Are video games just that, games?
Are online games, like Fortnite, ‘just kids having fun’?
Is the World Health Organisation being dramatic declaring video gaming as a mental health disorder in June 2018?
And can we afford to dismiss this compulsion to game on-line as ‘just a phase’?
On the eve of 60 Minutes going to air with the program “Won’t stop, can’t stop. Out of left field” there were over 475,000 views and in excess of 2,400 comments on their 60 Minutes Facebook page. This revealing segment drew an audience of 780,000+ viewers being one of the highest ranking 60 Minutes programs in 2018.
Concerned public opinion is heightening about this most disturbing phenomenon. We are only just scratching the tip of an indeterminable iceberg with chilling ramifications. These ramifications include fragmentation and disharmony within the family home. For the development of children impacted by problematic internet use, there is evidence of alarming interference to brain development and academic learning. We are yet to see and feel the full magnitude of this social phenomenon.
I invite you to join me as I am interviewed on this program about what online gaming is really doing to the brains of our very important young people. To access 60 Minutes go to: https://www.9now.com.au/60-minutes/2018/episode-27
Two brave families courageously shared their situation on the program. Those parents are in trouble. Those children are in trouble. And they are not alone. There are many other families who are realising, perhaps too late, that they are also in crisis. These families may be aware that through their actions, or importantly their inactions, have enabled a similar situation to develop in their homes.
As in any medical situation, prevention is easier than the cure.
There is growing evidence of the high cost of permitting excessive use of video games within the home, for whatever reason.
Fortunately, there are many parents who saw the warming signs early enough to avert trauma within their family unit and avoid significant academic disturbance.
After viewing this 60 Minutes segment will parents, grandparents and educators be courageous enough to make the necessary changes to prevent the children in their care being part of the many thousands of children across the globe who are excessively committed to the game Fortnite, and others like it?
For practical strategies and options to reduce your children and teenagers video and on-line gaming habits, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Sweatman is a Neuroscience Strategist in Learning and Development. She researches, educates and consults in education, problematic internet use, culture and change management. Jill has presented to clients across all industry sectors, spanning 14 countries from the Antarctic to the Middle East, the United States to Europe and Asia. www.jillsweatman.com