Are Video Games Bad for Kids? A Personal Story.

Are video games dangerous, or are the detractors nothing but fear mongering luddites? I don’t know, but I will give you some personal observations.

Last week my 4-year-old son became completely obsessed with Sypro 2: Ripto’s Revenge. Is this a good thing or bad thing?

When he obsessed about his ABCs until he knew each letter sound and could repeat them backward and forward, it didn’t frighten me.

When he pulled out the Dr. Seuss dictionary and spent 6 hours a day for 20 straight days writing every word in the dictionary on his white board repeatedly until he could spell them perfectly, I wasn’t worried. It freaked me out, but I didn’t worry.

When he spent two weeks obsessively learning every nation in Africa, every state in the United States, and every ocean on Earth, I thought it was pretty cool.

When he wanted to read “Where the Wild Things Are” twenty five times a day, it was irritating, but I never felt I was a bad parent for indulging his desire.

When he wouldn’t do anything but mazes for a month, did I worry? Nope.

When he repeatedly begged me to look at the Road Atlas and explain what every symbol in the key represented and where he could find it on the map, I was happy to oblige him.

But yesterday after the fourth straight day of constant obsession about Spyro the Dragon, I pulled the plug on the PS1. Now I am wondering whether I’ve done the right thing. I’m thinking of giving the game back tonight, because I’m afraid I acted on some unconscious fear that seeped into my mind from media fear mongers. What’s worse is that I told myself I would always let my boys finish what they start, even if it is a video game. But yesterday it seemed to go too far and I felt I had to end it.

This led me to ask some serious questions about why I yanked the game console:

Did I do it because I was afraid? Afraid that allowing him to obsess about a video game meant I was bad father.
Why is it okay for him to obsess about numbers, letters, reading, books, music, sports, but not video games?

Am I afraid he’ll become obese? When I was young, most kids I knew watched 4-5 hours of TV everyday, few were in school activities, and nobody was obese. Studies have proven video game playing burns more calories than passively watching TV. I know why kids are obese – they eat too much sh!tty food and drink too much pop.

Is this some old puritan pleasure/punishment syndrome surfacing from deep in my subconscious? We should only obsess about things that are painful but never things that are fun and pleasurable. Why pleasurable obsessions could lead to a boy becoming a fat, lazy, sex crazed, chronic self-pleaser, and I don’t want that, he could become so blind he wouldn’t notice the hair growing on his palms. 🙂

This last question bothers me the most…

Is there a part of me that is afraid he is having too much fun, and I should end the fun, because the boy needs to understand that life isn’t just fun and games? But what else does a 4-year-old have to do? I mean, how difficult should his life be?

It also seems that the game is quite educational – at least for a 4-year-old. He needs 10,000 gems to get through a certain door. He has 8,765 gems so he asks me how many he needs to get 10,000 and this led to an understanding of multi-digit subtraction.

My boss – Jim Fischer – our Senior Vice President of Information Services, said that his father believes the reason Jim is so successful in IT is due to his obsession with coin-op video games like Asteroids back in the 70s and 80s. He used to ride his banana seat Schwinn Sting-Ray eight miles to the mall and play Asteroids for hours. It doesn’t appear Jim’s video game obsession led to his ruin. But Jim does believe – that if he had the games kids have today – he may not have graduated from college.

I’ve told myself that I haven’t bought into the media hysteria about video games. I read It’s not the Media and I agree with the author’s thesis. But I believe I still overreacted to my son’s obsession with Spyro the Dragon. Why? What fear created my overreaction?

Some obsessions are culturally acceptable and some are not… why? Where do these rules originate?

84 thoughts on “Are Video Games Bad for Kids? A Personal Story.”

  1. I’m a big gamer from my childhood days. At the age of 17 now, I have been growen up on video games since the age of 5 with the Sega. Me and my dad played it at a young age. He soon stop playing it and left it to me. Growing up on Playstation One was pretty good with games like Final Fanasty Seven which open up the world of Anime and Magma (Anime is Japanese cartoons and Magma are Japanese cartoon books which are written very differently from any other book I have seen). When I got the PC around the age of Eight I look at a store and found a lot of computer games. I found a game called Command & Conquer.

    I got hocked on strategy games which made me use my mind very far to figure out hard stiuations in the game. I also like Roll Playing Games which I play a lot of also.

