Tooned Out

Suburban mommy talks about kicking her online gaming habit.

Location: Redmond, Washington, United States

Just another face in line at the grocery store...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Playing Games with Kids Lives

I found a gut wrenching article yesteday about a couple in Scotland who were jailed recently for child neglect. The degree of neglect in this case was extreme, and disgusting. It sounds as if it rivalled the neglect that meth addicts' children are often subjected to. The online game these 'parents' were playing instead of caring for their children was not mentioned in the article.

I can't help but wonder how many of the millions of households now playing online games resemble this Scottish hellhole of a home, at least to some degree. When I played my online game, I knew many families where both parents played. I know of one family in my neighborhood where the single father plays a popular MMORPG for hours on end when he's not at work. His children do most, if not all, of the cooking and cleaning in the house. They are basically raising themselves.

Even in my own case, I was not the mother I could have been to my kids. I didn't play games while they were at home, but I wasn't all there for them either. I was either thinking about my game, or rushing through my chores so I could get back to the game the minute they went to bed. Mine was a very mild case, compared to many of the stories I've read over the past few months, but it's left it's mark on my family.

Of course, one could argue that people get obsessed with all kinds of things: work, school, church, PTA, sports, etc. That's true, they do, but I would argue that any obsession that keeps you from being the best parent you can be is a bad thing. Period. It's all about balance, isn't it? You only get one shot at parenting; you have to make it count.