Tots100 have challenged bloggers to write a letter about their greatest internet fear.
Dear Aunt Jane,
Having successfully fought it myself on several occasions over the years, I am worried that my children may become addicted to online gaming. They are both very young, but already spend a lot of time playing apps on their iPod touch. They frequently ignore the time constraints we try to impose and I sometimes find an iPod under a pillow. I have nothing to compare against, as at that age, the TV was the only technology in our house. I worry that they will soon discover that they can play against their friends online. Or even worse, against strangers, who as we sometimes hear may be adults pretending to be children for ulterior motives.
I first became addicted to gaming before the internet even existed. I had left home and was in student accomodation. One of the other students had bought himself an Atari and he let me try out his games. Wow, they loaded quickly compared to the only other games I had previously come across which were for the Spectrum. Those had to find correct place on a tape and 9 times out of 10 seemed to crash on loading. That was enough to prevent addiction setting in but the Atari was different and I quickly became addicted to The Bard’s Tale and Alternate Reality.
I did temporarily succeed in weaning myself off gaming, but a few years later bought my first pc. And of course the first game I purchased was The Bards Tale. Late nights ensued as the addiction took hold again. Plus I had other games too. But again I managed to pull myself away from gaming, by finding other things to use the computer for. I started researching my family tree.
And then of course the internet arrived and I discovered online gaming. Initially I just played solo games online, but then ventured into the multi-player world. Of course addiction took over again. From there I moved onto chatrooms – another addiction. But I did wean myself off both, but not until after chatrooms seriously impacted my real life.
The next addiction to set in was after joining Facebook in 2007. I found some silly time consuming games on Facebook. I succeeded in stopping using them only by not logging into Facebook. Instead I focussed my online time in updating the website for my local branch of the NCT – a much more purposeful use of my time. Eventually I wanted to use Facebook again, but I deleted all the games first. And I can now say that I have avoided game addiction since then for a good few years.
But with my history, I certainly do worry for my children, especially as I start to recognise parts of me in their personalities.
From a worried Mummy blogger.