Like sophistication, mental over-stimulation distorts a child’s perception of reality. If allowed as a lifestyle, a child can become bored and dissatisfied with normal life. I don’t know if only those who are naturally compulsive are affected by over stimulation, or if over-stimulation produces compulsion. I do know that competitive boys/men are the most susceptible to its addiction. The desire for mental stimulation, like any lust, is insatiable and will desire more quantity and increased levels as it continues unchecked.
Stimulation addiction can begin at two or three-years-old in children who are allowed to sit mesmerized (hypnotized; compelled by fascination) in front of television for hours. The colorful cartoons and other surrealistic entertainment (inanimate objects like plants, animals, and symbols that talk and move) create a world for the child with more mental stimulation than the real world can compete. Turning the sound up and sitting very close are ways of becoming more a part of the fantasy world, while shutting out distractions from the real world.
If parents are going to allow any such entertainment for their children, a few cautions are in order: they should sit ten or more feet away, have the sound no louder than a person speaking normally would be, and limit the time (such as 30-45 minutes). Suggestion: Don’t even start the must-complete-a-program habit. When it is time to eat or go somewhere, the program is turned off. Ideally, parents would sit with their child to discuss the content of any program they watch.
Anything that heightens the illusion increases the mesmerizing effect (larger screen, dark movie theater, surrealistic sound system, front row seats, and ear deafening volume). A Star Wars, Raiders, Jurassic Park, Tornado, or any other movie with special graphics and audio effects can be entertaining; or a “trip,” depending on the mental maturity of the viewer. Some eight to thirty-year-old children will return many times to such movies for repeated trips (or fixes). They don’t go back to study the plot or character development.
Notice that total involvement of the senses, especially sound, is a key element of stimulation addiction. Therefore, headphones play a vital role for children who wish to turn off the real world and escape into their fantasy world. I’ve never known a child to “trip” on easy listening or classical music. It requires the loud, accented beat of rock, rap, or heavy metal to block the mind from reality and replace it with fantasy. Headphones allow a child to exist in a fantasy world of his own making where there are no rules, no work, and no adults.
Video games, either on the TV or on an arcade machine, can also induce stimulation addiction. I’ve known parents who have experienced extreme trauma in breaking their child from an addiction to Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, or other equally intense games. A child can play these games for H-O-U-R-S, and they become better than their parents overnight (a side attraction). Even an adult can get hooked on video games or the computer with its infinite variety. Immature children don’t have a chance against this level of mental stimulation. Parents would do well to limit their children’s use of video games or use of the computer to less than one-hour-per-day; and then only after all home duties, studies, and at least some form of physical exercise has been completed.
Video music is an even more intense experience. Many music videos add violence, sex, and the occult for heightened experiences. Children (as young as twelve-years-old) have been introduced to pornography, sexual experiences, and witchcraft through the influence of music videos. Each of these activities is addictive in and of themselves. When combined with the sensory stimulation of music videos they create an almost unbreakable hold on a child. The next logical step is to escape reality through drugs (suicide by degree) or by actual suicide (one of the main killers of teens today). Children have no need to escape from reality; they haven’t even experienced what reality is yet. Rock, rap, heavy metal, music videos; and games like Dungeons and Dragons or Magic the Gathering would be forbidden in my home.
A child can also become warped in regard to reality when he has too many adult experiences, too young for his emotional stability. When he has already been everywhere and done everything by the time he is fourteen or fifteen, it will be difficult for him to relate to the real world. School, family, church, and even his friends will appear dull to him. A pattern will have been set for him always to seek ever increasing stimulation. There was an old saying that went something like this: “How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they have seen Pariee.” A child becomes dissatisfied with life if he experiences too much stimulation.
May parents be warned!