Video games have become quite popular these days. Studies show that approximately 90 percent of kids in America play video games. This has actually propelled the video games industry into one of the most profitable and dynamic industries in the world. Actually, it has been said to be raking much more than Hollywood, the heart of action. Quite a profitable industry you might say.
However, the video gaming industry has its downside too. Studies done in the recent times show that more than 95 percent of the kids in the video gaming industry have become so indulged in the games to such an extent that the medical practitioners have considered calling it an addiction or disorder. Nationally, 85% of the youth gamers aged between 8 and18 may be classified as clinically or pathologically addicted. However, debate ranges about the efficacy of the statement video gaming addiction. Can video gaming really culminate in an addiction? Is playing too much video game tantamount or equitable to addiction? If not, where do we draw the line between addiction and playing too much?
Before determining whether there is the existence of video gaming or not it is important to have a clear understanding as to what being an addict means. Essentially, addiction refers to psychological disorders affecting the normal function of the brain by interfering with the chemical processes associated with decision making, motivation, pleasure seeking, learning and pleasure seeking.
An addict would be characterized by psychological compulsion that pushes them to engage in particular behavior or even take particular substances which in most cases would have detrimental effects on their well-being or health. Addiction hallmarks are in most cases increase in the time that one spends in while engaging in these activities even at the expense of more important activities, persistent unsuccessful attempts to quit and even intermittent preoccupation as well as intense psychological desires or urges that one is unable to control.
Video gaming addiction can be said to be more or less a new phenomenon as far as psychology is concerned. Actually, it is yet to be recognized medically as an addition mainly due to the limited studies done on the effects and the causes. This could explain why quite a large number of clinics specialize in treating other addictions such as alcohol, substances and gambling and not on video gaming addiction. Nevertheless, a number of countries such as USA, Canada, Netherlands, South Korea and China have acknowledged the threat that video gaming addiction poses and established clinics dealing with this particular problem. Does this mean that there is actually such a thing as video gaming addiction? It actually fits to be an addiction at least going by the symptoms or indicators.
Likely indicators of video gaming addiction
While this has not been officially recognized as a disorder per se, video gaming addiction is real in both teenagers and adults. Like any other habit-forming behavior, there exist some signs that would be pointing at video games addiction.
Lack of control as o engaging in video gaming- one of the strongest indicators than an individual is addicted to video gaming would be the compulsion or the inability to control the time they spend on their gaming equipments. Recent times have experienced a lot of technological developments and therefore, there are quite a large number of equipments that would be used. Many are the times when an individual ill online intending to spend a particular amount of time only to keep on extending it. This means that the individual is not in control of their gaming tendencies. It is very common in video gaming.
Preoccupation with the gaming equipments- it is often that you see individuals who are playing these games getting unusually preoccupied with them when they are away from the equipments. The individuals will become distracted, disinterested or irritable and often talk about them constantly.
Downplaying the use of the video game equipments- many are the times when an individual who plays these games often will downplay the length of time spent on the computer or the TV they more often than not give excuse as to why they have to go online or even give an outright lie.
Defensiveness- this is more or less in the same line as downplaying the length of time they spend on the computer or TV. If you happen to confront these people or ask them about the length of time they spend gaming, they will become defensive. Quite often they will deny that they are engaging too much in the game and therefore need help. Actually, denial alone couples up as a sign that fall is not well more so when the individual does seem to be concerned about the feelings of neglect by the loved ones.
Misusing money- individuals who have an addiction to the video games will more often than not spend large sums of money on video games related equipments. Due to the high requirements that these video games place as to the configurations of the computer, you will find the individual continually upgrading the accessories, computer hardware and software packages. There are extreme cases where the individuals will spend money meant for other purposes on the video games accessories.
Hiding from uncomfortable or negative situations and feelings- many are the times when individuals resort to the video games in an effort to regain their ego or as a way of self meditating. In cases where the individuals face uncomfortable feelings and situations such as sadness, reduced performance or arguments, they may resort to escapism by engaging in the videos games in an effort to escape the real world albeit for some minutes. Is this not one of the things that you come across when the conventional forms of addiction are examined? You will find an individual taking alcohol at least to be in the euphoric world for some minutes. While video gaming addiction may not be characterized by the euphoria that comes with the conventional addictions, it definitely draws quite a lot of similarities with them.
Mixed feelings- this is a characteristic shared by every form of addiction. Initially, an individual would experience the rush of adrenaline that comes with playing this game over and over again. However, this would be followed by feelings of guilt especially when the individual considers the effort spent online or the time spent playing the game. Unfortunately, many are the times when the individual resorts to the same game in order to get off the guilt. While this may more or less seem to be voluntary, the individual would be having little or no choice since they have no control over what they do.
Are there counterarguments
Video gaming addiction has never been fully adopted as a disorder per se especially in the treatment centers. There are those who feel that playing video games too much for too long to such an extent that one does not have control over the time frame for doing this does not constitute addiction. In addition, many people feel that unlike the other forms of conventional addiction, abrupt termination or cessation of video gaming irrespective of the number of years that one has spent would not result in withdrawal syndrome or symptoms. True as this may be, the mere definition of addiction as a compulsive engagement in a particular behavior even when it has detrimental effects on an individual’s life suits the many cases reported. Many are the times when people abdicate their duties and responsibilities as they engage in these games. Actually there are instances when individuals will be using office equipments and time engaging in these games. This may actually result in delayed work or unmet deadlines at school and work place which effectively would attract reprisal and possible termination or disciplinary actions. More often than not, the individual will not be concerned about all these developments as all they care about is their games and accessories.
While not fully recognized as a disorder but rather as a compulsion, you will acknowledge that it bears a lot of similarities with the more conventional disorders. In most cases, it may not only be a result of other underlying problems but also a cause of numerous problems just like other forms of addiction. Underlining the severity of the situation is the fact that more than five million youths are in the addiction. It is therefore no wonder that various countries have started paying attention to the disorder and looking into ways of assuaging it.
http://www.video-game-addiction.org/symptoms-computer-addiction-teens.htmlhttp://www.video-game-addiction.org/internet-addictions-adults.htmlhttp://www.video-game-addiction.org/what-makes-games-addictive.htmlhttp://www.gamespot.com/features/6207309/game-addiction-the-real-storyBy: Laura Parker, GameSpot AU – Posted on April 3, 2009
Griffiths, M. (2008). Video game addiction: Further thoughts and observations. International Journal of Mental Health Addiction, 6, 182 – 185
Wood, R. (2008). Problems with the concept of video game “addiction”: Some case study examples. International Journal of Mental Health Addiction, 6, 169 – 178.
http://www.techaddiction.ca/video_game_addiction.htmlVideo Game Addiction – Is It A “Real” Disorder?