Video games encourage addiction

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    The World Cup is notoriously known for being Europe’s version of America’s Super Bowl.

    Competitiveness is driven to an all-time high, leading to anger, fights, riots and a fair share of injuries. What an Italian couple didn’t know was that the same angry competitiveness had the potential to be unleashed from the simplicity of a soccer video game.

    Italian couple Fabrizio R. and Monica B., who had good intentions of keeping their son away from violent video games, were shocked when their 16-year-old son Mario stabbed his father over a disagreement concerning the popular FIFA 2009 soccer game.

    After simply making a suggestion to his son about the PlayStation game, Mario took a 15-inch knife and stabbed his father in the throat just days after receiving the game as a birthday present. His mother claims that Mario spends the majority of his time playing the game.

    “Mario is obsessed. He’s forever playing on his PlayStation, and we bought him FIFA 2009 because we didn’t want him playing violent games,” Monica said, according to Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.

    Kudos to the parents and their effort of keeping bloodsucking, zombie-killing, brain-shattering video games to a minimum, but their reasoning is less than impressive.

    Their son is nevertheless interacting more with video games than actual people.

    Il Corriere della Sera also claimed Monica did not even realize what had happened despite Mario walking past her in the kitchen and washing the blood off the knife right in front of her. It was not until Fabrizio came in clutching his punctured throat and dripping blood that a reaction even registered.

    Perhaps it’s simply not enough to nix only violent video games. Perhaps the time spent engulfed in their brainless ambiance needs to be reduced. According to SafeYouth.org, a recent study of 1,178 children in the U.S. showed that almost 9 percent of child gamers are pathologically or clinically addicted to playing video games.

    Monica: admitting your son’s obsession about PlayStation may be the first step in realizing the cultivation of an addiction and a behavioral problem.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I have had my fair share of Mario Kart and Sonic the Hedgehog, but now more than ever it seems like it is in families’ best interest to notice the games’ cutthroat (no pun intended) behavioral effects before they have to ground their teenage son for using 15-inch knives for stabbing instead of cooking.

    Because of the lack of violence within the actual FIFA game, it is possible that plain exposure to the World Cup and its effects of violence and aggression in the media may have provoked Mario to use sharp kitchen utensils rather than words. The new sophistication of video games and their lively animation most likely influenced Mario to apply the competitiveness and aggression from the video game to real-life situations. Unfortunately, Fabrizio had to suffer the effects in his own living room.

    Kerri Feczko is a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major from Flower Mound.