Game Addiction: The Real Story

What is video game addiction? What are its boundaries, its symptoms, and its treatments? How wide is its scope? In this GameSpot AU feature we speak to researchers, psychologists, medical bodies, and gamers to gauge their thoughts on the cause and effects of video game addiction.

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What is video game addiction? What are its boundaries, its symptoms, its treatments? How wide is its scope? And is it even a medically recognised condition in the first place? In Part One of this GameSpot AU feature we speak to researchers, psychologists, medical bodies, and gamers to gauge their thoughts on the causes and effects of video game addiction, the significance of its recognition as such, and the potential for future research. We also look at this issue from the game makers' side, as well as explore some real-life cases of addiction.

Is a video game addict simply someone who likes to play a lot?

If asked to define "video game addict," most of us would reply that a video game addict is someone who likes to play a lot of video games. But that definition is as close to the truth as the definition "someone who likes to inject a lot of heroin" is an accurate portrayal of a heroin addict. Our unfamiliarity with video game addiction stems not just from the ease with which the term "addiction" is thrown around, but also from a vast misrepresentation of the issue in the mainstream press, with sensationalist headlines like Video game addicts are not just shy nerds (June 5, 2008, Chloe Lake, NEWS.com.au) not an uncommon sight. Add to this a lack of medical and psychological research, and it's no wonder we think video game addicts are just people who like games too much.

Defining game addiction

Before we explore whether video game addiction exists and what form it takes, we need to know what it means to be an addict. At its core, addiction is a psychological disorder that affects the way the brain functions by impacting chemical processes related to motivation, decision making, learning, inhibitory control, and pleasure seeking. Behavioural addictions like gambling and sex are forms of psychological dependence; addictions to substances like drugs and alcohol are forms of both psychological and physical dependence.

An addict is defined by his or her psychological compulsion to carry out certain behaviours or consume certain substances that are often detrimental to his or her health or well-being. Although this repeated consumption often leads to other problems in areas of social and mental health, an addict cannot stop him- or herself from recurrent use. The hallmarks of addiction are often an increase in time spent in the consumption of these behaviours or substances at the expense of other activities; recurrent failed attempts to stop; and recurrent preoccupation and intense psychological urges or desires that are difficult to control.

Video game addiction is still a newcomer to the field of psychology and is not yet medically recognised as a proper addiction due to the lack of research conducted into its causes and effects. So, while it's common for clinics to specialise in the treatment of drug, alcohol, gambling, sex, and other addictions, it is not common for clinics to specialise in the treatment of video game addiction. However, during the last five years, countries like China, South Korea, the Netherlands, Canada, and the USA have begun to recognise the health threat posed by video game addiction and have opened clinics that deal specifically with the problem.

When gamers excel at playing a particular game, the dopamine levels in their brain rise, causing them to feel good.

The argument for excessive video game play as a real psychological addiction is that a person gains psychological reinforcement from playing, and excelling at, a game. By becoming an expert at a game, a person releases a neurochemical known as dopamine in his or her brain, whose function is to make us feel good. This is a natural response humans have to good experiences, such as eating favourite foods, listening to music, or watching a good movie. For it to be a psychological addiction to video games, it rests on how much dopamine is released in those who are believed to be video game addicts, in comparison to the levels released during other positive lifestyle activities.

Symptoms of video game addicts are varied--they can range from social isolation, poor social skills, and erratic mood swings to neglect of responsibilities such as health, regular sleeping, hygiene, financial commitments, and work and study responsibilities.

A new addiction

Now that we know what addiction is, we need to see if video game addiction fits the pattern of a medically recognised addiction. In July 2006, the world's first video game addiction clinic opened in Amsterdam. The event sparked the curiosity of the global press--it was the first time video game addiction was acknowledged, and the subsequent coverage pointed to the increasing popularity of video games and the people who just couldn’t stop playing them. Almost all media reports at the time and subsequent reports dealing with video game addiction pointed to the few instances of video-game-related deaths as examples of addiction, wishing to demonstrate the debilitating effect of video games. But few reports actually defined addiction or indicated that not all video game addicts eventually kill themselves, or others, through excessive playing.

The cases most often cited include a South Korean man who collapsed in an Internet cafe after playing Starcraft for 50 hours; a man in China who died after playing online games for 15 days consecutively; a 13-year-old boy from Vietnam who strangled an elderly lady with a piece of rope because he wanted money to buy games; and a number of cases in the United States involving angry teenagers murdering family members over games and consoles. The fact that the latter cases have more to do with displays of deep mental instabilities rather than addiction was not mentioned in the reports, an omission that no doubt has contributed to the public's widespread confusion about what video game addiction really is.

A US teenager shot his parents, killing his mother, in October 2007 after they took away his copy of Halo 3.

