Pupils as young as four and five are simulating car crashes and graphic injuries as a result of playing games unsupervised in their bedrooms, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) annual conference was told.
A motion at the conference called on ministers to introduce “stringent legislation” to counter the “negative effects some computer games are having on the very young”.
Primary school teachers said the games were making their pupils far more aggressive and addicted to “fantasy worlds that separate them from reality”.
Doctors found children who continually play computer games may be more likely to develop tendinitis – an inflammation between the muscles and bones – and suffer from seizures, teachers said.
Psychologists have expressed concerns that playing some games make children more aggressive.
The teachers fear that by spending hours alone playing the games, children could become anti-social and slow to develop speaking and listening skills. Many pupils arrive at school exhausted having played the games until the early hours of the morning, they said.
Alison Sherratt, a teacher at Riddlesden St Mary’s Church of England primary school in Keighley, West Yorkshire, said her four- and five-year-old pupils spend their breaks pretending to “throw themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion” and act out blood “spurting from their bodies”.
“We all expect to see rough and tumble, but I have seen little ones acting out quite graphic scenes in the playground and there is a lot more hitting, hurting and thumping in the classroom for no particular reason.”
She said her pupils believed the violence depicted in computer games was real and tried to recreate it in play.
“Obesity, social exclusion, loneliness, physical fitness, sedentary solitary lives – these are all descriptions of children who are already hooked to games … Sadly there is a notable correlation between the children who admit to playing games and those who come to school really tired,” she said.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said many teachers were worried that parents ignored age restrictions on games. “The watershed tends to work quite well, but with online TV and video children and young people are probably watching inappropriate content over a range of media,” she said.
“It’s about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can’t do it alone.”
There’s nothing wrong with gambling. It fulfills our need to be involved in even an indirect form. The bet you place on a roulette wheel makes that little white ball a part of you. When you bet you are stepping outside the safe routine of your life and involving yourself in the adventure of taking a chance.
We all crave excitement of some kind. Very few, if any, of us can live an Indiana Jones lifestyle. But we can pit ourselves safely against others (playing poker) or take part in a big adventure along with others (buying a lottery ticket). Scientific tests have shown that a poker players adrenalin levels go up when he has a good hand or even when he’s bluffing with a bad one. The same applies to people who buy lottery tickets and watch the draw on TV. Their adrenalin levels rise as the draw is being conducted.
Adrenalin boosts you metabolism and gives you a safe and natural “high.” That’s something we all crave. And the one of the most common ways of getting this “high” is the emotion that comes when we are involved in an activity and where the outcome affects us. In most of us, our bodies regulate our desire for this excitement and keep it in reasonable limits. But occasionally the regulation mechanism short circuits. That’s when the need for the excitement of gambling gets uncontrolled and passes all safe limits. That’s when you become a gambling addict.
Gambling is a way for us to be safe and yet part of an adventure where the outcome is unknown. As long as it is kept under control and within limits and we do not bet – in money terms – more than we can afford, it is a safe outlet for all the tension that builds up in us. Even losing is not bad. At least you took part in the adventure.
So you say you have never placed a bet in your life? I bet you
Smoking is so extremely addictive that many people fail at their first attempt to quit. Learn more about why this is true.
As any former smoker can attest, quitting isn’t easy. The American Cancer Society says about 70 percent of smokers want to quit, and about 40 percent make an attempt to stop smoking each year. However, quitting for good often requires multiple attempts.
Why is it so hard to quit smoking?
The short answer is nicotine. The long answer is more complex. First, nicotine is physically addictive and, second, nicotine addiction also causes psychological changes in smokers because they connect its pleasurable feelings to many different aspects of their lives. Cigarette smoking becomes interwoven with their lives, so that when they try to quit smoking, they not only have to beat back an addiction to smoking, they also have to deal with dozens of triggers that can prompt a desire to smoke.
Nicotine is a drug that naturally occurs in tobacco. When you puff on a cigarette, you inhale nicotine in the smoke and it then spreads through your body. Nicotine interferes with communication between nerve cells. The result is a relaxing, pleasant feeling that makes you want to smoke more.
As you continue to smoke, your body adapts and becomes tolerant to nicotine. You have to smoke more cigarettes in order to achieve the same pleasant feeling. Because your body metabolizes nicotine quickly, the level of nicotine in your blood drops within a couple of hours and you find yourself needing to smoke repeatedly throughout the day to refresh the drug’s effect. At some point, enough nicotine may accumulate in your system that you may need only a certain number of cigarettes each day to keep the level stab
The Power of Nicotine
You can become physically dependent on nicotine after just a few weeks of regular smoking. When you try to quit smoking, your body goes into nicotine withdrawal. Your system reacts to the absence of nicotine with symptoms including:
- Irritability and impatience
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increase in appetite
- Decreased heart rate
Beating the Nicotine Addiction
If physical addiction were the only problem, it might be easier to quit smoking and more people would succeed. But smokers have to deal with the psychological addiction to smoking as well as the physical dependence of nicotine addiction. Even people who use cessation aids to take the edge off the symptoms of physical addiction have trouble feeling “normal” without cigarettes and smoking rituals. This feeling is exacerbated by psychological triggers that build up over time as people use the pleasant feelings prompted by nicotine and their smoking habit to either cope with unpleasant things or enhance their enjoyment of activities.
Activities that trigger the desire to smoke can include:
- Talking on the phone or even just hearing the phone ring
- Finishing a meal
- Drinking a cup of coffee or an alcoholic drink
- Seeing someone else light up a cigarette
- Watching television or relaxing around the house
You also might find the desire to smoke triggered by negative emotional states that you previously coped with through nicotine use, including:
- Sadness or disappointment
- Anger, frustration, or resentment
- Anxiety or stress
- Fright or fear
- Boredom or loneliness
Nicotine is addictive, but it can be beaten. You can take comfort in the fact that most people try many times before finally kicking the habit.