Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

AMA creates a new disorder

As if I should be suprised really by this article, the American Medical Association is being pressured to now label video-game addiction as an actual psychiatric disorder.

A leading council of the nation’s largest doctors’ group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.

As a new parent and gamer, I feel it is my responsibility to not only know what my child is playing but also how often. I monitor what videos he watches, food he eats and when he sleeps. He may not even be two years old yet, but I know that the enviroment I create for him has a direct impact on his development and future.
Its quotes like this that truly boggle me:

A woman in the New Haven, Conn., area who bought the game (World of Warcraft) for her 15-year-old son last year, says he got hooked on it.
“Now that I look back on it, it’s like I went out and bought him his first Jack Daniel’s,” said the 49-year-old woman who didn’t want her name used to spare her son from ridicule.

Mrs. Daniels, you control the house and more importantly, the circuit breakers. You pay the bills and put food on the table, you buy the christmas presents and wrap them for your son and you have to take responsibility for not only yourself but your son.

Where will this truly lead? If video-game addiction is quantified as an actual disorder and is therefore qualified for “treatment” and coverage, this (as the article says) could lead to a possible 5 million children diagnosed. Good Lord. Let’s not even get into the revenue in prescription costs for pharmecutical companies and the rise in healthcare.

I have no doubt that there are many strong backers for this proposal, but I have to really question where our country and the industry is heading. There are some children out there that are indeed addicted to video games. There have been some very bad incidents that have taken place in the realm of gaming and no doubt raised a red flag to parents and doctors. Take note, I think is important to watch for signs that could possibly lead up to situations such as this. I do however have to question the authority for those children.

I know when I have let my son watch a video for too long. Its a voice in the back of my head as a parent saying “You know, we really should go outside or play with some blocks for an hour.” If you choose to ignore that then you cannot shift the blame of your own mistakes to that of your child.

I’m curious what other responsible parents who are also gamers do in this sort of situation. There must be a point in time when you are both playing a game with the child online and also making sure they are doing their schoolwork. I have no doubt about which the child would rather be doing because I know what I would do in their situation. I only hope that if and when the time comes for me to shut down my sons PC, I didn’t send him any gold that I needed.

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June 22, 2007 - Posted by | RL

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