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Nov 13, 2003

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Science unhooks computer games
New Zealand Herald, Nov. 6

Computer game fanatics should not be labelled addicts, although many players say they are hooked on a hobby that affects their social lives, said scientists at the world's first interdisciplinary games conference in Utrecht. Unlike addictive substances, compulsive gaming can't be treated with medicines. But SFU communication professor Stephen Kline says that is how many players described themselves in his studies. “Fifteen per cent of Everquest players say ‘I'm addicted.' Thirty per cent can be categorized as addicts,” he says. While he used the word addiction in the classic Greek sense of devotion, half of those in his survey of hundreds of heavy online gamers reported family conflict and romantic failure as a result of their hobby.

Mom and dad, I'm home - again
Business Week, Nov. 3

The economic downturn is forcing many young adults back to the family roost after attending college or living independently elsewhere. According to the U. S. bureau of labor statistics, 10.9 per cent of 20-to-24-year-olds were unemployed in September, versus 6.7 per cent in September, 2000. The jobless rate for 25-to-34-year-olds rose to 6.3 per cent from 3.7 per cent over the period. Student debt and high housing costs also are factors. The stigma of living at home has also lessened, says Barbara Mitchell, an SFU associate sociology professor who has researched boomerang kids. Most parents and their grown children are satisfied with the arrangement, Mitchell has found, as long as the kids don't leave and return too often. One ingredient for mutually satisfying coexistence, she says, is “a clear meeting of the minds right from the start.”

B.C.'s year of travails
Maclean's, Nov. 3

Flooding in B.C. is just the latest disaster in a year that has brought the province travails of biblical proportion, from the infestation of the pine mountain beetle and mad cow scare to the Interior forest fires and a summer of drought. The string of events forced John Clague to hit the ground running. This fall, the SFU earth sciences professor began the groundwork for the school's new centre for natural hazards research. He hopes this year of disaster may encourage a safer arm's length relationship with nature. He cites two factors that added substantial risk and expense to the fires and floods: setting new subdivisions among forests, or along riverbanks. “They don't call them flood plains for nothing,” he says. “This is a tragedy, but we can learn from it and move forward.”

B.C. school violence serious
Vancouver Sun, Oct. 30

Violence and harassment are serious, systemic problems in every B.C. school, but they only get public attention when someone is hurt, say bullying experts in response to recent attacks on youths on school grounds. SFU criminology professor Ray Corrado, who specializes in youth crime, says schools don't have the resources or the expertise to respond to children who are marginalized or have serious problems. “Teachers tell me all the time that they're not prepared to deal with these kids,” says Corrado, who gives workshops to help teachers understand the warning signs of kids prone to violence. “Very few schools have the resources to do it,” he says. “It's not a lack of willingness.”

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