Sometime around 1998, I was struck by the fact that my eight-year old son and most of his male friends were constantly playing “Game Boy,” bringing this small, hand-held device with them whenever and wherever they could. They seemed capable of focusing on Game Boy in any setting, and over time developed extraordinary dexterity and skill at these games. If childhood play is in part a preparation for relationships and activities later in life, what were these eight and nine year-old boys preparing for?
What began as a few photographs of a small group of boys engaged in the same activity became a two-year collaboration with my son to see how Game Boy fit into his life. After a couple of years, as my son began to transition into adolescence and out of playing Game Boy, I had started to pay more attention to the larger phenomenon of America’s growing use of portable electronic devices. Now, I wonder what these photographs indicate as our country moves into its own electronic adolescence.