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Last week we were all traumatized by the senseless murder of five university students in Calgary. Perhaps my column may provide some plausible reasons why. Sometimes fantasy can become a reality for those who have psychiatric problems.

The CBC Radio, recently reported that the "Call of Duty, Black UPS 2" video game has become the biggest entertainment launch ever by selling over 5.6 million copies in a 24 hour period. The sales generated over $360 million dollars. The critics claim that the most recent version is the most critically acclaimed game ever produced by the producer Electronic Arts. In London the price is $60.00 plus HST to buy a copy.

Many of my teen-aged male clients tell me that gaming can take up eight hours a day of their time when they are playing a "Campaign" by themselves or with a group of 12 people who are also on line with their computer.

I recently counseled a 30 year old male who came for career/education exploration who played video games 10-12 hours a day. He didnít have time for a post secondary education or even part time work.

Playing sports such as hockey, basketball and football with friends is not considered cool by the gamers. Excellence in school with attention to homework and studies seems to take a back seat to the computer games.

The sales representative at the mall told me that sales are brisk for parents who buy the game for children as young as 10 with the majority sold to 16-25 year old males.

I have to admit that I have never played video games but I was most fortunate to have been taught the ins and outs of the game by "Sam". He is not proud of his past time gaming and has asked me not to use his real name. The "Call of Duty" has extreme violence as itís raison díetre. The player is rewarded for "kill streaks" with points to be able to advance in rank. The more violent the kills the greater reward for you to attain greater fire power to threaten/ better destroy your enemy. There is extreme verbal abuse such as raped, brutalized, and the f word used over and over to better express anger.

Sam, who is 24, described the psyche of most of his former male friends who are still addicted to gaming. "They are for the most part: narcissistic, homophobic, racist, perfectionists, loners, with poor social skills, with addicted personalities who seek other gamers for consistent high performance. Women are not invited to play along and for the most part are not part of the group mentality."

Before you lay your credit on the line to buy the newest video game for your son please take the time to check out www.youtube.com to view the game reviews. The devastating addiction to violent video games in my opinion is counter productive to raising socially responsible young men with a positive future. The many hours spent playing games has a direct negative correlation for education. The time spent on computer games is a predictor of how well/bad your son will do with his studies and future career.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com