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How video games kill the soul & body

By TFP Student Action   
July 09, 2012

Video Games

Crusade: Could you please explain why you founded Online Gamers Anonymous?

Mrs. Woolley: In 2000, my son Shawn became addicted to an online video game called Everquest. Within three months he quit his job, got evicted from his home, and was up all night playing. Despite our efforts to help him get his life back together, he committed suicide only a year and a half after being introduced to the game.

Shortly after Shawn’s suicide, I did an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and that’s when I realized how many families are being broken up and suffering like us. In 2002, I founded the Online Gamers Anonymous site so these people would have a place to go and know they are not alone.

I want to warn people that these games can take control of their lives just like drugs or alcohol. Some gamers told me one can become addicted in less than 24 hours. Once a gamer has gone from social gaming to addicted gaming, he can’t go back. Games can be a drug of choice and need to be looked at that way.

Our website, www.olganon.org spreads research on how gaming affects children, stunting their mental growth and social development, and helps to warn parents. We host several meetings a week where addicted gamers can talk and support one another to turn their lives around and also have a very active forum where different topics are discussed.


Crusade: Do you have any tips for parents who have video games in the house?

Mrs. Woolley: The biggest key is to make sure that your child’s life is balanced. Children cannot be raised on just one activity otherwise they will run into difficulties. Even if the child protests. It is your job as parents to say “no” and guide him towards other activities.

Being a parent isn’t easy, but trust me, there was life before video games, and as parents we have to find or make activities to give our children besides sitting them in front of a screen. That means getting them into sports, social events, and educational activities. Alternatives need to be presented. If the child says he doesn’t want to leave the game, you have to set limits, otherwise he will develop problems.

Crusade: Who can get addicted and what are the consequences?

Mrs. Woolley: Anyone can get addicted. Colleges recognize that video games cause a huge percentage of their dropouts. Many now bring in counselors to deal with excessive gaming. Some are asking students if they play games before offering a scholarship. They know they might be wasting a scholarship on a gamer. I know several parents who lost their college funds to their gaming children this way.

Many teenagers being pulled into these games are actually geniuses. They are very intelligent and highly motivated. Proof of this is that many games require hours of tedious effort, concentration and patience. It is very sad to see how all this brilliant mind power is being wasted.

Besides considering how these games are affecting their personal lives and education, we should imagine what could be happening if these very capable people were solving the real problems of society. Instead, video games have become a big part of the dumbing-down of our society.

Fully grown, hard-working adults also get addicted. I know several who had a job and house but lost it all to the games. An extreme case is of a man in Florida who lost his job and had to start living on the street. Now he has a restaurant job and makes just enough to get himself to the gaming café, where he spends the rest of the day. When the café closes he sleeps on the street and does the same the next day.

Many fathers leave their families to spend more time gaming. They don’t care about their children, because all they feel they can do is play.

Grown women tend to play social games like Farmville, SIMS and Second Life because they like to do things with others. This often leads to problems because married women end up leaving husband and family, neglecting their real children, to be with someone in the game. There are many examples of this. An extreme case is the Korean couple who let their real child die of malnutrition because they spent all their time taking care of a virtual baby.

Crusade: Most video games give children a sense of worth and accomplishment. What’s wrong with that?

Mrs. Woolley: One of the main dangers is precisely that it is so very easy to get worth and accomplishment from a game. And if you don’t succeed or like what you did you can just restart until you get it right. Well, real life isn’t like that. Real life isn’t easy and you don’t often get do-overs. So the child grows disappointed with real life and ends up by quitting in real life. He says, “This is too hard,” and runs back to the games.

This poses a huge danger to the child’s social life. Instead of satisfying his desire for things like worth and accomplishment through social interaction, he obtains it through the game. Then he fails to get the experience he needs in real life, especially by suffering and learning how to deal with the bad as well as the good times. Real life isn’t easy for anybody, but allowing a child to use games as a drug to escape reality is not going to teach him how to cope with real life.

I could see this in my son. In the game he could easily do whatever he wanted and feel like he was accomplishing something. In the mean time, he was not spending time nurturing his real life, so there was nothing there to sustain him.  He no longer cared about the future and advancing in his real life. If most of your time is spent in games there isn’t enough time to enhance real life education, skills or friendships. Anyone who wants real accomplishment needs to get out of gaming and get working in real life.

Crusade: What would you tell parents who use video games to help entertain their children?

Mrs. Woolley: I have seen a lot of reckless behavior by parents because they want to use games as baby sitters. Unfortunately, a lot of it is because many are gamers themselves.

