Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obsession is a Dangerous Thing (Part II)

(continued from Part I)

In Ohio, the story is entirely different. The teen involved here was obviously deranged, and fatally obsessive. Reports had it that, when the game originally came out and he was allowed to play, the youth played HALO 3 for up to 18 hours a day. This, if you ask me – and I am a huge fan of the HALO series, having even gone so far to take (paid) time off on the release of HALO 3 in order to play for a few days straight – is ridiculous. The good in this story is that his parents realized his obsession and moved to control it by taking the game away from him. The bad is that they didn’t take the situation seriously enough, or understand the extreme depths to which their son’s obsession had sunk.

Having planned his actions out carefully, the youth waited until his parents were together in their room. He stole the key to the family lock box, retrieved a pistol from it, then went to his parent’s room and told them to close their eyes because he “had a surprise for them.” When they complied, he shot them both in the head, killing his mother and wounding his father. He then took only one thing from the house – his copy of HALO 3 – placed the gun in his father’s hand to make it look like a murder / suicide, and fled the scene.

video from CBSNEWS.com

Now, I see this story and part of me immediately wants to rant and yell at “the media” for their unfair and unjust portrayal of gaming. But, when looking at the facts as presented before me, I can only realize that – in this specific case – obsession with gaming actually did lead to murder. Now, saying that “gaming leads to murder” is obviously a gigantic leap. This child was certainly out of touch with reality, and that, therein, seemed to be the problem.

What is important here is that parents need to take an active role in their children’s activities – if not to participate, then to moderate and monitor. They need to make sure their children understand the line between reality and the fantasy worlds of games, and they need to constantly watch their children to ensure that there is no confusion about this. Obsession can, as we see here, be a VERY dangerous thing. My parents did this with me, and I have no problems differentiating fantasy from reality. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I don’t have my own stupid problems with obsession.

While I myself am not about to commit any horrible and senseless acts of violence, obsession with gaming has, does, and will continue to lead me to do things I know full well I shouldn’t.

(to be continued)

Ohio Teen Killed Mom Over Video Game [AOL News]
Video Game Addiction: A Medical Disorder? [CBS News]

- Goodchild

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