Saturday, December 9, 2006

Video games do not help obsesity problem, report shows

The National Institute on Media and the Family released its 11th Video Game Report Card in late November, warning parents that certain games are making their children fat, stupid, and lazy yet aggressive. One claim in the report states that half of all obese gamers are aged six through 17, while "the amount of time kids spend playing video games is correlated with poorer grades in school and attention problems." There was also something...that...uh...oh yeah, the Institute also insinuates that "research shows that violent video game play increases aggression in young players in the short term," which may stay with the child as they grow older.

"It's really time to focus on the parents and urge parents to pay attention," said Senator Joseph Lieberman (D I D, Conn), who actually made a little sense as he joined the Institute during their news conference. Douglas "I Goenstein" Lowenstein, president of Entertainment Software Association, shot back, but then agreed anyway, arguing, "Finger-pointing and demonizing a form of entertainment that is embraced by the millennial generation is fruitless. Partnering with parents to help them help their kids pays off." Sadly, neither side discussed sterilizing parents.

The Institute recommended parents stick to these guidelines:

1. Follow the ratings.
2. Use Parental Controls.
3. Put your kids on a media diet.
4. Set limits and be willing to say "no."
5. Watch what your kids watch, play what your kids play.
6. Don't pee on your kids.

The last one wasn't on the list, but should have been. The Institute also released a list of bad games and good games. Nintendo wasn't cool enough to make the naughty list, but there were a few titles on the angelic list, including "Mario Hoops 3 on 3," "Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz," "Brain Age" and "Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: The Secret of the Ooze The March of the Minis."

The full report, which is only mildly inaccurate and misleading and does contain some useful information, can be read in its entirety here.

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