16 thoughts on “CALL OF (Parental) DUTY: Part III This Is Your Brain On Video Games

  1. Jenny Stohl Powell

    I thought I’d add a recent article to your research from the Star Tribune (12/26/12). Apparently young gamers can match (or exceed) the skills of medical residents in robotic surgery. See http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/184842241.html My husband and step-son are avid Xbox gamers and enjoy playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. When my step-son was younger we did limit his video game time and balanced it with writing (we had him keep a journal). I have yet to see any negative consequences of their video gaming. My husband and son are both smart, well-grounded men and haven’t developed any aggressive, violent tendencies. Although I admit that we probably talk more than normal families about the zombie apocalypse! I think that their shared love of gaming (including video, board, and role-playing games) has given them a strong connection. How many teenagers still like to hang out with their parents?


    1. Thanks for your comment, Jenny! Yes, I can see your point. My husband has sometimes played Age of Empires with Sevrin and it was fun for both of them. It’s helpful to hear how other families are handling gaming. Thank you!


    2. Before my comment – I have to write some feedback – I had to sign-up to wordpress before being able to comment on this site! Seems I had to make a site too! Is there another way to contact you? I didn’t see it.
      I didn’t want to sign up to yet another thing (wordpress) and it was only because there was no other way for me to write / contact you that I did that. Bad process (perhaps deliberate by companies?)
      Anyway something simple like a contact form to fill in on a ‘contact page’ would help – easy to do (many wordpress plugin’s that do it even if it needs a bit of trial and error at first).
      Even using the search in top right I couldn’t find your email… so sorry if I’ve missed something obvious. I’m personally not into (and know others) that are not liking the need to be part of some other groups like wordpress or facebook… in order to simply send some text to another person.

      So as a middle ground consider the contact form or email address (in picture to computers making use of it) and thanks for considering that for now…
      I’ll write my actual comment in another comment.
      Overall I really enjoyed reading all parts to this writing and think it would help to contact each other in a less-conditional / existing way or have basic option such as email or typing in message box on the site…


  2. ila anderson

    Jen and Sev, Glad you are having this discussion. It is worth having. Having worked with children all of my adult life, I have seen this issue evolve over the years. I believe it is an issue of violence as entertainment. The type and extent of violence which is considered entertaining has definitely changed in the last 50 years. For me the debate is not how violent entertainment affects any one individual but rather how violent entertainment affects our SOCIETY as a whole. How do I, as an individual, feel about this change and what is my responsible response to it. It is similar to pollution. I know that not throwing my trash on the ground will not really save the planet. However, it is my responsibility to do what I can to improve the situation. My grandchildren will never be allowed to play violent videos or watch overly violent videos at my home, not because I am afraid THEY will become violent but because Barry and I strongly oppose the affect violent entertainment has on our society. We don’t just vote with our ballets. We vote with our dollars!


    1. Thanks for your comment, Ila! Ultimately, this was what it came down to for me and Charles. I’ll write about this in a future post, but in the end we decided that the one thing we can control is how we spend our money and what kind of entertainment we bring into our own home. Thanks again and Happy New Year!


    1. I think the jury is still out on the good v. bad impact. As for our family, in the end we decided that our son could not have the game right now but that we will continue to discuss and reconsider next year (rather than saying absolutely no until you are out of the house). Not a very satisfying answer for him, as you can probably guess. In this series of posts, I’m trying to recap the process that we went through to come to that decision. Stay tuned – more to come!


  3. I think your point about gaming being a real-time, giant experiment is true about many things in our modern world. I think of several health examples like Asparatme, MSG, GMOs, and the myriad of other chemicals in our food and environment. I am also daily living the giant experiment of trying to figure out the best way to treat persistent Lyme disease – it is a very uncomfortable feeling to know that there may be more questions than answers when seeking to heal from serious illness.

    Couple things you and Sev have me wondering about. One is empathy – do people who are reading about violence develop a feeling of empathy for those experiencing it? Do people acting out killing in violent games develop a feeling of empathy for those people killed? Does this matter if the characters are not “real” people? Does violent gaming change attitudes toward real victims of violence?

    The other thing I wonder is since the impacts of gaming are a giant experiment, is there some way to conduct an experiment of your own that would be acceptable to both Mom & Dad and teen son? If Sev were to play games that were more violent, what things would you want him to notice about his internal reactions? What would Sev think is important to notice?


  4. I’ve been following this series on games with real interest. In New Zealand there are very strict gun laws and police are mainly unarmed – but of course we still have horrible incidents involving guns – readily available for shooting game or for sport. Still even without a culture of violence we still see and hear violence in language and actions of the very young and not so very young. We can’t compare small boys making guns out of anything that vaguely looks like a gun (toilet paper rolls!!) with the idealisation of the TV gang cultures of Southland and The Wire and yes the popularity of Call of Duty across generations.

    It’s easy to be dismissive and say it’s nurture over nature or VV – but the reality is that in New Zealand – as elsewhere – so many children live in poverty and struggle to achieve some sense of belonging or place in the world. So many children cannot participate in discussions about whether something is ‘good for them’ or not. We’ve moved from a discourse of children’s rights to children’s interests in less than 5 years. Small potatoes when you compare it with issues of abject poverty in India or Somalia but real enough for the children experiencing exclusion from participation in their own lives.

    It’s great to see that the conversation about this issue will continue in your family.


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is such a complex issue, and I think you raise a good point about children’s ability to participate in discussions about their own lives. Yes, the discussion is continuing in our family and I have several more posts to write. I really appreciate your input!


  5. Pingback: CALL OF (Parental) DUTY: Part IV Gaming for A Good Cause | The Human Rights Warrior

  6. I really love the subject related to children, adults and gaming. Humans are catching up somewhat with technology and its effects, just needs time, awareness, self-reflection, knowledge, patience, and experience (which is what I feel I have to share). All very do-able if the intention is kept towards solving it. And not being ‘too busy’ / making time free helps a lot. Hard to solve things if no time or not in the real of comfort and doing things in our stride.

    My further writings can be found at this link below for fear I’ve written too much already. Linking to my own page means I can also edit it later and automatically lists on my ‘latest’ posts… The subject of games + children + adults is important to me, not to advertise my site but keep this site in mind and link to it there too… I especially like the comment about children writing a journal and start from there:


    I have also linked to your pages on my ‘research highlights’ pages, which is like a ‘best of’ for March 2016.

    Thanks for some great writing. Hope to also receive some comment on what I wrote…


Everyone has the right to an opinion and I'd love to hear yours! While comments are very welcome, they will be moderated. My kids read this blog, too!

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