Gaming becomes the new crack

For every advancement video games make, they're attacked. First, it was with first person shooters. They were branded murder simulators. When the new consoles are released, the upgraded graphics aren't a technical achievement; they make kids into violent criminals. Now it's online gaming. What's the problem here?

They're digital crack.

This is the type of article that misses so many points, it's not even funny. It was written to be controversial, and while it may serve that purpose, it's not truthful. For instance, while a 100 million hours have been logged into Halo 2, that has little to do with addiction. Games are outselling movies and television stations are struggling to keep the core gaming group watching their programming.

Most of these gamers aren't addicted; their entertainment hours are simply spent on games instead of the other two mediums as they used to be. Does it really matter what it is their doing in front of the TV? If they watch 8 hours of TV, are they addicted? Probably, but you don't see so-called professional psychologists taking a stab at that topic, do you?

The people who make these claims are not helping people. They're the equivalent of ambulance chasing lawyers. They make these claims, parents believe it, and they spend thousands to make their kids "normal." Someone needs to wake up an entire generation that video gaming is not abnormal (nor is it turning them into blood-thirsty killers). It's now part of our culture, a multi-billion dollar industry that has taken over the living room more so than Hollywood or NBC.

Do people get addicted to games? Of course. Do they need to spend thousands of dollars for therapy to make them right? No. What they need is someone else to just guide them. Referencing the article:

"One 12-year-old boy played all night until falling asleep at four or five in the morning."

Where exactly are this 12-year olds parents? If they know he's doing this, why exactly are they letting him? Just take the games away from him. Set a limit. Get up and do something. Addiction to something like this is only going to occur from someone who thinks 70-hours a week is normal, and the only way that's going to happen is if rules are not set early and often.

The case that really started this controversy was one of a depressed Everquest player. Not only did this 20+ year old player quit his job to continue playing, he killed himself when his in-game money was stolen. What's the mother do? She sues the game maker, Sony. Without a job, who paid the Internet bill? His other emotional problems weren't even a concern to her, and a judge saw through this, throwing the case out simply due to its absurdity.

The article fails to point out that online gaming can be social. For instance, with both college and work, a 20-year old has little time to meet up and socialize. Instead, they hop on Xbox Live, join their friends in Halo 2, and play. They may even meet new people. While they may be locked in a deathmatch, they're talking and having a blast. That's far more than you do when you head out to a theater to watch a movie.

These studies have still not proved anything other than sensationalist junk. "Experts" will make up facts to scare parents, and unless this stops, gaming is going to have another major hurdle to overcome. It's bad enough that once a week someone else comes out and says all gamers are murderers, but now we're crack addicts too.

Comments (1)

libcrypt:

Acknowledging that gaming is addictive doesn't imply commitment to its evilness. E.g., everyone understands that alcohol is addictive, but nobody wants to outlaw this drug. Well, nobody sane does.

You fail to understand the line between addiction and responsibility. It's one thing to understand that a young person is addicted to a given game; it's entirely another issue to assign the blame of neglect upon the parent. Games are incredibly, profoundly addictive. But that doesn't mean they ought be outlawed, federally controlled, or otherwise manipulated by the government. That doesn't mean a child's parent is freed of responsibility for dealing with the addiction. Ignoring the fact that an online game can place psychological demands on one's psyche, however, is sheer folly.

A child may or may not be "addicted" to any given game, but a parent cannot deal with the fact of the addiction without the conceptual tools afforded to him or her via the scaffolding of psychological dependency.

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