Violence and video games
ENG 102 Royere Jonathan
The future of entertainment revolves around technology. Video games become more and more realistic. The main consumers for violent video games are teens. These games encourage killing and fighting enemies. More ways of playing violent video games are created each year, but most of us have this question in mind. Do violent video games influence young people to act aggressively? I play violent video games online and I am 16 years old. Overplaying video games can have many disastrous effects on teen limiting gameplay can have multiple positive effects.
Overplaying can incite young players to act violently. Repetitive killing can train them to act aggressively. Most video games are just killing if the player does these actions to often he can subconsciously learn those actions and be violent himself. In a study two groups of kids were asked to play violent video games more than another group. The group who had more exposure to the game was more violent than the one who did not play as much. (CNN.com) Playing too much violent video games can make the player think violence is fun. When the game is played the teen can associates violence with entertainment. Also for performing violent acts the player always gets a reward. If the person plays the game too much they can develop the habit of being aggressive for fun. In some way if the game is played to much the boundaries between violence and fun in the game and violent in real life can be crossed. Most games have blood, many weapons such as explosives or rifles. Being exposed to those behaviors in the game, dead bodies and blood can make the players insensitive to violence. According to aacp.org video games cause kids to be unsocial violent and obese. Overplaying will make the players familiar with images of violent acts and if the player does it continuously it will seem like a normal thing to him.
Video games can be very addictive if abused. In the game the players is constantly rewarded and will do the same actions over and over again in order to succeed and be rewarded as much as possible in the game. As well one thing that keeps the players "Hooked up" is most video games have many objectives that take time to achieve. Most games have levels that are for prestige, armor parts or power ups. People are constantly in a state of competition and want to be the highest and the first to achieve all those objectives in the games, but the problem is that they take days and days of game play. In a game that I play it would take 12 days of non-stop of playing to reach the highest level sometimes more. On top of this all games have achievement with are medals usually rewarded for an incredible action in the game, they are only there for bragging and fun. People keep on playing violent video games for countless hours because of competition. Groups and alliance in the games also incite players to invest more time they have meeting and ask players to log on in a specific hour of the day. Even though there is not scientific proof why people are addicted to video games many people believe it has to do with most of those things, rehab centers have been created just for video game addiction.
As a result of playing abundantly players are more likely to have poor social skills and be overweight. According to ScienceDaily.com a study on teen show that people are more likely to eat while playing video games that to eat while resting. Video games require no physical activity and most people eat while playing those. This unbalances the calorie intake and outtake. Games do not in any way encourage players to go out and exercise they want people to play more video games. Over playing violent video games can "shield" teens from going out and making friends. They do not go outside and meet new people. They feel no need to make friends because they are constantly occupied playing the game and attempting to achieve objectives in the game. As they meet people in the game they think it is enough but they are not comfortable in face to face conversations. They only speak through a headset. People do not view them as who they really are they view them as their players; if their rank is high they earned the respect of their peers in the games. In real life interaction they are not behind the mask of their character which makes them uncomfortable.
Limiting the gameplay of violent video games for young people can have many positive effects. The player can decompress from daily stress. If the players had a rough day instead of being aggressive and maybe hurting something or someone, he can take out his anger on a virtual enemy in the video games instead of causing damage. Violent videogames provide exactly that kind of escape, giving kids "an arena where they can play with fantasies of danger, aggression and conflict, developing a feeling of mastery that can serve as an antidote, or at least a necessary break, from daily anxieties," (Jones in wired.com) Since the players doesn't play too much he just sees the video game as a way to relax and decompress. He is not addicted to the video game and just sees it as a way to entertain himself at some times. Players instead of being aggressive to people if they are angry can decompress in the game. It is like a punching ball but virtually. According to a graph in pro con.org the youth crime rate went down as the video games sales went up. This show that most people are not addicted and take decompress using video games. Also video game can be good for a quick pastime if the player is waiting 30 minutes for something, it is good to occupy for a short period of time. Some video games can make young players learn facts and consequences. For example capitals of countries can be learned as well as the locations on a map. Consequences of acting recklessly can be learned when the players gets killed or arrested.
