Can you be addicted to video gaming?
The short answer is yes. According to new research published in the journal Psychological Science, nearly one in 10 adolescent and teen who plays video games showed symptoms of addiction, not unlike a gambling addiction.
The research is based on a January 2007 Harris poll of 1,178 kids and teens ages 8 to 18. Addictive symptoms include skipping chores or homework, playing games to escape problems, or poor homework performance among those gamers who played the most.
8.5 percent showed at least six of those symptoms which Iowa State University researchers say falls into line with gambling addiction criteria, the closest that exists for videogame addiction.
Gamers played several times a week, boys often longer than 14 hours per week, girls averaging nine hours.
Most children show about two symptoms, but 12 percent of boys and 8 percent of girls showed enough symptoms to be considered having an addiction problem.
Kids with a problem were more likely to have a video game system in their bedroom.
“I would hope parents pay attention to this,” says David Walsh to USA Today. He is president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, which helped underwrite the research.
Parents Need To Know
A true addition means more than playing a video game frequently. True addiction damages functioning such as school and family outings, occupational or psychological functioning.
At least 88 percent of American youth play video games with users ranging from eight to 13 playing with the same frequency. Adolescents may play less frequently as they grow into middle school, but tend to increase their time playing.
Pathological gamers are twice as likely to have attention problems such as ADD or ADHD, but whether that is a correlation or a cause is unclear.
The report concludes that youth gaming demonstrates real-world problems of a pathological nature and deserves more attention. #