ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

April 21, 2009 -

Yesterday GamePolitics reported on research data released by Iowa State University Prof. Douglas Gentile and the National Institute on Media and the Family which suggests that one in twelve people between 8 and 18 show signs of video game dependency.

We also noted that Grand Theft Childhood author Dr. Cheryl Olson of Harvard questioned the survey methodology used in the study.

Not unexpectedly, game publishers' trade group ESA has now weighed in to dispute the NIMF research. Senior VP Rich Taylor (left) commented:

This is a report more in search of media headlines than scientific truth and facts. In an interview, though not in the report itself, Dr. Gentile said, ‘It’s not that games are bad. It’s not that games are addictive.’ Medical experts, including the American Medical Association, have already rejected the fallacy of video game ‘addiction,’ and we completely agree.

Like all forms of entertainment, computer and video games should be a part of a well-rounded lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise. It is up to parents to determine when and how often their children should play any game. For our part, the industry already provides a wide range of tools and information, including timers and parental controls, to help caregivers ensure that entertainment software is used appropriately.

Oregon psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block, who has been known to drop by GamePolitics from time to time, offered some additional criticism of Gentile's research, reports USA Today:

Jerald Block, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Science University, called the study "valuable" to the American Psychiatric Association's [upcoming] decision on whether compulsive computer and Internet use should be considered a mental disorder.

Block, an APA adviser, warns that the [NIMF] study has weaknesses. The research should be replicated because it is supported by the National Institute for Media and the Family, which he likens to a lobbying group. And the survey could have found higher game use because it was collected in January as opposed to summer. It also classifies 8.5% as addicted without a physician interview: "The people they are claiming have a problem, it's not entirely clear that they do have a problem."

UPDATE: GU Comics pokes a bit of fun at the NIMF study.


Comments

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

"Jerald Block, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Science University, called the study 'valuable' to the American Psychiatric Association's [upcoming] decision on whether compulsive computer and Internet use should be considered a mental disorder."

What isn't, these days? One more "disorder" added to the DSM feels like one step among thousands aimed at pathologizing anything other than perfectly "normal" behavior.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

Heh, think it'd be easier to have them define normal first then. ^_^

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

In all fairness as much as Gentile and the NIMF have an "axe to grind", so too does the ESA.  I don't think their criticism is going to carry much weight.  Criticisms from Cheryl Olson or Jerald Block will be more influential.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

The study points out some disturbing information about parental involvement - or lack thereof...

Because several studies have demonstrated both short- and long-term negative effects of playing violent video games, the survey asked the youth how they had gotten M-rated (‘‘Mature’’) video games, if they had. A large percentage of the youth owned M-rated games: 22% of 8- to 11-year-olds, 41% of 12- to 14-year-olds, and 56% of 15- to 18-year-olds (39% of 15- and 16-year-olds). Boys were more than twice as likely as girls to have obtained M-rated games, whether as a gift or through a purchase using their own or their parents’ money; 7% of boys admitted that they had purchased such a game with their own money without their parents’ knowledge.

 

 

www.exgamer.net

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

If you want to focus on parental involvement then this is the data you want to highlight:

3% of 8 to 11-year-olds had M-rated games without their parents' knowledge.  (about 8 of 400 kids)

2% for 12-14, (about 6 of 300 kids)

11% for 15-18 (about 44 of 400 kids but keep in mind, half this last group is 17 or older)

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

A large percentage of the youth owned M-rated games: 22% of 8- to 11-year-olds, 41% of 12- to 14-year-olds, and 56% of 15- to 18-year-olds (39% of 15- and 16-year-olds).

Given that some M rate games got that rating for nothing more than including a few drops of blood, I'm not exactly impressed/frightened.

or through a purchase using their own or their parents’ money; 7% of boys admitted that they had purchased such a game with their own money without their parents’ knowledge.

So in the majority of cases, they had either specific or tacit parental permission to buy them. That's not what I'd call a failure of parenting.

-Gray17

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

Ya, having parentl permission to play such games should not be called failed parenting by default... parents have a right to allow their kids to play those games if they wish... the only question of parenting that comes in is whether or not the parents took any consideration of the game and/or they ended up getting the M-rated game for a child that many would say should probably not be playing such games (this is indicative of a lack of care and thought in raising their child).

A good parent should be able to tell how mature their offspring are... if they really feel their kids are mature enough for those kinds of games, then they should be allowed to let their kids play those games... This kind of stuff varies from child to child; one child might be fine watching horror films, while another might get terribly tramatized, and it's up to parents to make the call whether or not their kid will be fine... the M-rating is a recommendation, not a restriction

 

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

I'd say 7% isn't bad either. When I was young we used to do things behind our parents back, such as getting 18 certificate movies etc, kids do that kind of thing. Doesn't make it right, but then, if kids did everything right, they wouldn't need parents.

I wasn't addicted to 18 certificate films, it was just that I wasn't allowed to see them, as a child, that is a challenge, much the same sort of thing applies here, which is why I consider people like Thompson so stupid for keeping attacking games like GTA IV, because he's actually making it more attractive to young people by giving it free press.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

Those actually look like really good numbers to me.  Only 7% of boys go behind their parents' backs to get mature games?  That's rather fantastic compared to the 20% of kids in high school who report regular binge drinking.  The information may be compelling but it's hardly "disturbing."

---
The Mammon Philosophy

---
Fangamer

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

When kids find something they like, they obsess over it.  When my nephew was young, he would watch "Shrek" *constantly*.

If your kid didn't want to put down a book he was reading, would people be going "*GASP* He's ADDICTED TO BOOKS ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!!1!!11!!ELEVENTY" ?  Hopefully not, and they shouldn't be for games either, as long as it doesn't overshadow things like school, playing outside, etc.  If it does, the parent should... wait for it... parent.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

Agreed, no one thought it was a big deal that I played with my dolls for hours and wouldn't stop until my parents told me to do something else.  Why should it be any different with a video game that I like?  

Kids don't know what moderation is so they have parents to teach them that.  I don't think this study should be considered seriously unless we know how much the parents are monitoring the video game usage.  

www.20sidedwoman.blogspot.com

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

When will the ECA make a statement? Oh that's right, they never do.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

HaHaHaHa. *pant* "They never do." Ha. That is a good one.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

Ah, ECAs most rabid fanboy, right on cue and without fail.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

Of course parrying the ECA's most rabid troll.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

In that case, you missed one in the article before this one.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

I think games are addictive because fun is addictive.

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