In the research field, things are a little different. The last five years have seen a progress in the recognition of video game addiction as a real addiction, with more research dedicated to studying its scope, causes, and effects. At the 2006 annual meeting for the American Medical Association (AMA), a resolution was adopted commissioning the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) to prepare a report reviewing and summarising the research data on the emotional and behavioural effects of video games, including addiction potential. The report, based on information from scientific literature from 1985 to 2007, concluded that there is currently insufficient research to definitely label video game overuse as an addiction. However, the report's authors used several case studies and surveys to find evidence of video game addiction, arguing that symptoms of time usage and social dysfunction/disruption present in video game overuse also appear in other addictive disorders, and, despite its reluctance to name video game addiction as a definitive mental disorder, the CSAPH recommended that the AMA strongly encourage the inclusion of video game addiction as a formal diagnostic disorder in the upcoming revision of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

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The DSM is widely recognised as the standards manual defining mental disorders. It provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders and is used by researchers, doctors, health insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies and policy makers. It has been revised five times since it was first published in 1952, updating existing disorders and adding and removing new and redundant disorders. The CSAPH's recommendation to encourage the inclusion of video game addiction in the upcoming DSM was followed up by the AMA in June 2007, and, in response, the APA stated that "if the science warrants it, this proposed disorder will be considered for inclusion in the DSM-V, which is due to be published in 2012."

Video game addiction could be included in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

GameSpot AU contacted the APA and received the following statement in regards to video game addiction and the 2012 edition of the DSM: "There is no way to state specifically whether or not the issue of video game addiction will or will not be included [in the DSM of 2012]. What we can say is that our workgroups are considering all issues, new science and research as they are continuing work on the DSM-V."

A need for research

Studies into video game addiction are scarce. However, the increased recognition of the issue amongst the scientific community means more and more researchers are beginning to look seriously at video game addiction. Daniel Loton, an ethics officer and former psychology honours student from Victoria University, used his thesis to explore the relationship between social capacity and problematic video gameplay to try to determine the cause of video game addiction. Loton used the Social Skills Inventory (SSI), a broad scale that measures basic social skills, to survey 560 male and 61 female gamers with an average age of 23.4 years. His survey found a very small connection between social capacity (that is, social skills and self-esteem) and video game playing. Given the past research on the topic, Loton said his study yielded surprising results.

"To use the words of the American Medical Association after it had conducted a review of the literature, problem gamers are likely to be...somewhat marginalised socially, perhaps experiencing high levels of emotional loneliness and/or difficulty with real-life social interactions," Loton said. "Considering this past research, I would have expected social skills and self-esteem to drop as problematic play increased. Instead, only a tiny relationship emerged."

The results revealed that basic social capacity is not the central cause of problematic video gameplay. Broadly speaking, no serious negative consequences of playing video games were revealed, even when playing to the extreme. Loton thinks his results may turn attention away from the assumed link between social capacity and problematic video gameplay and direct attention to other characteristics such as behaviour moderation, depression and stress, locus of control (that is, feelings of control one has over one's environment), and arousal (using games to get excited or to relax).

Loton’s study showed that social capacity is not the problem when it comes to excessive video game playing.

Richard M. Ryan, a psychologist and professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education at the University of Rochester in New York, has been focusing on a different aspect of video game addiction: motivation. Ryan and his team are testing the idea that psychological needs for control, mastery, and connection can be readily satisfied within games.

"People can feel a lot of autonomy and competence during play, and also it can be a place to relate with others, albeit in a virtual context," Ryan said. "We think that this poor self-control, combined with a more impoverished life, leads a subset of players to sink deeply into the gameworld and in time to feel an obsessive need to play. The obsessive player feels he/she has to play, does it too much, and gets less fun and satisfaction out of it. It also crowds out other satisfactions in life, compounding the problem."

Ryan and his team found that when games were played for less than 10 hours a week, there was no evidence of negative effects on wellness; when games were played in excess of 20 hours a week, signs of ill-being emerged--negative mood, symptoms of depression, and more impoverished relationships. The team's studies showed that those who overuse games are getting fewer of their needs satisfied in their lives outside of games.

"We also discovered players who report obsessive attitudes toward games--they are preoccupied with their games, feel compelled to play, and feel tension when they cannot or are not playing. This latter set of players also shows signs of negative effects on psychological functioning."

Ryan's research showed that those who spent more than 20 hours a week gaming showed negative mood swings and symptoms of depression.

Ryan thinks the lack of quality research into video game overuse will be rectified with time as games become more sophisticated in the ways they satisfy people’s psychological needs.

“We have a lot of people, some in the media and some in the sciences, who are too ready to make very strong claims about video games, whether we are talking about aggression, addiction, or cultural estrangement, based on very little evidence. I think that is especially how the media often sells stories. Some commentators exaggerate risks, and on the other hand there are defenders of games who deny any and all problems and attack any perceived bad news.

"Games are relatively new in our culture, and such vacillation between hysteria and denial I suspect often greets any new phenomenon, from hip-hop to the Internet to video games. Both sides usually have some part of the truth, but it may be a while before at least we as scientists, much less as a society, have a coherent understanding."

