A Silent Problem Among Adolescents and Teens in our Schools

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Starista, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Greetings,

    I hope this is the correct section in which to post my concern. :love:

    I am very fearful and concerned for the alarming number of pre-teens and teenagers immersed in computer games. There are several video games out there called MMORPGs (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games) in which there is truly no way to "beat" the game. All these games require of you is time.
    They're very difficult to play in moderation and do not lend well to a "casual" playstyle.

    Time away from homework.

    Time away from sports and extra-curricular activities.

    Time away from family.

    As an early childhood educator, I do not see this problem.

    But as a former addict of a time consuming video game, I know firsthand what they can do to people.

    From your own children to your students, I suggest that you wonder if they're spending far too much time on video games.

    I see zero benefit from playing video games, especially on-line ones.

    I am not a psychologist, so I can not guess how much video game time is "healthy" for a pre-teen or teenager. But I do know that when I was immersed in my own video game, kids were playing upwards of 4-5 hours a day. That is extremely unhealthy and detrimental to a child's future.

    If you suspect someone in your family or a student has a video game problem ~ please PM me and I can send you many wonderful web resources ~ all of which helped me stop video gaming for good.

    Some of you might be reading this thinking to yourself ~ "How could a -teacher- become addicted to a video game?" or "How can a silly video game become addicting?"

    People lose their spouses, careers, children and other precious commodities to the allure of the alternate reality which these video games easily create. And that isn't a small statistic.

    I apologize in advance if this topic is inappropriate or if I sound preachy. I am just very concerned for our youth and the uprise of on-line video games.

    Thank you ~ :love:
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2007

    Not preachy or inappropriate.

    Thanks so much!
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I am going to print this out to give to our principal. We have one student who is in just such a position. Thank you.
     
  5. Mrs_Goatess

    Mrs_Goatess Comrade

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    In the hands of someone with preexisting factors towards obsessive or anti-social behavior, any hobby can become more harmful than enriching. It is very common for a student to enjoy gaming (in any form) without the hobby encroaching on the essential things in life. There are in fact several things students can learn through the gaming experience. Yes, there are other means of learning these things, but that's true for many skills. I would not be so quick to discard or disapprove the pastime.
     
  6. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    Jan 27, 2007

    As someone who deals with many students who play these games, I cannot be so quick to label them as "bad" for the students. Many of the students I see who play these games do not work on the same level as their peers socially, due to various medical reasons. On-line they are not seen as the "weird geeky kid." These games give them an opportunity for social acceptance and, therefore, positive social interaction, that they do not get from their school peers.

    In addition, video games can help students increase attention span, improve reading comprehension skills (ever try to figure out just what the new quest you got REALLY wants you to do?) and critical thinking skills.

    Students who will get "obsessed" with the games are those who would react the same way to any hobby they love. The MMORPGs are not the culprit.

    Just MHO, as a teacher and someone who has played these games.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Where did you find this information? All the research I have seen states that it can cause ADD, and ADHD. So attention span is not increased.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2007


    I think that overdoing anything, from chocolate to tap dancing to gambling, is likely to be a problem.

    The word "immersed" in the preceding sentence is what caught my attention.
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 27, 2007

    And those types of role-playing games are very different from the occasional card games. They become an alternate culture in which some kids become increasingly immersed. If a child can talk of nothing else but that world, it is time to be alarmed.
     
  10. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oh Alice I don't know I skied seven days a week from middle school up through high school. I always had my work completed, had good grades (well from tenth grade on). So was it a problem? It was required for high school to either be at a race or have practice Monday to Friday. I skied on a Mt. Team on the weekends. We had practice Saturdays and Races on Sunday. If I didn't have a race on Sunday I love to actually just go free ski. I don't think kids get outdoors enough any more. What happened to tree forts, playing imaginary games, tag with the neighborhood kids and so on?
    (I know living in a city is different, but my students, at least half of them don't do this and all they have is woods).
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    But if it didn't effect your grades , your family life or anything else, then you weren't overdoing it!

    I can have a glass of wine with dinner and be fine. I have a friend in AA-- for her, even that one glass would be very much "overdoing" it.
     
  12. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Didn't affect the family life, my dad worked nights so we didn't see him. Depending on how late we were going to be at the Mt. Mom either packed dinner and brought it, along with my baby sister and brother or my great grandmother stayed home with them.
    We always ate dinner at the supper table except in Jan, and Feb.
     
