video game addiction?

My little brother, age 9, is fascinated by video games. Up until this past Christmas, all he had were a few PC games and the original NES. He is particularly obsessed with Metroid, and finally got a Gamecube this year. He talks about nothing other than how he wants to write his own video games. He spends hours drawing characters and thinking of ideas for different levels, etc. He is a very talented artist–he actually made a poster-sized drawing of Samus from the Metroid game that just blew my whole family away.

My parents have restricted the amount of time he can spend playing games to less than half an hour per day, but this doesn’t prevent him from thinking about them for the rest of the day. He’s a pretty smart kid, interested in astronomy and stuff, but I’m worried about his obsession—is it just a phase that he’ll outgrow? Or is it a passionate hobby that should be encouraged? I don’t know how many more conversations I can listen to about his latest video-game exploits.

I too, was enamored by Video Games as a child (still am, but I’m no addict), I dressed up as Mario on several occasion, created my own props from various video games and even wrote stories in regards to them. I don’t find anything to be wrong with your “little brother”. Hell, it seems Video Games are actually serving his creativity, promoting artistic endeavors.

I would only consider your brother an addict if Video Games began to interfere with his health, and/or social relations (akin to some recent deaths in Korea related to online gaming addicts, though this is very rare).

Sometimes these passions do grow into something. Being that he’s only 9, of course he could outgrow it but you never know.

Bit of a tangent, but related: Your brother sounds like my older son. He’s fifteen now and of course, still loves videogames (so do I, just not the really gross ones). He’s also a talented artist and has started considering whether he could have a future in game design/art himself.

I think it’s great that your brother’s a talented artist. That probably should be encouraged IMO. Again IMO, your parents are doing the right thing (not that they need my approval) in restricting his gaming time. In my son’s case, no doubt he’d have neglected everything else and we really wanted him to try expressing his creativity in other directions, too. Now that he’s older and has pretty much proved that he can take care of everything else he needs to do, we let him use his free time for whatever he wants. I’d say he spends less than half his free time on games. He likes getting outside and spending time with his buddies too. And then there are, of course, girls.

laughs I don’t know what you can do about listening to your brother’s video game exploits, though. Maybe learn to half-tune out and say “mm hmm” in the pauses?

Good luck :slight_smile:

A childhood friend of mine was much as you describe. In fact, when we were kids, he won an Atari 2600 in a Rice Krispies art contest. Video games and art were his passions.

Today, he’s an accountant, and still an excellent artist, though he’s had to relegate that to hobby status. Anyway, there’s certainly nothing wrong with creative outlets; sounds like the time he spends on the game-box isn’t excessive (even pretty limited, I’d have to say), and it fires his imagination. Let it grow!

I would say that as long as he’s fulfilling his other obligations (Keeping his grades up, spending enough time with the family, getting the appropriate amount of exercise) that it’s probably not a problem. Now, if the game playing gets in the way of that, then the case could be made for trying to ween him off it or using it to punish him (Grades slip, no more video games until they come back up).

As for his conversations about his game exploits, you can either change the subject, or just tell him that you don’t find it interesting. Or try to fake interest for his sake. (I’m pretty sure I go on and on about things that few other people care about at times).

I’m trying to be as general as I can, because I don’t know how your family life works.

He’s an artist? Of course he should not only be allowed but ENCOURAGED to get involved in video games. There’s good money to be made there. You might even go so far as to find a PC game for him that he can begin to modify on his own… And the proper tools to do it.

For example, look at Counterstrike for HL. Of course he’s not going to get to that level right away, but IMHO age 9 is a very good place to start. If he gets involved now in skinning, modelling, and re-texturing stuff for games imagine where he could be by the time he’s 18. All of the info he needs to get involved in this is free on the net. The software isn’t cheap tho but it’s well worth it. He could spend the rest of his life doing things he loves and is actually good at.

I would just say to continue to limit how long he is allowed to play and what he’s allowed to play, and make sure he keeps up with his other obligations such as schoolwork keeping fit (going outside for a while won’t kill you either).

I would just like to note that I would hope the parents would not limit this activity more than any other (such as Magic the Gathering, movie watching, sports, etc). A hobby is a hobby.

MaceMan, if you want to be the best biggest brother of all time, I’d sudgest you buy your brother this game.

I have it myself and suffice to say it is simply amazing if you are a video game junkie. I’m not sure if your brother is much of an RPG fan…if he isnt, this might not be right up his alley, but it is still amazing what you can do with it. You create your own characters, items, magic, NPC’s, weapons, armor, bosses, monsters, landscape, and storyline. If you can dream it, you can do it.

I’ve been a huge video game fan ever since I was wee little back in the NES days. I’m 18 now and have a GameBoy Advance, PS2, and a GameCube and play them on a daily basis. I have drawings of Link that date back to when I was 7 or 8.

Today, I am in my schools highest art class offered and my teacher wants to submit 4 of my artworks to a statewide contest. You do the math. I honestly believe that my love for video games got me interested in doing my art, and look where I am today.

My parents never put a limit on my video game playing, but my dad is also one of those people that you can just tell what he is thinking though, and thats what made me know my limits. i.e. he is up and moving around working hard and I am sitting around playing games. He needs help, but wont say anything. Thats my cue to stop playing for awhile. It got to the point where I just could only play for a little bit without getting antsy, and thats how I am today. Most people arent like me, so I agree with what your parents are doing with your bro…maybe a little more time would be fine though.

I say just let things go as they are. Who knows, maybe he’ll be the next Miyamoto

I’ve played video games most of my life, and honestly think I’m far better off because of them than if I’d just spent the time watching TV like other kids my age. Games are far more interactive and imaginative than TV – I’d much rather a kid played games all day than stared at sitcoms all day. It’s important to do other things, of course, so having some sort of time limit is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. 30 minutes a day is way too restrictive, in my opinion.

I should also mention that it was computer games that got me familiar with using a PC, and comfortable with computers in general. These computer skills were very useful in college, both with school work and at various jobs. Right now, I’m a theoretical physicist, and use a computer all day, every day. Games didn’t get me here, but I would say they made it easier. People often assume that if a kid plays a lot of video games, he’s going to end up pumping gas.

I got to babysit a boy from three to twelve years of age. My method was to stick him in front of the video game machine of the time & let him play, with approval of his folks of course. He took a fancy to some of those violent games (Ninja Turtles? His teacher called us & said he was acting them out at school with play swords). Odd thing was, he actually became more violent the older he got. There were times I had to restrain him physically from hitting people.

If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have let him play the violent games.

he’ll be ok…i’ve played video games since i was around 5 or 6, i’m 27 now…i still play and i’m just fine…i have two kids, my daughter isnt even interested in games on ps2, but loves them on the pc…its ok, one can make lots of money prgramming games…