Game Addiction: Not as Bad as We Think?

Game Addiction: Not as Bad as We Think?


An article written by Peter Svensson for the Associated Press discusses the reality of internet and video game addiction. Are there really as many people addicted as it seems?

Research says no, according to Mark Griffiths, a professor who studies behavioral addictions at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England.

“In no way has the hype lived up to what has actually been found in research,” he tells the AP.

Griffiths definition of an addiction is that the habit is destructive, causes withdrawal symptoms, and prompts greater use in order to maintain the kick. “When you apply those criteria to something like Internet use or video game use, you find that, yeah, lots of people display some of those components, but very few display all of them, and in that sense, to me, that are not classically addicted,” Griffiths states.

For instance, those who establish a romantic online relationship will stop using the internet for hours a day when they meet in person.

Donna Meyer, a forty-nine year-old woman in New York, spends up to twelve hours a day in Second Life, a game-like world on the internet where she shares a virtual home with a partner in New Mexico.

“I’m unemployed, don’t really have the money to go out anymore, so I enjoy this,” she states. “It’s a way of still meeting people.”

Experts believe that internet addiction is similar to gambling addiction. The problem is real, but the people who suffer from it are a fraction of the people who actually participate.

Psychologist Kimberly Young believes that 5%-10% of internet users have compulsive bouts. This is not addiction, per se, but a still a problem that will need outside help.

“So many people come to me after going to three or four other psychologists who didn’t get it, and just told them to turn off the computer,” explained Young. “That’s like telling an alcoholic to stop drinking.”

Since the internet is so new, it may take some time for the medical world to catch up and realize that internet addiction does exist.

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