Video Game Becomes Popular, World Panics

In the past few months, a video game has become popular among young people, prompting experts and commentators around the world to decide that there must be something dangerous about it.

Newspaper columnists, education commentators and politicians are variously claiming that the Popular Video Game is having a detrimental effect on children; that it's encouraging an increase in playground violence; that it's causing teens to become social recluses; that it's turning kids into lifelong twitching screen-addicts; and that it's taking adolescents away from more wholesome pursuits, such as underage drinking and covertly watching R-rated movies at sleepovers.

Some point to the cautionary example of the Pokemon craze of the early '00s, which to this day has left millions of 20-somethings around the world with a kleptomaniacal compulsion to capture small animals. Victims of the Minecraft craze in around 2012, meanwhile, have been left unable to communicate except via the medium of blocks.

Young people continue to enjoy the Popular Video Game and express a desire to play it for hours with their friends - not because it is great fun, claim commentators who have never actually played a video game, but because it is imbued with evil addictive qualities equivalent to heroin and crack cocaine combined.

As increasingly worried parents and opportunistic politicians call for regulation to stop the video games industry from making fun things that young people enjoy playing, schools and parents are working together to find alternative solutions, such as setting reasonable limits on video game time for kids, ensuring that people are properly informed about games' age ratings and suitability, or sensibly waiting for this latest temporary obsession to burn itself out.

Representatives from the games industry are astonished to find themselves once again having to argue that video games are not the devil's handiwork, while video game journalists are fielding constant requests to appear on radio and television shows to argue with middle-aged commentators who have not seen a video game in 35 years.

Exhausted video game fans say that they can't wait until the latest moral panic blows over, at least until something else becomes popular in another few years and everyone has to do this all over again.


    Kitty Flanagan did a great take on this on the weekly on Wednesday. Called it out for the bull crap it is.

    Meanwhile, channel 7 showed footage of game cube controller and fortnite footage.

      If I could use a cube controller, I would.

        Soon. With the Gamecube attachment for smash, you might be able to.

    Look as an extreme gamer who is also a teacher, I see both side of the discussion. Game are awesome, fun and addictive. And a great way to procrastinate away from doing homework. It is no where near as bad as these ridiculous stories make it out to be, but I've worked with some serious behavioral challenged students who had a severe addiction to video games. I used to be the advocate who would be on the soap box saying "Well I played games (and violent ones) when I was a child and I turned out fine." But the advancement in graphics, immersion and violence is a whole new level to the pixelated crap we were experiencing as kids. And to be honest, I'm starting to see first hand that it is having a negative effect on this current younger generation.

    Gaming is a great fun way to spend some time. But trying to dismiss that there is no problem and it's all a media spin is doing as much damage as these stupid stories do everytime they try smear the industry as a whole. (typed this up fast on my phone)

    Last edited 22/06/18 1:03 pm

      Every generation has that issue though, the only thing different is the product causing it. Whether its realistic CGI in movies, rock music, TV's, color movies, radio, talking movies, or just silent movies, the list goes on and on. All of those things have had officials questioning their effect on kids.

      Today, the blame is being pointed at Fortnite. In 10 years, it'll be some immersive VR game. After that, some holodeck creation those VR era parents cant understand. Its nothing new, its just a new generation doing the same thing with a different product.

      You mention the advancement in graphics etc, which is a fair statement - they HAVE improved dramatically. Fortnite, the focus of the day, is hardly immersive and realistic. Its whole focus is on being cartoony, so that immersion isnt the issue.

      Agree. Games these days are a lot more sophisticated with how they encourage addiction. With young developing minds Ive seen the impact.

      This has nothing to do with violence or guns. The impact is obsessiveness to the detriment of their school work, family and life. Moodiness/anger from the constant failures and “almost-got-there”s. And then theres the all too common toxic players and toxic voice or text chat.

      Sorry, but that's just bs. The issue today isn't the games, it's the "precious flower" mentality that education and psychologists are encouraging parents to instil in their kids. When we were younger, it was "do your homework and then you can play for a bit before bed". The other day I watched my friend let her kid play a game literally the entire time from coming home from school. I asked what about homework, and was told "Oh, they don't assign homework any more as the school was told it would help the kids develop better if they have more free time at home". Hearing bullshit like that makes my blood boil. What about teaching responsibility, time management, that work doesn't end when the bell rings, that you work to the job not the clock? Where is the preparation for the real world?

