When I was working on my master’s level thesis, it was wildly different from my current doctoral thesis. It was about adult’s perceptions of children and adolescents using medical cannabis for certain diseases (ADHD, autism, seizure disorders, cancer, etc. You can Find it here if you’re interested 🙂 ). In any case, I almost began my doctoral thesis in a similar vein. I noticed that my 11 year old could concentrate better after playing video games. He has ADHD so, as most of you know, he has serious focusing problems. Ultimately, I’ve gone more to the relationship/marriage area of psychology, but something happened recently that really disturbs me.

Has anyone seen the ads for a new movie called Hardcore Henry? It scares the crap out of me. As a psychologist, there is a condition linked to children/young adults not being able to tell the difference between what they can do in real life versus a video game. It’s called Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) and, according to these guys, its totally real. It was introduced into the DSM updated version (what we psychologists use to diagnose mental behavior) in 2013. It’s characterized by these factors: Beliefs about a reward system and tangibility (things that you can see/touch), maladaptive gaming rules (believing things that are not “real” can happen), an over reliance of the video gaming to meet needs for self-esteem, and using game playing as a method of gaining social acceptance (ie. making “friends” online). To be clear, there is nothing wrong with playing video games, but like everything else in the world, it has to be done in moderation. But I digress….

Hardcore Henry is a first person movie, an amazing and novel viewing experience (according to the preview), but I fear this will blur the lines between imaginary and reality even further. Here’s a link to the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. I for one am terrified. To the consternation of all my boys old and young (ages 40, 22, and 11) I already despise video games, mainly because they become an obsession. My 22 year old posted this 

the other day on Facebook and I get his point. He may not think so, but I do. Video games in and of themselves are not the problem. Obsession with them is the problem. I was lucky with him that he wasn’t obsessed with them. My 11 year old is another story. He’s got ADHD and he’s an Aries. Possibly the most obsessive personality there could be and that’s what scares me. I know already and I have known since he was about 4 that obsession and excess were going to be part of his personality his entire life. I love him so very much and when I think of the issues that could come up it scares me. He’s not the only person in the world like this. There’s thousands of others. What if a movie likes this whips just one up? Shouldn’t that scare us all?

Video games are a touchy subject with us older folks. I think most likely because when video games first really came out, many of us were teenagers already. Our interests were set and, let’s face it, new things can be intimidating. Who knows. The fact is I believe we’re running into sketchy territory here. I think that blurring the lines between reality and alternate/non-reality, the dangerous things shall become.


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Anna Levenson-Pintrest