Addicted to gaming?
Young people and children are vulnerable to loss of moral values when there are bad authority figures in games, says Katarzyna Olejnik, or when use of violence is rewarded by success. Other games can educate and improve skills when children don’t want to reach for a book. Here she asks other young people their views on gaming
‘Kids who play video games look like monkeys on drugs!’ feels 17-year-old Doga Karsili.
‘Young people are better off choosing fun activities and meeting people in real life because video games are a waste of money and time. I do not play, because I would lose my chances of gaining experience from real life.’
Fortunately, we have a wide range of educational games, through which children can develop their interests such as nature, sports, maths and languages.
Even so Doga himself prefers to get information from books. ‘Young people should understand education is a journey that could change their future or make it clear,’ he says. ‘They choose the kind of route to the destination they want to go and who they want to be in the future. This is what I do.’
Some stats and facts:
55% of boys in UK play games for at least two hours a day and 20% of girls
7% of teens in the UK play more than 30 hours of computer games a week
excessive screen time – over four hours with no break – is a bad thing
five minute breaks are recommended every 45-60 minutes
interactive games can be better than just watching TV
What about games that improve other skills, stimulate imagination and improve strategic thinking?
Strategy games are better, agrees Marek Mackowiak, a 22-year-old resident of London. ‘They give an opportunity to decide on deeds and look forward.’
So, have you ever used the strategy of the game in your own life, he was asked. ‘ Yes of course, especially logical thinking and taking responsibilities for my mistakes.’
Researchers conducted a study where half of the children were playing violent games and the second half racing games to see the difference in behaviour. Children who play shooting games showed arousal of emotions and a decrease in self-control, which was not observed in children playing racing games, according to Sarah’s Clark article on www.toysadvice.co.uk.
So should there be restrictions on brutal games?
‘In my opinion, everyone should buy and play games appropriate to their age,’ says Marek. ‘Young people should not stop playing if it gives them pleasure, but they should keep their eyes open and control their lives and remember to take responsibilities for their decisions.’
Katarzyna Olejnik is one of the writers and photographers currently working with Dandelion Project on the Ledley King training programme. Katarzyna is also involved in reporting Tottenham’s hidden assets, which will feature in a photography exhibition in autumn.
clinical physiologist Dr Tanya Byron
Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University
General enquiries for getting help with addictions in Haringey, London