By David Baker
Last updated at 9:25 AM on 30th January 2012
A generation of children are becoming living zombies from sleep deprivation due to computer game addiction.
That is the view of a charity which says it has serious concerns over an increasing number of a young computer gamers ‘stoned’ from sleep deprivation.
Social workers at Wing South West said the result was that the social skills of gamers were going downhill.
Stoned: A charity has raised concerns over an increasing number of a young computer gamers who are ‘stoned’ from sleep deprivation
A computer games advice charity said youngsters were in danger of losing empathy and the compassion of ‘genuine relationships’.
Paul Bowser, who works with young people at Wings South West in Bideford, Devon, said ‘We have a number of young people who most of the time look almost stoned, not necessarily on drugs, but just with sleep deprivation because they’re gaming all the time.
‘Whether it’s an obsession or an addiction, I don’t know.
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‘It’s certainly different from a few years ago, partly because the technology wasn’t there.’
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Robert Hart Fletcher, who runs Kids and Media, a charity giving information about children’s use of digital media, added ‘Gaming is a phenomenon that’s been around quite a while.
‘Now we are starting to see the effects in behaviour of young people.
‘In the past people had genuine relationships with empathy and compassion which has been replaced by this virtual relationship where they are not necessarily having to show empathy or compassion.
‘That’s starting perhaps to change the way they interact on a day to day basis.’
Bradley Bown of the Game store in Plymouth said more education should be available to parents about the controls available.
Most computers and consoles could be set up to restrict the amount of time spent on them.
‘But if someone has had a stressful day then it’s better to play a computer game than take it out on someone,’ he added.