A new study by the Institute of Childhood Psychology has determined that Irish children would rather play Xbox or other computer games than play with friends outside.
The study was commissioned by The Parents of Irish Children and Teens Association (PICTA.) PICTA’s chairperson Mrs Bridgit Gilholey launched the report at a press conference held in Bewley’s Hotel, Dublin, yesterday.
Just Like Drug Dealers
Mrs Gilholey was scatting in her remarks about the marketing tactics of game manufacturers as she addressed the assembled press corps.
“They are just like drug pushers,” she said. “They draw the kids in with free games and then when they get them hooked — that’s it, all their pocket money goes on buying new games.
“I’ve even heard of some six-year-olds robbing their piggy-banks to buy the latest version of Grand Theft Auto,” Gilholey continued, her anger growing.
The story of the fifteen-year-old boy
Mrs Gilholey went on to tell of one fifteen-year-old boy who, apart from being forced to attend school, hadn’t been outside in three years.
“We had to intervene on this one and took him to a child psychologist,” Mrs Gilholey revealed to Meanwhile in Ireland. “The child told us he did not need to go outside as he had all the friends he needed on the Minecraft 1.7 chatroom.”
“He simply didn’t see the need to go outside to play,” she relayed. “The child believed that all the ‘outside’, as he called it, was just filthy muddy fields, abandoned council play areas littered with used syringes and streets.
“He said you would be pestered by dirty old men offering sweets and lifts in their cars. I suppose in a way you can see his point,” she concluded somewhat begrudgingly.
Opposition to the study
However, not everyone is in favour of the findings of the report. Mr Donal Lynch, an accountant living with his wife and twelve-year-old son in Foxrock, County Dublin, had something to say about the findings.
“To be honest,” he told us, “my wife and I lead very busy lives. When we get home from work we like to relax with a bottle or two of Merlot, catch up on social media, update our blogs and do the online shopping.
“We simply don’t have time to be reading David books or checking homework or any of that shite; it’s just not worth the time or effort when we have so much else to do.
“Anyway, we try to get out a few times on weekend nights and Playstation works out far cheaper than a real babysitter — we do message him when we’re out,” he said defensively.
Calls to ban video games
PICTA is calling on the government to ban the sale of computer games to under eighteen-year-olds in a bid to get children to play outside. The move has been described as a “serious dose of common sense” and a “clear shift back to tradition” by campaigners.