#6

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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?

I pretty much agree with Epitome on this--I think the gender divide is breaking down (my two daughters are playing The Sims as I write this so that may be affecting my judgement). I think gaming is the hottest topic among boys aged 8-16. It really has become what they talk about and how you show you are cool. This is less true for girls, but to even have a social identity as a 12-16 year old girl these days, you have to be an ardent facebooker--and there are many games girls play even beyond The Sims. I just think posturing about how which games you play and how good you are at them is probably still more a guy thing.

I'd happily posture about how great I am at Starcraft II if I could........

Readin through that actually made alot of sense...and, It certainly agrees with alot of the theories I had myself

I've always said that gaming is the ultimate form of entertainment. (because it's 100% true) Games are the combination of all current forms of electronic entertainment and some non-electronic. Games can tell a story better than movies or t.v, and arguably better than novels. They can have classical, orchestral, or synthesised music that's more than worthy of being on your ipod. They can present the most brilliant and beautiful worlds that you have ever seen, and make these worlds feel tangible and immersive, which makes them better than paintings or sculptures in every way. (except requiring the PHYSICAL skill of an artist) They can challenge the mind with the types of puzzles that are impossible to put in a newspaper, most of which would make crossword and sudoku masters cringe. They can connect us to friends and family, whether they be in the same room or on the other side of the planet, on a much more personal and meaningful level than a phone call or facebook/twitter can. They can give us a virtual playground where you can share an unbelievable experience with friends who you may not get to see often. These experiences can be cooperative or competetive, emotionally impactful, and can form friendships and trust with people from accross the world. Games can also prepare you for real life scenarios and let you gain real world experience in a safe environment.

A videogame can be anything, and anything can be a videogame. The reason it's such a phenomenon is not because we're addicted. It's because it's fricken awesome!!!

Vzzdak:

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...."

Oh most definitely, I can say that I've stayed up ridiculously late and played games for about 7 hours in a day on a few occasions. It makes my brain ache ^_^

Just remember: With most games, five more minutes in most games means about half an hour. Five more minutes while playing Supreme Commander means about 4 hours. Heh.

Mark J Kline:
Ask Dr. Mark #6

Why are parents and politicians so down on videogames?

Read Full Article

this doesn't actually sound like something that psychologist should be answering or think about, shouldn't you be zapping ppl and asking them how they feel or shoving students into prisons naked to observe the effects that it has on ppl?

this is something for a sociologist to answer, unless psychology is so broad that it actually covers another broad subject but considering psychology is a quasi science, i wouldn't be suprised.

a nicely written but very long qrticle.

Liquidcathedral:

Mark J Kline:
Ask Dr. Mark #6

Why are parents and politicians so down on videogames?

Read Full Article

this doesn't actually sound like something that psychologist should be answering or think about, shouldn't you be zapping ppl and asking them how they feel or shoving students into prisons naked to observe the effects that it has on ppl?

this is something for a sociologist to answer, unless psychology is so broad that it actually covers another broad subject but considering psychology is a quasi science, i wouldn't be suprised.

a nicely written but very long qrticle.

You're confused about what kind of psychologist I am. You seem to be describing a research psychologist, and a sadistic one at that. I'm a clinical psychologist, and we spend lots of time thinking about these kinds of questions because we have parents, schools, and kids who seek our assistance. In addition to working with clients, I consult to many schools and lecture publicly about these issues.

I never really thought of gaming as a gender specific activity, as it was my mother who got me into gaming. My earliest memories of gaming waere playing Altered Beast on the Saga with my mother, watching her play Sonic, and watching her develope an enduring hatred for Pitfall. When we got a Super Nintendo I got to sit and watch her play Mario (on one occasion till 4:00 am) and Zelda, sometimes I was abey to play too. When we got a Playstation the two games I remember my mother and I playing together (i.e. we watching her play) were Rayman and Pandemonium. Other consoles we had were a PS2 (mine), Xbox (hers), Game cube (hers), Wii (hers)and Xbox 360 (mine). Now though the only games my mother plays are on her ipod touch and Nintendo DS. So when it came to parents and gaming, my father disapproved but I had my mother to at least empathise with, if not support me. Of course they still moaned at me if I spent if I spent a long time playing a game.