Firstly, giving children a game to get them out of your hair is not being a good parent. Be with your children in real life! I know of a father who taught his 3-year-old child to play World of Warcraft with him because he felt that if he could get his child addicted to it then he could interact with him through the game. I let parents know that gaming with your child is not interacting because almost no words are being exchanged; the child’s only communication with anything is through the controls.

Secondly, I recommend parents not allow any child under 16 to play games connected to the Internet, period. You never know who they are playing against, and pedophiles are figuring out ways to connect with children through these games. Somehow, because it is inside the home, parents think it is safe; but it isn’t. Giving them Internet games is like putting them in a public bar by themselves.

Also, many times parents tell me they can’t help but give what their children want and they don’t seriously look at what is in the game. These games can have sexually explicit material, cursing, drug use, senseless violence and destruction. If this stuff was in a movie, the violence alone would make it R-rated. Most of the Christian families I talk to would never hand their children an R rated movie, but they allow them to interact with violent games. This is very damaging.

Crusade: What if the games are non-violent and not online?

Mrs. Woolley: Just because it’s non-violent and not online doesn’t mean it cannot be harmful. That would be like saying it’s alright for kids to be handed non-violent drugs. Again, video games should be viewed as possible drugs and no one should be allowed to become addicted to them.

We really find that when a gamer crosses the line from having the choice of playing to being compelled to play, his mind has actually been rewired by the gaming. He is no longer playing because he wants to but because he has to. Then he starts hating the games but cannot stop. And then, as his life breaks down, he goes into a vicious circle of feeling guilty and having highs on the games, only to plunge back down and return to the game where it all starts again. And while tapping away at controls he becomes dehumanized, giving less importance to his senses, not going outside, getting exercise or sunshine eating good food; he turns into a human shell.

I also believe that more research has to be done but there is already enough information on how gaming affects especially the young, stunting their mental growth and social development. That’s one thing that startled me about my son. He stopped talking to people, including to me, his own mother.

Before getting into this game he was just like the rest of us. He had a future, plans, friends, and a job. After he became addicted it was like a light in his mind was switched off. He no longer cared about how he would spend his real life; he no longer saw a real future; and he had no more goals or principles. He just stopped thinking about reality and became depressed. His whole personality changed and he became anti-social. That’s why I always say these games can rewire the brain and a gamer can change and become a different person. My son’s friends were astounded by how much he actually changed.

Crusade: Could you give an example of how some parents intervene too late?

Mrs. Woolley: One of the boys I knew was a 15-year-old from Canada called Brandon. He was playing a game called Call of Duty and his parents were struggling with him to quit, as they knew it was causing problems. Brandon attached far too much importance to being a very powerful person in this game and wanted to stay in it because of all the fake power and attention he was getting. In 2008, his parents finally decided to put their foot down and took the game from him. Brandon ran away from home and a few weeks later some hunters found his dead body about seven miles from the house. It seems he jumped from a tree.    

Crusade: Have addicts talked to you about the gaming buzz causing emptiness in real life?

Mrs. Woolley: Yes, absolutely, and it makes perfect sense because in the games there are always more “missions” and more interesting challenges. The gamers get an adrenaline rush to be able to attain the next level and figure out what to do next. Going on quests and planning cities is all very exciting, and when you go back to real life there’s what? Parents telling you to go sweep the floor, do your homework, do the dishes, and eat at the table; talk with your sister. And then parents are surprised when their children say “life is so depressing,” “everything is boring,” “I have no friends.” It is all because they are spending all their time on games and not experiencing real life; if children had activities, their own groups and friends, real life would be interesting for them.

 Crusade: Could you share some more stories from your son’s addiction?

Mrs. Woolley: Yes. After my son became addicted to Everquest and was diagnosed with mental problems, he was admitted to a long-term support program. He was living in a group home five miles from my house. During the night I woke up and couldn’t sleep, which is very rare, so I went downstairs to check my e-mail and heard the front door opening. This was shortly past midnight. Thinking it was a burglar, I got a bat to challenge the thief. Then in walks my son, who was addicted to a game. He had walked five miles from the group home to play it. Who knows how many times he was getting up at night to play the game? Children admit it all the time on my forum that they are spending all night in front of these games without their parents knowing.  

Another time my son was at his brother’s wedding, the first wedding in the family. He left during the ceremony to play and didn’t return for the rest of the day. People noticed that he wasn’t at the reception and I discovered he had left in the middle of the wedding and walked home to continue playing his game. My son would have never have done that before his addiction. He loved parties and socializing.


