#6

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#6

Why are parents and politicians so down on videogames?

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Well, I can't really disagree, but I don't believe that going over 2 hours of screen time is dangerous.

My mom has tried to sit down and play a video game with me on a few occasions only to have her ass handed to her on the most lavish platter you've ever seen, be it by me or a computer. She has no chance of ever getting "into it". She couldn't even grasp that analog stick = move.

Oh, wow, I think this is somebody every young person who has played video games can relate to.

Just how many times have your parents blamed your computer or game system for virtually all the failures in your life?

Besides that, I was playing Postal 2 when I was like, twelve. My parents even watched me do it sometimes. Neither they nor I ever took it as any more than a silly game.

Besides, by then I was already well versed in sadism. >:)

snowman6251:
My mom has tried to sit down and play a video game with me on a few occasions only to have her ass handed to her on the most lavish platter you've ever seen, be it by me or a computer. She has no chance of ever getting "into it". She couldn't even grasp that analog stick = move.

Many non-gamers can't. Gamers take the most basic gaming skills for granted. The fact that you know what the controller does means your miles ahead.

OT: Thankfully my parent's don't think this way. Hell playing DOOM back in 1994 is how me and my dad spent time together. I'd sit on his lap and we'd take turns looking/shooting and moving.

Oh, and in defense of parents, VCR's are a bitch to program.

I sometimes wanted my dad to sit along and play something with me, but he prefered to watch some pretty retarded novelas and watch something stupidly retarded on Televisa and TV Azteca (2 of the biggest TV boradcasts in Mexico and both are simply retarded beyond reason).

The only few times I enjoyied to play with him were a couple of times while we were playing Mario Kart 64 (those 4 controller ports did wonders back on the day). I even bought Wario Ware Inc. in the hopes for him to sit down and play some silly microgames (you can't go wrong with a game wich can only be controlled with a single button and the D-pad).

My godfather is a gamer at heart, he obviously has a lot of rsponsibilities, like feeding his kids, and a lot of work, but when he's on the mood for some play, we and my nephew have a blast playing together. Even I take m PC to his house sometimes to play something in LAN.
Hell, if it wasn't for him, I would've never be so damn interested in First Person Shooers in my life, he introduced me to Doom 2 and I fell in love with a genre still on it's diapers.

First writing and reading were seen as dangerous by the last generation who grew up without it, then came radio, comic books, T.V. etc. Most members of the generation who grew up without a technology are not capable of understanding it while the youth are the first to grasp it. If you don't understand something you see it as dangerous.

Its only a matter of time before the whole thing shifts. As the non-gaming people slowly phase out and the people who have grown up with video games become the "norm" the whole perception of video games will change. Im pretty sure they went through much the same thing when radio and tv were invented.

A well thought out Ask, Dr. Mark. A lot of people need to try to keep in mind the viewpoint of parents with new things like this. It's hard to imagine that people would be so against something so innocuous, but they are.

I was fortunate enough that at least one of my parents was a gamer as well. Mind you, he only played the earliest consoles and early PC games (he still plays some of them, but he's not the best), but the fact that he found them a good use of time means that he saw they were an okay use of time for me.

I also know what you mean by parents limiting time, or attempting to do so. During summers, it was impossible for my parents to limit my time. I had grown out of daycare and we couldn't afford a babysitter. They were both at work, so I spent most of my time playing with LEGOs, reading, playing SEGA or PC, or visiting a friend.

Eventually, about the time where internet started becoming more popular in homes (woo, dial-up!), my parents tried limiting my time on a computer. This worked to a degree, as they had to let me online. Eventually though, the computer was online constantly, and it was more difficult to limit me since they weren't around.

It eventually turned into no time limit, as there was no time for them to watch me.

Maybe once we have cheap, efficient, and safe NannyBots, then children can be more effectively limited.

As gamers are now parents with young families, I believe that in 10 - 20 years time games will be as acceptable as books, music and TV with concern groups instead focusing on the type of computer games (like they do with books, movies and tv).
Meanwhile some new technology will come along for us to feel an reasonably scared of..

