*** DEBUG END ***

What are video games doing to our children?

11 December 2015


From Wendy Boulton

Sir, — I have been watching my grandson, aged just five, playing a video game on his family tablet. It was a child’s game, but violent, none the less. He played with great speed and intense concentration, and I watched him with growing concern.

Complex young minds need gentle stimulation to develop naturally. This frenetic hyper-activity in early childhood is unnatural, and in most cases now sustained into early teens and beyond, using digital devices. Could this be causing a change or distortion in the brain during its formative years, reaching a critical point at puberty — particularly in teenage young men, who are also reacting then to rising testosterone levels?

Tablets such as iPads are increasingly used by parents as a pacifier for their young children, both at home and in social situations such as meals out, just when the children should be learning interactive social skills by participation. Should parents be made aware that this could be damaging their child’s social development?

I would like to suggest that an explosive critical point reached in teenage years, combined with an inability to interact socially, could underlie our increasingly dark and violent global society. I have read that one in 100 people has a mildly schizoid tendency — shyness, withdrawal, insecurity, or paranoia — but that schizophrenia is relatively rare. Have the figures changed since 1989, when that book appeared?

We need to establish as a matter of urgency whether there is a link between sustained video-game use and the rise in violent behaviour worldwide; for identifying the cause in order to take remedial action should surely be one of society’s most pressing priorities.

(Bishop of Chelmsford’s Adviser on Environmental Issues, 2000-08)
Hillside Cottage, Beggar Hill
Ingatestone, Essex CM4 0PH

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

4-8 July 2022
HeartEdge Mission Summer School
From HeartEdge and St Augustine’s College of Theology.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)