Disappearance a ‘wake-up call for parents,’ mom says

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Disappearance a ‘wake-up call for parents,’ mom says


Disappearance a aEU~wake-up call for parents,aEU(tm) mom says

Author: Laurie Watt and Janis Ramsay, Staff
Date: Oct 22, 2008

Mom Angelika Crisp warns against the dangers of Internet gamesRelated Articles Search continues for missing teen Barrie police search for missing boy Helicopter brought in to search for missing teen Search continues for Brandon St. JoeaEU(tm)s organizes special prayer service for Brandon Thousands join Facebook group to find Brandon Crisp Eight long days for local family Video games call teens to aEU~dutyaEU(tm) Metroland offering reward in Crisp case
Empowered to do and be whatever he wanted to be in cyberspace, BarrieaEU(tm)s Brandon Crisp ran away than a week ago in a real battle over Call of Duty.

The 15-year-old St. JosephaEU(tm)s Catholic High School student left home Thanksgiving Monday, after his parents told him he could no longer play the military-style game in which players join teams and fight to capture cities and territory and kill the enemy.

Brandon would be up during the night playing on online. Fearing his schoolwork would suffer, his parents said aEU~no more.aEU(tm)

aEUoeThis is a huge wake-up call for me and other parents with all these Internet games,aEU said BrandonaEU(tm)s mother Angelika Crisp. aEUoeWe know itaEU(tm)s dangerous but donaEU(tm)t know how complex they are.

aEUoeIf Bill Gates is such a philanthropist, (he should) take this game off the market, save some children and families from the horrific experience IaEU(tm)ve had,aEU she urged, describing the nine sleepless nights and worry-filled days as aEUoedays of panic.aEU

Brandon left home on his bike Oct. 13 and has not been seen or heard from since. His bike was found Monday near the walking/bike trail on Line 2 of Oro-Medonte.

aEUoeThereaEU(tm)s no information for us to know if he goes online, this is where it could lead,aEU said Crisp, adding the games offer a false sense of safety and security, as players watch each otheraEU(tm)s backs on the virtual battlefield.

aEUoeParents should be more informed, so we can decide,aEU she added, noting Brandon began playing the Xbox game two years ago and took the experience up a notch by going online to play interactively.

Since BrandonaEU(tm)s disappearance last Monday, his parents have learned a lot about the video-gaming world.

aEUoeI have found out since that money can be involved in it now, and kids can be attracted to the offer of money,aEU said BrandonaEU(tm)s dad Steve Crisp.

Steve also learned that there are parental controls on the Xbox, which would have allowed him to limit the amount of time his son could play.

aEUoeWe were involved in our own busy lives as parents and didnaEU(tm)t understand how it worked. He played it every waking hour of the day.aEU

Angelika said she would say goodnight to her kids and assumed Brandon was also going to bed. aEUoeI would hear him playing, talking into his mic, playing it in the middle of the night.aEU

University of Toronto senior lecturer on video-game design Steve Engels said the games do lure teens into the virtual world where they can be as strong or as fast or as aggressive as they want to be.

aEUoeIt doesnaEU(tm)t matter how big or small you are. You can be anything you want. They allow people to actualize what they would like to do,aEU Engels explained.

He began by comparing the games to a compelling novel.

aEUoeYou get pulled into some of the action and have the ability to put it down, but you canaEU(tm)t, because you have to take it to the next level, reading the next chapter. The chapters on video games are all there for you. Generally, you donaEU(tm)t have to use your imagination; you have the freedom to act out and explore.aEU

The video-game experience adds to that by offering real-time conversation and battle action. Combining a compelling narrative with realistic visuals and real-time excitement as players chat with teammates and shoot to kill online, the games can give a physical and mental high, he explained.

Most games, Engels added, are designed and marketed for males ages 18 to 30; itaEU(tm)s chicken-and-egg phenomenon, as this demographic purchases most games and companies respond by designing more for this market segment.

St. JosephaEU(tm)s Catholic High School principal Matt McCann said teens are using technology their parents may not be familiar with aEU" and could find intimidating. Therefore, parents are less likely to investigate what their kids are up to online.

aEUoeComputer technology has moved so fast, moved ahead of parents in many cases and itaEU(tm)s a lot for young people to consume and make sense of,aEU he said.

aEUoeGenerally, my experience is young people donaEU(tm)t see the dangers in programs such as MSN or facebook and online games. ItaEU(tm)s a very difficult thing to relay to teenagers when they feel theyaEU(tm)re anonymous.aEU

Secondary schools do not allow teens to access certain internet sites aEU" including social networking sites such as facebook, but McCann notes school board IT staff constantly work to upgrade firewalls to prevent teens from accessing the sites at school.

However, facebook does have a mobile-access feature, which allows members to update their status and check their friendsaEU(tm) status on their cellphones. Some teens also use their cellphones to browse the Internet.

Yet, ultimately, when the Crisps saw Brandon up all night chatting to friends heaEU(tm)s never met aEU" in person aEU" that raised concerns about the effects a lack of sleep would have on his grades.

Beyond that, Angelika acknowledges she had little understanding of the games and the culture; McCann agreed, adding she is likely not alone.

aEUoeSome of the teenagers are dealing with computer technology Mom and Dad may not have an interest in or have the ability to discern what is coming up on the screen,aEU he said.

Liz Woolley

Last seen: 13 years 8 months ago
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Joined: 03/15/2003 - 2:12pm
This is the same story Liz

This is the same story Liz and I will be discussing in a syndicated Canadian radio call-in show on Sunday afternoon.

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson

J. DOe
Last seen: 12 years 6 months ago
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Joined: 05/28/2007 - 5:23am
A quite closely related

A quite closely related thread is Parents Fear Internet Addiction that contains a link to, and discussion about, another article.

- John O.

[em]Carpe Diem![/em] (Seize the Day!)

lizwool's picture
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I posted it in this

I posted it in this section..

Liz Woolley

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