 

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About the author

Elizabeth Woolley founded Online Gamers Anonymous to people addicted to video games. Mrs. Woolley has been interviewed by the Catholic Herald Citizen, CBC, CBS, and the BBC. She has travelled internationally to speak at conferences on the dangers of gaming. In 2002, she started a website to warn society about the “dark” side of gaming and to provide help and counseling for those who are already addicted to video games.

 

Comments  

 
+2 # J Krische 2012-07-10 15:01
What a load of nonsense. It's the same rubbish that was leveled at the D&D gaming community in the late 70s and early 80s. Only the names have changed; the story is the same.

The problem here isn't the games. Many of them actually HONE one's quick thinking skills, planning ability, decision-making and, of course, reflexes. Many often have a rich story as well, providing for the other half of the brain. Games can provide valuable relaxation in a stressful world, most especially for the type-A go-getters.

No, the problem is the people playing the games to the addictive level are unstable to start with and nobody wants to admit it, or are lacking in self-control on a larger scale. To admit a game addiction means admitting failure as a parent or as an individual, and admitting weakness (about anything) is hard for many, many people.
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+5 # Joseph C Eichel, MD 2012-07-14 10:27
I am a physician: J Krische's position is incorrect. Do not make light of Ms Woolley's excellent and clinically correct observations.
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-12 # Name 2012-08-13 11:43
I hope you don't practice. I can't imagine someone as unintelligent as you practicing medicine on humans.
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+23 # Siobhan Gallagher 2012-07-10 15:06
I am a Catholic, college graduate, experienced in addictions therapy, a woman, and a gamer. I was introduced to video games and online MMORPGs in college. Gaming provided a welcome stress relief like any form of entertainment, and I was able to continue my studies and work more effectively by being able to take "gaming breaks". I do not think that it is wise or balanced to villainize games in general this way, although my sympathies and prayers go out to Mrs Woolley and others who have had painful experiences like this. Like all addictions, the drug is a symptom of a deeper problem in the individual, not the problem itself. The parents of these addicted teens need to look deeper to see what is missing in the life of their child that causes them to turn to games as an escape. Even if the games are taken away, they will find another escape that will be just as harmful. Lets please keep our eyes focused on the real problem, and not make generalizations about all gaming or gamers.
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+3 # Sheryl 2012-07-10 15:07
Thank you, Elizabeth, for this information. I am so sorry about your son. What a tragedy. I appreciate the clarion call and warning you are sending out. I've suspected all this for some time. I'm more resolved than ever to severely limit my kids' time on games. I can be their "friend" later, but now I must do the hard work of parenting. Thank you for spreading the word. I pray that the Lord is giving you comfort and peace.
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+7 # Mitch 2012-07-10 15:20
Why single out video games? People kill themselves over drugs, sports, TV shows, movies, books, relationships, gambling, weather, and a host of other things. You can be addicted to lots of things. If we got rid of everything that people could get addicted to, we wouldn't have much left. Not to defend video games per se, but just to show that this line of reasoning is very flawed.
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-2 # Bob Chester 2012-07-10 15:59
If the young children had home chores, or even real jobs, more school homework, longer hours in school and walked to and from school they would have less opportunity to become addicted to insidious game playing. Learning Work Ethics and controlling weight gain early in life would both be major pluses.
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+5 # Nadine 2013-02-03 03:34
I experienced this with my grandson. He is 14 and he was doing finally great in school he learned the piano in just a few weeks, He was playing Christmas songs for us that he learned within minutes of watching someone else do it. Well, he got a play-station and couple of games and in one month he is failing all his classes. Except for science because that teacher gives all the answers, it's the easiest class ever. Anyway, after the teacher conference we took the games away because he lied to me and said he didn't have homework that he was finishing it at school just so he could come home and be playing games all afternoon and all weekend. He would get very upset with me when I made him get off. He has lost all respect so he is moving back with his mother. So now he has tons of makeup work to do and get his grades back up to at least a B. So, yes, I do agree these; games mess up a person's mind.
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0 # Tracy Patrowicz 2012-07-10 16:09
I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your son. I appreciate your crusade to bring awareness to the dangers of gaming, though it must be painful for you to relive so often. My oldest son is 11, and we recently had him spend time with a psychologist for evaluation, initially for learning disability. The results were as I already suspected, his learning capabilities are fine, but he is depressed and has severe aggression issues for his age. He becomes a horrible person when he plays video games, even though we try to keep it to 30 minute sessions at a time. He becomes mean and angry, and getting him to turn them off is a battle, every time. We are seeking further counseling for him, as a family unit. Should we remove all games for now? We've already taken away the inappropriate ones, that I'm ashamed to say I didn't review before giving to him. But, until we can reign in his emotions, should they be banned from our home? God bless you for sharing.
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0 # Desmond 2012-07-12 15:30
Unfortunately, this article unfairly demonizes video games. The *vast* majority of people that play games will not become addicted, nor face any of the consequences mentioned. With that being said, there _is_ a small subset of people that will be affected negatively by video games (as they would by any medium), and it sounds like your son fits that profile. If your son gets aggressive due to exposure to any medium, whether it be movies, music, video games, books, etc., then yes, take the media away.
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0 # Clueless 2014-03-20 15:55
While addiction may manifest itself differently in each individual, it is my belief that a majority of the gamers I meet online have issues. Be it rage, anxiety, depression, or SAD. Gaming addiction is a widespread problem and ignoring it will help no one.
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0 # Richard 2012-07-10 17:32
It's scary that someone can become addicted to an imaginary world.