Check back with GameSpot next week for Part Two of our game addiction feature. We'll look at more studies into the issue and what game publishers are saying, and we'll talk to some gamers who consider themseves "addicts." In the meantime, hit the comments below and tell us if you think video games can be a real addiction, whether you know people who have a problem, and more.

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In Part 1 of Game Addiction: The Real Story, GameSpot AU defined addiction and explored the nature, symptoms, and scope of video game addiction and its potential to be widely recognised as a clinical addiction. In Part 2, we look MMORPGs, talk to Blizzard about World of Warcraft, and speak to a few self-confessed video game addicts to get their perspective.

Achieving a coherent understanding of video game addiction may be easier said than done. Putting aside the lack of research into the subject, there is always the immediate human reaction to find blame for a phenomenon that’s not yet understood. Whenever the subject of video game addiction arises in the public forum, there is one type of game that is almost always mentioned: massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Based on what we already know about addiction, it is clear that addictive behaviour can occur when playing any type of game. However, research to date has focused more on MMORPGs due to their highly competitive and in-world social nature.

While addictive behaviour can occur with any type of game, most studies have focused on MMORPGs.

MMORPGs

Dr Andrew Campbell runs the Brain and Mind Research Institute Clinical Centre at the University of Sydney, a child and adolescent practice that has dealt with video game addiction involving MMORPGs. Dr Campbell and his team have looked closely at the factors that attract players to games where they are willing to give up other aspects of their life in order to play.

“The types of games these players were obsessed with were very popular titles that involved complex economies and merit systems,” Dr Campbell said. “They gave each player a sense of being skilful, clever, and part of a team or community. They also instilled in them a sense to continue with the game no matter how many rewards or ‘levels’ they attained in the game. More often than not, the players never thought about the end of a game, especially in a MMORPG world.

“We have looked at how some players gain self-esteem from the ‘mastery’ of a game--thus leading us to the hypothesis that these types of players are always looking for a place in a social group where they feel valued, admired and ultimately, comfortable. In the case of video games, players do not feel as much of a ‘body’ response to winning, but more of a mental sense of satisfaction that impacts their ego and sense of self. They want to continue feeling this, and so return to the source--the game itself.”

According to Dr Campbell, research into video game addiction conducted from the early 1980s to the present has been contradictory on the seriousness of it. While some theorists believe that video game playing is an example of obsessive rather than addictive behaviour, other theorists believe video game addiction could be as serious as gambling, alcoholism and even drug addiction.

Some theorists claim video game addiction is as serious as gambling, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

His own research to date has been inconclusive, but has led Dr Campbell to raise new questions about what factors obsessive video game players attain from playing games, in comparison to what they would desire to have in their social lives if they had to give up playing video games.

“For example, do they want popularity, do they want to engage often in competitions where they can demonstrate mastery or do they simply want to achieve a feeling of belonging to a community?”

Dr Campbell says that whether video game addiction exists, or whether it is merely obsessive behaviour that is detrimental to the social and healthy development of gamers, the best treatment is prevention.

“Gamers who think they may be addicted need to take the time to see how their lives have changed since playing a game continuously. What friends do they associate with and what are those friends interested in? Are they more moody, losing sleep and generally disinterested in any activities outside of the games they play? If a person is concerned that they may have a problem with their video game playing behaviour, the most important thing to do is talk their concern over with a close relative or trusted friend who is not involved in the same gaming behaviour as the person.”

The 2007 report into the addictive nature of video games published by the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health also pointed to MMORPGs as a particular concern, indicating that although video game overuse can be associated with any type of game, it is most commonly seen among MMORPG players. According to the report, MMORPG players represent approximately nine per cent of gamers. The report stated that:

“Researchers have attempted to examine the type of individual most likely to be susceptible to such games, and current data suggest these individuals are somewhat marginalised socially, perhaps experiencing high levels of emotional loneliness and/or difficulty with real life social interactions. Current theory is that these individuals achieve more control of their social relationships and more success in social relationships in the virtual reality realm than in real relationships.”

With its scope of 11.5 million subscribers, World of Warcraft is the most prevalent MMORPG.

It’s no secret that the most prevalent MMORPG is World of Warcraft. With a subscriber base currently sitting at 11.5 million subscribers, the game is a phenomenon. World of Warcraft’s second expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, sold 2.8 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release in November last year, going on to sell over four million copies in the first month. Given the game’s scope, its players more than likely make up the majority of the nine per cent of those who play MMORPGs. And as such, it's no wonder that WoW often finds itself portrayed as the addict's choice when it comes to mainstream coverage of game addiction. Blizzard has previously acknowledged its game's addictive potential, and says it has built in specific features within the game to try and curb the problem.

