There are many angles from which I could approach this point; it's an issue that is manifest in many aspects of society. We are almost all of us biased towards one side of the matter or the other, as there are relatively few of us not affected by it. Yet it's a very invisible issue in society today; sides are taken, but no conflict ensues. It involves prejudices and stereotypes which survive in our society unscathed, uncontested, accepted openly by some, unconsciously by others. It's rarely stated, but always present.

I see it in my own life rather frequently: as a writer, I spend two to four hours a day on the computer, much of it in Microsoft Word. I receive quite a bit of flak from my family over this issue: my mother is convinced that it's the root of all my social problems; my sister is convinced that all I do is play PC games (which are somehow comparable to Microsoft Word); while my other sister is convinced that she, and she alone, is capable of doing anything useful on the computer, that anything besides her school reports is a waste. Naturally, none of them spend as much time on the computer as I do, which is undoubtedly the root of their stigma – I could probably be solving world hunger and receive the same response from them, simply because I'm doing something (spending time on the computer) which they consider abnormal.

I receive similar responses from my peers. I once mentioned offhand that I had entered a contest to win a free PC (hey, I do play PC games, so new hardware is a plus), and now my entire Sunday School class – including the teacher – comments about it constantly, always implying that I do nothing with my free time but play PC games (it's gotten to the point that I no longer attend Sunday School!). On the one occasion we got into a discussion about it, I said (quite truthfully) that I spend less time with the computer and TV combined than many spend with the TV alone, but it wasn't enough to curb their ravenous jeering.

It made me realize, though, that for some reason, my family and peers seem to consider television a more acceptable use of one's time than a computer. Never mind that a computer allows research, office and school work, and the always-convenient word processor; they always focus on the fact that it plays PC games. How, I ask, is that different from television? Both PC games and TV are idle entertainment; but they won't have it. TV is simply a better way to spend one's time than a computer, no matter how productive that computer work is (?!).

Why is this? Because TV has been around for decades, and people have been getting fat and lazy in front of TVs since our parents' parents were children; my family has always watched a lot of TV, so for me to spend as much time would be to them no problem at all. To spend as much – or less – time writing in Microsoft Word, however, constitutes an abnormality, which they do their best to belittle by calling it lazy, useless, eye-hurting, brain-frying, etc.

Moving on from personal experience, this issue exists elsewhere as well: videogames, which are – I maintain – as worthy a form of entertainment as a TV show or movie, receive plenty of criticism; science fiction books, which I read frequently, are demeaned (though the best most people can muster is "stupid"). It's an endless cycle, with closed-minded people crying out against that which they find to be abnormal. Fifty years ago it was television and comic books. Now it's computers and videogames. It's an endless cycle which goes beyond my desire for peace as I write, beyond a gamer's desire for peace when he spend fifty dollars on a game. It goes to the roots of society, where prejudices and stereotypes (nerds, geeks, hackers, gamers with no social life, etc.) incite people to rebel against anything that they don't indulge in, anything that wasn't available when they were children.

So I take comfort in the knowledge that the prejudices against my PC use will someday fade; I take no comfort, however, in the knowledge that society will without any doubt find a new target for its ravenous bias against all things new. There will always be something to belittle and flame without understanding, and some kid of the next generation will undoubtedly endure the same stereotypes that I, and many others, endure. It is, in essence, a problem with no solution, which is why I propose none. There will always be ignorant people, and there will always be essays to write about the blind actions they take.