So, you thought your kid being a sloth and lying around in his room all day meant he was leaving you alone, so you'd leave him alone? You were wrong. Because an 18-year-old boy is dead, and the doctors say it's because of his marathon gaming session.
Parents, listen up. This is not one of those "OMG, video games are screwing up your kid because they don't have the common sense to tell cartoon violence from real" kind of stories. This isn't even one of those "OMG, your kid is never going to have a social life if they sit in front of the Xbox all day" kind of stories. The story of how playing video games could kill your teenager is actually worth heeding.
It could be your kid. No. Really.
Zhuang Zhengfeng apparently spent 40 hours playing Diablo 3. He drank water but didn't eat, and he didn't move. And that's what killed the otherwise healthy, fit teenage boy -- the fact that he didn't move. Who would have thought of that? My heart breaks for his poor parents.
According to the doctors, the prolonged sitting meant his blood flow slowed and produced a blood clot, and the clot flowed through his lungs to the vein. They're betting a pulmonary vein embolism developed, which caused his death.
It's scary for me because my job requires that I sit for hours at a time. It should be scary for parents of teenagers who sit, focused on something like a video game for hours at a time because it's part of the teenage make-up.
This is not some teen-hating, all kids are lazy warning. There are plenty of active kids. In fact, Zhuang Zhengfeng was one! He did Taekwondo. He was in shape.
But scientists who study the teenage brain have a host of reasons why kid are more prone to sit around and play video games than their younger siblings or grownups.
For one, they're exhausted. Their sleep cycles don't match the rest of the world's, and they need more sleep than they get. Chilling out with a video game is much more attractive when you feel like that. Then there's their brain, which isn't yet up to multi-tasking, prompting them to hyper-focus on one thing. And -- this is the real zinger -- teens who are frequent gamers are more likely to get addicted to it because of the way their brain works.
Do you have to remind your kids to drop the sloth act and actually MOVE?
Image via aditza121/Flickr