The Internet Reacts To The 60 Minutes Video Games Story

Image: 60 Minutes / Channel Nine

On Sunday night, Channel Nine's 60 Minutes ran a story titled 'Won't Stop, Can't Stop'. "While you're watching 60 Minutes, chances are children all over the country are glued to different screens, playing video games," reporter Tara Brown opened the story with.

The program quickly ventured into the success of Fortnite, saying "it and games like it are so good" that children "are becoming addicted". And almost immediately, fans began offering their take online.

The first segment began by touching on two children, Logan and Sam, who had retreated into video games. It then introduced psychologist Dr Tanveer Ahmed and neuroscience strategist Jill Sweatman warning about the effects of video games on developing brains, with Dr Ahmed saying "in psychological terms, this is an emergency".

"It's an element that has been so magnificently and exquisitely crafted to engage these children - and adults - more and more and more, and that's where it's insidious," Jill Sweatman said. "If so much time is devoted to just entertainment, under the auspices, the control of game designers, over a long period of time what are we really losing? Those brain cells can't be gotten back in later life."

Both Dr Ahmed and Jill Sweatman have been quoted in the past talking about video game addiction, both through newspapers and as experts in media reports. Sweatman is a member of the board of the Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia, a non-profit whose members and founder have aired warnings in the past about internet-related disorders and addictions.

Dr Ahmed, more notably, was dismissed as a columnist by the Sydney Morning Herald over plagiarism allegations. Similar claims saw The Australian part ways with him in 2015.

It was the background of the parents, however, that users first started criticising on Facebook and social media. Conservative columnist Rita Panahi, not traditionally considered the biggest advocate of video games, questioned how one of the families' could have allowed their child to avoid school for two years. Users also questioned the program's lack of nuance in dealing with the families' situations, which included a divorce and the impact of a family as the mother battled breast cancer.

The program also didn't make any mention of parental controls available on consoles and modern platforms, which industry advocates IGEA pointed out following the program's airing. Users also took to 60 Minutes's Facebook page to ask why there wasn't more emphasis on treatment, options and solutions.

Some users expressed sympathy for the parents, however, noting the difficulty of the situation and their desire to help their children in any way possible. Other parents also shared their own experiences about limiting their children's screen time, and - like the program - noted that it could be difficult to find professional help in similar circumstances.

The 60 Minutes report and story can be viewed here.


If your family or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, the Kids Helpline is available 24/7 online and over the phone for anyone aged between 5 and 25, while Lifeline is a resource for anyone in need of crisis support. The Australian Psychological Society also has a database of available psychologists nationwide here.


Comments

    The first segment began by touching two children

    Introducing? Touching ON?

    The way it's written sounds strange.

      They had it confused with the earlier segment about the australian catholic church.

    Anyone that believes anything 60 minutes says needs to check themselves. I'm sure they do have some facts right but they make up, exaggerate and use so many different methods to push across an agenda.

    I cant understand how anyone watches that trash.

      I should add that these agendas they push are normal at the cost of someones dignity or business. Rubbish reporting

      I miss The Chaser showing these programs for what they are.
      I can think of no better example of how bad 'news' has gotten. At the end of the day they're another TV show trying to shock viewers into watching.

        It isn't the "news", it is the current affairs programs (like 60 minutes, A Current Affair and Today Tonight which was apparently canceled back in 2014) which are basically there to push agendas.

        60 minutes never used to be so bad, they were more investigative journalism but sometime back in the 90s they went to agenda pushing instead.

      It's funny how far that show has fallen. Back in the 80's, it was a great source for legitimate news. Even in the 90s. Then the 2000's happened and it turned into tabloid shite.

        Spot on @weresmurf.

        60 mins was a very credible and insightful news programme in the 80s. How far it has fallen to become just another current affair style program.

          I can tell you the point where everything started sliding downhill.

