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Opinions of Sunday, 9 March 2014

Columnist: Frimpong, Yaw

The game that kills

At the heart of human survival and existence is entertainment. What I have come to learn as a human being is that we (humans) will kill, will destroy the environment, we will do all sort of things in the name of entertainment. But then do we think about the consequences of these actions?

I grew up in a generation where most of my friends were game addicts. I have come face to face with people who have destroyed their lives because of "family games". When I was young, I remember that there was this game center where children frequented to play games. I was very naive when I was child, I thought the children went to play it for free. As a child, I was a little bit of an introvert( and still I am) so I never frequented such areas. Secondly, I had a lot of game cartridges in the house so I didn't find any motivation of going there. One day, a friend, Bright Tieku and I decided to visit those places in order to get acquainted with those children and also find out whey these children always spent most of their time in these gaming centers. So one day after school (we used to close at 5PM everyday, so we didn't have much time to play as a kid, it was always learning and learning) we decided to pass through one of these gaming centers before going home. What I saw really disgusted me; the children in there were dirty, they were gambling and they were a bit abusive. We had to give all the money we had on us and run back home. This was I think happened in 2000. I remember the year very well because it was that year that they were too much of the Y2K madness.

As we were leaving, I was still thinking about these children. I was wondering how their future would be like. What was in this game that was motivated violence. These kids were destroying their lives in the name of entertainment. These kids were destroying their soul and everything that their ancestors had worked hard for. Indeed, this is/was a game that kills. Lately, I have met some of these kids (obviously they had grown up) and their lives are so messed up and one of the attributing factors is "Family Game".


The family of these family gamers are children of their own kind. They have a very similar attitude and mannerism. They are very rude and often skip school for "entertainment". Once you go into this family, it will be difficult for you to come out. Most of these children in this family had marks on their skin and I often heard it was the beatings that they suffered from their parents as a result of their going into these gaming centers and yet the pains were not enough to prevent them from going them. Some parents actually starved their children just to make them stay at home yet these children would not badge. This happened not to one or two but statistically speaking about 95% of the people who were found in this family. The operators of these "family game" joint got so much money (for their age) that they began to date women which I can personally think of dating when am forty. Yet "family heads" were none the wiser, they also spent their educational lives watching and grooming people to play games and how they could cheat to score a ball or win a race. At the end of the day, they were also doomed.


Have you often not wondered why children who engaged in this act often turned out to be thieves? These children will go through hell to finance their gaming expenditure. Sometimes, I wonder why they didn't save to buy themselves a console. At least, their parents could have bought their children one of these consoles. Well, when a good girl goes bad, she gone forever (in Rihanna's voice). These children steal from their parents just go to these gaming centers to pay games. These habits degenerated into something worse: the kleptomaniac. It got to a time that these children stopped stealing from their parents (because there was nothing to steal) to stealing from their neigbours and in no time they were on the streets stealing from anyone they could lay their names on. Because of family game, these innocent children are now professional armed robbers. From entertainment to profession! The power of entertainment.


Don't get it wrong, it's not everyone who went to gaming centers to play video games. Some children owned video games in the comfort of their homes and they were called "the lucky ones". Children used to troop to their homes in numbers to entertain themselves. Their parents often got angry at their children and devised all sort of tactics to "eject" these children from their homes. They sometimes called their children in privy and tell them "Tell the children that you are about to do your homework". These children too will sheepishly tell them what their parents told them. As the children would be leaving, they would be cursing them under their breath. On the morrow, all the children would shun their company because they didn't allow them to play. These children often lost their friends and some become introvert as a result. It also affected their studies! They spent so much time playing video games that they forgot to do their homework and before long, some were trailing at the button of the class.


The joy that these children exhibit when they hold the game pad is overwhelming! When they hold these game pads they forget all the worries in the world. Its like they are in a different world and they are Kings. They can hold these consoles for about 5 hours or more without feeling hungry. They can hold these consoles without feeling the need to go to school. They will do everything just to hold this device and feel alive again. According to social learning theorist, Albert Bandura, when children hold the game pad, it teaches them nothing apart from violence. Due to these violence, they suffer from one or more of these effects:

•Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
•Children may be more fearful of the world around them.
•Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

Also research by psychologists L. Rowell Huesmann, Leonard Eron and others starting in the 1980s found that children who watched many hours of violence on television when they were in elementary school tended to show higher levels of aggressive behavior when they became teenagers. By observing these participants into adulthood, Huesmann and Eron found that the ones who'd watched a lot of TV violence when they were 8 years old were more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults.

So when children hold these game console, all what they learn is nothing but violence.


I am positing that all children who play games become bad adult in the future. There are some who are able to escape these negative effects. They grow up to become good citizens in the future. I am one of the people. I stopped playing video games when I was 14! I don't know, I just lost the interest in them. The only game, I play right now is Zuma and I can only play it for thirty minutes (one hour tops). There are also children who play these games for the mere entertainment value of it. My concern is on those who have been negatively affected by these "family games"