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Religious broadcaster takes balanced look at games

Kyle Orland

The stereotypical image of a fiery preacher warning about the moral dangers of video games took a hit today with the relatively balanced look at games on Christian lifestyle program Living the Life.

The CBN program talked to Richard Abanes, author of What Every Parent Needs to Know about Video Games, who started by noting the positive effects game playing can have on logical thinking, social interaction and teamwork skills. Later, he said that media talk about games creating violent killers is overblown. "Whenever you see those stories in the news, it's just for the sake of getting some news," Abanes said.

Living the Life fixture Dr. Linda Mintle was up next, talking about the potential addictiveness of video games. Her professional opinion? "Is it really physically addicting. Probably not. Do the chemicals rise and you get into it? Yes." Still, Mintle warned parents to watch out for children using games excessively as an escape from social problems. Both guests recommended parents play games with their children and warned of potential desensitizing effects of prolonged play -- good advice that thankfully avoids the sensationalist fearmongering of some other media outlets.

Of course, the program did touch on some explicitly Christian issues. Abanes said that Christian games are not yet "hip enough" for kids, but that Christian games could eventually serve as "ministry points" to connect with hard-to-reach children. Mintle warned that parents should consider whether they want their kids "dabbling in the occult" through games. So, in summary, keep your kids away from The Witcher and you should be OK.

Watch - Living the Life 4/18/07 (WMV Link)

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