It sometimes feels as though we, as parents, are helpless against the giant known as the video game industry. They are a multi-billion dollar industry with worldwide popularity, momentum, and very little oversight.
In places like Korea, there are 300 professional gamers who play in 11 teams. Corporations will pay as much as $20 million dollars per year just to sponsor them. While we’re not reflexively anti-video game, with the facts about the addictive effects that these games have, and that many of the most popular games depict graphic violence, it seems as though parents have few options but to fight against the industry as a whole.
As gaming becomes more prevalent, and potentially becomes even more popular in the US, as it is in places like Korea, here are some facts to consider as parents:
- 72% of U.S. households play video game or computer games.
- 4% are extreme users and average 50 hours per week.
- 8.5% of American Youth are clinically addicted to playing video games
Depending on your perspective this may not seem like too high of a number, but when compared to the use of crack cocaine it shows the quantity of impact. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) research, .7 of the population of the United States has been reported of using crack cocaine. That means that if you compare that out of the entire population of the United States, 12.5% of them are clinically addicted to video games, and only .7 of them are addicted to crack cocaine. By no means am I comparing the impacts of crack addiction to that of video games. However with the known impacts any addiction has on relationships, it certainly should give us pause. If there’s been a nearly 3 decade “War on Drugs” by the Federal government, how come with video game addiction there’s been only a few shots fired?
Clearly, as we’ve discussed, we can’t count of the government to intervene. Whether it’s the Supreme Court viewing video games as free speech, or the executive and legislative branches viewing the adverse impacts too far down the list of public health issues, parents can’t count on anyone else to look out for your children on media related issues.
So our challenge is this, Step Up! Become a MVP, and build a family that is attuned the realities of video game addiction today.