It’s early Saturday morning in the back room of a community center. Clusters of sleepy-eyed children sip chocolate milk from cheap paper coffee cups before taking their seats. The meeting begins. A 1st grader with bed head shuffles to the podium and clears his throat.
“Hi, I’m Nathan,” he says, “and I’m an addict.”
“Hi, Nathan,” the group shouts back.
“It’s been 30 days since I played Sonic the Hedgehog.”
This is the scenario I imagine every time I hear my son grunting and growling from the family room, where he’s playing Wii. See, the kid is strung out on video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s plotting to play them. When he is playing them, he’s praying to keep playing them. The particular monkeys on his back are Lego Star Wars, Death Star, and something called Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz. Don’t be fooled by the whimsical name; this thing’ll eat your kid’s brain.
My boy is in kindergarten (don’t judge me; you’re judging me), and he needs his gaming fix like Charlie Sheen needs … attention. He doesn’t crave video games the way children plead for a cookie, or a trip to Disneyland, or the rare opportunity to stay up late. It’s not harmless treat-seeking. “I’m addicted,” he tells me. And he’s right.