  13. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    I am in no way trying to blame the MMO companies on the addiction of -some- teens and adults to MMOs.

    I am talking about the kids and adults who spend as many as 4-5 hours on these games.

    As a former player of these games, I can not condone that much video game time.

    And as an educator, I can think of far better and healthier ways to increase attention spans and improve reading comprehension skills. I realize that there are some kids for whom books are not appealing, but video game are. And in moderation, it is fine. But MMOs are very easy to play dangerously out of moderation.

    The games have no end. All they require of you for "winning" is time.

    Note: When I, as an adult, was gaming I found my attention span (when dealing with "real life things") getting smaller. Also, many parents with whom I have spoken describe their addicted teen as very impatient as well.

    I am in no way trying to argue/disagree with you. Just giving you my experiences. :love:
     
  14. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Skiing is a wonderful, healthy and vigirgous pasttime! :love: It's a wonderful form of exercise! Even though I am originally from New England, I never seemed to master it!

    I am speaking of kids who spend their entire afternoon and evenings sitting infront of a PC living in a virtual universe. That is not moderation in gaming. That, in my experience, is a problem.

    And there are some very well educated parents who still think to themselves "if it's a computer game, it must be okay/educational! Besides, he could be out drinking/smoking/being promiscuous/etc!"

    When in "reality," they are neglecting their schoolwork, social life, and homework.

    For some kids, that can really hinder their progress and growth from a teenager into adulthood.

    Again, I realize this does not pertain to every video game or every gamer out there. I just am concerned about the ones for whom video games have become a real problem. :love:
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
  15. MissaG

    MissaG Companion

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    I completely agree with the OP.

    I have seen firsthand what these video games can do to kids. Taking it one step further, I have recently developed a theory that these kids/teens cannot make a distinction between real life and video game after they have spent so many hours daily on these games. What I mean is that, they are so used to the instant gratification provided to them on these games that when they are in the real-- "not so entertaining"--world, they are unable to cope like other children can.

    I have several boys in my class that are addicted to these games and they are the ones that argue and fight with me if I won't let them go get their 3rd drink of water in less than an hour. They are the ones that get angry and slam their desks and chairs if I ask them to simply get on the same page as us. I think that they are so used to being "in charge" within these games, that when they have to follow rules and cannot be the leader in real world, they don't know how to deal.

    The lack of graphics, lack of ability to kill whatever comes in their path, and the boring quality of school/real life cause them to have poor attention spans, have increased anger, and a need for instant gratification.
     
  16. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Jan 27, 2007

    For those kids that are spending so much time in front of the computer or video games, obviously there is no parental control. I am the mother of two boys who love video games and playing on the computer. However, they are monitored as to what they play and how much. During the school week, they are not allowed to play their video games at all. Instead they are expected to do their school work and read every night. On the weekends, they are allowed to play for about 1 hour each day. They can either play it all at once or break it apart but no more than that.

    The computer was intended for school work and for the most part, my son only uses it for that. He does search the internet since he has been writing reports and researching but, he is very good about asking and telling me what he is looking for. Each time he changes a website, he asks first.

    I am not trying to point fingers but there are some parents out there who don't care what their kids are doing or more than likely, are not aware. We have to keep a firm grip on their actions and monitor what they are doing in order to keep our kids safe.

    I have a student in my class who, unfortunately, may end up just like the boy you are talking about. He is constantly playing video games and talking about them, almost to the point that he is obsessed. He is only in the second grade. AND...his mother is a teacher. :confused:
     
  17. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I think a lot has to do with having an addictive personality. and I agree, to let something completely take over your life is unhealthy and that goes for anything.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    MissaG, that is exactly the type of result that I see in too many kids and I attribute it to their dependence on instant gratification, too. "I don't get it" after 5 seconds of thought, "I couldn't do the homework because you didn't teach us that" after we spent two days on the topic, "It's too hard" when it is supposed to be challenging. These kids also seem to have a hard time making decisions with free time and during unstructured play. They seem uninterested in other students who don't share their fixation. Long range thinking and responsibility is not even in the range of possibility ......