    I may of been left alone to play my games but I mostly learn a lot of stuff on the Online games like Battlefield Two which I have been in a clan which we now create movies for others to see and I had to learn some swedish since a lot are Swedish but they all speak perfect English. The clan has a website: . I have learn about a lot of Computer Skills and some on Computer Programming. I fixed my Spelling and Grammar online with talking to others on Xfire and MSN. Right now I may be on the Computer a lot but I have earn respect with it. I’m a Gobal Moderator for a pretty big Gaming website called for Solider Front and make movies on BF2 and BF2: 2142.

    I have gain a big interest in the military though gaming and been in MCJROTC (Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.) and been going to military schools since 6th grade. In MCJROTC I have reach the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Going to go to college and study Computer Science while in the Marine Reserve or ROTC. I have been left alone as a kid to play my games but grown into what I am today mostly on my own sadly. I hope to move on to the Army or Marine Corps as a Infantry Officer but don’t know if i’ll move into Computer Programmer.

    Video games are not destructive as may think becuase all everyone hears about is Grand Thief Auto games and other violent games.

    So are Video Games bad and shoulden’t be allow for kids?

    I must say No.

    There are woser things out in this world. Just check the Public Schools and see what happens in it halls.

  2. I believe that if you let your kid(s) play video games, then you should at least get the experience in what they play. You should try it out before you let them play the certain games. You should also check the esrb rating, it helps a lot).

    Video games help with hand eye coordination. As a lot of people have said, it does bring togetherness when you play videogames with the kids, but then you do have to make sure that they dont doe anything wrong with the games. You will have to remind them that anything they do in a video game, they cannot do in real life.

    I was raised to play video games. I once tried to do some fighting moves from one of my games and i ended up hurting my hand, and my mother said, “you see what happens when you do stupid sh*t. Now do you see why you cant do what yousee in your video games.” And to this day, i say game on kids, just remember its only MAKE BELIESE and not REAL.

  3. Wow that is a sad story. I don’t think it’s your fault because as a parent you should have to set rules and make sure that your child is getting enough education for his/her future.

  4. Hey,
    I totally relate to you!! i have a 6 year old son, who recently got hooked on Nintendo DS after I let him bring it on a 22 hour long drive across the country. By the time we reached our destination, he could not put it down, a constant battle. This game, a Pokemon one, was not offering much for him – he was mostly running around chasing things. I had always preferred the educational games and handhelds for him, as he never got ‘addicted’ to those to the point that he couldn’t put it down when I would call him to help with preparing dinner, help fold laundry etc. But with this ‘non-educational’ game – I felt he was beginning to lose his social skills. So I tried the ‘moderation method’ – we’d only keep the handheld game in the car so he could play all he wanted when we were driving around during errands etc. Well – then he started constantly asking when we were going to do errands. Then, when the car ride was a short one, he would beg to bring the game in the store to play while I shop…I’d eventually cave in (sometimes partly my own addiction because it made shopping a breeze) And sometimes, I’d bend the rules and let him bring the game inside the house, for special occassions, like when I have company over and want to ensure that I can focus on the guests and not worry about keeping him entertained.

    Well – I began to feel like this game was too easy of a babysitter. He was losing his social skills. A few times, some of the neighborhood kids would come over to play with him. For awhile they’d have fun upstairs, dancing to music, playing hide and seek etc – but after awhile, the neighborhood kids (not my son) would start to come downstairs to where I was in the kitchen – washing dishes or whatever – and they were actually ending up wanting to hang out with me, tell me about their day etc. Then I’d ask them, ‘Where’s Kohan?” and they’d say He’s playing his DS upstairs and wouldn’t let us play because he didn’t want us to mess up his score. This was a big warning light – a flashing red light that said in the back of my mind – this game has got to go. But how could I blame the game? It was ultimately up to me to teach him to be a good friend and not ignore his friends. So I let the game stay, and spent a lot of time over the next while explaining that this game is not supposed to make it’s way to his room, it’s going back to just playing it in the car…etc

    But that didn’t last – constant battle, constant begging. something he never did with the educational ones that actually make him think, use his brain – so he would naturally get tired after 30-45 minutes or so.

    I noticed our relationship and his respect for me shifting to his respect for his game. When I’d ask him to help me prepare supper – that wasn’t so fun for him anymore…he wasn’t saying ‘SURE 🙂 !!’ like he used to. He was saying “after I finish this level, ok?” with his eyes glued to the screen. So I would try to command respect “Look at people in the eyes, it is rude” etc “But I don’t want to mess up my score”

    One final day, I just had it, when he had repeatedly asked for about 2 hours of me asking him to turn it off, and he’d ask for 10 more minutes, I trusted him, he didn’t make the choice to stop the game, even though I gave him the extra time to save his level. So I snapped the thing in half and told him that bad things come to bad behaviours and people who break their word. This game was not bringing anything to our relationship and I didn’t even want to give it to charity because I don’t wish it upon any other child/parent.