Is it possible to put controls to insure that the self validating imaginary world doesn't become someone's "real" life?

Then again I've been known to play FreeCell or minesweeper for hours.
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-2 # Margaret MacKay 2012-07-10 18:46
This confirms what I have long suspected - that my son is addicted to video war games - even though he has a lovely family - and he is now over fifty! So it seems addicts never grow out of it. His personality has deteriorated a lot too.
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0 # EILEEN COLBY 2012-07-10 19:02
Thank you for all your effort in trying to inform the public of the dangers in playing games. I can attest to the dangers of computer games. I am 64 years old and play Pogo games. I really have to watch myself and limit myself to playing the games. I've found that if I don't control myself I have a tendency to let my housework go by the wayside. Please continue and keep working, our children have to be saved from these games. Satan is dwelling in these games. May God Bless you in all your work.
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+7 # Sally 2012-07-10 20:01
Video games can be dangerous and addictive, I agree. But the title of this article demonizes video games as a whole, making it seem like a level in Mario is equivalent to smoking a joint. It's not.

Just like everything else entertainment-wise, moderation is key. Playing an hour of video games every day is not unlike spending an hour watching TV or browsing the Internet every day.

Any form of entertainment in excess kills the soul, because we are dedicating our lives to entertainment instead of dedicating them to God. Video games are only one form.
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+5 # Marc 2012-07-10 20:20
I'm a little befuddled by this article. I have played video games my whole life. Some times I would take a whole day and just indulge just as someone may take a whole day to read their favorite book. I have been working since I was 15, I have a college degree and I purchased my house when I was 29. I think the article is misleading. People who are addicted to video games have some other issues going on and they need to escape or they have addictive personalities in the first place. If it wasn't video games it would be something else. Saying that "Colleges recognize that video games cause a huge percentage of their dropouts" is a bit muddy in my opinion especially since the author provides no sources for ANY of the information in the article. Video games don't make people drop out of college. They don't want to be there and they find something else to occupy their time. I understand a healthy balance between indoor and outdoor activities but demonizing video games is absurd to me.
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+1 # Mary 2012-08-06 11:22
I think right now video games is the #1 addiction. I'm in college right now and I see a huge problem. I know most my guy friends in college are addicted and they have much lower GPAs and organize their schedule around video game time. I haven't seen increased mental illness (perhaps depressed people TURN to online video games or something), and I doubt that video games are the cause of MI. Rather, I think my generation is predisposed to be depressed and addicted simply because we have such a hard time communicating and so little self-control. That being said, there are other addictions that are just as bad: Facebook, internet, drinking...etc.
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0 # Eugene 2012-07-10 21:00
Great article. I think I was nearly addicted to gaming (about 13 years ago), but I was luck to have a great family around me that kept me from getting out of control. Now that I'm a parent, this article is a great reminder to me that I can't just let our little guys play whatever video game they want for as long as they want.
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-2 # Jan Brennan 2012-07-10 22:21
Since this is becoming a huge problem in America, what do you recommend for a cure? How do you "safely" remove the games without something serious happening, or your child getting drug futher in or getting terribly angry and run away if you take a game or games away?
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+3 # Michael 2012-07-10 22:49
This makes sense. I wouldn't say I'm addicted, but I definitely feel like life is less meaningful after I've been playing MW2 a lot. I haven't played nearly as much as my friends or younger brother, but I notice small changes in my demeanor and relationships after playing for extended periods... Wish there was a way to find balance, but it feels like gaming is such an easy way to relax after working crazy hours at work. I guess this kind of explains why I'm not an alcoholic or pot-head like my parents were... My drug was video games, starting back on NES, then Sega Genesis, then my own Game Boy, then Playstation, then PS2, then Xbox 360... My drug history, pretty sad. I guess I would say I'm addicted? It's hard to admit.
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-2 # Math 2013-01-19 00:34
Man, I know how that feel. I experienced the same thing. The more I was playing video games, the more my quality of life went down.
For one whole year I stopped, I successfully freed myself. It was an amazing year. Awesome friend, great social and sex life. With a work that I kept for 9 month. (longest period I worked)