Did anyone else find that their parents would complain if you were playing a computer game because it was unsocial and sedentary, but if you did something else that was equally unsocial and sedentary (such as reading a book) they wouldn't say a thing?

My mum and I had a conversation awhile ago where she was afraid that by letting me play violent games in my early teens that she'd somehow made me a worse person than I could have been or somehow failed in her parental duties.

I showed her the Penn and Teller episode on gaming and she gets it now. A little reason goes a long way.

Essential argument is here though I recommend watching the whole episode. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX60j_rlTOA

mkline:

Liquidcathedral:

Mark J Kline:
Ask Dr. Mark #6

Why are parents and politicians so down on videogames?

Read Full Article

this doesn't actually sound like something that psychologist should be answering or think about, shouldn't you be zapping ppl and asking them how they feel or shoving students into prisons naked to observe the effects that it has on ppl?

this is something for a sociologist to answer, unless psychology is so broad that it actually covers another broad subject but considering psychology is a quasi science, i wouldn't be suprised.

a nicely written but very long qrticle.

You're confused about what kind of psychologist I am. You seem to be describing a research psychologist, and a sadistic one at that. I'm a clinical psychologist, and we spend lots of time thinking about these kinds of questions because we have parents, schools, and kids who seek our assistance. In addition to working with clients, I consult to many schools and lecture publicly about these issues.

oh, ok. i just thought psychology was pretty useless until cool ppl like Zimbardo, Mengele and freud made it interesting.

im so proud to have such good ppl like you who say such intellihent things on the escapist.

HEY! I won't have you bad-mouthing drinking!

Speakercone:
My mum and I had a conversation awhile ago where she was afraid that by letting me play violent games in my early teens that she'd somehow made me a worse person than I could have been or somehow failed in her parental duties.

I showed her the Penn and Teller episode on gaming and she gets it now. A little reason goes a long way.

Essential argument is here though I recommend watching the whole episode. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX60j_rlTOA

I love that Penn and Teller thing too. Not only thoughtful but funny as hell. I wonder if videogaming becomes professionalized like sports (and this is happening, at least in South Korea), will the videogamers act like assholes, like many athletes do? Maybe it isn't the activity (gaming or sports) but the fame, wealth, and privilege that allows people to feel entitled to indulge their every impulse?

Besides maintaining school/sleep/eating/etc. schedules, I didn't have any limits on my gaming. I think I turned out okay. But then, I didn't game all the time. I watched TV, I read, I did lots of stuff of my own volition.

My mom, who was born in the late 1930's, couldn't/wouldn't even turn on a computer, but would occasionally play games with me on my C64. Bubble Bobble was her favorite, I guess because of the cute graphics. She was pretty good at it, though, even when it got more brutal in the later levels. (But she never could get the boss pattern down. I'd have to tell her where the safe spots were and when they were about to become unsafe. She could navigate hazards fine, it was the timing that eluded her.) Still, held her own as a 49-year-old playing a video game with a 9-year-old.

Still, was great fun, and I learned a lot about sportsmanship (both being a good loser and a good winner) and teamwork over those shared games of Bubble Bobble, far more than I ever learned on a sporting field. Lot of good memories, and I still can't play that game without tearing up a bit.

(Miss ya, mom.)

Nice article.

Do you have any tips to people that overplay, such as myself?

Alar:
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.

Maybe, but according to Ray Bradbury, once we as a people become too lazy and rely on that as well, our children will begin imprinting on the robots instead of their mothers and fathers. That, in turn, according to Futurama, will lead to horny young boys only wanting to do it with robotic replicants, at which point, society breaks down due to the lack of the perpetuation of the species.

