A new study claims that one in twelve (8.5%) of gamers age 8-18 shows signs of being addicted to their hobby.
The research, conducted by Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the Family, compared the young gamers' playing habits to the American Psychiatric Association’s list of symptoms of gambling addiction.
The 8.5% of study subjects who showed addictive traits indicated behaviors such as:
• Lying to family and friends about video game usage
• Using video games to escape from problems or bad feelings
• Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to stop playing video games
• Skipping homework in order to play video games
• Doing poorly on a school assignment or test because they spent too much time on games.
ISU Prof Douglas Gentile (left) commented on his findings:
Many parents have been worried about their children being ‘addicted’ to video games. While the medical community currently does not recognize video game addiction as a mental disorder, hopefully this study will be one of many that allow us to have an educated conversation on the positive and negative effects of video games.
NIMF president David Walsh added:
This study is a wake-up call for families. While video games can be fun and entertaining, some kids are getting into trouble. I continue to hear from families who are concerned about their child’s gaming habits. Not only do we need to focus on identifying the problem, but we need to find ways to help families prevent and treat it.
The ISU/NIMF study used data collected in a Harris Interactive Poll that surveyed 1,178 American youth, aged 8 to 18.
DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the study here.
GP: Perhaps a small point, but the press release for this research continually refers to "nearly one out of ten" respondents being addicted to video games. However, the 8.5% addiction result determined by the research is actually much nearer to one in twelve (8.33%); we've represented it as such in this article.
UPDATE: Grand Theft Childhood co-author Dr. Cheryl Olson offers some criticism of the study methodology employed by Prof. Gentile.