    These things don't only happen to the kids who are addicted, but all kids who live in the fast-paced culture seem to have those same sorts of attitudes and tendencies. I do have students who aren't allowed computer games during the school week, have had a few who didn't even own TVs, but most of them seem to have free rein of the computer, telephone, and TV. The results are frightening.
     
  19. moonbeamsinajar

    moonbeamsinajar Habitué

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    I do see preschoolers who spend too much time using video games. I have one in my class now who I believe is spending too much time playing. He has so much he needs to work on to be ready for kindergarten.... like being able to hold a pencil, writing his name, learning letters, counting, etc. ( and he struggles with this stuff), but as soon as he gets home in the afternoon, he is playing x box, or whatever. Mom has told me he is manipulating to try and get home from school earlier, so he can have more time to play. And he is 5!
     
  20. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Jan 28, 2007

    When I worked at the Boys and Girls Club in the computer lab, I was introduced to the online game Runescape. I started playing and spent most of my evenings after work to build my character's level and get items and gold pieces.

    When the kids would come in to the computer room and log on to the game, I'd tell them if they needed help on a quest, to ask me and I'd be their players guide, so to speak. I endeded up building my character's gold piece amount to over a million pieces. I would divy up to the younger members of the club if they did something nice for someone else.

    I used it as a form of allowance, the same way an active parent plays to build their character and learn the game.

    World of Warcraft, seems to be the most popular, at $40 per membership card in Canada, it can get quite expensive. Runescape you can play for free, and if you choose to be a member it costs $6 a month.

    I agree on the lack of exercise, and motivation to do things. Some kids use it as an escape from their troubled lives. They can role play in a fantasy world, while Jagex, or Blizzard reap in their allowence money.

    If I had a kid in my class that wasn't doing his or her homework because of Online gaming, I would talk to the parents, and explain to the student that you must value your education. If you write stories, you could turn them into quests for these games. You could create a tips and tricks blog, or free website on geocities.

    Etc.

    The real people that are to blame are the companies that make these games "unbeatable" They do if for the business aspect. kids play it for the cool crowd.

    Good luck.
     
  21. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    Here is some info:
    http://gamepolitics.com/2006/11/02/video-games-used-to-treat-adhd/#more-323

    http://fas.org/gamesummit/Resources/Fact Sheet.pdf

    http://www.futurelab.org.uk/research/discuss/04discuss01.htm



    Regarding video games & social isolation here is a quote from other research:
    7. Video game play is socially isolating.

    Much video game play is social. Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents. Even games designed for single players are often played socially, with one person giving advice to another holding a joystick. A growing number of games are designed for multiple players — for either cooperative play in the same space or online play with distributed players. Sociologist Talmadge Wright has logged many hours observing online communities interact with and react to violent video games, concluding that meta-gaming (conversation about game content) provides a context for thinking about rules and rule-breaking. In this way there are really two games taking place simultaneously: one, the explicit conflict and combat on the screen; the other, the implicit cooperation and comradeship between the players. Two players may be fighting to death on screen and growing closer as friends off screen. Social expectations are reaffirmed through the social contract governing play, even as they are symbolically cast aside within the transgressive fantasies represented onscreen.
    http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html



     
  22. Counz2BLiz

    Counz2BLiz Rookie

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    I completely agree! Moderation is the key. It is scary to think about what will result from them years down the line. My son could play 24-7 he gets this look on his face we call the gaming face. We limit him to weekends only that is also limited. We literally have to force him to do social and outdoor activities, which we do but his addiction for gaming is CRAZY and he is only 10. Maybe some education to parents about this would help. I just know for my family I have to control the TV and computer/gaming, absolutley none during a school week, it is all in moderation. If you saw the desparation for gaming you would think he couldn't do anything else, I think it is almost an addiction.

    Thank you for sharing this. I did not know it was a rampid as it is. Keep on sharing.

    Liz:D
     
  23. Gamersmom

    Gamersmom New Member

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    OK, I got a link to this site from a friend who thought I would find it interesting. I am a teacher, though not at the PK-12 level, so I will say my piece and leave you all in peace. I'm encouraged that his post has been viewed over 250 times by (presumably) teachers as of this moment. This is a problem that will mushroom in the next couple of years. You have all seen it already, though you may not know it, and you will be seeing much much more of it, especially those of you who teach at high school level.
    As you can see by my screen name, I can give you one more perspective on this. History in a nutshell: My 20-year-old son is addicted to the World of Warcraft and has been for about a year and a half. He went away to college a bright, friendly, happy, social, NORMAL boy and proceeded to flunk out. He came home an anxious, phobic, sullen, angry shell and we are slowly getting him back.


