Blogger Examines Videogame Addiction

October 28, 2010 -

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.


Comments

Re: Blogger Examines Videogame Addiction

I agree that there is a lot of hype around this topic, but I think that Shos is wrong to dismiss the concept of internet/game addiction completely. There is a fair bit of scientific evidence that underpins the concept. Here's a brief review of some of the work on video game/internet addiction: http://wp.me/p4QUI-r3

Re: Blogger Examines Videogame Addiction

 I think I probably fall into category 4: I used gaming to escape from the bullying problems i suffered throughout elementary and middle school. The truth is, video games stopped me from committing suicide and that's a fact.

Re: Blogger Examines Videogame Addiction

Relevant to today's story about the woman shaking her baby to death over Farmville.  While there are clearly people who exhibit very skewed and disastrously unhealthy priorities toward gaming, there's an important distinction between addictions that cause physical dependency and ones that don't.

Re: Blogger Examines Videogame Addiction

The woman who shook her baby has nothing to do with some supposed game addiction though. Many shaken baby deaths occur in this country every year, mainly due to unprepared mothers with little to no support systems and a lack of education on just how devestating the damage of shaking can be to an infant.

Re: Blogger Examines Videogame Addiction

True, but punishing a crying baby for interrupting your gaming shows a set of very skewed priorities that could indicate what people call "addiction".  The semantics, of course, are open to debate; as I said, it's very important to draw a distinction between those addictions that create a physical dependency and those that don't.

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