Supervise Gaming Now that gaming consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii can be connected to the Internet, kids are spending increasingly more time in front of TV screens competing with friends online—and often with people they’ve never met.
Of greatest concern is parents allowing their young school-age kids to play violent games designed for young adults ages 17 and older. “Violence is the biggest issue with gaming,” says Hughes. “So many kids and adults are playing hours and hours and hours of video games, and it’s a highly addictive thing. You’ve got all of these kids that are just so desensitized and blowing people up, and shooting everybody, and cutting people’s heads off.” It is exactly this type of violence that Lt Col. Dave Grossman finds most disturbing. Before retiring from the military, Grossman spent 24 years as an Army infantry officer and a West Point psychology professor training recruits how to kill on the battlefield. He says the first-person shooter video games use the same basic technology that the military uses to train and desensitize soldiers to shoot and kill. “Parents need to be informed and they need to stand up to an industry that’s selling death and horror and destruction to children as entertainment,” says Grossman, who has testified before U.S. Senate and Congressional committees and is one of the world’s leading experts on causes of violent crime. The dangers of media violence are compounded by the sheer number of hours kids spend in front of screens. “The average kid gets more one-on-one communication from the TV than from all parents and teachers combined,” Grossman says.