VIDEO GAMES ARE HARMFUL?

December 7, 2021

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I’m concerned about kids and video games.

I see friends worrying about what their teenage kids do when they are not at home. In my opinion, a bigger concern is what lots of them do when they are home: video games.

Video games encourage extreme addictive behavior that can interfere with people maintaining healthy balanced lives. Time spent engaged in games is time not spent on hobbies, friends, relationships, studying, or getting enough sleep.

For parents that want to control how much video games their kids play, that is only getting more challenging. New technologies that make gaming more accessible and stickier. VR, mobile internet, and online markets hawking freemium products mean that kids are exposed to increasingly addictive content with lower and lower barriers to accessing it.

Now, almost every screen is connected to the internet and they can all serve as portals into the video game universe. Free content means that lack of a credit card (or cash) won’t stop kids either. Once somebody gets hooked on gaming, it’s very difficult to remove the temptation to play.

While there’s nothing wrong with games, I definitely do not want my kids playing nonstop and I’m not a fan of letting games get in the way of life.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not against games. They’re mostly harmless fun, and interactive entertainment like gaming might be healthier than just watching TV. But what happens when games are becoming more addictive than ever at the same time that they’re becoming accessible everywhere, all the time?

It’s no wonder the gaming industry is growing like gangbusters. Better computers, expanded internet connectivity, innovative new business models, amazing creative talent, and high quality content help explain how the industry is approaching $150 billion a year in revenue and still growing fast.

Given the profits and growth in the entertainment industry, I can’t fault video game makers for marketing their products aggressively and strategically. They’re creating value and serving their shareholders well. But as a parent, I’m concerned that kids — impulsive, immature, and lacking in perspective — are vulnerable to addiction. Steering them toward more healthy and productive activities is a challenge that only seems to be growing.

Clearly video games are connecting with consumers. But I think more parents should be taking a close look at what these products mean for their kids’ lives.

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