    Afterward, I felt kind of guilty – perhaps I shouldn’t break other people’s belongings – was I being too controlling?

    When I told my other half that night – he actually congratulated me and said it was about time that i started to ‘be the parent’ and take it away.

    I am happy to report that my son has been completely fine with having lost his DS. He was sad for 3 days – but I made it clear to him that it is my job as a parent to help him control that feeling of ‘addiction’ so that he can tame it the rest of his life, and this is one way that he can begin to learn. That ‘addicted feeling’ he was getting – was when he would whine if he didn’t get it, beg for more, pout or sulk to bring it in the house, ignore his friends when they were over, lose excitement for other things like playing boardgames, detached from former enjoyments like preparing dinner together.

    I feel this was a major milestone for us, and I am glad that I was able to put an end to this at a young age, in the future, I hope that he will learn from this. As adults, we can all have things like this that take more out of us than give back – perhaps it’s constantly being on blackberry, surfing net, watching tv etc. Or perhaps it is ‘being at work’ so that you don’t really live as much with our 5 sense, see beautiful things, interact, feel, touch, taste, smell, stretch.

    With that being said, I am definitely not anti-video games. I am a huge fan of the LeapFrog products, the Didj, The Leapster, Vtech handheld games.

    They teach him a lot of things. But at the end of the day – when my son is grown up and in college – do I want to look back and say to myself – I remember how often we used to play board games, how he learned math and strategy, how he learned to play by the rules, how to congratulate the winner, how to say ‘Good try’ to the losers…how to help clean up the game afterwards etc. I suppose there are a lot of good memories that can be made with 2 player videogames. But if there is a lot of risk involved – for the chance of these ‘good memories’ I think I’d rather place my bets on board games, and other family activities which have a very probable chance of the rewards, without the risk of the videogames.

    Good luck to all the parents out there, with whatever parenting technique you use! We are all in this together, with different parenting styles, different upbringings of our own. The main thing is, we all do our best, we love our children and care to be involved- and that is what our children remember in the end.

  5. I am an anonymous twelve-year-old. I have skipped a grade, and I acomplished three years of math last year, and I scored a 22 on the ACT. Hey, I’m addicted as @#$#%$# to video games. I’m a bit overweight but not obese! And look, the ones I play do involve killing. You raise some good points man. I came on here because my Dad says I can only play like an hur a day, and my mom said to look up negative consequences of them. I went ahead and responded because I thought your sight could use some feedback from moderate-hardcore gamers. Thank you for reading this.

  6. Hi well im 18 i play alot of video games not all the time because im also in a band and studying art and history I often go to gaming competitions to win money and for a challenge but enough about me gaming necisarilly isnt a bad thing I will admit I was playing violent games at the age of at least 11 but I personally have had no problem distinguishing a game and reality BUT if kids are not set certain times they can play games like 3 hours or less a day the kids my become addicted leading to them not making friends then eventually bieng bullied and then using games as an escape from reality and then thats when the stuff in the news about video games driving people to kill comes in so essentially video games are in certain ways a bad thing no doubt but as long as they are rationed nothing bad will happen just make sure more than anything you check what games they are playing.

  7. My 3 year old boy has been exposed to video games since he was pretty much born. Now all he wants is to play video games and throws a tantrum whenever he doesn’t get to play it. He would cry and cry and cry until he’s almost running out of breath. He only likes to play fighting games and race cars because that what he’s been exposed to all he’s three years of life. It’s starting to worry me and I have accused of he’s father of torturing he’s little mind with the video games. Maybe he doesn’t do it on purpose but because of the fact that that’s all he’s exposed him to I blame him for my baby’s action. My son used to play with learning games and actually learned he’s ABC’s even before he turned two, but now he’s lost his interest in learning games because of the fighting video games and stuff that he plays every day and it’s really hard for me to keep him away from it because he’s dad plays with them every single day. Now my question is, is this considered child abuse or some sort of abuse? My son is turning three in a couple of weeks and already very addicted to video games and his father doesn’t seem to think there’s something wrong with that. Please share your thoughts with me.

  8. Don’t give the game back!
    I know its been a couple years since you made the decision but I want to know what you ended up doing?

  9. @Don’t Give In

    He got the game console back a month or so later. I’ve taken it away few other times since. But now things seem to be much better. He does a lot of reading and physical activity, so I don’t worry about it so much.