      It has been scientifically proven time and again there is no correlation between violent games and long-term psychological development. The issue is getting the damn parents to step up and take responsibility for their children's well-being instead of saying "Yay, free quiet time whilst my kid plays games non-stop." I get the temptation. I'm a parent myself.

      But if kids aren't taught self-control and discipline (no, you don't have to punish a child to teach them discipline, just to head off the inevitable misunderstanding that I mean spanking or something like that) then they grow up to be emotionally immature and unprepared for the real world that doesn't give a shit that they are a unique individual with their own interests, despite what they were taught growing up.

        I think you're suffering from cognitive bias when you see your friends kid. For every time someone brings this up I can match with another anecdotal example of a kid who's excelling at critical thinking and STEM (which is the actual focus of education these days, not 'precious flower') There's one kid I know who in year 4 won an international programming competition against kids as high as year 9. She'd only started to learn 3 months before it and what otherwise an unremarkable student. The after school coding club had literally half the parents in the school try to sign their kids up after that.

        Fortnite is not an ignore-able problem in classes now days, I've seen kids who are as young as 8 who are addicted and need assistance from teaching faculty and their parents to help them overcome it. They're playing it every chance they get, and if they can't they're watching streams or youtube in class. It's not the end of the world, and there's gonna be another game in a few months that will do the same thing.

          My argument isn't that gaming isn't an issue. My argument is that gaming is only an issue because the parents are refusing to exercise proper control over their children and establishing good behavioural and time management patterns.

            Ive found that it appears a lot of parents this generation are of the opinion that school will teach my kids all they need to know and a lot of kids start with very little basic understanding of numbers and the alphabet and so on.

            My kids are asked to do homework at a minmum 5 nights a week, and thats the whole of primary school. I think its a little over the top, especially for a year 1 kid.
            But then the flipside, i find schools often have the opinion the kids don't learn anything of value in the home, which is crazy. Give a kid a box of lego and you're nurturing creativity and problem solving. They read non homework related material, even video games have words to read!

            and I'm refuting that because the vast majority of parents I meet do just that. However there are definitely kids who are properly addicted and need help from from teachers and experts to help them kick the habit.

              So they meter, limit and monitor their time spent on the computer and with mobile devices from a young age? They track internet activity and impose blocks on certain sites if they feel they are spending too much time on them? Are they correctly using parental/user controls on Steam and Origin and their kids phones and tablets to ensure they aren't circumventing their attempts to restrict the child's access? Are they using firewalls to limit access time of specific software to between certain hours?

              The information age has resulted in new essential skills for parenting. If parents cannot be bothered to educate themselves to the new risks and dangers out there and instead continue to act as if it's 1990 and the internet is not a thing, that is on the parents, not the gamers and streamers, and DEFINITELY not the companies making the games and providing access to the streams. And trying to blame the children and games companies for it, trying to say "it's an addiction, there was nothing we could do" is beyond unreasonable. It's learned behaviour, and they learned it because the parents weren't doing their damned job properly.

              If parents half-arse learning about this stuff because they think they have more important things to do, they are potentially compromising their childs future. The child relies on the parents to provide boundaries and limits, to provide structure. they can't do it on their own, and when it's not done properly you see what you have outlined above.

              Learning is a life-long process. What worked 30 years ago, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, will not necessarily work now. Times change. Just because you think you are doing something right because it's worked in the past doesn't mean you are actually doing the right thing now.

                Yes to most of the first paragraph. in my experience the overall majority of parents I talk to are limiting screen time and making sure the kids aren't playing unsupervised in their bedroom.. maybe less on the worries of addiction and more the concern of being exposed to material they shouldn't be at that age, but the result is the same. Do I wish kids were out playing 'in the mud' like I used to? sure! but then also when I was a kid I would have gone nuts if I had an iPad and could play just about anything I wanted and could play with my mates online without having to ride my BMX to the other side of town.

