I live in Maryland, and I’m 17 years old. Two years ago, you changed my life forever. Now I’m finishing high school, doing my dream as a job, and traveling the world by myself!
You probably don’t remember me, but when I was 15, I was addicted to video games. I would usually play for 6-8 hours after school. I’m home schooled, and I would sneak in game time in my school hours when my mom wasn’t around. It got to the point that my next door best friend would come home from school, and instead of going over to his house to play video games or go outside, we just stayed in our own homes and talked over Xbox Live.
It got really sad. All I could talk about was the game. It was on my mind all the time.
I would go and sit and watch a sunset, and all I could think about was the game and how I wasn’t leaving my gun up.
I was 15, and I really didn’t have much of a plan for my life. I kept telling myself when I got older I wouldn’t play anymore, but the truth was, as I got older, I actually played more often. I would drown my frustration, boredom, and sadness in video games.
One rainy Saturday, I got on the game. It was the perfect conditions for me to play. My family was gone all day, my friends were gone, and we had just stocked up on snacks. I played for about 10 hours that day. When my parents came home, they asked me what I did all day, and I felt ashamed to tell them I had been playing video games all day.
They weren’t mad at me. They weren’t even sad. They were disappointed. I could see it in their eyes.
I stayed up all night that night lying in my bed wishing I could change my life! I hated feeling that way!
The next day I said, “This isn’t how I want to spend my life.” I went online and typed “how to quit playing video games.”
I love watching videos and the first one was “How to Quit Playing Video Games.” It was a TED talk.
Homeschoolers love TED talks! I thought, “This is going to be great!” I watched it and thought, “This is just what I needed!” I read comments and the guy responded to all of them! I commented, and he responded to me within an hour!! It turned out to be YOU! You were starting a YouTube channel called Game Quitters!! I was hooked!! I remember your first video! I decided, “I’m going to do this!!!!” I got the (older version of) Respawn, and it was amazing as well!
The next day my friend come over and asked why I wasn’t on Xbox yesterday. I told him I was taking a break for a bit. He was confused. He kept talking to me about it, and I was tempted to break my commitment on my first day off! I decided to write him a long letter telling him what I was doing and why.
The next day he agreed to join me in quitting! It was so cool! We started our 90-day journey, and we ended up building benches, tables and forts together, playing sports, riding our bikes, and having WAY more fun without the video games!
Eventually, the 90 days was over, and I felt so amazing!
Not too long afterwards, you asked for volunteers to do a test survey, and I decided to participate. I started my 90 days all over again! It was great!
——————–That day changed my life! —————-
I started to find that life wasn’t boring; it was amazing! I started working harder at my job. Sometimes I would just sit outside and enjoy the sunsets. I learned how to budget and wisely use the extra money I was earning! I got a second job, and I worked harder than ever. I started investing in the stock market! I read and learned. I picked up my family’s camera and started snapping photos because I had all this free time, and I was so bored sometimes!
Fast forward to today.
I’m sitting here in New Zealand. Yes, New Zealand! I am interning at a camp with missionaries, and I’m growing and learning so much! I travelled here by myself from the United States as a 17 year old. I got to tour the South Island for a week by myself taking photos, and I have been here at my internship for a month and a half already. I still have a month left. The amazing part that I wanted to share with you is that my video game quitting story is the thing that got me INVITED to come to New Zealand!
I have changed some lives through telling my story of quitting video games, and I have been invited to speak at youth groups. I think when I return I will begin to accept those invitations and speak to kids all over Maryland about the problem of video game addiction and how to fix it!
I am thankful for your help overcoming the hold video games had on my life. I have people waiting for me to come home so I can take their senior pictures and they’ll even pay me to do it. I have started a little business with photography, and my dream is to be a National Geographic photographer! I now have 4 jobs: dishwashing, woodworking, mowing and photography! I’m in my last year of high school, and I’m going to finish my school when I get back from this once in a lifetime trip! I have talked to so many wonderful people and told them about my story!
Cam, Thank you for changing my life forever! I feel so blessed right now!
I’m so thankful for you! I cannot thank you enough!
Andrew J Lawlin
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