I have a confession to make: my son is a video game addict. Some may say, ‘Big deal?’ But actually, video games addiction is as unhealthy as any vice when done in excess. In my son Jessie’s case, he has a poor diet, gets no vitamin D and has no social life. Not only am I concerned about him, I feel ashamed to have raised a maladjusted individual. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t stigmatise gamers, but there comes a point where it gets too much. I also think that there are brilliant opportunities for people with an interest in studying IT. I suspected Jessie would go on to study game design in Melbourne or something like that, I just prayed that his poor teenage lifestyle wouldn’t stop him from getting there.
He was just fourteen when the strange behaviour started. He’d stay up late and get cranky when I told him to go to bed. Eventually I stopped trying to control his behaviour and I kind of hoped he’d realise for himself how video games were negatively impacting his life. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of him shouting at the computer game, and there were even times when I saw him get aggressive after failing at a game. As you can imagine, these habits are disturbing for a mother to witness, and a future as an video game developer was far behind.
It wasn’t long before Jessie reached VCE and had to select courses for uni. Like many students, he was chasing the dream of moving to the big smoke and studying in Melbourne. App development courses were on offer at a number of great institutions and he made his preferences in gaming, web design and related fields. One can only hope that his lifestyle changes when he starts his degree, because even a subject as cool as gaming requires discipline, hard work and a clear mind. Good luck, Jessie, make me proud, son.