                Gaming Addiction is now categorised as such by actual experts in addiction. Are you saying it's all made up and just learned behaviour? by that standard isn't any compulsive addiction just learned behaviour?

                The parents I meet who are dealing with addicted kids, whether it be games or youtube addiction aren't saying "there's nothing we can do" they're saying "we've tried everything please help us!" or "I don't know what to do, please help"

                I'm not saying that there aren't lazy or oblivious parents, there definitely are.. but in my experience the majority are trying to do their best. Some have the wrong approach, but most just want help.

                and I wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph.. There are still a significant number of parents who think that their kids should be taught the same way they were 20-30-40 years ago.. but the ~20 odd schools I work with, and the vast majority of parents I meet definitely don't prescribe to that notion.

            I 100% agree that part of the problem is parenting.

            But this day and age is different from when we were kids. You can compare it to music, movies etc of the 80s, but kids now days have access to the entire world at their fingertips. That's a huge difference to what previous generations have ever experienced. It's an information and sensory overload now compared to what previous generations. I appreciate your "NOT ITS JUST BAD PARENTING AND CRAP TEACHERS (and trust me as a crap teacher I hear that) and also your comparisons to how it was for previous generations, but I've seen it first hand over the last decade with around 1000's of different students.

            If we look at your comparison, my parents didn't have "good parenting" in the sense that I would just stay up all night and play video games (heck they let my younger brother drop out of high school to play Wow and do not much else). But the difference between how I was when I was younger, and how this current generation is being changed and warped, is night and day. Literacy and numeracy are at an all time low. Behavioural problems at schools around the world have reach huge problem levels (reason why some many teachers are quitting 5 years out of uni). And I honestly believe there is a problem with our gaming + technology that is changing the way our youth react and act to social situations.

            But hey.. base your opinion on the one family you know, and I'll base it on my 10 years + years working with a variety of students across a huge variety of levels (from actual behavioral centres, low socio economic area schools through to high level private schools). And as I said... this isn't from some "Grumpy old geriatric who doesn't get games". I'm a gamer through and through and can almost guarantee my time played over my life time in the virtual world is an unhealthy amount compared to any normal human (as I type this on my 34 inch ROG monitoer, with my Corsair Keyboard, razer mouse, 1080 Lightning Z TI etc etc etc and have my switch and PS4 clattered on my desk and my 7000.00 USD on steam :'( ).

            Last edited 23/06/18 6:47 pm

              I was basing my opinion on literally dozens of studies undertaken that have returned the same responses: exposure to modern gaming does not have a long-term negative effect on the intellectual or emotional development of children by itself. Blaming gaming is an easy out, but it's just not accurate.

              I rather believe that it is not gaming itself, but the ridiculously readily available online access that is the issue, as that leads to a lack of structure in a childs life. There have been huge paradigm shifts in how easy it is to access online material, to the point that Fortnite is soon going to be released on Android. Instead of sitting down to watch tv, kids are watching streams on their tablets or phones. Going to school, you get wifi there. Some schools have restrictions in place, but you wouldn't believe how easy it is to bypass most of them and there are guides for that, you guessed it, online. Got a grudge against someone? Go online and you can probably find 10+ groups in the first minute of browsing that will be sympathetic to your position, reinforcing that you are right to be pissed off about whatever it is. Parents rely on software like netnannies thinking that is all that is necessary to keep their kids under control, but I bypass the first netnanny I tried out within the first 2 minutes of using it. If I can figure it out that fast, a 10 year old can probably manage it within a reasonable amount of time. Parents need to go online and figure out technologically sophisticated ways of restricting their childs access to content, because as I've said, they can think they're doing everything right, but at the end of the day if they haven't done due diligence, they are only hurting their child.

              Children need limits and structure in their lives to learn appropriate behaviour, and it is the parents job in an increasingly sophisticated world to impose them, at least whilst growing up. I wholeheartedly believe it is this lack of structure that is causing this. And I do not disagree that gaming is the latest addiction outlet. However, as I have said above, there are inherent causes for the established patterns of such behaviour that lead to the development of addiction.

