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© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Just a Game? When Virtual Reality Becomes Our Children's Reality Dr. Charles D. Knutson Brigham Young University
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson 2
"Gaming" We're talking about game playing in all of its forms Not addressing gambling The gambling industry has tried to rebrand itself as "gaming" 3
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Issues and concerns Can be a lot of fun In appropriate doses… Can waste a great deal of time Can lead to compulsive or addictive behaviors Some individuals will never struggle with online gaming addiction But others will struggle significantly Can expose users to morally corrosive material 4
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Voices "No one had ever heard of someone getting addicted to X-Box Live. They all told me it was a phase and that I should try to limit my sons game playing. They didnt understand that I couldnt. He had lost touch with reality. My son lost interest in everything else. He didnt want to eat, sleep, or go to school, the game was the only thing that mattered to him." 5
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Voices "My husband (in his late 30s) seems to be depressed when he is away from his on-line game. I don't know if his situation is severe enough to be called an addiction but he has transformed into a very different person. He doesn't seem comfortable in real life social gathering anymore. If I somehow get him to meet with friends and/or family, he seems out of place. In addition to his social skills slowly deteriorating, his personal appearance is also being neglected. I can hardly get him to shave or get a hair cut. Am I dealing with this alone? If this is an addiction, how do I help him face his problem? Is there help out there?" 6
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Voices "I think I am addicted. I've got to the stage where I feel that without gaming, I have nothing interesting to do. On weekdays, I game for about five to seven hours a day and in the weekends I will spend 15 hours a day gaming online. I once spent 48 hours in one go at a game. It's crazy, I know. I was at university then and full of energy. Sometimes I get no sleep. Ever since I started playing, my physical condition has deteriorated. I get a lot of colds as I don't really exercise. But playing games online means that other people are playing live with you. You work as a team and it gives you a unique sense of responsibility. It's a little society." 7
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Statistics Man dies after marathon online gaming session Beijing pound man from Jinzhou dies after spending almost all of a 7-day holiday playing online games 2.6 million (13%) of China's 20 million Internet users under 18 are classed as addicts by Chinese officials Not sure exactly what that means… 8
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Statistics Man dies, part II Seoul, South Korea - 28 year-old man died after 50 continuous hours online gaming at an Internet Cafe More than 15 million people, or 30% of the population, are registered for online gaming in South Korea 9
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Statistics What percent are addicted? In one detailed survey of 540 gamers, one researcher found that there were only four whose play was considered "excessive" "Excessive" was defined as more than 80 hours a week! So what is playing 40 hours a week? Normal?! 10
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Statistics 2007 Harris poll 8.5% of youth gamers (ages 8 to 18) "can be classified as pathological or clinically 'addicted' to playing video games" Another 23% say they have "felt addicted" to video games 11
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Statistics "In 2001 I conducted a survey of virtual-world players and found that a shocking 20 percent of them indicated that they think of the virtual world as their true home." Edward Castronova, "Exodus to the Virtual World" 12
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Gaming addiction 13
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Computer games Very broad definition Any game involving a computer Standalone vs. online Single player vs. multi-player Real player vs. role-playing 14
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Standalone vs. online Standalone The "old-fashioned" way Buy a game, install on your PC Networked Multiple computers in the same home Online Many computers via the Internet 15
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Console games Hook up to your television set Xbox, Playstation, Wii Generally one station, single or multi- player Can also generally be networked across the Internet Less common except for hard-core fans 16
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Standalone vs. online Greater social danger online Potentially greater addictive danger Interactive experience much more real than standalone game Instead of the computer programming providing competition... The competition is an actual person! The world is still virtual! 17
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Single player vs. multiplayer Single player Can be standalone or online You against the program Multiplayer Online or networked You against and/or with other players in real- time Far more dynamic and interesting! 18
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Real player vs. role playing Real player You represent yourself in competition Online chess, billiards, gambling Role playing You assume a role in a virtual world Interact with others in that context Competitions not based in reality Killing monsters, finding treasure 19
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson MMORPGs Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games Social networking meets virtual fantasy world + adventure quests World of Warcraft 2. Guild Wars 3. Lord of the Rings Online 4. Warhammer Online 5. Everquest 2 6. Lineage 2 7. Runescape 8. Final Fantasy XI 9. Maplestory 10. EvE Online Second Life – Separate category
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Gaming addiction Why is online gaming so addictive? Fills social needs not met in real world Successful characters known and praised in the virtual world Provides unending source of goals and objectives Each goal requires higher levels of commitment to succeed 21