"Like most other games, World of Warcraft is designed to be fun and compelling and should be recognised as another means of enjoyment, such as watching television, playing sports or reading books," a Blizzard spokesperson told GameSpot AU. "As with those forms of entertainment, it is ultimately up to the individual player or his or her parent or guardian to determine how long he or she should spend playing games. We feel that a person's day-to-day life should take precedence over any form of entertainment, and in fact, World of Warcraft has elements that allow players to take natural breaks.

"For example, as World of Warcraft players advance their characters in the game, they can benefit from a feature called the Rest System, an integral game mechanic designed to enhance gameplay, which rewards them with an experience boost based on the amount of time spent between play sessions. This feature has been in the game since launch. Players can also use the in-game clock to set an alarm that notifies them when their desired playtime has been reached. Another example would be the design of the quests and dungeons in World of Warcraft. Quests can generally be completed by individual players or together with friends in less than an hour. The same goes for many of the game’s dungeons, which are designed to be completed wing by wing at the player’s discretion rather than all at once. This design allows players to make appreciable progress in the game with a minimal time commitment during any given play session.

"And for minors, the game’s parental-control system makes it easy for parents and guardians to set play schedules for the account. This feature is very straightforward, and it’s web-based, which means parents and guardians can manage their child’s access to the game from any browser, as opposed to having to log in to the game to do so. To use it, parents or guardians simply select blocks of time, such as homework time after school, when the game will be inaccessible for that account. We’ve even provided pre-made schedules, such as 'weekends only' and 'after school and weekends', to make things easier.

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Back to page one

A different perspective

Between clinical research, public perspective, and the gaming community’s understanding of video game addiction, there is another point of view that demands a voice: the self-confessed addict’s.

David, a 28-year-old gamer from Mt Isa in Queensland, Australia, spends up to 20 or more hours a week playing games, usually first-person shooters. Although he’s been a gamer for 15 years, it wasn’t until his recent decision to start studying again that he first noticed his habit was becoming a problem.

“My sleep, studying and physical condition have all suffered because I play games too much,” he said. “Sometimes it takes me a while to fall asleep because I think about a game I’m playing. I also leave assignments to the last minute. I find it especially frustrating if I am left alone for a day, because I will end up playing way too much.” David says that he does not suffer if he has not played for a period of time, but he admits he always has a game at the back of his mind, acknowledging that if he continues his habit he will also continue to suffer in other aspects of his life.

Video game addiction can affect sleep, study and a person’s physical condition.

Twenty-three-year-old X (who does not wish to be named) also plays more than 20 hours of games a week. He’s been playing games since the age of six, beginning by favouring RTS games and eventually moving on to shooters and strategy games like Call of Duty 4 and Warcraft 3, and RPGs like KOTOR and Oblivion. He says gaming became a problem when he was first left alone to monitor how much time he spent playing them.

“I was 14 and there was nothing really stopping me from playing too much, so I did. Over time, I’ve found that the more I game, the harder it is to concentrate. For example, I find it extremely hard to just sit down and write an assignment or do some reading for university; every few minutes, my mind is wandering back to games. If I haven’t been playing games for a week or two for one reason or another, then I find my concentration improving and gaming doesn’t dominate my thoughts nearly as much.”

X says that to some extent, most aspects of his life suffer due to excessive gaming: study, social life, relationships and health.

“I know that if I spent even one fifth of the time that I game on study, then my grades would have been a lot better. On more than one occasion I’ve stayed in and gamed instead of going out. And as far as wellbeing goes, I have trouble sleeping, my posture isn’t great and I even carry my right shoulder forward a little because I use it for the mouse, which has given me shoulder problems. I even get in a bad mood when I perform badly whilst playing," he said.

“During the period of time I’m playing games and in the short term (a few hours, to a couple of weeks) after quitting them, I can experience anything from insomnia, to trouble concentrating, to restlessness--usually all three. It’s after I haven’t played any games for a few weeks that these symptoms start to disappear.”

In X’s group that he plays games with, gaming is encouraged--the group has developed its own subculture around playing, and there is never talk of ‘excessive gaming’. However, X has found relationships with other groups of peers and his parents have suffered. When it comes to defining what his habits mean, X believes the problem is psychological.

“I find that when I’m playing games, I’m fine and most other times when I’m not playing games, I want to be playing games. I don’t know what will happen if I continue to play games this way--I have full-time employment lined up for next year which is probably going to dominate most of my waking hours, so it might be that a lot of my problems take care of themselves. Then again, if I only have a few hours to myself every night and I’m filling them with gaming, then my social life might suffer even more.”

Sleep, social life, and even work can be affected by addiction, according to some self-confessed addicts.

X says he has never thought about getting outside help, but would consider it if more aspects of his life begin to suffer. In the meantime, he sees video game addiction becoming an increasing problem in society as more people become gamers and the competition aspect is played up.