But then one day, I bought this laptop and started playing games with a new friend. The addiction quickly came back in. Fortunately, it is not as bad as before. But I sense I am missing on things. I know that if I overcome my addiction my life will be much more richer and successful. :)
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-2 # KM 2012-07-10 23:07
My 24-year-old son quit gaming when he went to college because he knew he spent too much time in front of the screen. He also now has neck problems (improper alignment of spine) from it. I am glad he made the personal choice to quit. I would like to see my teen son do the same. I may have to get rid of the internet.
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+1 # Kenyi 2012-07-10 23:41
How do I quit from nasty video games?
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-4 # Curtis 2012-07-20 10:36
Kenyi, please go to http://www.olganon.org/ and know that there is help and that you can look forward to being at peace with yourself when you make responsible decisions.
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-1 # urban mbithi 2012-07-11 03:09
Thanks for this timely article/interview.yesterday my six year old son woke up at 5 am and didn't want to go to school just to sit behind the screen. I am putting down my foot on this issue.
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+4 # Keryn Taylor 2012-07-11 03:14
It's important to observe kids when they play a particular game. My son began to play Grand Theft Auto at 15, and became a real jerk. I took it away for a few months, and when he got it back, he had a complete attitude adjustment. On Assassin's Creed, my son learned appreciation for architecture, and about the Borgias, and other historical data. Gaming needs managing by a responsible adult. Some kids are more prone to addiction than others; some games more addictive. Socialization is different today. Kids socialize online, as well as in school. Talk to your kids about what they are 'achieving' in their games to get an idea if the game has any redeeming value. Many DO! It seems a shame to waste such a brilliant learning opportunity when schools are decades out of date. My son learned more useful information (like economics) from video games, and talking to me than he ever learned in school. This fabulous tool should be geared toward education. Both problems solved.
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-2 # Anon 2012-07-11 06:18
often video game addiction is dismissed as "kids being kids/ Boys being Boys". I worked as a counseling intern at a university with college students for 3 semesters. I met and worked with more than a few students who reported being up all night sometimes with room mates, sleeping through and/or missing classes due to gaming. As a result atleast 3 failed out in first or second year. Yes, most of them good, smart, kids with a future. But they become completely gazed over (you can see it in their eyes/demeanor) with no real motivation, they report boredom, inability to be attentive in class, and sometimes anger issues that really start to effect family, friends, school, etc. It is an addiction because they can not stop on their own and begin to lose everything - mostly they lose their true identity. Many of the students I meet with this issue are not dating, socializing or playing sports.
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-1 # jane e. petry 2012-07-11 08:22
Thank you for this. I believe this is a topic that needs much more dialogue. As a grandmother I notice that boys seem to be much more attracted to gaming than girls. I think male role models are key to a balanced life and our society has all but destroyed the male role. Being a mother that stays at home and makes the sacrifice of the new car furniture and all the trappings of life is so important. Prayer for our country is such important need and we should all be called to be role models. If you are unaware of whom the GIRL SCOUTS have become please go to www.100questionsforthegirlscouts.org
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-1 # Cheryl 2012-07-11 09:36
I think this article is very important. I have seen this in my own families life. The only criticism I have is that you used far to many 'extreme' examples. People who are addicted can still lead a semi-normal life, read the article and dismiss it because they would never let their children starve or lose their job. They may have almost no ability to interact in social activities, neglect their relationships/marriage, lack anything but a rudimentary level of compassion, but still not recognize themselves because they are not as extreme as those mentioned.
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-1 # Joseph 2012-07-11 10:52
Wow, it's rare for someone in Mrs. Woolley's position to still allow for video game playing in moderation, rather than the people that put all video games on the same level.

I commend her for that, and wish her success in helping people who play too much video games, or the wrong kind of games.