I can honestly say if it wasn't for video games, I would not have the career I have now, nor would I have the knowledge and adaptation for technology. My parents never limited my time on video games, but they encouraged me to spend my own money on computer parts and new games, so when I wanted something, I worked for it, either by mowing lawns or washing dishes in a restaurant. Video games don't HAVE to be a bad thing, but they cant be spoon fed to our youth, less you want our youth to have the work ethic of a dead horse.

Irridium:

snowman6251:
My mom has tried to sit down and play a video game with me on a few occasions only to have her ass handed to her on the most lavish platter you've ever seen, be it by me or a computer. She has no chance of ever getting "into it". She couldn't even grasp that analog stick = move.

Many non-gamers can't. Gamers take the most basic gaming skills for granted. The fact that you know what the controller does means your miles ahead.

OT: Thankfully my parent's don't think this way. Hell playing DOOM back in 1994 is how me and my dad spent time together. I'd sit on his lap and we'd take turns looking/shooting and moving.

Oh, and in defense of parents, VCR's are a bitch to program.

I know that despite being second nature for me its not exactly the most intuitive thing in the world for non-gamers. That being said though when looking at a pad with buttons and a stick that moves in 360 degree motion and being told "MOVE THE STICK TO MOVE" and then still not understanding what part makes the character move forward, that's kind of sad.

NonyaZ:
Video games don't HAVE to be a bad thing, but they cant be spoon fed to our youth, less you want our youth to have the work ethic of a dead horse.

Youre right, anything in excess is a bad thing even vegetables. The only thing we hear on the news and read in the papers is the people that take gaming to the extreme. Kids passing out or being hospitalized for gaming 80+ hours straight or people blaming games like Postal or Manhunt for their violent outbursts. And that is all that people think when they see their kids playing video games even though people and games like that make up only a small fraction of the gaming community as a whole.

I'm going to try and do what my parents did for me. There's schoolwork and chores, and when those are done, you can do what you want. We had a computer that was good enough for my parents. I had to make and spend my own money to upgrade it to a gaming machine. I played at other kids' houses, but it still motivated me more and got me to work and earn my first computer. I really appreciate that.

One thing I might change, though, is focusing more on physical activity. I really wish I was more fit. I'm not out of shape, particularly, I just wish I was stronger and fitter. I'm going to encourage my kids to do more outdoors because I wish someone had done that for me. So that now, the 25 year old me wouldn't have to work so hard to lift weights and run because the 15 year old me had just been more active to begin with.

NonyaZ:
I can honestly say if it wasn't for video games, I would not have the career I have now, nor would I have the knowledge and adaptation for technology. My parents never limited my time on video games, but they encouraged me to spend my own money on computer parts and new games, so when I wanted something, I worked for it, either by mowing lawns or washing dishes in a restaurant. Video games don't HAVE to be a bad thing, but they cant be spoon fed to our youth, less you want our youth to have the work ethic of a dead horse.

A good point. I still did chores and the like too. I probably would've been a bit better off had I been made to do more work in order to get my game-time. That's a good idea! I will remember to use it for my own kids (aside from birthday/Christmas gifts XD)!

Scytail:
As the non-gaming people slowly phase out

I like how politely you wrote that :)

Andronicus:

Scytail:
As the non-gaming people slowly phase out

I like how politely you wrote that :)

I figured someone would take offence to "kick the bucket" seeing how it might include their grandma

Another great article from Dr. Mark as always.

Whenever something influences the young minds, there will be always scapegoating. We might go scapegoating on whatever new.

I guess I was lucky. I spent a lot of time playing games with my dad as a kid on our Genesis and PS2. He was one of the early gamers, we still have his Intellivision.

