Video game addiction

We were watching last night a documentary about the history of video games. Among the “subplots” discussed was an 8-year old kid (or was he 10?) that had game addiction. His addiction was mostly on FPS and MMORG online games (he had little interest in non-violent games). At some point the camera showed the kid glued to the Mac, with the father trying to get him away from it telling him that he had enough for today, while the kid was shouting not wanting to go away. The parents already knew that their kid had an addiction (a psychologist actually confirmed it). And yet, they still let the kid log in to Mac OS X and play these games and then they had to fight to get him away from the computer.

Why didn’t the parents take the following action instead?
1. Remove all games from the Mac except Chess.
2. Install a few freeware puzzle and table games just so the kid doesn’t die of boredom.
3. Remove his current OSX user account.
4. Create a new non-administrative user account with very limited Internet access. Internet access should ONLY be allowed for the following sites:
a. * (for help with his school work and personal education)
b. * (for his email needs, friends)
c. * (for potential news interests the kid might have)

And that’s it. Let the kid cry his way out of this. He should accomplish nothing. He has everything that he needs, that a kid of his age should need that is, and nothing more. Heck, he can still connect his camera, load iPhoto and email a picture to his friends via Gmail. Or use iMovie and burn a DVD. Or write a document, or edit a picture. What more than that a kid should need? Internet access and application installation rights should be limited — especially in his case so that he can’t download or install new games.

Δωσ’του και δυό μπάτσες άμα δεν κάθεται καλά, και τελείωσε η υπόθεση.


Andreas wrote on August 16th, 2007 at 2:34 PM PST:

Ωραίος επίλογος :)

-kf wrote on August 18th, 2007 at 3:01 PM PST:

I have an even better idea. Unplug the computer and move it into mom and dad’s room. Make the kid go outside and exercise. Maybe even have him learn the virtues of reading…

Optimus wrote on August 19th, 2007 at 3:41 AM PST:

Well, yes there are so much better and more creative things to do in a computer. But this just me talking here, can’t get into the mind of that child during that situation. From on side it’s sad, from the other side I wonder whether I am wrong and it’s just how the next generations evolve (I see so many cases of small children spending their time in netcafe playing Counterstrike or Lineage 2 like maniacs and while it seems scary, I wonder whether it’s where the next generation adapts or just a trend of our days that will pass and then they will just grow up :)

As about addiction, it comes to my mind that older people have created video games (and other addictive things too) in such a way that they can be as addictive as possible in order to bring them profit. And then we come here to blame the children for his addiction. But if you were children in a time where computers were so marvelously displaying such huge 3d virtual worlds, wouldn’t it be like the dreamland or something? Ok, maybe at the far point it’s not so much of a dreamland as going out to real beautiful places on earth or being in true love with a girl, though if you were a child wouldn’t you be addicted to such great virtual worlds where you can do things unlike reality?

But what can someone do when he sees his child so addicted like in the documentary? Would it be right to be alerted or is it just a trend that will pass? Would violence be a solution (I didn’t enjoyed the last sentence in the article). I’d say I’d choose patience and understanding (it’s just an innocent kid we have managed to get addicted to our virtual worlds we created) instead of violence as the easy solution, though I only speak safely now without knowing how my patience will break in the future when I have kids too :P

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