Talk of video game addiction is just absolutely hilarious. Not only does it have zero support in science (hint: one or two idiots shrieking about their studies means nothing, L2Science please) but it's just flat out idiotic. I don't know anyone who is legitimately addicted to video gaming.
Most people object to having to give up their games or their computer because they've got nothing else to do. At best, this requires a re-orienting of their entertainment. I've gone through phases where I played many hours of video games, but I've also never been all that annoyed at having no interactive electronic entertainment.
Why? Because I've always known I could pick up a book, or listen to music, or whatever.
If I ever was, it's because someone else was fucking with my property or trying to tell me what to do with my own free time - that dickhead "psychologist" who insisted video games were addictive because "just see how your kid reacts when you snatch that controller out of their hands" needs to be spoken to rather gently.
Rational thought might scare him, but I'm sure he'll eventually understand that I'd want to smack you in the face if you turned off my movie, tore my book from my hands or otherwise interrupted my entertainment in a violent, peremptory fashion and demanded I do what you want me to do.
At worst, I'm seeing people who don't understand they can do other things aside from play a video game. Many of them don't have the option of playing a physical game for instance - I don't. I don't own a basketball hoop or a yard I can practice my football shots in anymore... hell, where did my soccer ball go?! So, in fact, some people DON'T have much in the way of options nowadays. Games are a hell of a lot better than television.
Any mention of a pathetic creature who played Star Craft for 56 hours and died is just embarrassing. Don't mention it. That's laughable. There are people out there who randomly burst into flames and die, would you call that a common occurrence to get worked up about? People really need to get a grip on figures and statistics; stop letting yourself be manipulated by sensationalist newspapers and their doctored statistics. It is annoying.
Millions of people play video games and are fine. They do not cause violence. They do not cause addiction. They cause nothing. Video games are guilty of nothing more than superseding a few forms of entertainment (such as television) during a time in society where we've sabotaged the remaining forms of entertainment. For kids especially.
Forcing kids to read in school and accompanying it with tests has decimated interest in reading. "Stranger Danger" hype and paranoid parents have killed the pick-up-group neighborhood games, locking kids indoors. A culture of jocks, hyper-competitiveness and adult-directed "formal sports" turns children away from sports - or into douches. A lack of community spirit means kids can live next door to one another but never speak. More stranger danger hype, paranoia and general hatred of children/teens discourages youths from going outside in groups to skate, cycle, play games, or hang out.
As for adults? Well, I luckily avoided being turned off of reading despite my teachers' best efforts, so I'm probably going to finish this journal, completely ignore the dozens of games on my computer, and sit down to finish a book. Or write one.
But how many of us adults just have toys sitting around and people we can play with? I DO own a Nerf gun, and I do play with it when I'm with friends, but they're miles away. I've got nothing I can really do by myself, and the motivation to do much isn't really there. All we've got are video games, television, ugh, and working out.
Besides, after a hard day's work or whatever, I want to sit down with a beer, a steak and to chill out on WoW or ArmA or something until I go to bed and read. Bugger off and leave me alone!
Y'see, our country has the same elements (whackjob religionuts) that America has trying to ban or restrict video games. They're fighting an uphill battle here because our culture negates much of the problems that spring up in America. They've got less ammunition to distort and throw at us.
Teenagers and kids are still kind of fucked over, due to their lack of transport and factors like that, but here? Well my friends, who were once those very teenagers who couldn't go anywhere or do anything, now can do whatever they want. They're going to the beach, they're holding barbecues, they're just going to places to "hang out" with people. Clubs, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, etc.
Oh. My friend owns a basketball hoop and he practices every day, then goes down to the recreation center and plays in a pickup group game for 2 hours. On days he doesn't do that, he drives to the gym and does that instead. I can't do that, but the options are there for him, he is aware of them, and that's why he takes them. How many of you, teens or adults, even know that you can just go to a recreation center and walk onto a court like that?
Kids go up and down streets in their bikes, skateboards and scooters. If you know any kids, you know that they'd prefer a Wii and two friends over for a quick game before a Nerf war over sitting on X-Brick and putting up with trolls on Modern Warfare 3. I've been dragged into 45 minute games of tag when a game console was sitting right there.
Australia has the exact same electronic entertainment as America. Sorry to shatter any delusions, but this is not a third-world country and we don't ride kangaroos to work on the farm (they're too fragile to carry us and our knives). This is one of the best countries on the planet, routinely dominating the "top ten cities" lists in The Economists and other publications and second highest on the international Human Development Index. Video games don't cost twice as much here ($120 AUD = $60USD). We've got EXACTLY what the US has. So why are things so starkly different?
It's not the games, it's the culture. And before Aussieland gets too fucking comfortable: we're just as guilty. Being slightly better in this area doesn't change the fact that our parents need to be firmly re-educated about nonsense like stranger-danger. If nothing else, we need to stop blindly copying America in these very areas before we fall down the same pitfalls.
Sorry, anti-game crusaders. Science and basic rational thought concludes unequivocally that it is nothing to do with video games. It's the culture; nothing happens in a vacuum.
It's the culture, and the people most vulnerable to and harmed by a culture's stupidity is the children. A reform is required, and banning or limiting video games is just a disgusting option. The reason it's so popular is not addictiveness, but because we've methodically stripped youths' avenues of entertainment away from them and made the outside world a scary, bleak place. Taking video games away from them too is just foul.