Mark J Kline:
Many parents also worry about the effect of gaming on their kids' health. Gamers aren't noted for having the best sleep hygiene. It is easy to play late into the night and end up oversleeping or being semi-comatose the next day. Even though there are games that involve exercise (DDR and the Wii come to mind), we should acknowledge that this hobby is largely sedentary, so parents worry if their kids are getting enough exercise, and experts wonder if gaming is contributing to an epidemic of obesity.

Wow, did I feel a shiver reading this or what.

Not one to fuel a fire here but I'll have to agree with this one. Didn't sleep until 5am last night and didn't wake until 2pm. I know I'm overweight as well.

Horrible things, these games.

I think my parents tried the method of 2 hours only thing but eventually they got tired of trying to time what I do (and trying to fight the eventual "one more life, there were those loading screens that didn't count" business) that I think they gave up.

As long as both generations make an attempt to keep games an open venue of discussion, it shouldn't become a point of contention. If you treat gaming sessions like a private, exclusive event, then of course parents will come to resent them. Even if they're cynical at first, dont retaliate. Talk about the good points of the games you play--without babbling like a psycho fan--and for goodness sakes drop the controller now and then when they ask you to do something. That will win mega points.

That's my experience, at least. Back in the day (oh Lord, I have a day old enough to go back to...), my parents had plenty of reservations toward gaming. After some time, though, they could identify an impressive number of characters simply through my noting of them over the years and have even shown interest in trying games out now and then. Just be considerate and patient, and most older generations will come to some higher form of acceptance.

I can understand why people have a certain distaste towards gaming. But the problem is that most of their fears and worries are unfounded and the only way they could begin to speak on the topic knowledgeably they would have to know about games themselves. Like our good Dr Mark here, who can say things about games because he plays them and is a psychologist.

The negative public/mass media perception is what fuels this drive to single out video games from other forms of media. We may soon have a video game case tried in the US Supreme Court that could put into law this misunderstanding about video games. Imagine if that had happened during the outrage over comic books back in the day...

Another very well written article. :)

I think I have been blessed with parents that understood that games was not just a kids toy, but something that has a deep entertainment value.
I am now 27, so its not like my parents have any say in the matter anyways.

One thing I always tried to do though was to talk about the games I played, and use them as anecdotes if fitting in a conversation with them. This way they could learn more about the games.

Now lets go back in time to when I was a kid; I did have some rules and regulations on my gaming. For a long it me I wasn't allowed to play games during the school week. This was mainly because I had a tendency not to bother with my homework (not that I became better after they revoked my gaming :P)

Then when I got older, I was not allowed to play any violent games in front of my younger brother. Which I think was okey, although what was a violent game is sort of a question of interpretation, so I happily continued to play my Final Fantasy 7 :)

Oh and I was never allowed to have a TV in my room, which helped my parents keep an eye on what I was doing.

All in all I think it is correct to set some rules on gaming, not because it is evil, but because it is clever. I mean most kids have rules on how early they are allowed to watch television, and when they should go to bed.
But at the same time parents should be reasonable, and try and use logic instead of "because I say so" reasoning with the children.

Games are not evil, but that doesn't mean all games are for everyone. Because not all games are made for children.
And I think that is the problem parents and the media needs to understand. There are children's books, children's movies, and children's theater shows... and guess what there are adult games ;)

Wonderful, wonderful article.

I am not in the mood to throw an almighty rant at the moment but I will say this:

If I ever have the chance to marry and have my own children one day, I will game along with them. My dad once done this with me and let me tell you I bonded with him faster than you could say "Owned". Understand your children, gaming isn't going away anytime soon.

It's there to stay, maybe not in the USA but the rest of the World is pretty much accepting of it.

I agree with some, disagree with others, I have played games forever and a day (more than 17 years, I'm 19 now) and I must say that one effect that I personally blame games (and late 90's media in general) on is an overall feel that life will be really cool and fun. Think about games like Street fighter and Streets of Rage. You beat people up, Ryu from street fighter had no home, nothing but his awesomeness (I think he may have used his Hadouken to be a logger once in the series) and that made you think you could do it too. (if you were 3 like me when you started playing games) I think that overall parents do need to monitor their children more (especially what they buy for their kids) games are great and can be used for good clean fun, when you child is informed that they are games, not real, not something to aspire to (save possibly guitar hero) and that there are in fact more important things in life.

