I have been researching statistics on violent video games, and these are the facts that I have come across.  I think that parents need to be aware of the factual content in the video games that their children are playing. 

  • For every 10 minutes of playing video games or computer games, boys between the ages of eight and 18 will see between two and 124 acts of violence.

  • In video games rated as Teen or Mature, players will see over 180 violent acts every 40 minutes, or 5,400 violent acts per month.
  • 78 percent of acts of violence in the first ten minutes of video games depict lethal acts of violence. 78 percent of the action is shown up close, and half of the violent segments have humor in them.

  • Mature-rated video game perpetrators are human perpetrators who commit continued acts of violence with weapons; only 10 percent of them are considered to have “good” character traits.

  • In 98 percent of games, the acts the player commits are unpunished; in more than half of video games, perpetrators of violence are rewarded.

I just wonder if parents sat and actually watched their child play these games, how long would they allow their child to play, and how long would they allow them to blow people up, slice and dice characters, and/or bully and kill innocent victims. 

I have read many stories recently of famous couples that are suffering from a spouse that is addicted to playing video games.  These relationships are just examples of the average couple, because there are many couples out there that suffer from this exact same problem.  It puts a strain on the marriage and makes for a very neglected relationship. 

In an attempt to find solutions for those in desperate need of help for media addiction therapy I found a couples therapy group in Seattle, Washington. The therapy group  is led by two women, Dr. Hilarie Cash and Ana DiNoto.  Dr. Hilarie Cash is the co-founder of Internet/Computer Addiction Services and Ana DiNoto is studying for her doctorate in clinical psychology with a focus in video game/Internet addiction at Argosy University in Seattle, Washington. They lead couples therapy sessions in an attempt to:

  • allow individuals in the broken couple to feel as though they are not alone and that other people are suffering with the same problem, so that they can gain support from others.
  • to heal communication problems that are caused by media addiction.
  • help rebuild damaged relationships by showing the individuals in the relationship to recognize the patterns that they participate in that contribute to the addiction.
  • give the addicted member of the couple the ability to understand how their addiction interferes with the intimacy of the relationship, and also to learn the skills that they need to have a satisfying and successful relationship.

I just hope that evidence of these therapy options allows people to understand that media addiction is a real problem, with real solutions.  I also hope that those individuals that are suffering with these issues know that they are not alone.

I read an article from 2007 that was showing that playing video games has altered some children’s personalities as well as their choices and behaviors.  The article went on to say that some experts believe that playing video games is as addictive as using heroine.  The article said that almost 90% of American youth play video games and as much as 15% of them are classified as addicted, this is almost 5 million kids.

From the article, Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas commenting on her 17 year old son, Michael, said: “We went to therapists, we tried taking the game away.  He would threaten us physically. He would curse and call us every name imaginable, It was as if he was possessed.”

The article goes on to state that there was an anonymous website created for gamers who are wanting help.  A posting by an thirteen year old who stated that after playing video games for twelve hours he was suicidal and was thinking he was addicted.  The website also had numerous postings from men who had lost everything because of their video game habits.

The AMA will be deciding later this year as to whether it will classify Video Addiction as a Mental Disorder.  It seems that the article has quotes and opinions from quite a few mothers that would agree that media addiction should be classified as a mental disorder, and also taken more seriously in the addiction arena.

While this article is only one example, we’ve shared many examples of media addiction, specifically video game addiction and it’s impacts on kids.  Do you think if the AMA took this big step, it would have an impact on parents?

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:

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.

I was reading an article about cartoons and the problems that occur with television ratings.  It is shocking that it isn’t just about the content in the cartoons but that what they are marketing and trying to sell to the kids during commercials.  The article was contained on parentstv.org , titled Cartoons Are No Laughing Matter.  It talked about the Nielsen Data, and how it states that TV-PG shows and cartoons are shown to not only be over-loaded with profanity, but also contain very adult storylines from rape, cocaine, STD’s and crystal meth.  They also said that networks are failing to warn parents what are in these shows, and specifically Cartoon Network failed to warn parents 100% of the time.

The article also talked about what the advertisements were during these TV-PG shows. They were definitely NOT advertising pillow pets, and toothbrushes, quite the contrary, they were advertising rated R movies, TV-MA shows, and DVD’s .  It is outrageous to think that we aren’t trying to persuade these already impressionable little kids into wanting to buy things that are completely innappropriate!  Just to warn other parents, once again, I think we might be alone in this world, and that no one is going to help us, so we must help each other!

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Media Violence Research | Leave a comment

There are all different kinds of media filter products out there to help parents monitor their children’s media usage. There are DVD filters that can convert your everyday DVD to be viewed without violence, profanity, sexual content, etc. You can set your tolerance level and they will make sure and filter out the types of negative items that you don’t want your family viewing. This product will also allow you to see the DVD as is, too! There are channel blockers, and internet blockers. There are programmable remotes for your children so that they can only watch the stations that you program onto the remote, so they don’t happen to change the channel to an inappropriate show. There are also television filters (TVGuardian) so that you can watch your favorite shows without the “unwanted stuff”. I found an amazing website called www.familysafemedia.com. I found this to be an informative website that had so many different products and options for those who want all different levels of filtering.