Doctor’s Order: NO PLAYSTATION

Posted: 12/16/2009 in Computers, Parenting, Video Games

True story.

Not long ago, a 9-year-old San Diego boy got much more than he bargained for from his Sony PlayStation at Christmas: a seizure. After endlessly zapping, whacking, and smacking things in Video Game Land, Nicholas Lavin’s head started to jerk uncontrollably backwards and forewords.

Evidently, two symptoms tipped off Nick’s mother, Barbara, that all was not well with her Video Veggie:

1) spasmodic convulsions, and
2) the little backflips his eyes were doing

At this point his mom decided a trip to the pediatrician was in order. Um, good call. It could be argued that Ms. Lavin was the one whose head needed to be examined. Why? For allowing her son to play video games for three hours at a stretch until he went into epileptic-type seizures. But I digress.

When a MRI failed to show any other cause for the severe twitching, Nicholas was banished to preadolescent hell: no video games for 30 days—doctor’s orders. While kids everywhere might agree that requiring them to give up their PlayStation (or Nitendo Wii) cold turkey borders on abuse, the treatment worked.

According to news reports, Nick’s mother noticed an immediate change. She said, “All the head jerking is gone and his eyes are completely back to normal.” Here’s the best part. She added: “I think it’s a direct connection to the PlayStation and the amount of time he spent on it.”

No kidding? As we head into Christmas and as millions of kiddos unwrap the latest and greatest video gaming devices this side of Pluto, I wish the doc could prescribe something to help us clueless parents tune in and manage the consumption of entertainment in our homes before our kids become walking zombies.

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