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Gaming addiction Why is online gaming so addictive? Social opportunities are always expanding Goals and quests are never ending You can't actually win the game per se Just be at the top of what is essentially a social network of people 22
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Exodus to the virtual world "Time and attention are migrating from the real world into the virtual world. The exodus will strengthen, I believe. Improvements in technology will make virtual worlds into veritable dreamlands. They will be more fun, for more people. Simple economic theory predicts that in this competition, the real world is going to lose." Edward Castronova, "Exodus to the Virtual World" 23
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Signs of gaming addiction Do you play compulsively? Do you play for long periods of time (often longer than you had planned)? Once online, do you have difficulty stopping? Do you play as often as you can? Do you sneak or violate family rules in order to play, even when facing punishment or loss of privileges for doing so? 24
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Signs of gaming addiction When you are not playing, do you obsess about the game, plotting and planning your next opportunity to play? Do you sacrifice real-world things for your online world? Is your gaming negatively affecting your relationships with family members or other non-gamer friends? If you are a parent, does it cause you to neglect your childrens needs? 25
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Signs of gaming addiction If you are a child, does it cause you to distance yourself from your parents and siblings? Do you consider other online gamers (even those whom youve never met in real life) to be among your best friends? Is your school or work suffering because of the time and energy you spend gaming? 26
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Signs of gaming addiction Are you having a difficult time deciding to serve a mission because of the extended break from the game that will naturally result? Do you neglect personal hygiene? Have your sleep patterns changed since you became involved with online gaming? Do you stay up extremely late or get up in the middle of the night to play? 27
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Moral content Quite a few games with inappropriate content All of the varieties of games we've talked about Online interactive games obviously have the greatest danger of abuse User-uploadable content 28
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Violence in games Manhunt 2 banned in Britain Unrelenting focus on sadism and brutal slaying Players become an insane asylum escapee sneaking up on people and killing them in gruesome ways Carmageddon (same company) Players run down pedestrians 29
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) EARLY CHILDHOOD Content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate. EVERYONE Content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language. 30
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) 31 EVERYONE 10+ Content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes. TEEN Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) 32 MATURE Content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. ADULTS ONLY Content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) 33 RATING PENDING Submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Game ratings Like movie ratings Not absolute standards You'll have to think about it and make decisions Remember that this is what the world thinks... If the world thinks this is "mature"... Is the world more or less sensitive? 34
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson User-created content Some online gaming environments permit user-created content Unreal Tournament III "Game Experience May Change During Online Play" No controls on user generated content Second Life User content may be posted online Private areas with separate ratings 35
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson User-created content Upside: "British police plan to post pictures of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann in virtual world Second Life..." 6/12/2007 Catholic monks beginning a mission to Second Life LDS visitors center! 36
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Elder David A. Bednar Sadly, some young men and women in the Church today ignore "things as they really are" and neglect eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions, and detours that have no lasting value. My heart aches when a young couplesealed together in the house of the Lord for time and for all eternity by the power of the holy priesthoodexperiences marital difficulties because of the addicting effect of excessive video gaming or online socializing. A young man or woman may waste countless hours, postpone or forfeit vocational or academic achievement, and ultimately sacrifice cherished human relationships because of mind- and spirit-numbing video and online games. As the Lord declared, Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment … : Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known (D&C 60:13). 37
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Elder David A. Bednar Today I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes. 38
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Elder David A. Bednar I have raised a voice of warning about only a few of the spiritual hazards in our technologically oriented and rapidly changing world. Let me say again: neither technology nor rapid change in or of itself is good or evil; the real challenge is to understand both within the context of the eternal plan of happiness. 39
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Concluding thoughts Not everyone who tries something becomes addicted But need to understand that there are dangers with gaming When you see addiction beginning to become an issue... You have to pay very close attention! Especially with parenting decisions 40
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Questions? Internet Safety Podcast Internet Safety Wiki wiki.internetsafetypodcast.com Dr. Charles Knutson 41
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