          Australia began it's fascination with tabloid media with Christopher Skase. We became enthralled with "The Chase for Skase" when A Current Affair instigated their vendetta against him. Was he a conman? Probably? But if you asked the average person what he actually did, they couldn't tell you a damn thing. 9 built up a vendetta against Skase that was unbelievable, they turned him into a James Bond like villain.

          Then, they got 60 Minutes in on the act unfortunately, because they felt getting a more credible show in on it, would loan their assault on him some gravitas. Sure, again he was a douche and a conman, but realistically, there were worse out there, he was just the flavour of the month. A man in a non extradition country that could be an easy target for viewers, to rile people up.

          Nine jumped on it, turned the media around, created a new form of 'tabloid journalism' in Australia across previously reputable programs (hell, even A Current Affair was shockingly 'credible' in its first year or two... go figure?!?!) and polluted 60 minutes with that sort of shite forever which would eventually become its trademark :(

    33yo here who also had "an addiction to gaming" and constant arguments with parents taking the pc / modem away to the point they'd put the entire PC in the boot of their car to restrict my play time.

    Gaming seems to be looked at like an addiction, however people whom spend the same amount of time out partying / clubbing / other hobby's are fine. Gaming is new.

    The important thing is the child is raised to understand things need to be done before they can spend the rest of their time gaming. As in school, homework, housework and all that adult shit.

    I have a job in IT, i do all the adult things such as cooking, cleaning, washing and looking after myself but outside of that i spend pretty much all my time gaming.

    And that was because my parents instilled in me that i had to do these things before play time. Sure i'd have the occasional tantrum but i'd never have done some of the shit those kids did. And i'd expect the parents to act like parents, to discipline their kids, send them off to military boot camp, take control and teach those kids they need to do work (school/homework) and housework before game time so when they're an adult they can get a job, pay rent for their own place, pay for their own internet, own PC and own games.

    Instead of being dole bludging deadbeats because their parents failed to do their jobs.

      Kids have all the rights in the world it has been taken away from parents.Im watchi g alot of parents going through hell at the moment and nobody cares .you are not allowed to discipline anymore trust me i have seen it police are powerless so are schools the golden saying is if a child doesn't want to they dont have to.If you smack a child you get arrested if you give them a good old scolding you are abusive trust me i have seen it and i see it through the court system.to many dogooders give back parents the rights i have been lucky with my kids who are adults noe because i called the shots i gave them a dam good smack if neede and if dcp or anybody would of said a peekaboo i would of said you eant them you can do better bloody take them i csn teport all 6 of mine are all working and have no issues .Take freedom away from kids give parents mote rights tell dogooders to get lost and tell our government to get there heads out of there buts and come down harder on all rugrats.Dont blame all parents as like i said i see first hand what rights children have and it would shoke you all

        You can discipline as much as you want, but discipline doesn't have to include violence. Your rant is a cop out.

        TL;DR

        I hit my kids, and I have a very loose grasp on the English language.

    Fear mongering plays well to their target demographic over at nine.

    60 minutes used to be interesting, but now it's just the extended cut of ACA.

    The game may change, but the rhetoric is boringly consistent.

      Took me getting all the way down to this comment to realize we weren't talking about ACA.

      Dunno why but my brain just automatically turned everyone one of these shows into some form of ACA.

    Just popped by to let you all know that there is no such thing as a "Neuroscience Strategist"

    It's not a thing.

    "Those brain cells can't be gotten back in later life." This is in the 'not even wrong' category.

      That said, brain chemistry is a funny thing, and as far as I've read, it seems like we don't have a lot of good research into the long-term psychological effects of our brains developing tolerance for reward chemicals, or the consequences of regular manipulation of those reward chemicals.

      So while there's things we apparently don't know about neurological consequences, it'd be nice if they'd used correct terminology to describe exactly what it is we don't know instead of 'making up bulllshit'. They could've got a similar point across without resorting to bullshit.

    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.
    Scientific American - July 1859

      Whoops. Enter too soon.

