An article in today’s The Orlando Sentinel is just the first of what we expect to be many blaming video games for the corruption of America’s youth. Like anything that kids latch onto, whether it be comic books, rock ‘n roll music, or TV, parents will always have something to pin what amounts to bad parenting on. With the success of the NES and video game fever once again rocking the U.S., they’re the current ones in the crosshairs of concerned parents.
This time around parents are concerned that little Johnny is spending too much time in front of the TV playing games. They claim the games are too addicting and are stifling playtime outdoors and interaction with other kids. But, isn’t this the case with anything not done in moderation? Couldn’t the same be said of a kid who only wants to read and stays in his or her room all day? Oh, but the difference here is that reading is viewed as educational and constructive, whereas playing video games is not. But, these aren’t the games your parents grew up on – these are more sophisticated and some require high level thinking. You’re not going to just accidentally beat The Legend of Zelda without a high level of skill and critical thought.
While we concede that it’s unhealthy for a kid to spend every waking moment plopped in front of the TV playing video games, that’s not really Nintendo’s fault. Parents should be setting limits on how much game time is permitted in the household. They should be encouraging their children to diversify their extracurricular activities to include other forms of entertainment. Just like everything else in life, moderation is key to physical and mental health. So, what it really comes down to is parenting. But, hey – that’s just our opinion! What do you think?
Parents Worry About Nintendo Video Games’ Tyranny Over Time
August 14, 1988 | By Linda Shrieves, The Orlando Sentinel
It`s the hottest game of the year. Retailers love it; kids are crazy about it. Sales of it are expected to approach $1.9 billion this year. It, of course, is Nintendo, the video game set that has become the toast of the toy world — and is becoming a cause of consternation to parents.
The video game is popular among kids because it`s exciting (some games have up to 200 stages), challenging (it takes hours of play to master) and because you can store a game (if you`re only halfway through when the school bus comes).
The game is unpopular among a growing number of parents because it`s exciting (parents never know when a fight might break out between the players), it`s challenging (just try to pry a child away from the set to do chores) and because you can store a game (meaning kids can get as engrossed after school as they were when they almost missed the bus).
At $150 for the basic set, which comes with two games, and an average price of $30 for additional games, Nintendo is hardly in danger of ruining the nation`s youth. But some middle-class parents, whose only reservations about the game had been its price, are beginning to think the game should come with a warning label. Something like “Danger: This toy has been known to cause unrest at home.“
Why the unrest? The consensus among parents is that the game is addictive — and their addicted children will spend day after day playing the games, from Mike Tyson`s Punch Out, in which they must try to outbox the video version of the champ, to the Legend of Zelda, in which the player tries to rescue a princess from the evil Ganon.
The primary addicts are boys ages 8 to 14, of average and above-average intelligence.
Like most Nintendo parents, Richard Jones, a computer salesman, set up guidelines to make sure that during the school year, homework took priority over Nintendo-mania. But when school let out, he let his 12-year-old and 15- year-old play as much as they liked.
“At first, I couldn`t get them out the door. It was stay on the couch and play Nintendo all day long. And I let them do that for the first couple of weeks, thinking that after a while, they`d get enough gumption to get up and do something else,“ said Jones, who lives in Winter Springs. “It didn`t work.“
While some parents are more concerned about their kids neglecting homework or chores, others wonder if the game is hurting children socially.
“It doesn`t tend to encourage interaction among the players because it requires such concentration,“ said Russel Hiett, an Orlando marriage and family counselor and Nintendo father. “You can`t talk and play at the same time.“
[Source: The Orlando Sentinel]