A Reuters Canada report offers an overview of the study released yesterday by Douglas A. Gentile, who runs the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University in Ames. Besides glossing over what the study found, the report offers a dissenting opinion on the research from Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University in the UK.
Griffiths says that the study has some "important flaws," not the least of which is numbers that do not quite add up.
"My own research has shown that excessive video game play is not necessarily addictive play and that many video gamers can play for long periods without there being any negative detrimental effects," said Griffiths. "If nine percent of children were genuinely addicted to video games there would be video game addiction clinics in every major city!"
He adds that the "concept" is not currently an accepted diagnosis among psychiatrists and psychologists. Part of the problem is that the study maybe capturing preoccupation instead of addiction.
The study found that children who played 2 - 3 hours a day were "pathological gamers," but Griffiths said that this amount of screen-time is normal among kids:
"One thing we have to bear in mind is that children playing video games for 2 to 3 hours a day is normal. It's displaced activities like watching TV," Griffiths said.
He did concede that there is a small minority of kids who probably do suffer from true video game addiction, just as some people are pathological gamblers.
Griffiths recommends that parents offer their children educational games instead of violent games, encourage group play, and follow directions from manufacturers such as sitting at least two feet or more away from the TV set and not playing when tired.
"I have three kids, all of who are the archetypal 'screenagers' who spend a lot of time a day interacting with technology," said Griffiths. "Basically, even when playing a couple of hours most days it is not impinging negatively on their lives."
Source: Reuters Canada