Ratings in video games and age restrictions should be more strictly applied. Rating inform the buyer to know what kind of game is being bought and what is in it, violence, drugs, sexual actions and many more. The parents should accompany their kids and look at the rating to see if it is appropriate for the teen to play it. This would help buyers to see if the game is suitable for a certain range of age. Video games store should refuse to tell violent video game with over 18 rating to minors. Most video game clerks in stores do not check if the buyer is age appropriate for them or if the game is suitable for them. A minor client might not be mature enough for the game. In an article from Cnn.com by Rebecca Leung; a boy named Devin Moore shot two police officers and a 911 dispatcher. The game that influenced him was grand theft auto four; he played countless hours of it. In this game it is a society where the player is free to do whatever he wants the game encourages you to kill anyone in your way, a pedestrian, gang members or even the police. Accident like that can happen if age limits are not respected or if there is not parental control over these issues. As well an I.D. should be required to buy the game to double check. Many incidents like the shooting could be avoided.
To conclude over playing video games has many negative effects such as addiction, obesity, poor social skills, aggressive behavior and sleep deprivation. But if the right actions are taken by limiting the game play by for example setting limits of time played on the console and checking the ratings that show the content of the game many negative consequence can be avoided and positive things can happen.
I've got some general comments, but rather than make them in a vacuum, I thought it would be helpful for me to go through your first two paragraphs in detail so I can put my comments in concrete terms. Let's start with your introduction:
This paragraph could be much stronger with two improvements. First, please make it clear how all of your sentences contribute to your argument. Right now, you have several sentences where the link between the sentence and what you're trying to say is unclear. They are:
1. Video games become more and more realistic.
2. The main consumers for violent video games are teens.
3. I play violent video games online and I am 16 years old.
Try linking them to what you want to say explicity. For example, you could change the first point to, "As video games become more and more realistic and game developers get better and better at providing a fun experience, video games' popularity will only grow" and change the second sentence to "Because the main consumers for violent video games are teens, parents and society are concerned about their effects." Do you see the difference? The revised versions tell the reader why the fact you're presenting matters, so it's much more likely they'll understand and accept your point.
Second, your concluding sentence should summarize the arguments you're going to make in the order you're going to present them. For example, you could write something like, "Parents should limit the time their teenagers spend playing video games because excessive playing encourages violence and aggression, causes addiction, degrades social skills and promotes obesity." Closing with a list ike this will show the reader your arguments before they see the support behind each point, which will make that support easier to understand. This is why most textbook chapters and many teachers start with an outline.
Let's move to your second paragraph:
Like your introduction, this paragraph has solid content. You state your claim at the beginning-video games cause violence-then identify three ways that happens: Video games train players to act aggressive through repitition, video games encourage players to associate violence with fun and other rewards, and video games desensitize players to violence. You also cite two sources as support your claim, a study described on CNN.com and the AACP. In short, you do a good job of supporting your argument.
Having said that, this paragraph would benefit greatly from a different organization. Right now, you jump back and forth between reasons playing video games might cause violence, evidence that video games actually cause violence in the real world (the CNN study), and proof that experts consider the link between video games and violence real (the AACP citation). The paragraph would be much easier to follow if you started with the reasons video games cause violence, then moved to the CNN study and the AACP citation.
You should also consider closing the paragraph with a sentence that links it to your overall argument. For example, you could write something like, "The link between video games and violence alone would be a strong reason to limit teenagers' video game exposure." This reminds readers of your overall argument and explains how the point you make in the paragraph supports it.
If you follow my advice, you might end up with a paragraph that looks something like this:
Playing video games too much can cause players to act violently for three reasons. First, video games train players to act aggressively by requiring them to kill enemies over and over (additional explanation if needed). Second, (reason and explaantion). Third, (reason and explanation). Given these reasons, it is no surprise studies have shown video games cause violence. For example, one study (description of the CNN study). Studies like this have prompted organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to...(discuss the AACP.org statement). Violence is one of the worse things people can do, so this alone would be reason enough for parents to (restate your main point).