  10. This article is very well thought out and brings to my mind many things probably because I can very well relate to this since I myself am a avid gamer. I have my parents who i actually gave them reasons why i play the games i do and they understand it well lucky for since i was born into a family of teachers and very well think like one. Games can be like a double edged sword while it may save your life it also may steal point meant is that games can like many others have stated give the ones playing a stress reliever especially for me with upcoming exams. Games can give you ideas on how you work out a project something in everyday life and games may make you focus better. However games can also have the negative affects if played to much for example i know some … well most of my peers on average play games till 3:00 am at night and go to school everyday with the limited sleep they get every single day which personally is umbelieveable since i have never actually made it past 12 which I may only do once in a blue moon if not less. Games can rob you of your life and stop you from actually getting around to taking care of your pet or taking out the garbage. So i conclude by saying Video Games are both bad and good but many things are like that and mustn’t be forgotten because in my opinion video games are less bad then TV.

  11. Hello, this response may be a little late, but as long as video games are still alive and kicking it is probably still relevant to you…

    I’ve, at one point, seen myself as a hardcore gamer. I’ve played a variety of different games and I would play them for hours at a time. It always seemed like a bad habit, but I would always think to myself: “It’s better than doing drugs, being an alcoholic, or putting a heightened risk on my life with other hobbies.” And that’s all games are– just hobbies. Most of the basic hobbies are just, in the grand scheme of things, useless pastimes.

    In our lives the only real goal I believe we all should strive for is basically just staying alive… And to do that you will need food and shelter, and the best way to acquire those things is to have a steady source of income. So before anyone reading this comment thinks I’m mad I’ll just get to the point. As long as you have a reliable source of income to support yourself now and in the future filling up the empty time with video games should not be a problem unless it gets in the way of the previously stated goal– which is to just survive.

    So get a job, keep your body healthy and play all the damn games you want. You only live once.

  12. Hey steve,

    I am actually a child, but I came across your post. I play quite a few video games, and recently I turned 13. I got a computer that costs 2 grand so that I could keep up with my gaming needs….. It is kind of scary, now that I think of it.

    And one thing about video games is that they are expensive, late 2009 autumn (basically, now) a LOT, i mean a LOT of really big, huge highly anticipated games are coming out/or have already came out. These names might not mean much, but here are some examples: Dargonage:Origins, Modern Warfare 2, Borderlands, Diablo III, and many more. That there, is about $200 worth of video games. I personally, wouldn’t mind owning a copy of all of those 😀

    But although I have this video gaming problem, I have something many kids don’t; control. I have priorities. I do homework first, I hang out with friends. ect. I don’t think it’s a problem if your child is addicted to video games, but if he doesn’t have a *life* then you need to help him. It is amazing how many kids I know that when you go to their houses all they want to do is play Halo 3 with you because they know no other way to entertain themselves and and guests.

    I wish you luck and hope you find a solution to your problem. Personally if I ever had a child I would NEVER encourage videogaming, but 10-20 years from now how will the situation be? I fear that children will be giant, videogame-playing T.V-watching freaks……… ugh it gives me the shivers….

    Good Luck!


  13. I’m 11. recently iv been having a few arguments with my school mates about violent video games being worse than normal video games..
    i am on the side were violent video games are worse. it annoys me because everything tells me that the violent games are worse. i think it is true. All games are bad but violent games are worse.

  14. Very interesting points, Steve. I actually came across your post because I’m trying to figure out if I’m doing the right thing for my own children. We have a house rule: No video games Mon-Thurs. They focus on homework and reading and playing outside and practicing the piano. They’ve got a lot to do during the week, so video games are reserved for the weekends. (And I’ve found they actually play with each other and talk more when games are out of the picture.)

    They’ve done fine with this rule, but recently my 5 year old son is feeling the peer pressure since all of his little friends game whenever they want. He gets a little jealous, I guess. I’ve explained to him why we have the rule and what experts claim video games do to brains of little boys like him. He’s fine with that, but I know he still wishes he could do what his friends do. I’m torn. Am I an overcontrolling mother? Will this have some sort of negative backlash later on? Am I creating opportunities for him to learn other skills that a video game obsession would have robbed from him? Am I teaching him moderation and self-control, or am I setting him up for a wild, uncontrolled future when mommy is out of the picture?

    Parenting is soooo hard!

  15. those were very good questions steve. i’m seventeen and have been playing video games almost my entire life. i am about to graduate from high school and have already aced the test that you take for the army. i have expierenced both the negative and positive results. i stand with Ran-chan. my father never played video games with me. infact he resents them. you need to get involved with your son. make it fun for him. you may find it a great bonding expierence. and spiro is a great game for him to be playing. thank you steve for putting these questions out for everybody to read.