“Where you have a problem that isn’t recognised as a problem and where the effects aren’t readily identifiable or measureable, then that problem is going to get a lot worse before enough people realise it’s there and resolve to do something about it. Couple that with the fact that gaming is also coming more and more into the mainstream and you’ve got a bunch of serious problems sitting just off the horizon. For the first time, a large percentage of the population is gaming and in the next few generations, I can only see that figure increasing.

“There’s also the status of gaming itself. Clans are being sponsored, the industry is booming and players are actually making money out of it. People are making a living from playing games. Gaming is being marketed like a sport, which in many ways is a fair classification--it’s often highly competitive, takes skill and teamwork. However, there are some serious negatives to playing too many games, negatives which don’t exist with normal sports.”

What are your thoughts on game addiction? Is it real? Is the issue being over-inflated? Tell us your comments below!

Discussion

1015 comments
jhonel83
jhonel83

When I got the time I used to play for 13-14 hrs/day, sleep and go at it again when I woke up. Sleeping, eating and bathing felt like a chore. I had this kind of life for..6 years I think? Messed up my school, affairs with girls and later on my job. And no, I wasn't playing MMO-s, just normal single player, but I felt like I needed to play them all. Seriously, I probably played and finished every PC game that came out 2000-2007. Thankfully I eventually got over it. But my simple example is to show that video games ARE a serious addiction and can totally kill your social life. It won't actually kill you phisically (like I saw in some news), unless you are ill to start with. But IT WILL destroy your social life

good_sk8er7
good_sk8er7

Heroine =/= video games. That stuff can destroy your life. I participate in the occasional substance use, but there are some substance that are just evil in their essence.

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

Some days I play games for 4 hours - sometimes when a new one like Halo 3 came out, I'll play for 8 just to finish it. But normally? Some days I don't play electronic-games at all... People blame gaming for wayyyyyyy to much. Just like they did with comics in the 1950's...I mean as soon as there's a shooting SUDDENLY: OMG, ban gaming ban gaming ba- There have always been shootings, and crime etc. In fact, as games have gotten bigger - shooting have lessened in percentage apparently. That statement about heroin - NOT true. If you go up to someone and they say: I play electronic-games sometimes - you'll most likely reply: "oh cool, what kinds do you play" - if they say: I do heroin sometimes - you'll go: "You should get some help before it gets bad - that stuff is not good for you. In other words doing a lot of heroin is not like playing a lot of games. Just saying.

GamerofMario1
GamerofMario1

I barely play video games for more than 3 hours a day. If I'm really really bored, I might go to 7 or 8 hours.

Reiken37
Reiken37

The human mind and it's inability to process thier actions will always amaze me. I play a lot of video games but I dont see how someone could play Starcraft for 30 hours. It's a great game, but I'd get bored after like 3 or 4 hours... well maybe bored after 6 or 7.

A-l-g-r-e-n
A-l-g-r-e-n

And I thought I was an addict for playing 6 hours a day (free day, that is)...

nb49
nb49

Moderation in all things.

egentwierdo
egentwierdo

Although I do believe that it can be count as a mental disease, I don't think that a perfectly normal man can get highly addicted to a game, I think that this is added up to something else like people who are depressed or stressed or have actual mental sickness. The fact that people murder and steal for video games is just disgusting. As I noticed people are mostly getting addicted to specific and mostly popular games and there might be some sort of known or unknown specific thing that those games have in common.

Blueflame2k4
Blueflame2k4

Interesting article. Games are addicting. It's a known fact I would say no matter which way you splice it. Just because it's not a drug or alcohal addiction, doesn't mean it still isn't a problem. I'll admit it as I am a gamer myself. I love playing games and play alot. Gaming isn't the root of the problem, getting someone to stop playing games is great... sure... until they find their next addiction and starts all over again. I think the actual root of the problem needs to be treated. Clinics should be going after the root of these addictions, not the addiction itself. That's just a bandaid. Whatever the psycological or mental reason is that causes the addiction needs to be treated. That is where I think the money and resources need to be spent. Remember, All things in moderation.

phtartist9
phtartist9

Humans are pleasure seeking. Name the addictions, there are plenty. The people who are opening clinics are helping the people who went overboard. Come on, drink your drink, smoke your smoke, seek your pleasure, game your game, but use your heads people. Too much of any good thing will bite you in the end. Pace yourself and you can pleasure yourself to the end of time. heh heh heh.

ds80
ds80

Most of these comments are apparently from kids, so let me clear something up for you. Just because you don't have the problem, doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist for others. The world does not revolve around you. Does this addiction sound silly to you? Probably. Personally, I think smoking and drinking are very silly decisions - they harm the only body you've got. That does not make it any less of a problem in society. I've personally seen the damage that an addiction can have on a person and the lives of their family. Obviously, a gaming addiction diagnosis is new because the gaming market has only recently (5-15 years is recent in the broad span of things) exploded and become a viable part of society. We only equate addiction with substances like alcohol because it has been around for centuries. To stand back and judge without knowing the people and their situation is immature and lacks substance to even give your opinion worth. This is a prevalent problem and, sadly, more will probably unfold and expose itself once more people know about this. This is not about banning games. This is not about games being bad or even bad for you. This is about a personal problem that people suffer with and any respectable adult human can only attempt to help someone with the problem or spread the world about it.

