SPECIAL REPORT: How one local family says they’re combating video game addiction
SPOKANE, Wash. — Every family tries to find that perfect balance between school, chores, and fun for their kids.
Add video games into that mix and sometimes it gets complicated.
Video games are becoming more addictive by the day, so how much is too much?
Pew research tells us 91 percent of kids play some sort of video game.
It could be on a phone, tablet, console, or computer.
Tyler Kurwicki enjoys games on all platforms.
He’s just 13 years old, and like many kids around the world, Tyler loves playing video games.
But, thanks to his mom, video games are just a hobby not an addiction.
“I usually top him out at an hour a day, but I don’t let him play video games every day,” Tyler’s mom, Tiffany Kurwicki said.
Tiffany said her son has some development disabilities.
He’s still high functioning, but that’s what led her down this path of restricting his game time.
But, even without his disability, Tiffany believes some video games are detrimental to a child’s development.
“I think his counselor said that it was like cocaine for the brain, so the brain supposedly acts the same way as if you were using illegal drugs,” Tiffany said.
How could someone compare video games to cocaine?
Well, that’s where Tiffany’s career as a social worker comes into play.
“I heard it for the first time and did’t believe it, but it came up later in my training and again in my master’s program,” Tiffany said. “I thought okay, I’m going to have to start looking into this.”
Tyler isn’t allowed to play any kind of violent video games.
No fortnite or call of duty.
His mom allows him to play educational games or ones that force him to use his brain for creating and building things.
Using his brain is the key.
He can’t play those violent shooting games, because Tiffany wants her son to reach his full potential.
“If you don’t use your muscles, your biceps for instance, it’s not going to develop to its full potential to help the body in the best way it can,” Tiffany said. “So, if you don’t use the brain in the best way you can, it doesn’t develop right.”
Tiffany said some of her research has shown that video game users can have underdeveloped brains.
A study done by Science Daily backs that up, but it depends on the type of games played.
In that article, Dr. Greg West said a certain amount of screen time with first-person shooter games can waste away the hippocampus–the center of your nervous system.
“I understand what my mom says about the certain time limit,” Tyler said.
It’s all about balance for this family.
Tiffany wants her son to have fun as long as other priorities are handled.
“He’s a kid I want him to have those moments, but I want to make sure he’s also outside getting his hands dirty learning real life skills as opposed to pressing buttons on a controller,” Tiffany said.
That’s the reality many families face across the country.
In fact, 72 percent of american households play video games.
But, this is one example where that healthy balance comes to fruition.
Now, you may think Tiffany’s approach is too much.
You may think there’s no way I could take these games away from kids.
But, in the end, this approach has given Tyler a different prespective.
“At my school, some kids think that video games are easier than actually making friends, and I just very much disagree with that,” Tyler said.
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