  16. Ok i am 13 and i remember playing spyro. Like you said when your son found something he stuck to it. Spyro was a fun game for me when i was little and i think he is only in a stage where he will play that, he will get over it. Also i think spyro is very imaginative game i mean your a dragon that goes roundon quests collecting objects like jems to complete your task however if he played something like grand theft auto that might be a little violent, but i think people who say video games are bad i disagree violent video games are a scapegoat for bad parenting because i play call of duty (First person shooter) but i dont feel the need to kill somone.

    I just want to say i think you might have overreacted. Hes four years old and he isnt going to go off the wall and ruin his life for playing spyro like i said its a stage and he will get over it

  17. There is growing evidence that video games increase IQ significantly, contrary to the media myths.

    Personal experience first pushed me to research the topic. During my years at Oxford I noted that Oxfords top undergraduate physicist (out of 100s of Europe’s best) and Oxfords top philosophy undergraduate were both world class video game players.

    I began to see a pattern so I researched the topic further. I came across Steven Johnson, author of the controversial “Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.”

    Johnson argues, convincingly, that video games force players to make decisions, choose, and prioritize. Players must simultaneously track dozens and dozens of shifting variables, trying to manage an entire system. Johnson’s thesis is that these skills are transferable to nearly any domain – from my experiences as an avid gamer, and someone very aware of his own thought processes, I think he is right.

  18. Steve,

    I think what you wrote is right on. I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who is “addicted” as my other mommy friends like to put it to the Wii. It made me feel like a bad parent. Then I stopped & asked myself what is so bad about playing the Wii/Wii Fit. Lets see, he is using coordination & balance to get a ball into a hole while trying to keep another ball on the table. I would call this multi-tasking. Using two parts of his brain at once. Or he is doing step areobics trying to follow the pattern of the feet that appears on the screen. Or he is playing golf & using termanology like “bunker” or “par” to tell me about his game. He is actually excited to go play the real game soon.

    By the way, he also uses our computer to play “games”. Yes, i know we are horrible parents. He knows how to use a mouse, go to the bookmarks, find his folder & choose his website. An example of the “game” he is playing requires him to build a path using a pattern of colors. He has mastered this & many other games that require problem solving.

    Yes, he still goes outide to play. Yes, we still read to him every night, as we have done since he was 6 months old. Do we give him a Big Mac & a bag of chips to go along with his Wii or computer? No. he has always had a healthy diet.

    I do agree that “screen time” needs to be in moderation and balanced with physical activity and here’s why. If you take your child to the park, you probably don’t stay for 5 hours or 4 hours or even 3 hours because you can see that they are physically exhausted after probably 2 hours. I believe the same holds true for playing games only the signs of being mentally exhausted aren’t as apparent. So I try to limit it in the same way that i would limit any physical activity. They need time to decompress and absorb what they have just done.

    That is my 2 cents.

  19. This is an old thread, so don’t know if anyone still reading. I came across it while researching for a book I am writing. Now that is is 2010, may I add a few notes? We all want our kids to be able to enjoy video games “in moderation”. As a parent of a 6 year old, I do too. I have to say, I have not succumbed to the Wii and hope I don’t feel compelled to. I am a 20 year veteran of the IT world myself, including successfully climbing the surreal corporate ladder to VP level. No easy feat especially for a female. But, I have seen firsthand how utterly addicting eclectronics can be to any of us, why proliferate such unhealthy addition to young kids? The educational video in this article seems ok… moderation. But certainly I am opposed to any violent games, incluing “World of Warcraft” by Wii and other such games to pollute the minds, body and soul of our children. I personally don’t feel the “fear mongering” are those that pushback on all these electronics. They are voices of reason. The “fear mongering” seems to be more the people claiming if we don’t keep up with the Jones, don’t have that next sexier ipad, ipod, Wii, or cell phone that burps and farts, you just are not cool man. As an early Internet adopter myself, (I had a cell phone in 1983), I have gone opposite route and try to reduce my footprint of e-waste on Spaceship earth where everthing is going too commerical, too robotic, a virtual world with an unreal remove form reality. It’s in direct relation to health decline (obesity, ADHD, cancer, asthma) as in order to keep up with all this crap, we instal more industrial plants emitting more waste into our food, water, soil. Media Hype? thats what the swine flu was…….who is the alarmnist? the parent flocking to lines for a vaccine so big pharma makes the profits, or the person that researched further and realizes in the end it was all hype, kids used as guinea pigs for profit off some unreal pig to man disease that really never was a scare to begin with? I did not succumb to the swine flu shot, my child has one video console (a Leap Frog leapster with all educational games), plays outdoors all the time in nature, and is doing fabulous in school and life. I am not saying I am perfect, nobody is. But how do we judge “moderation” If a child goes to school 8:30-2:40 then plays video games for two-three hours a day after, that to me is obession to point of regression. Not to mention health effects…..research how Europe is way ahead of U.S. on EMF’s……Telecom act of 96 much to blame for that. Many video games emit unecessary RF waves (if wireless tech driven into consoles) But in the states where research paid for by industry & protecting corporate greed not the citizen, people believe “no conclusive evidence”