djrols
djrols

My 15-year old son has been playing the xbox for about 4 years now. He plays Halo every day. It was only at the beginning of this year that I discovered the Family Timer. Recently he has found a way around this. He has had LOTS of absences from school in the past few years, he regularly complains of headache, stomachache. He is distracted, disengaged and unmotivated at school. I took the xbox away this week and he has now refused point-blank to go back to school. All he wants is his xbox back. I am very worried about him, and how to deal with the current situation. I need help and don't know what to do. Addiction - yes, in this case. He's only 15 and feels like he doesn't need an education. Everyone is different and handle stress, life, gaming differently. In my son's case, I do believe he is addicted, and I am paralysed with fear. I just hope taking the xbox away is going to be a positive step, and not cause him to do anything bad.

artyom570568
artyom570568

I've played wow a lot a few years back when i was in school. but afterward life changes, you find a job, meet new people. and you"ll have less time to spend on games. Don't get me wrong I'm still a gamer, i enjoy it but i spend less time on games because of real life duties. After all its up to us how we want to spend our free time. some people like sports, some people like music and movies, well we like video games! I don't see anything wrong in this, do i prefer online conversation to real life friends? sometimes, yes. do i rather spend my free time at home playing some new game i just acquired or leveling my character? Yes, but in the same way i would go to a party with my friends and enjoy there. As someone here said before, gaming is not an addiction it a choice we make, we play because we enjoy it and will stop playing when we find something that we"ll like more than gaming. thank you for reading.

kweeni
kweeni

i dont have any problems with game addiction. and personally i hate mmorpg's. btw im on my ps3 right now

kweeni
kweeni

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kweeni
kweeni

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kweeni
kweeni

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

tudyniuz
tudyniuz

I don't think I ever had any problems with gaming addiction...

Marcster1994
Marcster1994

I have to blame the difficulty of games. A game should not feel like its on very Hard on normal

kristian_5_0
kristian_5_0

and the dependence??....naaahh its just an ego........ when you kill someone in FPS you feel more lucky or skillfull than your prey.....¿and in RPG? the high level you are, means more butts are you capable to kick.... and it take relevance, if in real world you are people who are opresed, bully, whatever... If you clock a pressure valve, of a presure pot, it will explode, and kill everyone near it..... My recomendation, try to have some other way to distract yourself, I like to play Nobuo's Uematsu Songs, in my piano, violin and guitar.....

kristian_5_0
kristian_5_0

¿Why do you feel angry when you get interrupted by someone in a middle of action in MMO? cant pause it, so if you simply put the control away or something, you are like trowing away you time and effort, there are games that death penalty are very high, I knew people who cried when got killed and other go berserk, even fight in real world, ¿what represent? you spent in your character, time, and effort. I do not recomend play MMO If you cant bear the frustration, you will harm yourself or someone else. ¿Wanna make a try?, go and log on in your favorite video game,MMO would be ideal, try to take off every point of HP and go die without reason many times as posible, just trow away all your money and items, make a gift to a stranger, ¿why dont you give your account and pass to someone who passing by?. All your items, the high level you have, it represent all the time and effort invested in the game, Dont you think? if you say, "OH MAN NO WAY" you value every second you played. As the same, a people who are chem addicted, love every second when they are in the high but the line that divide both of you is what are you capable of, for protecting your valuable time. ¿What Am I Capable To Do If Someone Try To Take Away My Videogame? the answer could be variable as variable the time you have spent on it Dont get wrong even Bethoveen got angry and furious if someone interfere his practice

Amz1217
Amz1217

@gamegod172003 That's an excellant point that's what most people don't get about video game addiction if one muder is commited anywhere and that person was a game addict they would point the finger at games and probably increase game taxes etc.....whereas loads of serial murderes and rapists are around and to the goverment it's not a big deal and some of them are yougsters..................

0678
0678

gamegod makes an excellant point. i was playing call of duty waw not so long ago and this guy musta been the top prestige level came in and started talking crap ya know how it is. so after i being only level 27 on my first play though (no prestige level) started to do well he began screaming and i do mean SCREAM at me for killing him and being good. in the end our side won but this guy keeps goign on about me hacking and being a f** and how i should die and im was like what the hell is wrong with you? its a video game!. people can make these kind of vicotries or loses personal to make up for there unsatisfying real life and when that happens your most definatly in trouble.

anik786
anik786

when the next-gen consoles come out (e.g.playstation 4) gaming addiction will porbally become more serious!

anik786
anik786

i strongly agree with gamegod172003

gamegod172003
gamegod172003

Must be the online aspect, you cant pause the game plus people trash talk a lot and you get this revenge feeling but in the eyes of a mentally unstable person that revenge and humiliation can lead to violence to the closest physical object or annoyance around you. I think thats what the real problem was here. I admit I get annoyed when someone asks me to do something during my online matches but after its over I don't start another match until I do what is asked of me if you can't walk away from your game or separate yourself from that fictional world then you shouldn't play games cause they are taking over your life and blurring your vision on reality and priority.