Growing up we didn't have a home PC until 1997 (never been a console in my parents place,) and even then it was crap. Finally bought my own in year 11 (2001, cost me $2000 as a high school student, that was big cash!!) and got stuck into some serious: No One Lives Forever. Fortunately I had other more pressing issues: School, Music, girl friend,partying, MTB riding... So it was only ever a spare time thing and still is(go team blue in TF2: "Push Little Cart!!,") as being an engineer takes up 12hours a day now. I did have to fight my mum tooth and nail for a game boy (those were the days) in 1994 though...

Critically though any form of entertainment is fine in moderation. Excess is where it becomes a problem, especially when it begins to marginalize those closest to you and those that may depend or look up to you...

This might be a good talking point for you DR. Mark: (note: following is real and is currently playing on my mind rather seriously)

A friend of mine (age 26, previous Wow junkie) now with a loving wife, beautiful infant daughter and a trade behind him (Industrial electrician,) quit his job and is now playing +10 hours a day WoW. This in direct neglect to his wife, child and general sanitary conditions around his house. I'm not sure what the best angle of attack is, as (correct me if I'm wrong) it can't be healthy for his daughter (who's just started walking) to see her father obviously addicted to WoW, (thanks Cataclysm :() neglecting obviously more important things to play that game. Most notably her, his wife and their living standards??

His wife is studying Full-Time and working the late shift to make ends meet. And while they do have savings (which they are basically living off) it strikes me as a potentially serious problem in the making. They're all great people and good friends, however I can see it all going terribly wrong :/ I've already lost 1 mate to WoW (MIA since 2004) I don't want to lose another. Much less a child to grow up without a father should the marriage break down because of this

Feels good to get it into the open.
Namewitheldforprivacy.

Dr. Mark, I was wondering -- you say:

Mark J Kline:
When I was a kid, we used to talk about sports, NASA, or some insipid TV show, but now, gaming is topic number one. If a kid isn't knowledgeable, he will be left out of much of the discussion.

Do you feel that this applies as much to girls and boys these days? Or is gaming still a "boy" thing to obsess about?

GuruJ:
Dr. Mark, I was wondering -- you say:

Mark J Kline:
When I was a kid, we used to talk about sports, NASA, or some insipid TV show, but now, gaming is topic number one. If a kid isn't knowledgeable, he will be left out of much of the discussion.

Do you feel that this applies as much to girls and boys these days? Or is gaming still a "boy" thing to obsess about?

Not any more, there are plenty of statistics to show how many females game these days, the gender divide is long gone though thats not to say there are not plenty issues female gamers face but by and large its a unisex medium of entertainment these days.

As for the article very well written Dr. Mark, the most unhealthy thing about my gaming habit really is the sleep aspect of it though. I try and maintain a fairly healthy social/gaming/exercise/work balance. But always find myself cutting back on sleep rather than cutting back on any of my pursuits. Nowadays I have about 4 hours sleep a night, maybe another hour and a half on a train and during the weekends I get my 8 hours.

Ever since I was a kid I have gamed, I loved the strike games for the SEGA, I was the only kid in the class with a NES, then a SNES, SEGA, N64, PSX, PS2, 360, 360,.... 360 (F**king RROD's lol). But since I was about 6 gaming has been a part of my life. I probably did neglect some of the more important aspects of my life for it but by and large I would have considered it just another hobby. Something to talk about with friends, something to do when friends came over etc.

As for the medium itself being harmful I hate that arguement, if the child can learn the differance between reality and fantasy then they can choose for themselves what they want to play. That was always the way for me, if I was mature enough to handle it I was allowed to play it. I was like 10 when I had GTA, MGS, Silent hill etc Children are more than capable of playing games without becoming disturbed with only minimal regulation by parents.

