"I kill zombies while I sleep"

If you were to allow your teenage boy to use their iPad in their bedroom at night and asked what they were doing, the chances are the response would be "I kill zombies while I sleep". Gaming is addictive and causes sleep deprivation. Sleep hygiene is essential for good health.

Zombies are occasionally refered to as 'the undead'. Zombies are the trend. Teenagers are drawn to themes of revenge and suspense, the mysteries of life after death and primal fear. Zombies tap into underlying interests and curiosity. It has been said "we often trudge through regimented days, pursuing health and wealth" and interest in zombies sparks a sense of excitement. There are many movies that address the theme of zombies, vampires and spirituality and running parallel to the cinematic productions are games and applications.

Teens are interested in more than simply watching zombie films. Playing fictitious games that involve slaying zombies and dominating the world through spreading infections diseases appeal to young adults. Often teens can become addicted to gaming and children investing an extreme amount of time playing games may have underlying issues. To address the needs of addiction it is important for parents to maintain ongoing interest in the lives of their children, establish detailed boundaries and spend quality and quantity time as family. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to address gaming addiction through counselling services. Many schools have pastoral care officers that can assist with the emotional, physiological and social impacts.

Schools may require assistance identifying students addicted to gaming. While there are many signs including irritability, change in sleep patterns and signs of tiredness, change in behaviour and withdrawal from family and friends it is advantageous for parents to communicate with schools their personal concerns. Students with self awareness and self discipline are able to monitor their own behaviour and may conduct self-diagnosis of their addiction and go through a process of self referral. It is imporant for schools to provide digital citizenship education and identify the impacts of gaming. Explicit education can provide the coaching students need in dealing with gaming addiction.

I have viewed many iPads and seen a range of applications that are not recommended. Restrictions, when enabled, can control a significant amount of undesirable content and behaviour. It is imperative restrictions are configured in such a manner that mobile devices promote an atmosphere of harmony within the home rather than creating discord and distrupting quality of life.

From my observations the most frequently installed zombie game for primary and middle school students is Dead Trigger and Dead Trigger II. The game provides a virtual experience of zombie slaying through use of multiple weapons and in some situations hand to hand combat. The game is blood thirsty, violent and stimulates the senses in such a fashion that adrenaline is fire with enthusiasm. Successful completion of different level results in monetary rewards which allows purchase of improved ammunition. Improved firearms result in greater success and fuels the desire for continued participation. Mission failure may encourage continued attempts for competitors to feel a sense of triumph. Sometimes gamers may feel need to revisit a particular level for improved performance, faster response times and better outcomes.

To prevent a child from installing Dead Trigger all one must do is access iPad 'Settings'. Select 'General' and then 'Restrictions'. Nominate a four digital passcode. Locate 'Allowed Content' and select 'Apps'. Since Dead Trigger is 'Rated 17+' an appropriate age restriction must be nominated. Failure to enable adequate restrictions will provide children with the ability to install applications that are not age appropriate.

In conclusion you want for children to count sheep as they sleep not the amount of zombies they slay.


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