Hail Mary.
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-3 # Fr. Brandit Bohol 2012-07-12 02:04
In my parish there are lots of children who got hooked on video games. And it seems the parents of these children have nothing to do with it. The government is doing nothing also to stop this addiction. This is an eye opener for me, how dangerous online gaming is. From what I've learned from this sharing i must share this also with my parishioners. I will include this in my homily. Thank you so much for this wonderful sharing.
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-6 # Kirsten Kurtz 2012-07-12 19:04
Has anyone dissected these video games to look for subliminal suggestions or messages?
Some Video cassettes of movies have been found to contain subliminal messages for children, why not for adults?
Maybe we need a guarantee from a legitimate group that they have investigated the movies and games we want to watch before we buy those movies or games. The extra charge to pay for this would be worth the cost.
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-2 # ralph rivera 2012-07-14 18:11
I've been going nuts! My kid has a JDL,
hasn't been able to pass the NYB exam, and so hasn't been able to land job. He lives with us and so we are also his health ins. Methinks that part of the problems is he spends all his time playing online. His brother told me one day, that he has a national listing. I really don't know what to do, this article has been enlightening in that it reveals there are others out there like us. So perhaps there is hope, in the meantime all we do is be patient and loving.
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+2 # NANCY Cosgrove 2012-07-15 13:36
I am a retiree and almost got addicted to Cityville. Stupid game really but it did lure me in quickly. I began spending money on the site and then, by the grace of God, I quit. It definitely was an addiction.I do play Scrabbke a lot but have stepped out in Faith to work full-time on Pro-Life. Call it Happy Grace. Praise the Lord..and keep passing on the ammunition to keep fighting against the culture of death.
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-3 # Sharon 2012-07-18 21:58
Hey, J. Krische, Just how much stock do you own in Sony and all game making companies? You sound just a little too harsh in your reaction to not have more going on that we don't know about. Or maybe YOU are addicted to gaming but lack the sense to admit it...?
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-4 # Julie 2012-07-24 00:02
Please read
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0 # M. 2012-07-24 18:05
I strongly suggest that we help teach children moderation with all things by being self disciplined ourselves. I decided not to get cable or the internet when my kids were little and used the money towards membership at the Y so my kids could learn to swim. Then I carefully selected a few educational games that helped them learn to read + type +encouraged creative writing. Specific time limits were set~ homework + fresh air playing outside came 1st. There's great potential for harm in the internet, even if not addicted to games, the internet, computers, phones etc have pushed their way into family life + are a barrier in our communication with our loved ones. As adults, we need to model for our children that People are more important than electronics. Gaming even with out gambling is easily addictive. All the many ways that we "entertain" our selves can get in the way of interacting in a meaningful way with our children, spouses and parents. Start early... Turn off all distractions.
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-2 # may 2013-07-22 00:02
M,I would be saying exactly the same things 4 years ago because I honestly thought all was up to the parents and I was a very proud parent with the two brilliant boys I raised. I have done everything you said you did and even more. My kids didn't even have PC, Xbox or play station until they were later years of primary and they were only allowed half an hour to 45 minutes a day. They were actively involved in basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis, chess, debating, reading, camping etc. They were top students academically and well behaved role model kids. Everything was very balanced, great up until Year 10, 11. Too much assignments requiring excessive amount of internet usage left us with no control over their computer usage time. We realized that at the age of 15 my younger son started switching to games while doing homework as a stress reliever well before we knew it. 4 years later we are still struggling with his gaming addiction. We feel betrayed by the school system.
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-3 # LeonG 2012-08-02 09:19
Those who defend video games as a normal activity with no serious repercussions and who try to discount this article are speaking absolute nonsense. It is the games that are designed to encourage young people to spend their time playing as much as possible and to change what they are playing on a regular basis. Left to their own devices, young people and many adults too would spend increasing time each day on video games; X-Boxes and play-stations. As an educator of 34 years experience I can vouch for the views of Mrs Woolley. There are other objective testimonials too. These forms of entertainment are reducing young people to becoming enslaved to an intensely introverted, anti-social, valueless virtual world of violence and fantasy. They do nothing positive for the intellectual development of children. This can be done by other creative means. Children should be limited in the hours spent per week using them and encouraged by parents to do more sociable real world activities.
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-1 # may 2013-07-21 23:41
Hi LeonG, I agree with everything you said but like to comment on your last sentence. I think you are in an excellent position to make my point heard. As a parent, I have done everything to limit my children's use of computer to 45 minutes a day up until Year 8. They also were involved actively in many real life activities.But never ending school assignments which required excessive use of internet time for research made it impossible for us to monitor the amount of time spent at the computer. They were genuinely engaged in doing their homework. Being in the academically selective classes, they had more homework, more assignments and more expectations from school. It appears that for my younger son, when he was in year 10, occasional switching to gaming sites became a stress relief. When we realized he would take a break from his work and play games, we tried to monitor again but the damage was already done. So no matter how careful the parents are, the school system here is to blame.
