George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

November 17, 2010 -

A George Mason University teacher believes that society is blind to the permeation of videogame addiction in college students; a problem so widespread that she believes it is swelling the number of dropouts.

Demonstrating less tactfulness than Rush Limbaugh (yes, that was odd to write), Erica Jacobs kicks off her column by alluding that Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho’s addiction to Counter-Strike contributed to his actions, before recounting the tale a student of hers told about a roommate at school that became so addicted to World of Warcraft, he eventually dropped out.

After this paper was read in Jacobs’ class, "each [of the other students] had a similar story of a family member or friend who was addicted to a video game.”

Jacobs goes on to reference a 2008 speech by (then) FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, who billed online game addiction as “one of the top reasons” students dropping out of college.

“No one is immune from addiction,” wrote Jacobs, who continued:

We cope with addictions to alcohol and drugs more readily than addictions to video games, and that blindness has put many college students in jeopardy of failing school. As we know, recognizing that a problem exists is the first step to dealing with it.

Remember, the addict could be you.


Comments

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

So, this piece lazily conflates physical addiction and psychological addiction (two substantially different, but superficially similar conditions) and then complains that there is a difference in how we deal with two things that are different?

Shoddy journalism.

 

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

Her trying to link video games to violence is onerous, but her overall point about accepting video game "addiction" as a potential issue that people may need help with is valid.

Hello, my name is Arell, and I... was addicted to World of Warcraft.  *sob

No seriously.  Back when I tried college for the second time, I was also playing the brand new game called WoW.  A year into the game, I was playing 3-4 hours a night weekdays, and more than 6 hours a day weekends.  But I was also reading and posting on forums for hours at a time, dealing with Guild business as the GL, and working to maintain a website for the guild.  I'd use Computer Labs on campus to go over instance strategies on the official forums, and doodle talent builds in class.  Did this effect my grades?  Oh hell yeah.  Was it why I eventually dropped out... again?  No.

I was actually trying to cope with my mother's cancer that year, and then her death.  I retreated to an MMO to shut out the pain, and to have control over my character's life where I felt I didn't have any in my real life.  I finally realized that this was stupid and that it was hurting me, and I actually forced myself to quit cold turkey.  Even then, I had a kind of phychological withdraw for about 2 weeks.  I thought about WoW, I dreamt about WoW, I'd catch myself starting to open WoW websites when I sat down at the computer, and then paced the hallway outside my computer room when I tried not using the computer.  I did get back to normal, and my grades and social life did improve.  Of course, I eventually dropped out of college when I realized I didn't have any real goal in mind and was just blowing a shitload of money to learn things I couldn't use to get a better job.

The biggest thing is, I never blamed the video game.  It was all my own fucking fault!  But that doesn't mean I didn't have a problem that I could have used help to end sooner.  Gamers often get defensive when the topic of "game addiction" comes up, because gamers are used to people blaming their hobby for everything.  But just because the person's compulsion is video games, does not make gaming inherently bad.  And GOOD psychologists don't demonize video games, either.  Just as they don't demonize gambling, sex, food, shopping, or Justin Beber for other forms of obsessive behavior.

I didn't bother reading her column, the whole Virginia Tech thing sort of soured her opinion for me.  But people with obsessive problems need help.  Sometimes just family and friends, sometimes professional therapy.  But just because their obsession is a video game, doesn't mean it should reflect badly on games as a whole, or that the person's problem can be dismissed as not real.  It's not wrong to recognize that a large number of people are dropping out because they can't lay off the video games.  We just need to figure out how to help them, without making the video games the villan in all this.

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

For those interested, Erica responded to my correction about Cho. I don't think she will be updating the actual article, but she admitted as much in the comments. Here is what she said:

I stand corrected. Since the column was not about Cho, I didn't do as much research on that lead-in as I should have. Even though I only mention a suspicion that there was a link between the video game and the shootings (which might be technically accurate), the implication was still incorrect, and for that I apologize. I stand by the main points of my column, though.
Thanks for pointing out my error.


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

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

Do we get a link to the column in question? I would like to read the whole thing.

Nevermind, I found it myself:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Erica-Jacobs-Video-game-addictio...

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

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

oh, it was in the Examiner... yeah... not concerned... right-wing rag. Terrible freebie paper they give out at Metro stops... except almost no one takes them. We take the Express (Washington Post's freebie).

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

Thanks for the link.

EDIT: Whoops, and sorry for sniping you on the Counter-Strike bit; your post wasn't up yet when I wrote mine.

Yours is more diplomatic and maybe I should have dialed down the snark, but seriously, FIRST MATCH in a Google search for "virginia tech" "counter-strike".

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

Theres addiction and addiction, or can't live without it vrs reversed priorities. If reverse priorities where a clinical mental issue the US goverment would be surrounded by paddy wagons...


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


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Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

"Seung-Hui Cho’s addiction to Counter-Strike contributed to his actions"

If I remember correctly didnt Cho play in his early youth and his roomate confirm that he hadnt seen him play anything?

Maybe I'm remembering that wrong but that came to mind.

Now on to this comment: "We cope with addictions to alcohol and drugs more readily than addictions to video games, and that blindness has put many college students in jeopardy of failing school."

Is this guy really claiming that mental addiction is worse than physical addiction? Comical.

 

This guy has a firm grip on his soapbox.

 

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

The whole Counter-strike thing with Cho came from a single paragraph in a Washington Post story that was later removed. The official findings of the task force assigned to figure out what actually happened only mentioned him playing basketball and Sonic the Hedgehog in his youth.

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

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

The only people who kept on about that connection I think was one lawyer who kiept claiming Cho ditched his hard drive in a lake to hide that he played.

Even after the Washington Post pulled the article and apologized.

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

Moron. Addiction forms a dependancy, where your body will not function properly if you do not feed the chemical dependancy. If anything, playing non-stop video games is a pathological disorder stemming from social problems. You can stop playing videogames and not have withdrawl symptoms. Drugs and alcohol...not so much.

---------

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: George Mason Teacher Lectures on Game Addiction

Behavorial Addiction is seen as a real phenomenon by many people anymore.  Classifying "addiction" as solely something chemical based hasn't been true for decades.  You can argye the symantics all you want about specific "definitions," it doesn't change the fact that many people display addictive behavior to: gambling, sex, exercise, work, internet, cutting, idolizing, shopping, food/eating, and even video games.  These people compulsively and obsessively continue activities to the detriment of their health, mental state, and social life.  Solving "compulsion" is not always as easy as choosing to stop.  Sometimes people need help.

 
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Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
quiknkoldbut I am also certain nobody in their right mind is committing these shootings singing the Machoman song. these are sick individuals who have given up on life10/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Technogeekevopsych lol10/24/2014 - 9:49pm
quiknkoldWhen you suffer from mental illness, youre more likely to go by instinct. yes. I came off as sexist.10/24/2014 - 9:46pm
quiknkoldmore on somthing they are fixated on. Post Partum Depression is an example. This is why a woman is less likely to go off on a rampage.10/24/2014 - 9:44pm
 

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