      Anyway, the point is: Blaming the 'in thing' for the evils of disaffected youth escapism is as timeless as it is boring, stupid, pointless, and infuriating.

      Anyone who does it is either concern trolling for personal benefit, or is tragically ignorant.

        This is the most interesting and insightful comment I've seen in a comments section in a while. Thanks.

    When I heard this news story I tought it was another Current Affairs trash piece they do every couple of months... bloody hell to find out this was 60 Minutes. Well thats the death of respectable news journalism in Australia if 60 Bloody Minutes stoops down to their level for cheap views.

    This family needs help and blaming the game for what is clearly a family fallen into a pit of despair due to a family crisis, now living day by day with coping mechanisms and deep denial. A mental crisis needs real help, not a journalist in their face.

    I know a single mother with this same issue, her son hasn't been to school in years and prefers to stay home playing games and making some attempt at schooling now and then. I did not know how to help him get over his anxiety and get out into the realworld and I am also a gamer.. so we had that in common as talking points. But any time it was brought up to go to school, give it another chance etc. he would pull back into his shell. He's a good kid, but I do not know how to give him direction (not that it's my ''job'').

      It is sad to hear these stories, but they are not the fault of the game. Once again there is an underlying issue here where the child uses games as a symptom. Unlike drugs, which cause further damage once you start using, there is no current evidence that games lead to harder negative behaviors or mental illness. To the contrary I have heard of many people being more social through games and the experience helping them through trauma.

      This kind of blanket approach to an issues is not constructive or objective. Gaming isn't even a symptom. Face it, I would rather game all day, but I do not (actually, that is a lie, I have many hobbies, but this is again part of being 'well'.)

      An addiction is a filler for a void created from the loss/stress, the toughest part here is the best treatment for addiction is social interaction and family bonding, the anxiety is avoidance of the one thing that will make him better. Its a coping mechanism for a past mental injuries that has ballooned into its own mental issue.

      Regardless of what type of addiction, as soon as the family or social circles neglect and shun them and leave them to their own poison (drugs, booze, gambling, others) the comfort they get from the addiction makes everything attempt to approach them an anxiety. Its a compounding problem.

      Pushing is not going to work well unless you be brutal about it, the mother and son both need professional assistance to get them over the first hurdle (and this should of been the 60 minutes story, helping a Parent and Child break an addictive cycle)... and unfortunately "years" in this situation will make it hard to start, but if the child and mother both need an opportunity to change their lives for a better the sooner you need to start, for their future, or this will be their lives until it ends up going critical. (or until a solar flare wipes out all electronics on earth)

      Hello, i have anxiety. I may be able to help a little bit.
      My guess is he doesn't want to go to a psychologist. That's okay.
      He's using his gaming as an avoidance for his anxiety. He's pretty much ignoring it.
      I would suggest downloading an app called smiling mind. It's a meditation app that is meant to help with improving mood.
      They have segments for children. Work on building a bond, and suggest a psychologist. Tell them you'll go with them if they want. Otherwise, you can find worksheets online to so you may be able to help that way.
      Good luck.

    2 years and no school, where is the truant officer? Whos the parent? I feel like they should hire people to just grief their sons back to school.

      If he's under 16 or hasn't finished year 10, it's illegal for him to not be in school. She's literally criminally liable for him not attending school at this point. I wonder how this has gone by unchecked?

    Clearly these kids need to be watching television programmes like 60 minutes instead of being glued to their TVs playing video games!

      Or even just binge watching Game of Thrones or Orange is the New black is more socially acceptable.

      These old media throwbacks are like the Amish of entertainment. "Look, he spurns the wholesome diversions of his forefathers! He seeks the diversions of the neon harlot, computing games, instead! Shame! Judgement and shame!"

    The only question is why are you watching T.V? 60 minutes hasn’t been relevant in decades. The rest is just conservative propaganda for the over 60’s still watching the idiot box.

    lol can't argue with the second tweet. kind of sad 60minutes can't even do basic google search

    fornite, Initial release date: 25 July 2017, kid hasn't been to school in 2 years. yep totally checks out, 2018-2017 = 3, winner!