*sarcasm*
The only way for us to survive and not create our own annihilation is to go back to the horse and buggy like the Amish did. Otherwise, we're all doomed!
*/sarcasm*

I didn't glom onto the "2 hour maximum" thing the way you guys did. That's non-stop, and if you think of it that way you're totally right. You need washroom breaks, snack breaks, even just get up and stretch breaks. These only need to take one or two minutes and then you can sit back down. I'm always hungry, so for me it's usually going to get more food. What is it for you?

What stuck out to me was the (total paraphrase) "show them that nastiness and hate aren't a big part of it" (/paraphrase). That is DANGEROUS. In order to do that, you need to show them a multiplayer game where the players don't hate each other, ruling out most popular titles like Starcraft II, the Halo series, and the Call of Duty series. You could try a cooperative rather than competitive game like Left 4 Dead, but that has a big violence factor that isn't covered up by particle effects. So what, then, would work?

...Dr. Kline, your choice?

WHO IS THIS MKLINE GUY, AND WHY IS HE RESPONDING LIKE HE'S DR MARK?

PrototypeC:
I didn't glom onto the "2 hour maximum" thing the way you guys did. That's non-stop, and if you think of it that way you're totally right. You need washroom breaks, snack breaks, even just get up and stretch breaks. These only need to take one or two minutes and then you can sit back down. I'm always hungry, so for me it's usually going to get more food. What is it for you?

What stuck out to me was the (total paraphrase) "show them that nastiness and hate aren't a big part of it" (/paraphrase). That is DANGEROUS. In order to do that, you need to show them a multiplayer game where the players don't hate each other, ruling out most popular titles like Starcraft II, the Halo series, and the Call of Duty series. You could try a cooperative rather than competitive game like Left 4 Dead, but that has a big violence factor that isn't covered up by particle effects. So what, then, would work?

...Dr. Kline, your choice?

Of course, you can't guarantee that they won't see some of the nastiness as it is frequent. I've been playing multiplayer Starcraft II with my son, and there hasn't been anything terribly inappropriate. Granted it is the novice level because I suck, but are you going to play Expert with your parents who can barely use a mouse?

Even if something nasty does comes up, you can show your parents how you deal with it and this may be reassuring to them. I think you guys are more knowledgeable about the range of gaming options out there than I am. There has to be something Mom and Dad could at least tolerate. Suggestions anyone?

The two hour guideline is not mine--its the American Academy of Pediatrics, and I think they mean two hours per day total. I recognize many gamers are way beyond this, and many of you may disagree with this standard. However, it does represent some accommodation by the medical establishment to the idea that gaming does happen, and simply saying no all the time might not be realistic. As I say in the column, many parents are finding this line hard to toe. Keep in mind some of this is addressed at parents with young kids who want some framework to go by.

Yes, I am MKline and DrMark all at once--I haven't figured out a way to get my two identities together--sorry for any confusion this causes.

Yay, my mail was featured! Thank you, the article was very illuminating.

On the topic of parents simply giving up against their childrens' passtime, I'm glad that is the case with my parents. Even though they don't understand my infatuation with the medium, they let me control on my own. Then again, since I moved out, they haven't had much choice.

Personally, I'm absolutely certain that my children will get to know games at an early age, and I will look forward to hopefully spending time with them that way. I might even scare them off playing videogames altogether. ^^
Viva la Revolucion!

As far as I see it, parents who choose a hardline stance against their children playing games should brace themselves for the inevitable warfare that they are going to enter into with their children. And be prepared to accept that despotic actions to keep their family "game free" may end up driving a wedge between them and their children.

I am a game and have been since I was very little. My parents bought me an Atari 2600 when I was 7. At some point later they determined it was a bad purchase and became vitriolic game-haters and passed that point of view onto my siblings. I can't remember a time in my childhood that didn't involve arguments about how I chose to spend my time. Being a kid who was overweight and socially awkward made being around other kids difficult, and playing video games was a good alternative to being ridiculed and beaten up. Of course, I had those problems before we had a game system in the house.

To his dying day, my father blamed video games for my life not turning out right. My mother pretty much echoes his sentiments. But I think they're full of it. They failed as parents, and like every other bad parent in the world they look for someone or something to blame for their shortcomings.

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