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Are Video Games Really the Poison of Our Youth?

People, especially adults and parents who aren’t in the know about modern technology, blame the newest technology for poisoning our youth. When TVs came out, they were notoriously blamed for making our kids inactive. You can ask your parents about this, and I can almost guarantee you they will tell you that their parents had some sort of negative view of TVs. The rise in smartphones has made some parents are quick to jump to conclusions to say that our kids are becoming glued to their screen and will never look up and talk to their friends.  

Now that videogames are becoming increasingly popular, some parents paint the image of the sweaty obese man living in his mom’s basement playing World of Warcraft to their kids as a cautionary tale.

Places like Outback Treatment claim that they can cure the world’s youth of addiction. According to the organization, gaming addiction is characterized by, “Lack of self-care/poor personal hygiene, unhealthy diet/not eating regular meals, sleep disturbance/staying up all night playing video games, decreased academic performance, lack of close, face-to-face relationships, isolation from family and friends, impulsivity/irritability when not playing games” (Outback Treatment). Interestingly enough, these are the same exact symptoms of depression (Mayo Clinic).

Essentially, this is like if someone had a store titled “Video Game Treatment Center”, but if you were to remove the title, under it, it would say “depression treatment center.” Video game addiction is blown out of proportion by some parents who have no idea what they are dealing with, and don’t want to blame their children for not having self-control or their potential serious mental disorders, so they find the closest scapegoat.

I am also sure that you have heard the claim that violent video games can incite violence in the players, citing games like Call of Duty, a first-person military game, or Grand Theft Auto, a game about crime. People like President Trump believe wholeheartedly that videogames are the cause of violence, and that they can lead to  horrible tragedies such as school shootings. Even though much children in the US play video games, the violent ones included, juvenile crime is at a 30 year low. (New York Times). Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school shooter, didn’t even play many games other than Dance Dance Revolution, which is just a simple dancing game for the Wii (Kotaku). Violent video games couldn’t have been the cause of the Sandy Hook shooting because there is no way a dancing game can corrupt a child to do something as vile as to kill 26 people in an elementary school. Maybe he was bullied? Maybe he was mentally disabled in some way?

This new wave of video game hate is unfounded, and it doesn’t make sense to blame an inanimate object, because with the logic of video game addiction, anything can be an addiction.

Antonio “Tony” Mota is currently a sophomore in the Packer Collegiate Institute and a reporter for the Packer Prism. Although he wasn’t on the staff last year, he has written for the Prism before and is excited to continue contributing and expressing himself. In his free time, you can find him hanging out with his friends, playing video games, browsing Reddit memes, or watching Netflix. A fun fact about Tony is that he achieved second place in the MarioKart tournament last year. Tony can be reached at anmota@packer.edu.

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