You'll notice that I spelled out AACP rather than relying on the acronym. Unless an acroyn is extremely common or well-known among your audience, you should never use it without spelling it out. Otherwise, readers might not know what it is. In this case, they might assume AACP is a random news site, not a group of pharmacists with a decent amount of credibility.
In any case, do you see the difference between the paragraph skeleton above and your original? Does the skeleton sound better to you? If so, I would encourage you to try to apply the same ideas to your other paragraphs. Group related points together and try to make the link between related items clear with phrases like "First...second...third," "another reason," and "also." Then close the paragraph with a sentence that ties it to your main point.
I have a few other points about your other paragraphs:
1. In the paragraph on addiction, you never explain why addiction matters. While most people will be able to guess, I would suggest pointing out that addiction can cause people to neglect their job, their school work, their family, their friends and even basic necessities like food and sleep.
2. Be careful making generalizations about games. For example, at one point, you say "all games have achievement which are medals usually rewarded for an incredible action in the game." While it's true that many recently-released games have such achievements, many older games, computer games, and niche market or single-player-only games do not. You'll have more credibility if you use more general wording like "many games..."
3. In the second to last paragraph, you say most stories don't verify customers' age without providing any proof. The Entertainment Software Rating Board, the industry-funded organization that rates mass market video games, and several other groups have conducted studies to determine how often retailers ask for an ID before selling M-rated games. While it's been several years since I've looked at those studies, I would encourage you to do so. if I remember correctly, stores check IDs at least 70 percent of the time. Regardless, referencing the studies would give you much, much more credibility.
4. Start your conclusion with something more creative than "in conclusion." For example, you could write, "Because over-playing video games can have several negative effects, such as addiction, obesity, poor social skills, aggressive behavior and sleep deprivation, parents and society should (your main points)." Then close with a sentence that highlights the positive effects (e.g., players will be able to play video games without experiencing their negative effects). This lets you get to the summary part of the conclusion immediately. It also shows more effort and sophistication than "In conclusion," which will make you more believable.
5. Your conclusion mentions sleep deprivation, a point you haven't touched on before. Since the conclusion is supposed to summarize your argument, not add to it, mention sleep deprivation earlier or remove it from the conclusion.
To recap my previous points:
1. Make sure you explain how every fact you present advances your arguments.
2. Close your introductory paragraph with a sentence that states your main point, then explains how you're going to support that point so readers know what to expect.
3. In your body paragraphs, group related points together.
4. Consider closing your body paragraphs with a sentence that links it to your overall point.
If you have any questions, or if I'm giving you too much information at once, being unclear, or otherwise not helping, please let me know. As you can probably tell, I care about writing and enjoy commenting on essays when I get the chance. Since I am also an avid gamer, the topic you're discussing is close to home.
See also: Gaming disorder, Internet addiction disorder, Computer addiction, and Behavioral addiction
Video game addiction (VGA) is a hypothetical behavioral addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games that interferes with a person's everyday life. Video game addiction may present itself as compulsive gaming, social isolation, mood swings, diminished imagination, and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events in life.
In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) proposed criteria for video game addiction in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to include it as an official mental disorder. However, proposed criteria for "Internet Gaming Disorder" were included in a section called "Conditions for Further Study".
While Internet gaming disorder is proposed as a disorder, it is still discussed how much this disorder is caused by the gaming activity itself, or whether it is to some extent an effect of other disorders. Contradictions in research examining video game addictiveness may reflect more general inconsistencies in video game research. For example, while some research has linked violent video games with increased aggressive behavior other research has failed to find evidence for such links.
Some theorists focus on presumed built-in reward systems of the games to explain their potentially addictive nature. Many video games, particularly massively multiplayer online role-playing games and social network and mobile games, rely on a "compulsion loop" or "core loop", a cycle of activities that involve rewarding the player and driving them to continue through another cycle, retaining them in the game. The anticipation of such rewards can create a neurological reaction that releases dopamine into the body, so that once the reward is obtained, the person will remember it as a pleasurable feeling. This has been found similar to the same neurological reaction believed to be associated with gambling addiction. In reference to gamers such as one suicide in China, the head of one software association was quoted, "In the hypothetical world created by such games, they become confident and gain satisfaction, which they cannot get in the real world."
