From the ed­i­tor

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - SARAH DANIELL sarah. daniell@ nzher­ald. co. nz

When­ever hys­te­ria mounts over the lat­est on­line game, I imag­ine a retro pop car­toon, par­ents with mouths like gap­ing holes and fur­rowed brows and a speech bub­ble say­ing, “Honey, I’ve zom­bied the kids!” I know many peo­ple who have been en­thu­si­as­tic gamers who turned out just fine. Ex­ces­sive gam­ing is like ex­ces­sive any­thing. I would no more al­low my kids to sit in their bed­rooms, gam­ing hard for hours, than I would let them eat choco­late for 18 hours or play foot­ball from 4am to mid­night. Then I think about Steve Adams — ar­guably the coolest am­bas­sador there is, plead­ing gen­tly to par­ents in his book, My Fight, My Life: get your kids into a team sport — be­cause it en­cour­ages em­pa­thy. He ad­mits he might still be on the couch play­ing Xbox were it not for bas­ket­ball — and his fam­ily’s en­cour­age­ment, of course. I also re­cently heard po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist Ni­cholas Tam­pio in a ra­dio in­ter­view talk about how we’ve lost our bear­ings and that Fort­nite is a vi­o­lent on­line game that teaches ter­ri­ble lessons. Screen time does not repli­cate vi­tal life lessons. It doesn’t en­cour­age em­pa­thy, he says. This week we talk to par­ents who are re­ally strug­gling with the in­flu­ence of games like Fort­nite and we talk with the kids, who are on vary­ing points of the ob­ses­sion spec­trum.

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