  20. I think its ridiculous how parents are “shunning” their children form video games. I use to work at a video game store and had MANY IGNORANT parents come in, talk on their cell phone while their 6 year old kids grab Grand Theft Auto or Call of duty and hand it to me. While their parents hand me the money I had ALWAYS told them, “did you know this game has blood, gore, massive amounts of violence etc.?” and they would get so frustrated at their kids for thinking that they could get away with buying the game. Then the parents would go on trying to tell me that we should not sell violent video games and such. NO, YOU PARENTS NEED TO EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN RATHER THAN BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE! America has grown so LAZY when it comes to raising their children.

  21. I think Video games rock! parents are stupid! I got grounded for playing video games just for 4 minutes! wtf?!…anyways..I think video games aren’t bad. They help with hand cordination. 😛

  22. Nice article, but i think I’m okay with being called an over-reacting parent. I’m a believer in all things in moderation, balance being the key; however, my bright and engaging 7 year old boy went to his first summer camp — and it turned out to be a room full of boys playing handheld video games. When the 2 weeks of camp were over, I didn’t recoginize my son anymore: he stopped making eye contact, he stopped saying hello and goodbye and he stopped talking to me completely except to say “Can I play my video game” — it was the first thing he said in the morning (like at 7 am) and the last thing he said at night. He stopped doing his homework or showing interest in it, and to my greatest dismay, lost interest in taking pride in his work. He was a totally different boy and any hyperactivity and distraction that he had before had doubled.

    So, how do you balance when all you child’s friends have little to no limits?!! These kids are giving giant screen TVs and violent video games by age 7. There are way too many parents using video games as babysitters, without regard or responsiblity or even the knowledge of what kind of effect it’s having on the child. Like it or not, gaming is a form of addiction and the younger children of today are being exposed to a level of addiction in a way that I don’t think children ever have been. At least with TV, children are not ACTIVELY participating in “killing” and being physiologically rewarded for it.

    Please give me back the “too much TV” syndrome — THAT was easy!

    I just wonder with the average child’s screen time in front of video games, TV, computer monitors and cellphones — will these kids know how to have a conversation? Read a book? Maybe in a few generations from now, kids will actually have a metal plate they attach to their face as they become one with electronics. Who the heck needs actual human relationships?

    As a woman, i personally think that any guy who is a “gamer” is about as unattractive as a grown man living with his mother eating tuna fish out of the can. It’s only a matter of a few years before self-help books appear on the shelves titled “Men Obsessed With Gaming and The Women Who Love Them.”

    And one more thing: has it ever occurred to anyone that information about your child’s computer game use — and I’m talking specifically teenage boys who play war games like Modern Warfare could be sold to the gov’t? Anyone selling something always needs to find and solicit their target market group. And last I checked, war as a business isn’t going away anytime soon in this country. In fact, it’s the United States biggest business.

    “Great for hand-eye coordination” and “helps burn calories” are two of the dumbest reasons to justify over-use of video games — sounds like denial.

  23. I was writing my blog for this week on how video games might or might not affect kids and stumbled on your site. I am a retired teacher, now substituting, and found an experience I had last week disquieting. Third graders in a Seattle school were writing their autobiographies. Boys, particularly, could not come up with anything for the day’ subject – What am I most proud of doing in my life?” All they could think of was video games. Something some of them do in every possible moment. When video game play takes over everything else that kids could be doing I start to worry. What I think we worry about is addiction to gaming. I think the idea of giving them certain times during the day and certain amonts of time, offset by other activites, both physical and mental, helps
    relieve that worry. Lots of good conversation and direction with involved adults also is helpful. Read my blog on Sunday for more info on this topic.

