I dove into this with a fairly bleak outlook, I knew that this was a depressing topic which is why I initially tried to ignore VGA, but in the end, I knew this probably was the best topic for me to choose. So without further ado here is my final post and thoughts on video game addiction.
It never was a pretty picture, VGA has been around for less than 2 decades at the time of this post with public opinion looking at it like a diseased abomination. You can tell how I felt about tackling this issue. My spirits lifted temporarily after starting my research, temporarily, even now I think it is going to take time for public opinion to change. When I started this I asked, what causes VGA, what is the truth behind the tragic stories we hear in the news, and what about it that makes people go bezerk? Those answers were clearer and easier to find than I thought, but in my search for those answers I found another issue, “is video game addiction a subjective term?” First I’ll go into those answers I found, then I will talk about the new issue that had surfaced during my searches.
People handwave VGA as its own distinct thing that shows up out of the blue and ruins lives. However what people fail to realize is that it is not its own disorder. According to psychcentral.com internet addiction, and by extension VGA, are not real disorders listed in the DSM-5, the official handbook for mental disorders. So in the first place, the American Psychiatric Association hasn’t even listed it under further study so what is VGA if it isn’t its own disorder? It is a symptom or a replacement for something else in our lives, a result of cause and effect. As humans we like to do what we like in our spare time, for some that is collecting items, for some playing sports, or for some it is their job. If we do not have something to take up our time then we become bored, dull, and ultimately failing to function as a human. So answer this for me, what is easy to access, easy to learn, accepting regardless of current condition, and generally very safe to participate in, I’ll give you the count of 3,
3………………, ok all together now, VIDEO GAMES! Don’t agree with me? Let me break it down and explain it. First let’s all admit it to participate in a sport you need to meet certain physical requirements, varying from sport to sport, comprised height, weight, speed, and etc. What are the physical requirements to start playing video games: hands, eyesight, and partial brain and nervous function; no speed, no weight requirements, and hell you don’t even need LEGS. You probably get the point by now, video games are incredibly easy to access and start playing. But some of you may say that sports are easy to access too you just need to have a passion. Unfortunately passion is no match against the mighty bench, according to cbc.com on the story of Brandon Crisp they said that,”Brandon had put that passion into hockey years earlier but stopped playing at 12, frustrated about getting benched because of his small size,” you see sports aren’t the all-inviting activity that they are thought of to be, and because of that Brandon got addicted to video games and got his name into the paper posthumously. However the story of Brandon Crisp gets me started on another point.
For all the parents this is going to hurt, but this is necessary to say: if you don’t want your video game addicted child to commit or cause any tragedies DO NOT take away the video games. As stated in the above paragraph video games are generally a replacement for an activity a person used participate in or was that activity in the first place that we need to occupy our minds to keep them active. Attempting forceful removal of video games when it becomes a childs habit (addiction or otherwise) is the wrong thing to do. Don’t believe me? Brandon Crisp, mentioned above, left video games after heated argument with parents after they, forcefully and without his consent, confiscated his video games. Daniel Petric, according to wikipedia, tried to kill both of his parents after they, forcefully and without his consent, confiscated his video games. You see there is a pattern. However I am not saying removing video games doesn’t work, a keyword above is “consent.” According the the Libertarian Prepper the author of a particular article managed to stop his VGA by removing video games from his life under his own discretion and choice. There is one distinct difference between working to remove VGA and causing an incident which is consent and choice of the one afflicted with VGA. The parents of Crisp and Petric tried to stop VGA by sudden removal of video games and their well intentioned but misguided action resulted in tragedies that made television. I bet that if their parents sat their child down at a table and tried to negotiate and/or convince to have their child willingly give up their video games, the names of the children would not have been mentioned above. However they didn’t, they did the wrong thing. Why they did is my next point.
Any parent that thinks that taking away video games without their child’s consent simply doesn’t know video games and thus is why they do it anyway. The issue with most parents is that they don’t understand that video games are mean to their kids. Crisps parents had no idea what the games meant to him and I bet 1000 dollars they never asked in the first place. Same bet applies to Daniel Petric whose father was strictly against video games with a strict no games in the house policy. Just simply denying video games pre-emptively and a refusal to negotiate is what caused the unfortunate events to unfold. The likely reason is because video games are new, they are a scapegoat for groups to sink their teeth into for media coverage; they take advantage of naive parents to start a frenzy for the sake of getting views as parents panic and flock to major news outlets as parents gasp in horror of these stories thinking their child is next. Ironic isn’t it, that misguided research leads to a misguided thought that leads to the names of those parents becoming the headline of the next story on the news.
In the end this wall comes down to my final point that renders almost everything I did irrelevant, “Is video game addiction subjective?” In a way it kinda is, what I perceive as casual gaming, a parent could perceive as a growing addiction. What I call an everyday occurrence, a parent could see it as something horribly wrong. What my experiences led to me getting VGA are completely different from someone else’s. Brandon and Daniel were bored and thus drawn to something exciting, I on the other hand was either depressed or pretty close to it when I developed VGA. Oddly enough, my parents never said I was overly addicted yet I type these words today. Unfortunately, the parents of Crisp and Petric said their children were overly addicted and their names are being used here.
VGA is only as bad as you make it and once again I can’t give you the end all be all solution only what I know and what I have observed, and what I have observed is not the brightest of pictures. VGA is a complex matter beyond what I can cover, parents are causing thing to get worse by taking wrong actions inspired by incorrect information. However the most important thing about all of this is that VGA is not something that is definite and is likely not going to be for a long while, but remember to be tread carefully around it and don’t become the next story on TV.