Mike Hoyt: Harmful gaming

December 29, 2012 

Dangers in basement

The insidious dangers of video gaming are slowly coming to light in America. We can debate gun control and better care for the mentally ill, but a catalyst in recent mass murders is probably much closer: in home basements, dens and bedrooms.

There, alone and in the dark, players are absorbed in bizarre fantasy worlds where violent killings fill the scorecard. The weapons of choice are frequently automatic assault rifles.

An Entertainment Software Association study found that people in the U.S. spent $25 billion on video games, gaming hardware and accessories in 2011. Nearly 70 percent of American adults and children, around 165 million, play video games. That’s twice as many as in Germany and the U.K., for instance.

Some gamers resort to illicit drugs to stay awake, sometimes for days, so as to not interrupt their ecstatic gaming experience. Many gamers become loners living in a violent, make-believe world of their own.

And, when the game’s over, they just hit the reset button and live to kill another day. Problem is, there was no reset button in places like Columbine or Aurora or Newtown.

We can only hope that caring parents left these fantasy games off their kids’ Christmas lists this year.

Mike Hoyt, Raleigh

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