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-3 # Renne 2012-08-09 11:30
whether or whatever kind of entertainment it is/it was,as an imperfect human being, we all should know our own limited abilities, too. we are not a slave to any sort of media entertainment-thingy. so, to whom are we to blame? we should ask ourselves. i'm 36 and still a gamer myself but i know my own limits too.
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+2 # Felix 2012-09-12 02:22
I would like to say after reading this article and comments that these people need to get a grip on themselves. If you are "addicted" to a video game enough to kill yourself over not playing it then you have some other mental condition screwing with your head, not letting you think straight. I disagree that video games can drive someone to suicide in a normal, sane persons brain. I think it is up to the parents to get help for their children if they see signs of a mental disability. I do disagree that video games should be played 24/7 as it is not healthy for your mind, but a healthy person would be able to limit themselves. I also think that the outside world can have an effect on this through things like family or work. I know at one point in my life I was addicted to reading books because I was at bad terms with my family, always fighting, and I became depressed. Books were my alternate life, my escape to what I thought was a better world,a dream I wanted to become a reality.
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-3 # Suzy Walker 2013-01-24 22:21
Oh my gosh some of the video games that people play are downright dangerous...It changes peoples personalities, they become listless and lacking energy...I'm a christian and I have personally thrown out every evil game my son had, i used to have like evil strange dreams and weird sounds happening in my house, since throwing the games out all that has stopped...Don't be fooled people, satan is real and this sort of stuff is straight from the pit of hell .... that's where he wants to take you eventually...Cry out to Jesus He is the only one who can deliver you from these things.
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0 # Roland 2013-02-06 04:24
But video games do help people with disabilities. We often lack social life and deal with depression, low self esteem, isolation, loneliness, and stress more than general. Video games helps us to escape ourselves and fill that void. It makes us feel better and keeps out mental state sharp. I don't have friends but I do have friends online which bring me closer in the social circle. People naturally tends to overlook the disabled, cast us out because we're not 'normal'. Without video games, I would be more lonely, depressed and my mentality would be down. So video games do have benefits for people with disabilities.
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-1 # Investigator 2013-02-19 07:45
So I was wondering if you could explain if video games affect peoples demeanor and if they do, then, how do they?
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0 # kim 2013-03-05 10:41
My son is addicted to League of Legend. He's been playing since 15 years old. He's now 18 and would play until 5am in the morning. If you try to take the modem away from him, he turns violent. One time my daughter tried and he hit her over the head 20 times. I don't know how to deal with his problem. He comes back from my school and sleeps till 10pm and then plays online until 5am. He is struggling with school. He won't go with us to seek professional help. HELP!
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-1 # Mike coritsidis 2013-05-15 14:41
Hi Kim, my name is Michael C, and I'd like to help your son quit playing League of Legends for good. I've played League of Legends from the age 19-23. I am 23 now. It was a bad habit and I'd play a minimum of 3 hours a day. Now, I haven't played one game in 2 months. Call me if you want. 917-498-8167. I'd like to either meet with him, I live in New York. Or I can email you advice. This is a delicate matter and your son seems to have an Ego, as he thinks he is right and sees nothing wrong with what he's doing. Ask him what his dreams are. Also, "knock em alive" he probably has no dreams now, knock some dreams into him, get him ambitious and interested in learning. School often offers topics that we aren't interested in learning about. Gimme a call, i'd like to help a fellow addict.
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-2 # may 2013-07-21 23:19
Hi Mike,
My son is in a similar situation as Kim's son but we live in Australia so we can't meet you. Can I give you a call from the phone number you provided? What is the best time to call?
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-2 # Mike coritsidis 2013-05-20 11:47
Kim, how are things? have they gotten better?
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-1 # may 2013-07-21 23:24
Hi Kim. I have the same problem. My son is 19 and he also has been playing LOL for at least the last 2-3 years. Before than he played other games. Our saga started when he was 15 and he also refuses to seek professional help. We may exchange some ideas if you like. We tried many things, some are helping.
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+1 # becky 2013-03-09 14:24
Wow reading this has shocked me, I'm going thru hard times with my son who just turned 14 yrs old today:( ...wish his grandmother never it to him for Christmas. I take total ownership in this because I should have done my research first! It's like we have no life no more; he himself has no interaction with the family, no sports, no nothing due to this game. My son has got to the point of punching his dad like total strangers:( and worst of all my 6 year old is seeing all of this mess.... What should I do??? My feelings telling me to take this issue to his school and get help from the counselors but my son is a gifted student at school behaves good and teachers tell me that his an awesome student in school, but I'm not 100% satisfied with the answers teachers give me; any tips please?
