Video Games — serious addiction or harmless fun?


Hazel McCallion Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Elaine Dufoe, Grade 8

Stay alive, find the key, kill the bad guys, get the coins, pass the level, play.

Those are some of the thoughts that go through many children's minds when playing video games, and even when they are not. Addictive and fun, video games have worked their way up to being one of the most popular toys of the 1990s. Sixty-eight per cent of kids in Canada have them and a large number of those kids obsess over them.

They are indeed very fun to play. They seem to have a certain power over young minds. Unlike TV, you control what happens and so you have a greater involvement in the game. The more times you play, the more you want to play.

I'm not a psychiatrist so I can't explain to you what is so addictive about them. But I can tell you why kids play them. Video games don't take much thought process. It's not math or science -- and it's definitely more fun than math and science. While playing the games, you sit, watch the screen, and push the buttons. Not a lot of energy is required. Also, there isn't a lot of parental input, something that’s often very exasperating for children. When summarized, this information seems to tell us that the games are a refuge for some.

But what a refuge! Your room is a mess, the dog needs a walk, you have to set the table, and your homework isn't done and yet you insist on staying on the floor with your eyes glued to the TV screen. Passing the 10th level won't help you very much in the real world. Kids often spend time that should be used doing homework playing video games. School work is more important than a game.

How much exercise do you get sitting in front of the TV? None! Fifty-three per cent of children in Canada don't get enough exercise due to things like video games. Many children find video games more interesting than physical activities. As a result, children become less healthy.

Use your common sense -- don't waste hours in front of the TV playing games. Spend a little while playing, then move on and accomplish something constructive.



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