January 4, 2008, - 4:50 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
The holiday shopping season may be over, but demand for video games never is. If you are a parent, thinking twice and/or limiting time playing computer games might be in order. That’s not new advice. But it’s made all the more vivid by Wall Street Journal editorial writer Stephen Moore in his scary column, “Teenage Zombies.” He writes about what happened to his kids after they got sucked into the cult of Nintendo–Xbox, Wii et al. He says video games have sucked the lives out of his kids.
My new year’s resolution is to get my two teenage sons back. They’ve been abducted–by the cult of Nintendo. I’m convinced that video games are Japan’s stealth strategy to turn our kids’ brains into silly putty as payback for dropping the big one on Hiroshima.
The trouble began last summer when my sons started spending virtually every unsupervised hour camped out in front of the computer screen engaged in multiplayer role games like World of Warcraft and Counterstrike. At the start of this craze, I wrote it off as merely a normal phase of adolescence. I was confident that, at 14 and 16, they would soon be more interested in chasing real-life girls than virtual video hoodlums.
Boy, was I wrong. Their compulsion became steadily more destructive. They grew increasingly withdrawn, walking around like the zombies from “Night of the Living Dead.” Unless I pried them (forcibly) from the computer, they would spend five or six hours at a time absorbed in these online fantasy worlds. . . .
I’m not one to blame every human frailty on some faddish psychiatric disorder. But I’m persuaded that computer games are the new crack cocaine. The testimonials from parents of online gamers are horrific: kids not taking showers, not eating or sleeping, falling behind in school. Some parents are forced to send their kids to therapeutic boarding schools, which charge up to $5,000 a month, to combat the gaming addiction. . . .
I am pleading that parents take this social problem seriously and intervene, as my wife and I wish we had done much earlier. . . . I’m proud to report that we rejected our youngest son’s pleas for a PlayStation for Christmas. He pouts that we’re the meanest parents in the world. Someday he’ll thank us. A mind really is a terrible thing to waste.
Read the whole thing.
Tags: Christmas, Debbie Schlussel, editorial writer, Hiroshima, Japan, New Year's Day, Night of the Living Dead, Nintendo, online fantasy worlds, online gamers, psychiatric disorder, Stephen Moore, USD, Wall Street Journal