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0 # may 2013-07-21 23:14
I understand. Don't blame anyone. My son was 15 when changes began. Gifted and remarkable student at school. I resigned my high profile job to raise my children. They were very active with all sorts of activities as well as being top students. Their computer and TV usage was closely monitored and they were allowed only 45 minutes a day which worked fine. After they started high school, there was never ending assignments which required excessive use of internet for research. Consequently our monitoring of PC usage went out of the window. When my younger son was half way through year 10, we realized he was playing games in between school work therefore confiscated his PC. He was having difficulty completing his work. Finished year 10 still top student but dropped out in Year 11. Tried different schools, he couldn't continue. 3 years later we are still struggling with the internet gaming addiction. My only regret is not involving school when the trouble started, and wait till Year 11.
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+2 # Christy mcniell 2013-03-12 11:03
My daughter is 15 and loves you tube and Gaia, It seemed to be cute at first but now I am very worried about her. I think I can relate with Mrs. Woolley in her forum. My daughter was social the little bit she HAD before she turned all her socializing toward this game. Her grades have slipped, her sleeping patterns messed up, she is almost late for school almost every day. She stays in her room un-socializing from our family. It is really sad as a mother to see her like this now that when we catch her lying and sneaking her computer for this game, we take it away from her and she gets very upset. Last time she started stabbing a box and talked about thoughts of cutting herself and just this morning found a suicide poem written by her, very disturbing so I can relate. Her school provided her with a lap top for her school work but she can surf other things online as well. We are currently in the process of getting them to block this game. Good luck y'all. Every ones situation is different.
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+2 # monideepa sarkar 2013-03-29 14:38
One day my brother introduced me to the game, The Sims. And i loved it because since i was a kid i had a hobby of collecting beautiful house pictures. This game was all about making houses, creating people and their social lives. i continued playing the game and gradually i got addicted to it. And i got addicted to such a level that i couldn't sleep at night, i played it all the time. Before this i was a very brilliant student, but suddenly my grades were degrading. Sometimes i even cursed the game to be so appealing to me, yet i couldn't leave it. then i thought the problem is not with the game, it's with me. We should experience all the aspects of life but should not get so attached that we cannot get rid of it whenever we want. And i got determined that the game doesn't control me, i control myself. And i deleted everything about the game from my laptop. Believe me I felt better the next morning. but it wasn't that easy either. Many times i thought of reinstalling the game, but somehow i didn't.
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0 # Parker Woods-Wilson 2013-06-18 14:29
Having played World of Warcraft for almost eight years - I even followed the original RTS games - and still enjoying the game, I can safely agree with this article but for different reasons. Anyone who has been a Role-Player and spent a substantial amount of time on the Moon Guard community - not Goldshire; no one there is actually engaging in that stuff; it's trolls. The real folks who did "that" all went to MSN chat - knows a lot of intelligent people who aren't socially awkward or "addicted" as this article purports. But what gets me is the wasted potential - entire political, economic, military, administrative, and even religious bureaucratic structures created entirely by people. I always wonder what our world would be like if these people who were so devoted to these never had the option of games, and instead turned their efforts to the real world - MMO's are a trap for those of us with administrative tendencies to waste our time when it could be put to much better use.
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0 # Switzerland 2013-08-27 00:49
My circumstances. I remember when people were able to communicate with each other and didn't get their self-worth from make believe worlds. I have raised 5 active children. One works in the tech world and comments about how damaging video games are. My husband was an alcoholic and had 11 years of sobriety. Our home life was manageable and productive. He started secretly gaming. One addiction for another. The result: foreclosure, repossessed car, loss of retirement, BK, a lost job. He went back to work in 2011, continued drinking/gaming, but now had more $ to game with. He got a DUI 12/2012, lied to cover up. Last yr he wasted 10K/gaming, 12K/DUI. 1 of our girls has filed a divorce because of her husband's addiction 2 video games. Ironic that after I pointed out that he was doing the same thing; he got upset and moved out. I know that there are usually other factors in place. His family has no clue. It is disheartening to see relationships suffer in any way because of online gaming.
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-1 # Romania 2013-12-14 12:08
In my opinion, this article is not appropriately aimed at gaming addicts, but rather at parents. The lack of any sources being cited makes for easy dismissal of the information it presents and the extreme cases presented aren't something that most gamers can identify with.
Firstly, addicts are experts at rationalizing their self-degrading activities, and their virtual-world accomplishments explosively inflate their ego, causing them to easily reject any rational arguments against their drug of choice.
Secondly, gaming addicts are people capable of extreme dedication and patience. They just need a productive goal to work towards. They don't want to just do chores or work in order to survive, they want more. They believe they are capable of much more; it's one of the reasons people start gaming.
Negative approaches to stopping addictions will not be very effective. Gaming addicts need their sense of self-worth confirmed and redirected towards real life accomplishments.
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