      I think 2 is the average mental age of 60 Minutes usual viewers.

      At the risk of "defending" this 60 Minutes story in any way... it was a piece on GAMING addiction, not Fortnite addiction specifically. Though I would have like to see the "journalist" ask the parent: "So Fornite is new, what did he play before that, Space Invaders or Pokemons?"

        lol I think that's fair, it's just laughable they seem to over emphasize on Fornite and ignore the "gaming" part (i.e. that there are, as you say, other games that exist)

    Dear developers, 60 Minutes have come up with a solution. Make your games boring.

    What's the TL:DR? Was it lack of parenting or blaming every other thing under the sun?

      Most likely mental issues that neither the parent nor child know how to deal with.

    Whenever I see stories like this, I can't help but think..

    "Wtf? What do you mean gambling is a serious issue? People gamble responsibly all the time! I've never had an issue what so ever with gambling! Clearly there's no such thing a gambling addiction! It's just people with poor self control!".

    I think *something* is happening to some of these kids. Perhaps the parents in the 60 min article were poorly represented, but I do thing *something* is going on.

    I'm wondering if perhaps we need programs setup where children are physically removed from their lives for a month and live completely unwired until they're clean, provided with counselling and life skills coaching to help get them back on track.

    It's counter productive for us to just stick our heads in the sand and become super defensive about the issue.

      It's less an addiction and more that it is a way to ignore an issue. Usually mental illness.
      If a parent places boundaries, there may be some resistance, but to break walls and skip school, then it is a serious problem that needs addressing.
      We can't blame video games when a lot of the time they are a band aid solution for the person.

        We're doing it again.

        "We can't blame gaming"

        This isn't about blame. We can't come at this from a defensive position. Like we're frighten someone is going to come along and take our games away.

        I think you're right. For *some* people it's just a maladjustment issue. But I honestly believe some of these kids are actually addicted, in much the same way gambling addicts are.

          Yes, and addiction is a mental issue.
          I am not saying that they aren't addictive, they can be, but to not have the ability to break away is a mental issue.
          We could say it is only the fault of games, but they will just move onto something else. Might be obsessively buying things, who knows.
          People keep saying it is the fault of games and only games. Of course we get defensive, because games are often the scapegoat for many issues.

      You know that argument from the Boomers that "sure I smoked pot at university, but that was the old pot, today's pot is way stronger and more addictive"... I actually kinda sorta believe that about games.

      I reckon the reason Fortnite has been so successful is... no disrespect to fans but... any idiot can play it. It's free, easy to set up, has clear rules, and when your parent looks over your shoulder it's all bright colours and dancing - not exploding tits.

      Also, I'm pretty sure Fortnite is the first megahit all-demographics all-types-of-gamer all-platforms game since Pokemon Go got its second wind. A LOT of parents - especially mums it seems - are into Pokemon Go (I'm trying to decide if Pokemon Go has revitalised the big park in our suburb... or ruined it).

      So Fortnite is the first "addictive" game to come out in a time when some parents themselves are having to self-manage the time THEY spend on Pokemon Go. So it's the first time the parents actually understand what it feels like to want to play a game all the time, to get up thinking about the game, do what you gotta do for the day as fast as possible, so you can get back to the game.

      Obviously the number of parents who are Pokemon Go fans are in the minority, but they talk with the other parents who are like "my kid plays this one game all the time, he never used to be that into games"... and then the media runs stories about how Fortnite is getting banned at schools... and so some schools thing gee we better look into that... and other parents are like "wait is MY kid addicted to Fortnite?"... and it's a vicious self-feeding cycle.

      In short, the real monster here is PlayerUnknown.

