Posts Tagged ‘Gaming’

You’ve Heard of Road Rage. Now there’s PlayStation Rage!

July 2, 2012

Reality has become so blurred for some that the expression, “It’s only a game” clearly no longer apples.

To read that grown men are turning violent over video games is outrageous and disgusting:

Young men are getting so caught up in gaming consoles they are lashing out at children, sometimes with deadly consequences.

A New Zealand paediatrician says all too often she treats children who have been struck by a male caregiver because they interrupted a game.

Mikara Reti was just five months old when he was hit so hard he died and his liver was almost split in two.

Trent Hapuku, 23, was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced this month at the High Court in Napier, New Zealand to nine years in prison.

Hapuku had been left alone with his partner’s child in a Flaxmere sleepout in January last year. Prosecution lawyers argued Hapuku was intent on beating his high score in a PlayStation game called Scarface.

When the toddler interrupted the game, Hapuku struck him so hard he died from his injuries. But rather than rushing the child to hospital, Hapuku continued playing. When Mikara’s mother returned she found her partner playing PlayStation and holding Mikara over his left shoulder.

But just wait a minute! This is an isolated case, right? I’m afraid not:

Dr Eleanor Carmichael, from Waikato Hospital, said she frequently sees cases where a young man has abused a child because a game was disturbed. “You sit down, take a bit of P, start your PlayStation game, the baby starts to cry, you’re in a hurry to pick it up and settle it down before you lose your place.”

Shame! Shame! Shame!

Click here to find out if you are addicted to the internet or here to read about kids and technology addiction.

Both a Parents’ Best Friend and Worst Enemy

April 21, 2012

I witnessed a 10 year-old boy having a major meltdown at the shoe shop last Sunday. He acted in an obnoxious way and completely embarrassed his mother. Kicking out in obvious frustration, he berated his mother for taking him to the shop (even though she took him because he needed new shoes!) He screamed out on a number of occasions, “This is so boring!”

It took a while for the mother t0 react decisively. At first she tried to reassure him, then sweet talk him. Finally she decided to threaten him. Nowadays, when a parent threatens their child there seems to be a standard “go to” consequence – the use of the family game console. The mother said, “That’s it! No more Playstation for the rest of the day!”

And then she paused, if only to reflect on what she had just done and whether she was comfortable with the challenges that come with setting such a punishment.

“What?” came the boy’s reply. “No Playstation? For the whole day? Why?”

“Because of your tantrum. I’m fed up with it!”

“But that’s not fair! I was just bored, that’s all!”

And then, as if the penny dropped, the mother realised what she had done. In a haste to punish her child, it dawned on her that she had in fact punished herself. She realised that her child is tolerable in front of the Playstation and a considerable challenge away from it. So she scrambled for an “out clause.”

“If you behave for the rest of your time here I might reconsider.”

Unfortunately, this is becoming standard practice among parents. As much as they hate watching their children becoming couch potatoes and gaming addicts, as much as they wish that they could get their attention quicker and steer them away from these distractions when it’s time to do homework, they have come to rely on it for peace and quiet. Here this mother had the perfect punishment for her son’s terrible exhibition. Following through would certainly be a “game changer.” It would make the statement that if you want to misbehave like that in public again it may come at a major price.

But no, this parent wasn’t prepared to risk ruining the rest of her Sunday for the sake of this statement. She probably wanted her son to be out of sight and mind for the rest of the day and there was no way that was going to happen with the punishment she nominated.

I am not trying to judge this parent. We have all breathed a sigh of relief as our child has camped in front of television or computer screen at some stage.

I am merely commenting on the stranglehold this technology has over parents, children and families.

Issues Relating to Kids and Video Games

January 3, 2012


Excessive video game use and high rates of video game addiction lead to much anguish from concerned parents. Many parents never saw the addictive pull of video games as an issue when they bought consoles for their kids or allowed them to have a computer in their bedrooms. I read a very interesting piece by writer, Scott Steinberg, on the major issues relating to children and video games.

He examines some of the most common concerns parents have about video games:

– Amount of Play Time
– Age Appropriateness
– Health and Obesity
– Addiction
– Safety Concerns
– Violence, Aggression and Misbehavior

The issue of particular interest to me was the video game addiction section. Video game addiction is not a term we hear very often, but I’m afraid it will be widely familiar in the next few years.

  • Addiction– For some kids, there is a real danger of becoming too involved in playing games, or even in living too much of their lives in the virtual world of the Internet. In rare cases, true symptoms of addiction can develop, and such kids can require direct help from their parents, peers, and professionals to have a healthy, balanced life. While a change of environment and routine can sometimes be enough to break kids out of an addictive mindset, the reality is that it’s hard to prohibit kids from using technology on a regular basis, since it’s such an integral part of daily life. Many experts encourage parents to become more engaged in the addictive activity in an effort to better understand the problem and prospective solutions. They also encourage families to seek out professional help should children exhibit warning signs of addiction. Several of these warning signs, according to the Search Institute, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to creating healthy communities, and other sources, include:
  • Playing for increasing amounts of time
  • Lying to family and friends about video game usage
  • Thinking about gaming during other activities
  • Using video games to escape from real-life problems or bad feelings, as well as anxiety or depression
  • Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to stop playing video games
  • Skipping homework in order to play video games
  • Doing poorly on a school assignment or test because of time spent playing video games

I urge parents to spot the signs before the addiction gets completely out of hand. It may even be worth reading Mr. Steinberg’s book, “The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games,” which will be free to download at in February 2012.

Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

November 27, 2011

I am not one to use therm “addiction” lightly.  Many would dismiss video game addiction as merely a bad habit or a product of an anti-scocial personality, but it is very real.

Video game addiction can take over a child’s life and deeply affect their relationships, schoolwork and daily routine. With role-playing games such as World of Warcraft now in vogue, the video game addiction has become far more serious.  Because these games have no designated end point, the game goes on indefinitely.  This means that kids struggle to put the controller down in order to eat, sleep or even go to the toilet!

It is an addiction which at the moment is relatively hidden:

In fact, in 2007, a Harris poll found that 8.5% of youths between the ages of 8 – 18 in the United States could be classified as video game addicts.

“The excitement, the thrill and the challenge, for some people gets greater and greater, and then it takes on a life of its own.” Dr. Anna Bacher, a therapist in Sarasota, treats patients with addictions — including those who have a hard time putting down the controller. “It can go to the extreme, where they stop sleeping, they stop eating, the person becomes irritable, lethargic, depressed, highly anxious and very difficult to be around.”

It is absolutely essential that parents are aware of the consequences of an addicted child before the odd game of World of Warcraft and games of its type, become an obsession. Parents should not feel that copious hours in front of the computer amounts to innocent fun.

Yes, gaming addiction is better than drugs. But not as much as some parents may think.

The New App that Gets Kids To Do Their Chores

October 29, 2011

Even the best parents and teachers struggle to get kids doing menial tasks on a consistent basis.  From making their beds to putting their lunchboxs back in their bag, it’s amazing how difficult it is to get children to be responsible for small yet important tasks.

That is, until an app was designed to assist desperate and exhausted parents:

You may find this shocking, but getting my 11- and 9-year-olds to do household chores is like pulling teeth. Rotten kids!

That may change now that I’ve got You Rules Chores on my iPhone. This clever new app turns household chores into a game, rewarding each kid a designated number of coins for each completed job. Whoever finishes the week’s chores first is the winner. (Of course, we all know who the real winners are: mom and dad.)

The app features cute graphics and music, and after a parent gets set up as the “referee,” each kid gets to choose an avatar (from only six available, alas).

Internet Addiction and our Children

October 26, 2011

We all love our internet connections and mobile phones and would find it extremely difficult to live without them.  However, addictions are still addictions, and there is no doubt that our children have grown a deep addiction to the internet.  So bad is the problem, that children have become more addicted to the internet than to TV:

Just 18% of children would miss TV most, compared to mobile (28%) and Internet (25%), finds Ofcom research

A new research by communications watchdog Ofcom has revealed that more young British teenagers can do without TV but not without mobile and the Internet.

Ofcom research found that just 18% of children aged 12 to 15 would miss TV most, compared to mobile (28%) and the Internet (25%). However, the research suggests that the teenagers are also watching more TV than ever before, with viewing figures increasing by 2 hours since 2007.

In 2010, children aged 4-15 watched an average of 17 hours and 34 minutes of TV per week, compared with 15 hours and 37 minutes in 2007. Nearly one third (31%) of children aged 5-15 who use the Internet are watching TV via an online catch-up service such as the BBC iPlayer or ITV Player, said Ofcom.

Ofcom’s research said that 95% of 12-15 year olds now have Internet access at home through a PC or laptop, up from 89% in 2010 and 77% in 2007.

Social networking is still one of the most popular uses of the Internet amongst 12-15s. Ofcom said that children are visiting social network sites more often on their mobiles. Half (50%) of 12-15s with a smartphone visit them weekly compared with 33% in 2010.

Children aged between 8-11 are more likely to use Internet for gaming, with 51% saying they play games online on a weekly basis, up from 44% in 2010. 8-11s are also spending more time playing on games players/ consoles compared with 2010 (9 hours 48 minutes – an increase of nearly 2 hours), said Ofcom.

In my school days television addiction was a problem.  Now we have another addiction which comes with the same side-effects.  It creates tired students who have been up so late they can’t concentrate.  It has compromised our children’s capacity to have healthy social interaction.  Playing with a friend has now become messaging a friend.  It’s just not the same.

As soon as people go from the moderate to the obsessive, they lose control of themselves.  Children today are certainly showing the signs of a lack of control, to the point where they are smuggling mobiles in their bags so they can reply to Facebook messages as soon as they receive them.

Kids require rules for their internet usage.  Rules that outline when, how and where they can use it.


Should Violent Video Games Be Banned?

July 26, 2011

I am glad to see that the recent events in Norway isn’t prompting any knee-jerk reactions in banning violent video games.  Although I dislike violent video games and would not want them in my house, I am not an advocate for banning them from the public.  As much as I despise violence of any kind, I don’t believe that violent games causes violent outbursts.

Proper censorship classifications is a much better approach:

THE Australian government will not back away from new classifications for violent video games despite suggestions they might have played a part in the Norwegian horror, says Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor.

State and federal attorneys-general last week ended years of debate and agreed to support an R18+ classification for video games, with the exception of NSW’s Greg Smith, who abstained.

Mr O’Connor has rejected calls for governments to reconsider their position after revelations that the man accused of carrying out the bomb and shooting attacks in Norway, Anders Breivik, was obsessed with violent video games.

“Because there’s a madman who has done just such atrocities in Norway, I don’t think means that we are going to close down film or the engagement with games,” he told ABC TV yesterday.

Mr O’Connor said that under the new R18+ classification, the 50 most popular adult games could no longer be played by 15-year-olds.

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