I came across this book at the bookstore of a college I frequent. I took a glance at it and decided to buy it. It wasn’t very expensive and figured it would be a good read.
Right off it assaults the reader with anecdotal statistics of people the author knows who have had to combat their children playing video games too much.
As a gamer, my first instinct was to think that the parents mentioned in the book over-reacted to their children’s playing habits. Then again, I can only vouch for my own mileage, everyone else’s is different.
Then I realized that this book is only narrowly focused. It only talks about how people (mostly children) can become addicted to video games (I know it can happen). As a Psychology major, one of my favorite subjects was Internet Addiction. As far as I know not much research has been done on this subject.
Viewing this book in the light of being an early look at Internet Addiction really brought me around. I was ready to trash this book for being what it is – a rally against video games.
But deeper than that it’s a warning. It’s okay to play, just do so in moderation.
Before I play my favorite MMO, I’m greeted with a message telling me not to forget my family, friends, job, and other responsibilities. As the opening to Mystery Science Theater 3000 used to say, “It’s just a show, you really should just relax.”
That’s not to say I don’t think video game/Internet addiction is a problem, it is. I used to have a friend in England I talked to quite a bit. One day he told me he just got World of Warcraft and I didn’t hear from him again for six months. He told that he’s spent quite a bit of time playing WoW. He gave me the figure for how many hours he’d played the game. The result equaled 90 days. Nearly 3 full months of a 6 month period was spent playing WoW.
In August I compiled a time inquiry regarding my own time playing Final Fantasy XI. I’ve been playing FFXI since March 2007. As of August 2009, a full 10% of my life was spent playing FFXI for that time span. In 28 months I spent 10% of my life playing FFXI.
Of course, that doesn’t take into account what I did with the other 90% of my time. I worked a job, read books, met with friends, etc. You could hardly call me a reclusive shut-in.
I guess the message is: Be careful with how you spend your time because once it’s spent, you can’t get it back.