It is true that video games demand
memory, anticipation, and precision and can thus be a form
of play that contributes to children's psychomotor development.
But in North America, children who own a video game box play
with it an average of an hour and a half per day. Some children,
however, devote several hours per day to video gaming, during
which they are isolated in a bubble. They do not play outside
with their friends, they do not play any sports, they do
not do any reading, and they do not even talk.
With video games, the gratification is immediate; children
experience their actions as having an impact, which feels very
rewarding. But when children spend this much time seeking gratification
from a video game, it is often because they are not getting
enough feedback, affection, or recognition in their family
Indeed, video game dependency often develops in children whose
parents are stressed and exhausted by their work. Such parents
are less available to play with their children and are even
happy when the kids play quietly with their video games. Instead,
responsible parents should limit the time that their children
spend playing video games and try to get them interested in
There has never been such a thing as a drug-free
society. The consumption of substances that create dependencies
is universal and has been common to all cultures since human history
In Asia, the leaves of the cannabis plant
have been used for therapeutic purposes for millennia. Alcohol has
been consumed since ancient times. In ancient Greece, physicians
used opium as
a medicine, but warned of its dangers even then. In the 16th and
17th centuries, tobacco was
used to heal wounds, and in the 19th century, surgeons used cocaine as
Drugs have been used not only in the treatment
of injuries and illnesses, but also in highly ritualized religious
ceremonies and celebrations, for the purpose of altering consciousness
and strengthening ties among the participants.
chewing coca leaves in the town of Apolobamba, in the Bolivian
In our modern societies, we too often consume
substances that are produced in industrial volumes, with excessive
concentrations of psychotropic ingredients, and sold in mixtures
where they are "cut" with other substances that are often toxic.
The use of these drugs is detached from any ceremonial or ritual
purpose, and most often serves to soothe spiritual, emotional,
or economic misery. In addition, modern society now provides access
to other activities that can cause dependencies (see sidebars).
Many drugs that are legal in our societies, such as alcohol, tobacco,
can create strong dependencies that can become very harmful in
the long run. To understand why some
drugs are legal and others are not, we must consider religious,
economic, and political factors.
The facts speak for themselves: a typical middle-class family
owns three television sets; three out of four people cannot
get through a week without watching television; children spend
more time in front of the television every day than they do
on all their other activities, except sleeping. People who
abuse television go out less often, get less exercise, and
weaken their imaginations (since everything is there right
in front of them). They also become desensitized to violence,
do less reading and writing, and so on.
Though TV can provide a window on the world, enrich your vocabulary,
and teach you about experiences of all kinds in heavy doses,
it can also be just as stupefying as any hard drug!