              Last edited 25/06/18 4:48 am

    Ah man, i wanted to say something on behalf of gamers but, you know what? i wish id never started gaming on a ps1, i wish id gone outside. id probably be a happy person doing something with their life, so you know what, fuck gaming *loads up dota 2*

      Yeah that's another thing. I'm 36 now. And I've owned a NES, Gameboy, SNES, N64, 3DS, Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, Switch, PS1,2,3,4, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One X, And a multi-tude of high powered gaming PC's (Currently with a 1080 TI , 8700k, HTC Vive set up). I have something like a year + worth of days clocked up in Wow.

      And I've reached a point where I'm looking back at my entire life and going - Has that all just been a waste of time? It's not as if I've just been a shut in gamer of course. I've traveled the world. Gone through mad party phases (which I also regret, as so much time, money and memory was lost to nights out), been to Uni and have made many amazing friendships, partners and relationships.

      But how much of that time was wasted in a virtual world? And then I wonder, what is the definition of wasting time? In effect, we're all just killing time till time kill us. I still get excited when I see a trailer of an E3 clip even though I have 500+ games in steam and something like a disgusting stat of only 20% of them have even been played.

      I'm not even sure what I'm saying here.. but sometimes I do wonder about it all. And the long term effects gaming like that has on the mind, body and soul. Guess the effects won't be known till after our generation since we're the first gen that has had the chance to game their entire lives.

        If it helps, people used to 'waste their lives' reading pure trash before video games came along to replace it. Making movable type available to the masses such that youth would waste their lives indoors, reading un-enriching trash and fantasy, was once considered a grave error sure to result in the ruin of society. (I mean, this probably turned out to be true.)

          *cough* Mills & Boon *cough*

          Now it's Instagram and Facebook etc.

        If you had time for leisure and you spent it pursuing a leisure pastime you enjoyed, then it's not a waste of time. Would you be better off if you'd spent that time watching TV? Reading books? Collecting stamps? Making tapestries?

        Humans require play time to be mentally healthy. Whether that time is spent building an old car piece by piece or getting 100% completion in every Final Fantasy doesn't make any real difference if the time was spent doing something they loved.

          Scientific American had the answer to your questions:

          In its July 1859 issue, Scientific American rallied against a wicked game that made both the mind and body weaker — chess:
          "A pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages...chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while it affords no benefit whatever to the body. Chess has acquired a high reputation as being a means to discipline the mind, but persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises--not this sort of mental gladiatorship."

            Well holy hell thats quite interesting! i will admit a side effect of gaming has made me so mentally sharp its sometimes unbearable to talk to your average day joeblow, not that im trying to make myself sound good but thats just a side effect i feel.
            i know for me personally if id chosen to go outside and do more, man id be in way better shape than i am, and starting to jog at age 28 is tough. my legs hurt and i want to die

              Yeah, don't jog. Cycling and swimming are friendlier for your body. Having abused my body in my teens and twenties by doing squash, body-building, jogging, tennis etc., I have learned in recent years that while I can still run, my body doesn't want me to.

              Seconding @zambayoshi - investigate the possibility of exercises which are kinder to your joints. Once your body and bones are done growing, cartilage no longer grows back. Try to avoid damaging it.

              Jogging is really hard on your joints. I hike, which gives you the outdoors and some great places to explore, but isn't anywhere near as hard on you.

              Swimming is about the best exercise ever.

              The mentally sharp part reminded me of when I was younger. I used to play hockey. I was goalie in pretty much all forms of it I played. My coach recommended I play computer games to heighten my reflexes.

                Im so mentally sharp ive moved on to slicing cheese with just my mind.
                But yeah it certainly would translate in a way that would up reflexes, i think its also why surgeons use alot of analogue controllers to maintain their hand dexterity; or is it they only do surgery to maintain their gaming abilities?

        I have wondered myself this many times and I reached a conclusion that gives me peace of mind: what I did because I chose to, because I enjoyed, or even loved it was not a waste of time and nobody can tell me otherwise. I visited countless worlds, fought many battles of both mind and physical ability that tested me to limits I never knew before, I experienced wonderful stories that made me weep with sorrow and joy, that made me /feel/. Even if my little videogame adventures were fake, those feelings were real and the memories fill me with satisfaction and warm nostalgia every time.

        Wasted my life? No, I lived.