  24. I’ve never let my kids(there are 4) have video games but they play at friends houses. I worry about the same stuff all the time. Will they get fat, will they be unable to ask a girl for a date. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’ve linked your post on my blog
    Thanks again, Diana

  25. My god, if only oyou knew what I have to live trhough…

    I am 14 years old, and, well, I like videogames. BUT im not addicted to them. I only use them when I have free time. But my god. I have a cousin… WOW… Its like its his world. He plays video games for HOURS… once, I went to his house, and I was going to stay there for 5 hours. By the time I had only 2 hours left, I was already playing with his little 6 year old sister outside, while he was inside with his Nintendo DS. And then I came inside, and asked him what he was doing. He didnt answer. I asked him again. Then he looks up, amazed, and says ” Oh, playing spore”, and turns to play again. Since that day on, I do not want to go there again.

    And i had this other cousin: He was 16 years old, and he was playing games for around 8-11 hours… STRAIGHT… What happened? One day( or better said, night) he started shacking while he was playing a game. These where those symptoms( the once where you do unwoluntary movementes) and after 1 minute, he fell to the floor, shacking like hell! They took him to the hospital, etc etc…


    Just do what I do.
    If I play more than one hour( usually I play one hour and half, when i can) and take a break from 10-20 minutes each hour.

    This are the worst… They just want you to play more and more, so these, avoid them.

    And thats all I have to say today…
    Oh, and there are good games out there, and for me, the best one is LittleBigPlanet. Very fun, for all ages, and puzzles, logic, etc.
    You can get for PS3, and PSP( have it for both, and my PSN is megachevpro for anyone to know, just in case)

  26. OH, I forgot to mention something else:
    If you want to know how one of my cousins got so addicted, is becouse of that; One day, they where in el paso( i was with them), and my 12 year old cousin saw halo someting( i think), and he wanted it so bad. His parents didnt know what E, T, M, etc. ment, but anyways, they said NO. What did he do? he started to cry. To scream. To run around like a crazy kid. THen the cops came, and asked for the problem. His paretns told the cop, and they started laughing, and went away. Then they go the game, and went home. One week later, he comes to school, almost falling down.
    You want to know what happened? he played so much video games, he BROKE HIS BRAND NEW XBOX 360… And so he led his life through video games.

    I also agree that they do make you not want to converse with other people. An example? My cousin( yep, he has A LOT of problems. LOTS OF THEM).

    When he started liking a girl, he just wanted her to be his girlfriend. SO, one day he plucked up the courage to ask her. And you should have seen how he asked her. Let me try to reapeat it:
    Cousin: “Ummm… So…. Would you like to b-be my…………………………………….G-G-G-Girlfriend?
    Girl:” HMMMM…. i will think about it.
    The next day, she had said yes. After around 2 months, she went to his house. And oh boy, what did my cousin do all the time? VIDEOGAMES…
    So, she broke up with him, and he cried, like a baby… But maybe its different there in the US, but here in canada…. WOW

  27. hey steve
    About your topic i believe that you should let you kid play the game untill you start to c some bad behavior in him. if the game has violence in it then c how he start to act in like 3 weeks if he starts asking for guns and stuff like that thats when you know tio take away the game and unplug it.. But if he is playing some sword game then he shouldent go to crazy. Like my son started playing “Call of Duty” and that game is pretty cool and there are alot of guns and stuff on it but its at a resonable level to ware kids can play it. But the main problem is that everything he does in the game he wants to do in real life. So thats when i took the big step and finaly pulled the plug cause he started wanting guns and knifes and wanting to do the things in the game. So i just want to say is only pull the plug if they are wanting to do things in the game and they start to change their acts and and their language. Also if they are starting to want weapons.

  28. Sorry, but FOUR years old? There are too many other BETTER things to do: How about drawing instead, I mean real drawing, with pencils and paper? How about making his own cartoon characters, with REAL playdough? Or climbing a tree, buidling a snowman or sandcastle, making a penne/rigatoni necklace and painting it? Washing the dog? Building with Lego? Following a recipe and baking something to bring over to the neighbors? Making a paper mache volcano and watching it erupt? Starting a bug collection? Going to the museum? Maybe dance class, or gymnastics? Soccer or swimming lessons? Yes, these things involve an active parent, but so what? That’s what we are – parents! Too many of us these days got used to having no responsibilities until we married late and had kids…and we miss our free time to read the paper and have a coffee without being disturbed. But getting that back by handing a DS to a 4 year old seems like a wrong turn at the fork…