      I think there's a huge difference between video game addiction and addictive video games that needs to be addressed here. Video game addiction is far too vague an idea. To be addicted to simply sitting with a controller in your hands while any sort of interactive game is in front of you is not a thing.
      If that's the 'addiction' I think it's pretty clear that you're in the category Scree is talking about. It manifests in any number of ways so it's frustrating when we're singled out as the cause.

      Addictive video games on the other hand are totally a thing. They're way more specific. What qualifies as 'addictive' and whether or not they actually lead to proper addiction is up for debate though. We can all agree that full on gambling is not great in a video game but we'd probably agree that the basic competitive nature of online games is much, much harder to nail down.

      It's hard not to be frustrated or offended when a show like 60 Minutes comes along and lazily implies that our hobby is addict behaviour. It's one thing for parents that don't quite understand what they're seeing to say this stuff, but it feels like part of a smear campaign when an organisation does it.

    At least this kid hasn't killed anybody as a result of irresponsible journalism.

    I cannot believe this. This is unfathomable. I feel dirty for saying what I'm about to say.

    I agreed with Rita Panahi on something.

    Seriously though, as a parent I've learnt to try and not judge other parents' methods. Children are people and hence unique and require unique approaches but I can say pretty vehemently that if my child was concerning me in relation to how much gaming he/she did, I would not give them a TV and console in their room.

    I'll quote a few things from an article I read today:

    News flash. Parenting is hard if you want kids to turn out to be good people. Talk. Set rules. Talk more. Participate. Talk again. Modify rules. Tweak. Rinse. Repeat.

    If you let the tantrum win, the kid learns to throw tantrums.

    As I said above, this may not work for everyone but it will work for most and you need to instil this behaviour from early on.

    My child is almost 6 so no doubt the best of this is yet to come for me but from when he was a child, my wife and I both learned to explain when he did things wrong, why it was wrong and what we expect. We did this even if it seemed he didn't quite understand or his grasp of the English language wasn't there yet. I think it's so important to not underestimate how clever kids are regardless of age.

    Last edited 04/09/18 6:43 am

    I saw this a few days ago. I liked the part when they started to talk about 'planned brain-death'.
    Had me in stitches for hours. My sides. ouch.

    But seriously, If you want planned brain-death, watch 60mins.
    Whatever happened to that show to get like this?

    I kinda feel sorry for the kid and parent here.
    When i was a kid, something happened to me, and i slowly developed depression, insomnia & anxiety. I went from a Solid B student to having my highest grade be a C, missing multiple days of school each month.
    Parents/teachers had no idea what to do. By the time i got to year 11 when again something happened to me, it got even worse to the point i didnt go to school for weeks straight.
    I could have turned to drugs, or video games like i did later on when something even worse happened to me. But really i just tried to sleep, its all i wanted to do.
    As its been discussed here by other people, we all know this is a symptom for something much worse.

    Be a bloody parent and accept the responsibility. Sure, everyone has problems and priorities, but running to a dodgy hack TV show who steals kiddies isn't a solution.

      Yeah not sure that's how 60 Minutes works. Those families were found by the show's researchers. The show decided to do a piece on "gaming addiction" and then probably spent weeks scouring the country for the most messed-up-but-also-gaming kids they could find. It's all constructed.

      Check Mediawatch's site in a week or so, I'd be surprised if this piece doesn't end up there.

        One of the mothers is a model on TV Shopping Network...but I agree, constructed.

        As I stated in my piece with reference to the child abduction 60 minutes bought their way out of, they aren't scared of manufacturing stories, rather than reporting on them.

        That said, failing to state that Fortnite has only been running twelve months, and that these kids had problems well before then is misrepresentation. I'll guarantee that these kids had problems before they got heavily involved in gaming, and I'll also guarantee that there were indicators of that.

        I feel sorry for the other kids in the family, as these little sh*ts would be getting all the attention and making family life a misery...they are the ones I feel sorry for.

        While it won't be a long term solution, take a belt to the kids' backsides, and next time they raise their hand to you smack them down....it's worked for thousands of years before video games came along.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now