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THE LEN LESSER REPORT  

THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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VIDEO GAME ADDICTION CAN HAVE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES

The banner headlines: Monday, August 13th." Fredericton Reels as Police Search for Shooting Motive." Four innocent people; 2 civilians and two police officers were gunned down by Matthew Vincent Raymond, age 48.

He was a loner who enjoyed playing violent video games on his high-end gaming computer. The promo of the video game he viewed: "Fire When Ready," vividly describes " the intense thrilling 3D dimension game of violence that keeps you wanting to return for more." Many people who have pent-up emotions and impules that need to be vented can find themselves quickly addicted to the game.

Too many of my male clients tell me that gaming can take up to 6-8 hours a day of their time when they are playing a "Campaign" by themselves or with a group of people who are also on line with their computers.

I recently counseled a 24 year old male who came to me for career/education exploration who played video games 8 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 was 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.

I have to admit that I have never played video games. 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 addiction and has asked me not to use his real name. "Fire When Ready" has episodes of extreme violence. The player is rewarded for "kill streaks" with points to be able to advance in rank. The more violent the kills the greater rewards to attain greater fire power to threaten/ destroy their enemies. There is extreme verbal abuse such as raped, brutalized, and the f word used over and over to better express anger.

Sam described the profile of his former male friends who are still addicted to gaming. "Many are Narcissistic, Homophobic, racist, perfectionist, loners, with very poor social skills, who have addicted personalities. Women are not invited to play along and are not part of the in- group mentality. I have never couselled a female who was addicted to playing video games.

The devastating addiction to first-person-shooter 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 a maleís future education/career. The time spent on computer games is a predictor of how well/bad your son will do with his studies and future career.

It is too early to know why Raymond armed himself with a rifle and killed four people. Perhaps the video games became his raison díetre? He may have felt empowered to play the ultimate game of life and death? He was the executioner and his victims were merely collateral damage who in the end were expendable.

For those who are angry at lifeís travails viewing violent computer games can have adverse effects on themselves and society.

Len Lesser is an education/career counsellor in Dorchester, Ont.,

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com