  29. Hey, don’t worry i speak from experience games will not ruin a person. One of the most infuriating this to me is that the media says violent games cause aggression. I LIVE ON THEM (and Little Big Planet but thats really the only exception, oh and Portal) AND I HAVE ALMOST NO AGGRESSION. In fact the only time I ever really get mad is with my parents when they yell at me because they think I play them to much MAN IT DRIVES YOU INSANE WHEN THEY MAKE YOU STOP WHEN THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO BUT WATCH THE CARPET!!! In school I am really never mad at people, when they make fun of them I just tell them “Its nice to see you too, and its also nice to see the dean sitting right over there, you wanna go have a chat?” I think that people are more disturbed by the almost limitless bank of science facts in my brain than the obsession for Sci – fi video games that drove me to research almost every scientific field known to man. As my final testimony to the wholesomeness and non destructiveness of video games, I hold one of the highest GPAs in my class.

  30. These are great topics,

    I have been on the fence with video games, verse sports, reading, writing etc. with my 9 year old as well.The difference that concerns me is my son has no motivation for anything else which frustrates me and I feel like I’m punishing him when I have him read or play outside because he hates it.As a single mother raising a boy is a constant battle, and activities become stressful and expensive when they want nothing to do with them.I myself am not into video games or TV, so I can’t relate and I see children literally walking into walls with the dam DS, however I bought one for my son then gave him limits on it.I guess my questions are where will my son reap more benefits, for life and are games offering a false sense of reward.I don’t even know if he is good at them he just plays for hours till I pull the plug, and also get emotional if he looses.Considering his dad is not around the feedback from other fathers is very valuable to me.

  31. Im 27 years old and was introduced to games by my dad at the age of 3. I used to play whenever i could when i was that young and when told to turn it off i had no problems doing so. Never put up a fight. But as i started to get older my early age hobby started to turn into an obsession. Graphics got better, story plots got longer and it felt like i could almost relate to some games. It became a second life. I struggled in school, extra curricular activities seemed to get in the way of my gaming, and my chores seemed to never get finished. When i got into high school i would wake up 2 hours early just to sit down and get in some game time. It was clearly becoming a problem. I was healthy and in good physical shape. I excelled in my courses at school when i applied myself between gaming, and i was working hard to get my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. But at the end of everyday all i wanted to do was pick up my controller and imagine myself in a game. It wasnt until i got a job and didnt have time for them anymore that my addiction slowed down. It became more of a “kill time when im bored” type of hobby. After finishing school i no longer had an addiction to video games and i managed to kick the habit on my own but i still played whenever i had nothing better to do. Now that im 27 there are alot more game consoles. Ive had a ps4 and an xbox 1 and i noticed with these new graphics and with the replayability of many new games that it was becoming an addiction again. Playing online with my freinds all night. Spending hundreds of dollars every month. I eventually came to realize that i once again had a problem like i did in my childhhood. What did i do? I got rid of them. Sounds a little harsh i know but with these new consoles the possibilities are endless and i found myself wanting to try and reach the end of those possibilities which i came to realize would never happen. After i sold my consoles i had a void which could not be filled. Caught myself fantasizing about gaming and trying to decide which console i should buy next. But at this point i have 2 children and alot less time to play games so i thought i could never let another video game addiction overcome. So i bought another xbox. 2 weeks later i was playing diablo 3 every spare minute i had. I could get a character to max level in less than a day and thats a little obscene. So once again i got rid of the console that seemed to be consuming my life. Then, of course, the withdrawals started to come back. I knew i wasnt able to turn back to a ps4 or an xbox 1 so i began to fantasize about a more simple time. The games i grew up with. Back when the video cable plugged into the cable input on your tube tv. Just thinking of things like that seemed to bring a smile to my face. So i tracked myself down a sega genesis and some sonic games and i started playing. I played for a couple hours the first time until i lost all my lives and then turned it off. I also noticed that i didnt have the urge to play xbox anymore. Soon i began to collect more games from my childhood. Then more systems. I now have a large collection of retro consoles and video games. Everything from an original nintendo (my first system) to my playstation 2 and every console inbetween. Its been very fulfilling collecting these games and consoles. I spend as much time admiring my collection as i do playing. The moral of my story is make sure its something you love to do. Not just something to escape from life. I learned that im a game collector and enthusiast. Not just a gamer that yells and screams at the tv everytime somebody kills me.

    I think that video games are consuming lives these days and giving kids the opportunity to opt out of life choices. Im not saying that theyre turning our kids into murderers and thieves but they are deffinately making kids miss out on lifes opportunities. I have 2 kids and never let my gaming stand in the way, and i still play everyday. Not that im addicted but because its what relaxes me. Never again will video games consume my days. They are my hobby, not my way of life.

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