From the moment our children begin to walk and talk, we are encouraging them to discover. We want them to interact with the world around them, engage socially with other children and adults, and we teach them how to do this well. When they get a little bit older, we begin looking for activities they might enjoy – ballet, soccer, music, painting – and soon, we can begin to notice what things they show a natural “knack” for. We encourage them to pursue those abilities and rightfully so – don’t we want to inspire our children to do what they love and get better and better at it?
Unfortunately, more and more kids and young adults every day are becoming addicted and parents all over the world are wondering what is to blame. They might ask: it peer pressure? Or is that they’re unhappy or struggling in school? Are they having a hard time fitting in? Is there trouble at home? Or, could it be that parenting style is one of the factors in pushing children toward technology and internet addiction?
It’s a topic that is up for heated debate these days: are kids being exposed to too much technology at a young age? Is it detrimental or helpful to their developing minds? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids ages 0 to 2 have zero screen time. Kids ages 3 to 5 should only watch one hour a day and those ages 6 to 18 should have a maximum of 2 hours a day. But, with iPhones, Kindles, iPads, laptops, and a number of other smartphone devices, technology is literally at our youth’s fingertips at all hours of the day.
In a recent report published by Swrve, a very small amount of mobile gamers (.15%) are bringing in approximately 50% of game revenue for mobile gaming companies. (1) What does this mean?
Addiction can be likened to be caught in a tangled web. Addiction can completely bind a person – their mind, their body, their soul. The deeper and deeper the addiction is, the harder it is to break free. Children are no different, and unfortunately video game addiction is affecting young children deeply, causing them to get snarled up in a net of addiction. A recent article by The Irish Times, discusses how more preteens and early adolescents are seeking help for their addiction to gaming. Three years ago, it was common to see teens ages 15 and older seeking help for addiction, but now more and more children as young as 10 years old are obsessed with games and are seeking help.
You’ve put in grueling hours at the office this week. Soccer practice is in full swing, your kids have upcoming dance recitals, laundry doesn’t stop piling up, and you have a meeting with a client that you need to prepare for. The calendar on your phone is continually sending you reminders and you’re constantly attached to the e-mail function of your phone.
A recent news report explains that an eight month old little boy drowned in a bathtub because his father neglected him while playing Call of Duty. The 24-year old father told authorities that he was playing and it was taking longer than expected for his player to “die.” He left his baby in the bathroom and continued to play video games and after an hour of trying to resuscitate him, cops at the scene pronounced the baby dead. The father ended up pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and will spend three years in prison. (1)
In an interview exclusive with Dong Nguyen, Vietnamese creator of the Flappy Bird App, he reveals that the game is permanently dead. Released to the public in May 2013, Nguyen shares that it’s never coming back. Why? The game turned addictive for so many people. Nguyen explains that he coded the game in only a few days and initially created the game to play for short spurts of time while the person was relaxed. It instead was causing the opposite reaction for people: people were becoming addicted and neglecting other parts of their lives to play the game.
We hear all the time about drug or alcohol addicts lying or stealing to get money to support their addiction. They throw hundreds, even thousands of dollars away monthly or yearly on their substance of choice, and when the money runs out, they have to find a way to continue with their habit. For many, this means stealing from family members, close friends, or robbing strangers, local stores, or other places to get what they need.
Do you sit in front of the TV or computer screen for hours on end and simply can’t get enough of the gaming world? When you lay down at night after a day of gaming, does your mind race with thoughts of the games? When you’re at work or school, do you count down the hours until you can get home and start gaming again? Has your social life changed because of your use of video games? If the answers to these questions are “yes”, it’s time to evaluate your use of the games and seek help.
If you thought online games are an innocent way to kill time, think again. If they’re used in excess, especially when it’s children that are playing too much, there are serious negative repercussions.
Professor Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit, based at Nottingham Trent University, said large numbers of children under age 16 were becoming addicted to games that are accessed through social media websites.
Imagine you’re on a plane.
It’s a crowded plane, but two little girls around the age of one stand out to you.
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