NPR on “Fortnite” Video Game Addiction in Kids and Adults: Same Heartbreaking Stories – Different Day.

By B.N. Frank

Yesterday NPR’s “On Point” featured an interview with four experts about a popular video game: “‘Fortnite’ Reaches New Level Of Video Game Popularity — And Addiction.”

It’s worth noting that Silicon Valley parents already seem to be aware of the consequences of kids playing video games.  Activist Post and other media outlets have recently reported AGAIN about their extreme measures to prevent their own kids from being exposed to screens AT ALL.

Even though video game addiction isn’t new and neither is any form of screen addiction,  it’s particularly heartbreaking when children become addicted.  Activist Post has also reported about this before:  “9 Year Old Sent to Rehab After Wetting Herself While Refusing to Quit Playing ‘Fortnite’ — Research Says Video Games and WiFi Exposure Affects Kids’ Brains Same Way as Drugs and Alcohol.”

According to the NPR segment, Sarah Domoff (clinical child psychologist and psychology professor at Central Michigan University), believes adults simply need to better manage kids’ use of screens.  

“What I try to do at my clinic and in my research is try to help prevent children engaging in different video game play or other types of screen media use, prevent later problems related to such use and creating a balance,” Sarah Domoff says. “For a lot of these different mediums, we cannot completely avoid them. What’s really imperative is to set limits early on, help children learn how to regulate their use, but then really be involved, set guidelines around use. If problems appear to arise, prevent future issues by checking to see, is my child only playing video games to the exclusion of other activities?”

Does this mean Sarah is still encouraging and enabling kids to use screens when Silicon Valley parents are banning their nannies from using them in front of their kids and other psychologists, former tech designers, and even Bill Maher are calling out tech designers for using “persuasive design” to hook kids (and everyone else) on them?

Research has already proven that exposure to blue light from screens can cause macular degeneration and blindness.  It has also proven that wireless radiation exposure can cause cancer and other health issues.  It has even been proven that children are not benefiting from “high tech” educations where screens are introduced as early as kindergarten.

One caller – who ISN’T a clinical child psychologist and psychology professor (like Sarah) seemed to hit the nail on the head:

“I’m actually ranked in the top 100 for North American players for a competitor of ‘Fortnite,’ so I play a lot of these games, but I’m an older male — I’m in my 30s,” Ryan, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says. “A lot these games — I mean, my worry is they get kids addicted through chemical reactions. If you go through a 40-minute game with 100 people, and you’re one of the last five people, your heart is beating so fast, when you actually win, they crave that rush. And that’s what they’re going back for.”

Ryan is referring to an adrenal rush.  Some say adrenaline is as powerful – if not more powerful – than any drug.  In fact, there’s even a rather unflattering term for people who get hooked on adrenaline rushes:  “Adrenaline Junkies.”

While we’re on the topic of addiction, not everyone who takes prescription opioids gets addicted to them either.  But enough Americans now have become addicted to them that this has been recognized by many experts as a national crisis.  Even President Trump wants to “spend a lot of money on “great commercials showing how bad (drug use) is.” 

So wouldn’t it be great if some money was also spent on ads about screen addiction, blue light dangers, wireless radiation exposure harm, and “high tech” educations?”  These are all causing problems for Americans too – particularly children.

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