A story in the news lately has a 13-yr old Italian boy diagnosed with addiction to PlayStation. Is this a case of lost in translation from Italian to English or does it mark the beginning of a new medical diagnosis? The American Medical Association thought otherwise last year when it essentially stated that “while overuse of video games and online games can be a problem for children and adults, calling it a formal addiction would be premature.” (Wash Post article)
Here’s the story in a nutshell:
I watched this story and had some thoughts…
I believe that people become obsessed with games because they represent an outlet from a “regular” life that doesn’t live up to expectations or desires. Gaming provides feedback, praise, challenge, success, and potential that many are not finding in their non-virtual experiences.
If teens in our schools are becoming addicted (for lack of a better word) to escaping reality, then we need to find ways to include positive experiences in their real lives.
I get that we are about embracing who they are and how they interact with the world. I get that games are here to stay – in fact, I quite like most of them.
But we have to care about the whole child. If we are really producing 21st Century success stories, then let’s make sure that includes being a part of a world. I think we will increasingly value this as it becomes less and less a part of our lives.
What are we talking/sharing/doing about ensuring that kids are out helping people, feeling like they count for something, and are important?
Are we challenging kids?
Are we praising kids for accomplishments they care about?
Are we engaging kids to be better than they were?
If we can do that, we will find that kids are having fun with games, and are addicted to life.