Videogame effects on kids and parents

By Brandon Nichols | gargoyle@flagler.eduBy

Rob Duarte, assistant manager of Gamestop in St. Augustine, said it is up to the parents to make the rules for their kids playing video games. He thinks they affect kids in different ways depending on what type of game.

“A lot of them teach kids how to learn, [and] how to read,” Duarte said. “There’s also games where they are not appropriate for kids of certain ages.”

He said shooting games are the hottest sellers at Gamestop with buyers ranging from seven to 50 years old.

Victoria Johnson, mother of an 8-year-old gamer, Tommy, plays videogames every day but she has to cut him off at homework time.

“Sometimes I have a time limit,” Victoria’s son, Tommy, said.

Although they keep him entertained, Johnson said her son does not listen as well when he is playing his games. She has to repeatedly ask him questions again and again for him to respond.

“I would say it’s more detrimental than helpful,” she said.

Without the limits she sets, Johnson said Tommy would not do his homework, eat dinner, shower or even go to sleep.

Johnson said she is grateful because her son has not expressed interest in violent games. Tommy said his favorite game is Mario Kart, which is rated E for everyone.

“Fortunately he has not expressed interest in those [shooting games],” Johnson said.

Duarte thinks the parents should watch over their kids and make sure they are playing appropriate games for their ages.

“I see people coming here buying rated M games for 7-year-olds,” Duarte said.

He thinks there should be limits on the time kids spend gaming every day and school should always come first.

In 2010, the Flagler College Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) chapter launched Mission: Media, a program that lets St. Augustine’s Boys and Girls Club children control the news for a day. In Mission: Media, the children generate and develop story ideas in a “news budget” meeting that SPJ members lead before heading out into the field. Each SPJ member guides a few children through the city and helps them find and interview sources. After the children finish reporting, they return to the Flagler College Gargoyle office to write and publish their work here.

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