      My God I love this shit.
      "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint".
      (Hesiod, 8th century BC)

      "The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."
      (From a sermon preached by Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274)

        I imagine these people spending five minutes with the youth of today. Their heads would explode!

          I'm sure they'd feel pretty vindicated, though. Turns out their fears were founded.

            Dont worry, the Fortnite crowd will grow older (the young ones the article worries about that is), have kids, and start complaining about their evil practices as well. Its the cycle of life.

            Tinder and Uber are two products that go against just about every Gen X's upbringing if you want some basic modern examples.

          It's the old people that are really screwing up by the numbers these days.

        I'm having flashbacks from the 80s Satanists hysteria.

    I wonder if this will ever change?
    I mean, I'm mid-30's and have basically grown up playing games my whole life. I don't feel that I am an unrealistic example of my generation. Surely there going to be a point where as we age, people who like me have grown up gaming, are going to outnumber those older than us and have greater input into how the media put forth these kinds of things.
    The tipping point must be on the horizon, or is this one of those things where it's just easier to make up news stories rather than do some actual research.

      It'd be nice to believe that, but I know from socializing with coworkers, for example, or looking at ANY online dating site, that for folks in their 20s-30s gaming is still very much looked down upon by a very large chunk of the public. Most everyone I normally socialize with is into games, which installs a certain confirmation bias, tempting me to believe that it's more accepted and popular than it is. But make no mistake: a LOT of folks still think gaming is for kids or weirdo nerds.

        And those same people will sit back and watch some highly paid 'children' chase a leather ball and think it is fine.

        Or bet money on which beastie will be whipped hardest and run the fastest.

      The interesting thing is that we're the first generation that's grown up with gaming as an artform that we can enjoy.

      A hundred years ago, a kid being born would have been part of a generation that was the first generation to grow up watching movies. My grandmother was part of that generation, and she loved movies of all kinds even into her 70s and 80s. According to her, her mother, who was born around 1880 or so *hated* movies and thought they were ruining her daughter's mind as she grew up.

      So yeah, video games are just the latest in a long line of things that are ruining kids.

    Here’s what I don’t get. Alcohol and smoking are clearly more addictive and damaging, but there’s regulations in place to limit them. No one has gone on a crusade to stop under age drinking or smoking for years now but it’s still prevalent. Yet video games still hold this stigma.

      It's because older people drink and smoke, it makes sense to them. It's these fandangled video games they can't understand and are therefore scared of.

    A today tonight exclusive undercover investigation into which video game is harming your family! Stay tuned.

    I play about an hour or 2 a night on average. After doing a physical job for 8-10 hours a day. I see no problem.
    Half of these parents that are scaremongering probably spend 8 hours a day behind a desk then 4 hours on a couch in front of a tv.

      Are you ragging on desk workers? Some of us game as well!!!

        No I'm saying what's wrong with sitting down for 2 hours when you're o your feet all day.

          Was just messing mate. Everyone should game, it relaxing. Except Dark Souls. That shit is the opposite of relaxing.

    Just some feedback no the writing in the article. The following is a single sentence.

    As increasingly worried parents and opportunistic politicians call for regulation to stop the video games industry from making fun things that young people enjoy playing, schools and parents are working together to find alternative solutions, such as setting reasonable limits on video game time for kids, ensuring that people are properly informed about games' age ratings and suitability, or sensibly waiting for this latest temporary obsession to burn itself out.

    It's way to long and the meaning starts to get lost as a result. It's necessary to read it multiple times to get the whole sentence into the mind and parse it. Maybe try to break really long sentences up a little in future for better readability.

      I do the same thing as the author. Using commas instead of fullstops is a bad habit of mine. I'm working on getting better. See how well I did?

        We all do it from time to time. Just trying to improve the quality of writing on the site is all.

    The problem we have in Australia is two-fold: 1. A separate standard of content applied to games far higher to that applied to movies and news casts; 2. An utter lack of conviction on the part of governments, community and the games industry to prosecute parents who allow or enable their kids to access games that they shouldn't. The wowsers and whiners will always find fault, but never in themselves...I'd be interested in how they'd treat a game about an organisation of pedo priests preying on kiddies.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now