We tend to throw the word “addiction” around loosely, saying of anything that we do routinely and often that we are “addicted” to it; for example, that “She’s addicted to Facebook,” or “He’s addicted to texting.” Of course, some addictions are quite serious matters with mostly negative consequences not only for the addict but also for those in his or her circle of relationships and for society. Psychologists at Iowa State University recently announced the results of a national study of video game playing among 8 to 18 year olds, and their findings, the first of their kind, are cause for concern: nearly 1 in 10 players are “pathological users,” or video game addicts.
According to the lead researcher, assistant professor of psychology Douglas Gentile, “What we mean by pathological use is that something someone is doing—in this case, playing video games—is damaging to their functioning. It’s not simply doing it a lot. It has to harm functioning in multiple ways.” The American Psychiatric Association is considering adding this addiction to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), should the scientific evidence warrant its inclusion. The study was based in large part on the close resemblance, in terms of symptoms, of obsessive video game playing to pathological gambling, which is an officially classified disorder.
The American Medical Association sees potential video game addiction as a health issue and has expressed official concern about the well-being of young people whose time spent playing video games is interfering with their ability “to develop friendships, get appropriate outdoor exercise,” or keep up with schoolwork. Overexposure to violence is a further problem related to this behavior, whether we call it an addiction or not.
- Nearly 1 In 10 Youth Gamers Addicted To Video Games
This article summarizes the new study by Iowa State psychologists whose breakthrough research on video game playing has brought the issue of addiction to national attention; includes related links. (Source: sciencedaily.com)
- Video Game Addiction Among Adolescents
This 2003 study by the National Institute on Media and the Family suggested that video game “addiction” is a problem among adolescents, particularly males, and is linked to poor school performance and aggressive attitudes. (Source: psychology.iastate.edu)
- Computer Game Addiction
Web site created by an association of parents in Berkeley, California, to offer advice and a space for online discussion related to obsessive video game playing. (Source: parents.berkeley.edu)
- AMA Will Not Label Video-Game Playing as a Psychiatric Addiction
The American Medical Association (AMA) in 2007 endorsed additional research in the area of excessive video game playing, while stopping short of calling it a psychiatric disorder. (Source: Fox News)
- Study Shows “Free Play” Is Highly Important To Human Social Development
Psychologists don’t just study the negative aspects of playing too much; some are taking note of the important role of play in human social development, as this report on a new study by Boston College developmental psychologist Peter Gray shows. (Source: medicalnewstoday.com)