Trenchman
Trenchman

I don't like the term addiction because it removes the person from their responsibility, and the fact that they so pathetic they can't not do something. Physical addiction is a little different in that they have actual physical problems with it. Frankly if your so pathetic that you whole life is messed up because of gambling, sex, or video game "addiction", someone should just beat some sense into you. The problem is that this kid isn't a victim of violent video games, in truth the amount of violent crime has been going down since video games came about. Also, addiction isn't just "symptoms of time usage and social dysfunction/disruption " let's face it, some times you would rather stay at home and play games than go out with friends, and "time usage" is sort integral to everything, I've never seen anyone not use any tome playing games. It can only qualify as an addiction if try to spend every waking moment playing them. If you stop going to work and everything falls apart. If you can hold a job, or go to school, get all of your bills payed on time, and don't live an unhealthy life because of video games, you don't have an addiction.

Zazabar11
Zazabar11

lol wtf, a sega controller? INTENSE ANGLE!!!

AlbertiRAGD13
AlbertiRAGD13

It's all linked back to the parents and people being incapable of recognizing a mental instability in those infected. Parents nowadays are all too quick to let the tv and the media raise their children. Gone are the days of Johnny going out to play ball with the other kids. No, instead Johnny invites his friends over to play video games, or simply doesn't have friends, and spends the day isolated staring at the tv for hours on end. And it's all because of an increasingly lazy parental population.

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

It's a great discussion to keep open in our minds. Also an important one.

Twinkling82
Twinkling82

@Infra As he explained, addicts (alcohol, drugs,gaming) sometimes don't realize they have a problem before something bad happens. (divorcing, killing, accidents, get firet from work etc....)

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

Damn, i have to say that i have some of the syntoms, i get in a really bad mod if i do bad in a game and, sometimes i stay in home just to play a game (i blame you FFVIII) i dont consider myself an addict, but videogames are a big deal in my daily life, i guess i'm gonna tray harder to find a balance, because i love videogames too much to just quit, then again, i dont want to become an addict.

Holy_Terra
Holy_Terra

sorry for double post but most weeks I do spend more than 20 hours on games and I am not depressed or a social outcast... I think that this is only for real addicts and I think real addiction is on MMOs like WoW Guild wars etc.

Holy_Terra
Holy_Terra

Bloody hell I mean I got kinda annoyed when my PS3 broke but when my parents took away my laptop I didnt slash em open with a knife ffs that kid is messed up and the others jesus but I dont think there are anywhere near as many deaths by Video gaming addiction compared to others (alcohol, smoking, illegal drugs etc). But hey it interesting thanks for posting this gamespot

Bortacus
Bortacus

The best part is when the guy found that people who play 20+ hours show signs of depression. I think a lot of 'gamers' don't even realize that 20 hours a week of anything is a heavy investment of time, and if they play alone (Ventrillo is still playing alone), that's a long time to do something so unproductive and isolative. Don't fall into the trap that is game addiction!

infra500
infra500

@ costlywar nice ...God also blessed man with the thing called "mind" that can easily decide what is better for one at time.... but it depends on the guy driving a car if he throttles it to the point where he does not know if he can control it or not or he remains well with in his limits.... KEEP USING MIND DONT LET IT RUST.

tsikki
tsikki

All in all, a great article!

costlywar
costlywar

An addict would be someone who ignores other responsibilities/priorities because, they cannot get enough, of whatever it is, that creates a sense of pleasure. So, say if you are an alcoholic. You would set aside what is very important, and focus on getting that drink that causes a temporary sense of pleasure.Eventually it becomes a habit. Its that sensation of pleasure,( depending on how long the effects), that causes one to want more. Another words, an addiction. Video games is a form of fun entertainment. You get that sense of pleasure. Because its fun. It can become a habit and then possibly an addiction. If you play say, 8 hrs a week. And then you find yourself playing 25 hrs a week and ignoring other responsibilities, then you proabably are an addict. For example, the alcoholic will never admit its an addiction until it ruins his/hers life. An alcoholic will start with one drink, and the pleasure wears off and then wants twice as much the next. So each time, the drinks get stronger and stronger or more and more. The same goes for pretty much for other things. Whether its alcoholic drinks, drugs, sex, gambling, food,etc. Its like the old saying goes, "too much of a good thing CAN be bad".

infra500
infra500

I was a hardcore gamer a couple of years ago.... I used to start playing from the time I got up till I went back to sleep... I used to play cosecutively for 3-4 days non stop when free..... but never got any such thing.. yes I felt tired after 5-6 hours of gaming and depressed sometimes but nothing like this...now i am just a regular gamer because of the job but havent had any such conditions. this is also a business trick as far as modren day medical trends are considered.... a kids in Iraq killed themselves by hanging as they saw Saddam's execution on TV so there must also be TV/Movie sickness clinics and so for other stuff.... LOLZ I dont say that such clinics wont help but what I have observed is that if you go out for an hour or so to a resturant or shopping mall or a park with friends after 5-6 hours of gaming its all good, PLAY TILL YOU CAN TO YOUR BEST!

