike fine balance of social life

IF YOU want a sign of how much technology has progressed in the past fifty years, look at the history of video games.

We've gone from the twin white pillars of Pong to games that look so realistic you'd mistake them for a live-action movie.

But with any form of progression, comes regression.

Online gaming, which has brought millions of people around the world into one giant community, has also created a sense of unending loneliness as real life passes you by.

It's a major issue for gamers, including myself, who aim to strike that fine balance between enjoying their time online and balancing real social lives with friends and families.

It doesn't necessarily mean giving up one for the other.

People can form meaningful bonds and relationships through the medium.

That's where internet cafes, like the Bay's proposed Cyber Lab Game Cafe, come into play.

As well as being able to enjoy their favourite hobbies, gamers would be able to enjoy it in a social clique with their friends.

It would invite more people to explore the medium, to find that there's much more than the standard first-person shooter muddle and there are real, beautiful experiences to be had through games like Journey, Life is Strange and Okami.

It would also give the attention-starved kids of the Fraser Coast, who are at risk of falling into crime and anti-social activities, something to do.

Sure it might not be getting kids running around on a footy field or onto the track, but who's to say it wouldn't help with character development if they're hanging out with their friends, having a great time playing video games?

Between giving people things to do and letting them run amok around town, I know which option I would take.