I thought this was an excellent argument for why our loved ones hate our past-time.
http://www.gamespy.com/articles/107/1076963p1.html

It's written as a humor, but it brings up a lot of explanations in plain language the people who hate games will never come out and say.

I had to talk with my mother about playing with (guess what) WoW too much. We lived in a small village at the end of the world (it's surprising that there was broadband internet). So I told her that outside of school this game is my only way to socialize with people of my age and similar interests. And she could accept this.

I think parent often don't state their needs and requests clearly (and not only about games). If I will have to ever deal with this issue with my children I will tell them what chores I request them to do, what time I want them to go to bed, and at least how much exercise they should get, etc. If they can meet these conditions they can play as much as they wish.

And an easy way to silence complaining parents is to point out that alternatives to computer games can be a lot more expensive. "Well, I could go to kung-fu trainigs. And I like capoeira too. I wouldn't mind going to the swimming pool a few times a week. And I really would like to do rock climbing. Or I could play wargames. Can we buy a warhammer army? Oh. We don't have money for that? Too bad. I'm going back to my room then, and..."
Of course this is not an excuse for everything. There are a lot of things to do for free.

Two hours a day?

Damn, I've been going over that for the past decade, and I'm nowhere near what anyone would call a hardcore or serious gamer. I don't think I've been ruined........ :S I think?

My parents aren't too worried about my gaming habits, and my dad plays an occasional bit every now and then. It really depends on the parents and how much experience they've had with gaming.

HG131:
Well, I can't really disagree, but I don't believe that going over 2 hours of screen time is dangerous.

Being that there are a fixed 24 hours in a day, and there are other activities that need be doing, maintaining a habit of two hours is probably good for balance, much like taking care in one's dietary intake. Of course, games being such fun, it's easy to (perhaps) stay up a little late playing games, especially if one is in a clan/corporation/supergroup. <grin>

However, there was a 60 Minutes article (Spring 2009) that discussed the effects of not getting a decent amount of sleep each night. As part of the study, subjects were monitored whilst they slept, and sharp noises were used whenever a subject was bordering on deep sleep (i.e., REM sleep). An important observation was that after about six days of preventing deep sleep, subjects were exhibiting early onset of Type-2 diabetes.

Another detail about deep sleep. To achieve an optimum deep sleep, one needs dark conditions (i.e., not some dim light left on), and as much as three hours before REM sleep "kicks in." So if there are noisy neighbours, or there is a pet that gets feisty at night, consider how that interferes with one's sleep schedule.

Ever since that 60 Minutes article, I started practicing a more consistent sleeping habit (i.e., no late night gaming sessions). Not only am I finding myself refreshed enough to hit the gym before work, but I'm finding that I no longer need to set the alarm clock.

SnipErlite:
Two hours a day?

Damn, I've been going over that for the past decade, and I'm nowhere near what anyone would call a hardcore or serious gamer. I don't think I've been ruined........ :S I think?

My parents aren't too worried about my gaming habits, and my dad plays an occasional bit every now and then. It really depends on the parents and how much experience they've had with gaming.

Parenting is more about providing guidelines that help the kid develop good habits, and ultimately the kid will learn what works well (i.e., trial and error).

I'm a casual gamer that has been active for about thirty years of gaming, and I remember those warm summer nights as a teenager playing Planetfall, Elite or Ultima IV into the wee hours of the morning. Good fun, and I'd say that I survived the experience.

Exercise, eat healthily, develop good relations with people, and get good training for work that you enjoy. Having these things helps one to sleep easier at night, provided that one can resist playing, "Just five more minutes...."

I only really game at night now. I used to game 24/7, but since then I've had more schoolwork, more activities (mainly marching band at the moment), and a larger social life. So, to be honest, I probably barely hit the 2 hour mark for gaming now.

Still, it's kinda funny to think about writing as being a technology that parents were afraid of, seeing as it's essential to pretty much everything we do now.

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