The Think Feel Play blog has an interesting take on videogame addition, asking “are video games the drug of our generation, or might something else be going on?”
Author Shoshannah Tekofsky (aka Shos) begins by looking at definitions of the term addiction before picking on research, specifically looking at two major issues “plaguing” videogame research: the all important casual link, “They need to find healthy, balanced people whose lives gaming ruined. This is a lot harder than it sounds,” and definition, “Many researchers assume that there is a problem, pick a set of criteria and see who fits into that slot.”
Shos cites work from Richard Wood, who served up four plausible categories (PDF) for people that might have a problem with playing too many games:
1. People who are labeled video game addicts by others even though they do not experience any problems with their gaming behavior themselves.
2. People who have labeled themselves as addicts as a result of “being convinced” by the media or others of their problems.
3. People who are not good at managing their game time and communicating about it with their friends and family.
4. People who use video games as an escape from deeper problems.
The author calls categories 1 and 2 “harmless, and added, “If you are a healthy and balanced person, then do not worry about your gaming habits. If there is more going on, try to see if it is simply a matter of time management and communication.”
Shos sums up:
For now, we have seen that the concept of a video game addiction is more likely to be a media hype or symptom of an underlying problem than a true addiction. Of course, in daily speech most of us are probably video game addicts. Just like most of the Western population is a TV addict or a car addict. However, clinically speaking, there is no such thing.