Furnish
Furnish

These kind of memo scares the pants of people than alerting them

Furnish
Furnish

A hardcore gamer, who lavish long hours studying, and criticizing aspects of a game doesnt show any sign of addiction. Those people with mental disorder would do facist action like the ones mention above.

Karrotjuce
Karrotjuce

i bet i could call myself a hardcore gamer, but i really dont play much. to much homework, extra activities, etc.

Karrotjuce
Karrotjuce

@kiloai Thats something to be proud of?

crazy_happy
crazy_happy

I am a hardcore gamer, not an addict. I play for about 20 hours a week and have none of the symptoms mentioned here. Gaming is for fun, it's meant to be enjoyed. For e.g. everyone likes chocolate and people feel better after eating it when they are down in the dumps, but, that doesn't mean we don't eat chocolate normally, does it? Perhaps, this so called "video game addiction" needs to be looked at from a whole new perspective. What if it's not a disorder in itself but a symptom that manifests from a much more deep rooted cause. Maybe video games just provide a platform to vent feelings that may arise out of a different reason, so, multitude of people across varying age, nationality etc. have been reported as 'addicts'. Maybe it doesn't occur independently, it's tied in with some other forms of psychological disorder.

DarkFadi
DarkFadi

I used to wake up and start playing all day till its time to sleep, and do the same in the next day all over again...but now that doesn't happen, i wounder why.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Life isn't a picnic folks, sure I bet there are addicts out there who seriously depend on video gaming to survive their everyday lives. Then again most of them come from broken homes, abusive environments, hopeless situations in general. I use video gaming as a platform to escape my hopelessness in this greed driven society. Its terrible that things like this happens but its gonna keep happening where the rich keep on getting richer while the poor keep on getting poorer...

kiloai
kiloai

You can say that my country is also a Hacker's Paradise, because there are no laws at all... You hack a bank, you go 2 jail, you pay the police, you got out. That's it... And if you got lucky you'll never see jail, because the banks don't have enough technology, enough online security 2 see you. The banks don't pay 4 a high-end security technology. And they don't have it. But they do have a lot of money. This is Africa!!! Where the laws are written with pencil and anyone can erase it.

kiloai
kiloai

Here in Africa We rule!!! We play all types of video games, any time, any place. There are no ages. We can copy a video game and give 2 our friends whenever we wunt. There is no laws against it in my country. We use 2 say that we live in Gamer's Paradise. Here we taste the true meaning of lan parties. And when we're bored we smash keyboards and monitors, sometimes a little fight. But in the end everybody is well and good friends as alwayz. We do wutever we wunt 2 do. Cops don't give a sht about it. Even if they do... there's corruption 100% in my country...we pay them... ha ha ha ha ha ha

Newager
Newager

alot of online games i'd say they "smuggle" the gambling activity into their games. This is done to, of course, make their game life span longer. From there, this buys them some time to develop on new ideas, new features and implementations in game. However this takes people to not only learn to be addict to the game but to the gambling itself. I can mention Hero online and Dekaron (two moons) they both have percentage rate of item upgrading successibility (is that an english word?). What they do in the end is to sell charms or something that might increase the chance of upgrading success. This is problematic in itself, what people tend to pick up quickly when they are able to + items higher than any other players are: outward character status, better looks, better power, therefore feeling more powerful, earning respect from others etc etc you get the picture... If online games are to be better games in the future I'd say they better stop using low drop rates etc and start expanding more on the features implementation and endless novelties rather than slowing people down with gambling strategy to slow the player's progress. drop rates, drop rates drop rates isnt this one of the biggest problem in mmorpg, I believe this can be considered as gambling in itself.

jodudeit
jodudeit

I agree that video games are addicting. Why, if my parents didn't limit me to weekends I probably would be up there in the at least 4 hours a day bracket. But now I find myself going farther away from them now that I have found what I believe to be my calling life. RC! Radio controlled cars are out of this world! It's not surprising though, modern cars can go about 50 mph easy. So I say, find something that will interest you and also does more than killing. But I do hate mmo's. They take me friends away and I can't stand them. They are the most slow and boring games out there. I would find more fun in playing a whole lot of, I don't know, PAC-MAN? So, find something else to do. You too Blizzard. Why not finish up on Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. But noooooo you have to spend over half of you're planning and development for you're "amazing" WoW. Sorry had to rant a little.