    Mrs.Goatess: My son (and the children of many parents of gamers that I know) had no "pre-existing factors toward obsessive or antisocial behavior" He was a NORMAL boy. He was raised in a loving, churchgoing, two-parent family. He had tons of friends and was interested in other things than computer games. He was on the bowling team, played paintball with his friends, and flew RC airplanes. He was not antisocial and had never been obsessed with anything before WoW. And I agree that it is common for a student (especially a younger one) to enjoy gaming without it encroaching on the essential things in life. Lots of kids do not get hooked on games, and that is fine. (studies that have been done estimate that anywhere from 10-16% of regular gamers will get addicted) My son played many games throughout his life without any ill effects on his other activities. He was an A/B student through most of high school. It wasn't until he stumbled into the World of Warcraft (an MMORPG) that the trouble began.

    Hernandoreading: Some of those "weird, geeky kids" are just the ones who are at highest risk for getting lost in these games. My other son was one of those, but we transferred him from public school to private religious school where he thrived. No one was permitted to make fun of the wierd geeky kids at that school. He has never gotten obsessed with games and now has about a thousand friends all over the world. My gamer son was not a wierd, geeky kid. And BTW he completely lost his attention span while he was gaming.
    Re: obsession with hobbies:My gamer son had a lot of hobbies that he loved, but he never got obsessed with any of them to the point where he flunked out of school. I cannot imagine someone flunking out of college over a stamp collection or a baseball card collection, or playing paintball or flying RC planes.
    Aliceacc: I also cannot imagine someone flunking out of college over an obsession with chocolate or tap dancing. Gambling, yes, and that is a huge problem on campuses these days. Pathologic gambling and pathalogic gaming have a lot in common, but you won't see as much pathalogic gambling at the K-12 level. Too expensive for most kids. When you see the word "immersed", it means kids who are playing 8, 10, 14 hours, sometimes even 24 or more at a sitting. These are not kids who are playing an hour or two a night (though it can start that way).
    Upsadaisy:"if a child can talk of nothing else....it is time to be alarmed" Absolutely! (though my kid did not talk about the game much when he was playing)
    JaimeMarie: Did you skip classes to ski? Did you go 24 hours without eating or sleeping? Did you flunk out of high school or college? That's what these games can do to kids. There's a difference between dedication and obsession/addiction.
    teachingmomof4: "Obviously there is no parental control" My fellow parents of gamers and I are so tired of this one. When my son lived at home, we controlled his gaming fairly well, and had no idea that this was an addiction in the making. As I said, he was a good student, had lots of friends, held down a part-time job, and never smoked, drank, or did drugs. Things started to go downhill towards the end of his senior year (within months after WoW debuted in November) but we thought it was senioritis and he was ready to move on to college. In college, he had 24/7 high-speed access 2 steps from his bed, a gamers dream. Even at home, though, parents who try to control use of the internet are waging an uphill battle. Kids will play at their friends houses, or wake up in the middle of the night to play (can you stay awake all night? Do you keep the family computer next to your bed?). I could tell you story after story of the ingenuity of these kids when they want to play (when we locked the modem in our bedroom, my boys would take a ladder from the garage when we went out, get the spare house key from the drawer in the dining room, and climb up onto our balcony and let themselves in to turn on the modem). Passwords are meaningless. They hack 'em. They pick locks, copy keys, oh the list goes on and on. Yes, some parents don't have much control over their kids from day 1, but this can happen in a good family with involved parents. Don't kid yourself.
    Miss Fizzle: As far as I can tell, my son never showed any sign of an "addictive personality". As I said, he does not smoke, drink, or do drugs (his behavior became so strange in college we were convinced he must be, but the tests were always negative--the behavioral changes in a gamer are incredible). Anyway, sometimes the only way you find out someone has an addictive personality is when they develop an addiction. Then it may be too late.
    h2omane: The more I hear about Runescape, the more I am convinced it is one of the worst "gateway drugs" for gamers. Because it's free, a lot of little kids can and do get hooked on it. And yes, I blame (partially) the companies that make these games, because they don't give them an ending, and they are designed to require more and more time in game to achieve success. In WoW, there are quests and raids that cannot be completed in under 8 hours, which would mean that a kid could get home at 3:30, have a snack, log on, and still be playing at midnight. Think about it.
    I don't want to criticize, just to educate. You, the K-12 teachers, are the front line in a looming battle. Star is doing you a favor to alert you to a problem that will affect all of you in your classrooms in one way or another. Yes, some kids can play these games recreationally without getting hooked, but it is getting more and more difficult, and school failure is often the first sign of trouble in kids.
    These games can alter brain chemistry. My son was once very bright, witty, and clever. He has just reached a point where he can sit and read a book again. He used to be the best writer in my house, and now is making his fourth attempt at passing English 101. At his worst, he would stare at a blank page and be unable to put two words together on it.
    Most of the parents of your students have no clue what these games can lead to. If you have a student who is failing, sleeping through class, developing anger problems, or having personality changes, ask them or their parents what the kid does for fun. Please take this thread seriously and tuck it in the back of your brain. You will need the information. I guarantee it.
    Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this. Sorry it was so long, but this is a complex subject. I hope the information helps someone, somewhere.
     
