According to a UK-based psychotherapist, playing video games for two hours is like doing a line of cocaine. No, really, that’s just what he said. As in lowering your nose to a mirror lined with white powdery coca bits and inhaling.
“Spending two hours on a game station is equivalent to taking a line of cocaine in the high it produces in the brain,” Lancashire-based therapist Steve Pope told BBC Radio 5 Live during an interview last night, adding “It’s the silent killer of our generation.”
The “silent killer of our generation”? Really? The number of video game-induced fatalities per year is roughly “none” (we’ve seen a handful of video game-related deaths over the past decade, but none “directly caused by”). And last I checked, cocaine can mess up your heartbeat, trigger heart attacks, send you into respiratory failure, or lead to strokes and seizures. It tops a list of illicit substances associated with drug abuse fatalities worldwide, and causes three times as many deaths annually as any other illicit drug.
Oh, and there’s that little part about it being illegal.
I suppose that’s Pope’s point, that games aren’t. But comparing it to snorting coke’s just an indefensible bomb-throwing analogy, especially given what the science says about video games today.
Like a Texas A&M study that suggests games actually alleviate stress and mitigate depression. Or a University of Rochester study that determined playing action video games improves vision. Or the recent Brigham Young University study that found girls who played games with parents were less aggressive, anxious, and depressed, as well as more socially inclined within the family.
Don’t tell that to Pope, who alleges “computer game addiction can also spiral into violence,” believes gamers may “turn their fantasy games into reality,” and encourages parents to “go upstairs to [their] kids’ bedroom and try and take the game station controller out of their hands.”
Maybe it’s time to take the microphone out of Pope’s.
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