Similar to the case involving 19 year old Andrew Keith Johnston who was sentenced to 27 years for killing his infant son for interrupting his video game, we have to ask ourselves what is going on in our society and whether or not on-line games are indeed a dangerous addiction as opposed to a harmless pastime.
from CBS News comment regarding Alexandra Tobias who killed her infant son because he interrupted her Facebook game
Earlier this month I wrote a post regarding 19 year-old Andrew Keith Johnston, who killed his infant son for interrupting him while he was playing a video game. At the time I could only shake my head in bewilderment at the immature callousness of a young man who placed greater value on achieving a high score versus being a good parent.
Now many of you may point to the fact that at 19 years old, Johnston was hardly in a position to be a parent which speaks to an even larger societal problem that is best set aside for another day and another post. The fact is that Johnston for whatever reason and however unprepared was a parent. Regardless of age he was responsible for another persons life and for his unfathomable actions he is paying the price by way of a 27 year prison sentence.
But here’s the thing . . . rather than being an aberration, is this a sign of a more disturbing trend in which on-line gaming whether it be Farmville or any other virtual realm distraction has become the crack cocaine of the Internet world?
Does such an assertion seem to be a tad dramatic?
An April 27th Norton on-line article had this to about the addictive power of on-line gaming:
A recent study by Harris Interactive reports that nearly one in 10 kids between 8 and 18 are addicted to online gaming. There are many reported cases of addiction to online gaming: teens who become reclusive; students whose grades drop precipitously; kids who drop out of high school to play games; kids who play games 60 or more hours each week; and more. This isn’t, by the way, a problem that’s exclusive to kids. Adults get caught up in it, too; turning their backs on their families, losing jobs, threatening their financial well-being, and losing spouses.
While present day data on video game addiction is according to another article (Video Game Addiction | Signs, Statistics, Help and Treatment), difficult to obtain at this point in time as the American Psychological Association (APA) had not defined video game addiction as a mental health disorder, one can only imagine that the numbers have likely increased due to the powerful combination of increased access and advanced technology.
So where does this leave us? Are we witnessing the emergence of a far reaching problem that is going to get worse before it gets better? Is on-line video games and the implied sense of belonging to a virtual community the actual problem or, is the lack of parental involvement and real-world interaction with our children the real culprit?
What are your thoughts?