  24. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My kids are not permitted to play during the week. On the weekend and vacation, they can play as much as they want. They do play quite a bit, but they also go outside with their friends alot.

    My husband is addicted to online gaming and has been for years. When his hobby was billiards, he was addicted to that as well. I spend a ton of time on the computer but I can get off easier than he can and I do a variety of things on it. Either way though..not the best role model.
     
  25. MissaG

    MissaG Companion

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    My husband is an online gamer also, therefore I have a little more insight into the situation. From what I have seen though, is that when most adults get into gaming as adults, they don't seem to show the anger that the children do. Not saying that it is okay one way or the other by any means. I still stick with what I said earlier, and plan to do a lot of research into the topic now more than ever.

    I would also love to provide a couple of students' parents with info on gaming. Runescape is the one that my students play and it scares me to even read that it is the 'gateway.' I don't want to be perceived as passing judgment, I would just like to get the information out there in a non-pushy kind of way.
     
  26. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 28, 2007

    Thank you for that important first-hand perspective, Gamersmom. Please come back to this site. We do have quite a few members who teach in other settings than PK-12.
     
  27. Gamersmom

    Gamersmom New Member

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    hernandoreading, your second post went up while I was typing. The sources you cite refer to educational video games. I would not call WoW educational. As for all the skills and talents the one source claims can be perfected in the games, I have been told by former gamers on another forum that WoW has been purposely "dumbed down" over the last several months to minimize the amount of complex decision-making and technical skills required to play, in order to get more people to play longer. Gamers get frustrated if the game is too complex. As for the social aspect, I have also read that there is a lot of bullying and peer pressure in these games, which is one of the reasons kids get hooked. In order to advance and gain skills and valuable items at higher levels of the game, you have to belong to a guild. Many of the activities in the game require a specific number of guild members to be present for a specified number of hours for a successful raid or quest. Members who beg off to do homework, sleep, or attend family functions are ridiculed and punished by being demoted in the guild, being given a smaller share of the "loot", or being ejected from the guild. A lot of gamers report that the game became work for them instead of fun.

    And here is a direct quote from a 22-year-old student who quit WoW 5 months ago: "Ppl need to understand that you dont have to be depressed, lost or empty to become addicted. It can happen to anyone."
     
  28. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    Eek, I'm letting my "geekiness" show...

    Wow, where to start?

    MMORPGs are bad, bad, bad, bad (unless you are retired, jobless, or just plain ol' having nothing else better to do!).
     
  29. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Jan 29, 2007

    nice essay Gamersmom
     
  30. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Jan 29, 2007

    :love: Please remember to PM me if you feel a loved one or a student is gaming excessively.

    There is help out there.

    :love:
     
  31. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 29, 2007

    I passed on the info and a copy of this thread to our head of school and assistant head of school. Thank you so much.
     
  32. Gamersmom

    Gamersmom New Member

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    Feb 5, 2007

    Just found out in another forum for gaming addiction issues that Disney is creating an MMORPG based on The Pirates of the Carribean. It will be a free download initially and allow a kid to explore about 1/3 of the content, then pay $9.99 a month to be able to access the rest. I don't know about y'all, but........YIKES!:eek:
     

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