Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s Alcoholism

August 23, 2010 -

While videogame addiction still isn’t recognized by the American Medical Association, an article on the subject in the Dayton Daily News features quotes from Iowa State researcher Douglas Gentile in which he continues to make the push that videogame addiction is real.

The article begins with a mention of Quinn Pitcock, the ex-NFL player attempting a comeback with the Seattle Seahawks following a bout with depression, which, he claims, led to excessive videogame play. From there the article evolves into a discussion on the subject of game addiction itself.

Sarah Greenwell, a Pediatric Psychologist from the Children’s Medic l Center of Dayton, kicks off the piece by stating that, throughout her years of service, she has come across only two kids that were genuinely addicted to videogames.

Next up was Gentile, who previously used spilled pencils to demonstrate that playing first-person shooters might reduce empathy, and who also contributed to a study that attempted to link playing games and watching television to attention problems in kids (a study that was later debunked by Christopher J Ferguson).

This time around Gentile compared addiction to videogames to another addiction, alcoholism, stating:

The state where we are with video game addiction is where we were with alcoholism 40 years ago. Forty years ago, there started being evidence that it looked like a medical problem, but people said, ‘No, no — it’s a moral issue. You’re just not strong enough to stop.'


Comments

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

What I eagerly await are the studies and outrage on sports addiction! People who can't get enough of baseball, football, etc. They have to watch highlights, pre-game analysis, post-game analysis, go to sports bars and drink....

Wait...that's being "normal" for some reason, even if you have a huge beer gut, never actually play those sports, have your own "virtual team" that you bet on with your co-workers every week, and talk about nothing else. I guess addiction only applies to "unpopular" hobbies....

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Well, if I'm going to rip off a movie I might as well steal from the best.

"Video game addiction?! You ever suck some dick for 15 minutes of WoW?"

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

I'm taking issue with the fact that their example is clearly a case where excessive playing of videogames was a form of self treatment, not a disease itself.  Quinn Pitlock was suffering from depression - that was his problem, not videogame addiction.  Someone who is depressed and drinks excessively is more than likely just drinking to treat their depression, not an alcoholic.  Normally if you treat the source of the problem (in this case, depression) the "addiction" is no longer necessary, and falls to the wayside.  Wasn't there a study published in South Korea that evinced this only a few weeks ago?

Someone who genuinely suffers from game addiction (and not some other disease they're using videogames to treat) is very, very rare.  I have a friend who will suffer from withdrawl (shakes, headaches, etc) if he doesn't play videogames for a long enough time.  That is videogame addiction. But it's no different than people who exercise excessively and become addicted to the epinephrine boost, and I have known many, many more people (and I'm a gamer) who suffer from exercise addiction than videogame addiction.

Does it exist? Yes.  I know it does, from second hand experience.  Is it something frequent enough, compared to other addictions, that we should worry about it? Not really, or at least not in my experience.  Show me a study that shows a good percentage of those who enjoy videogames are actually addicted to it, and then I'll see it as a big problem.

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

I'm addicted to breathing. I can't help it. I just don't have the strength to stop.

Does that count?

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

More like comparing it to yesteryears shopping addiction....


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

(shrugs) SSDD

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

As if we haven't heard this before.

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Ah.. ha....

Yeah... video games can be addicting, just like any other activity.... comparing it to something physically and chemically addictive like alcohol seems a bit disingenuous.....

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

I anxiously await research showing that game addiction is a genetic disease, causes physical dependence, and is a major cause of domestic violence.

Though I WILL concede that, like drinking, if you're playing a game while driving you can cause an accident.

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Are video games addictive?  No.  Can you be addicted to video games?  Only in the sense that you choose to play them to the exclusion of other important things (health, social life, etc.).

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Gentile's 2009 study he references was the one where he used an on-line survey to survey kids who naturally were heavy internet users.  The 8.5% figure he gets, therefore, is largely meaningless.  Kind of like going to a cancer ward to study cancer prevalence rates.

Junk science.

 
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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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Andrew EisenNo idea why such an opinion would upset or irk you so I'd be interested in reading it. Got a link?11/20/2014 - 4:13pm
Wonderkarplook deep for it....reaching much. those kinds of people are what urk me.11/20/2014 - 4:07pm
WonderkarpI got upset the other day when a known feminist blog wrote a large article on how the demo to Pokemon Omega Ruby was Sexist cause you couldnt play as a girl. It was a Demo....who cares? but they went off on how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta11/20/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenHere's the panel that Sarkeesian quote from earlier comes from. Amazing what the proper context does, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0qxtKz2vZw11/20/2014 - 3:32pm
NeenekoSomething to keep in mind, we tend to look at physics as 'hard', but math and physics are trivial compared to soc/psych (I have worked in both), but FEELS like it should be simplier.11/20/2014 - 3:17pm
NeenekoI think what tends to make discussing sexism in games difficult is scale, the issues tend to be systemic in nature, but bite sized examples are not... and the systemic part ties into a lot of dry academic stuff requiring domain knowledge not everyone has.11/20/2014 - 3:16pm
Wonderkarpand I jumped for joy when the Cogs went multigendered in GOW. but I also like male protagonists like Kratos or Nathan Drake or Link.11/20/2014 - 2:58pm
Wonderkarp..it needs female options. thats why I prefer biowares games. My Shepard was female(Jennifer Hale <3) and my skyrim player was female. I prefer female characters. But I dont think its a sexism issue. More and more females are coming.11/20/2014 - 2:55pm
WonderkarpMonte, I would argue that with Tomb Raiders sales....remember me though....personally I like games with character customization. I was one of those people miffed at ACUnity over no female assassins. if you give us customization, unless its a sports game..11/20/2014 - 2:53pm
Matthew WilsonI argue it hass less to do with femalw lead, and more to do with marketing and game quality. remember me did not sell bad becouse of a female lead, it was a bad game.11/20/2014 - 2:48pm
MonteWonderKarp, Games with female protgonists have a much harder time. Many publishers shy away from them because they don't think they will sell and many games that do get greenlit wind up getting less marketting or downplay the females in their marketting.11/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenUnfortunately, Thompson is so intertwined with our beat that when he shows up in another story that's right in our wheelhouse, we kinda have to cover him, despite how over him a lot of our readership may be. Anything else you consider "tabloidish"?11/20/2014 - 2:40pm
Wonderkarpand they just did!11/20/2014 - 2:24pm
WonderkarpMy Amiibos Shipped!!! Now Amazon needs to mark my Smash Bros as Shipped11/20/2014 - 2:24pm
WonderkarpI do a lot of streaming and eventually I'll be doing some lets plays. (my cohost lives a while from me but hopefully I'll be moving soon). I will say I keep my lets plays and streams 100% free of any of my political views.11/20/2014 - 2:22pm
WonderkarpBut I'm a Gamer before a GPer :P anywho. I think I'd like to see less stories that seem tabloidish that repeat themselves. Unless like, something serious happened, I dont need to hear about (Example) Jack Thompson on a tv show saying the same thing he did11/20/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI align with wonderkarp on this issue, I may disagree and complain, but things are professional and polite enough here that it seems worth being disagreeable ^_^11/20/2014 - 2:12pm
james_fudgeBesides, you're a GPer first and a GGer second ;)11/20/2014 - 2:06pm
james_fudgeIf we all agreed the world would be a boring place11/20/2014 - 2:05pm
james_fudgeWonderkarp: we do appreciate your support and we're glad you're here.11/20/2014 - 2:05pm
 

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