From Kotaku: Kid Goes Missing, Dad Blames XBox, Call of Duty
15 year-old Brandon Crisp, from Barrie, Canada, ran away from home last Monday, and hasn’t been seen since. Why’d he run away? Brandon’s father, Steve, says “He left because we took his Xbox away”. Seems Brandon was “addicted” to Call of Duty, and the decision to confiscate his “Xbox” sparked the runaway. His father now fears the worst:
My personal feeling is that he’s met someone online through this game. As a parent, you fear the worst when you don’t hear anything for seven days.
Most runaway kids return home within 24 hours; Brandon’s been missing for a week now, and hasn’t been seen or heard from by friends or family.
And when I say “overreaction,” I mean the kid, not the dad.
With the videogame industry eclipsing Hollywood in revenue, Chinese girls dying from playing too much World of Warcraft, and even the old folks becoming addicted to the Nintendo Wii, the video game industry has stepped from its former “nerd-only” status into mainstream entertainment standard.
The problem is that people are TOO addicted to it. Being a lifelong geek, I played games long before they were cool; I even sat at what was termed the “Nintendo Table” at school (and no, it was not where the cool kids ate their lunches). But I never would have run away if my parents had taken my game system away from me as punishment. I would have simply played basketball outside, or read a book, or pulled out the old sketch pad.
I’m not tooting my own horn…I’m tooting my parents’ horn. If I was playing a game for too long, they made me turn it off. The key to this is that they did it before I became so hopelessly addicted that I didn’t have any other interests.
We need balance in our lives; this kid was clearly imbalanced to the point of near insanity. If you’re a parent, encourage some balance in your kid’s life. If you’re a kid, find some other interests (playing a musical instrument would be a good idea).
But if you’re a gamer, just Email me to set up an online Madden 09 match. But be warned: I can only play one 5:00 quarter game; my wife regulates my time and promotes balance in my life.
That wasn’t a joke.