Griffiths has also proposed that another reason why online video games are potentially addictive is because they "can be played all day every day". The fact that there is no end to the game can feel rewarding for some, and hence players are further engaged in the game.
A high prenatal testosterone load may be a risk factor for the development of video game addiction in adulthood.
Ferguson, Coulson and Barnett in a meta-analytic review of the research, concluded that the evidence suggests that video game addiction arises out of other mental health problems, rather than causing them. Thus it is unclear whether video game addiction should be considered a unique diagnosis.
Researchers at the University of Rochester and Immersyve, Inc. (a Celebration, Florida, computer gaming think-tank) investigated what motivates gamers to continue playing video games. According to lead investigator Richard Ryan, they believe that players play for more reasons than fun alone. Ryan, a motivational psychologist at Rochester, says that many video games satisfy basic psychological needs, and players often continue to play because of rewards, freedom, and a connection to other players.
Michael Brody, M.D., head of the TV and Media Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, stated in a 2007 press release that "... there is not enough research on whether or not video games are addictive". However, Brody also cautioned that for some children and adolescents, "... it displaces physical activity and time spent on studies, with friends, and even with family".
Karen Pierce, a psychiatrist at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, sees no need for a specific gaming addiction diagnosis. Two or more children see her each week because of excessive computer and video game play, and she treats their problems as she would any addiction. She said one of her excessive-gaming patients "...hasn't been to bed, hasn't showered...He is really a mess".
The American Psychiatric Association decided that enough evidence exists to propose the potential disorder of video game addiction as a "condition requiring further study" in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as Internet gaming disorder. Video game addiction is a broader concept than internet gaming addiction, but most video game addiction is associated with Internet gaming. APA suggests, like Khan, the effects (or symptoms) of video game addiction may be similar to those of other proposed psychological addictions. Video game addiction may be an impulse control disorder, similar to compulsive gambling APA explains why Internet gaming disorder has been proposed as a disorder:
- This decision was based upon the large number of studies of this condition and the severity of its consequences. .... Because of the distinguishing features and increased risks of clinically significant problems associated with gaming in particular, the Workgroup recommended the inclusion of only internet gaming disorder in Section 3 of the DSM-5.
Excessive use of video games may have some or all of the symptoms of drug addiction or other proposed psychological addictions. Some players become more concerned with their interactions in the game than in their broader lives. Players may play many hours per day, neglect personal hygiene, gain or lose significant weight due to playing, disrupt sleep patterns to play resulting in sleep deprivation, play at work, avoid phone calls from friends, or lie about how much time they spend playing video games.
APA has developed 9 criteria for characterizing the proposed Internet gaming disorder:
- Pre-occupation. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about games even when you are not playing, or planning when you can play next?
- Withdrawal. Do you feel restless, irritable, moody, angry, anxious or sad when attempting to cut down or stop gaming, or when you are unable to play?
- Tolerance. Do you feel the need to play for increasing amounts of time, play more exciting games, or use more powerful equipment to get the same amount of excitement you used to get?
- Reduce/stop. Do you feel that you should play less, but are unable to cut back on the amount of time you spend playing games?
- Give up other activities. Do you lose interest in or reduce participation in other recreational activities (hobbies such as video gaming, meetings with friends online) due to gaming?
- Continue despite problems. Do you continue to play games even though you are aware of negative consequences, such as not getting enough sleep, being late to school/work, spending too much money, having arguments with others, or neglecting important duties?
- Deceive/cover up. Do you lie to family, friends or others about how much you game, or try to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you game?
- Escape adverse moods. Do you game to escape from or forget about personal problems, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression?
- Risk/lose relationships/opportunities. Do you risk or lose significant relationships, or job, educational or career opportunities because of gaming?
One of the most commonly used instruments for the measurement of addiction, the PVP Questionnaire (Problem Video Game Playing Questionnaire), was presented as a quantitative measure, not as a diagnostic tool. According to Griffiths, "all addictions (whether chemical or behavioral) are essentially about constant rewards and reinforcement". Griffiths proposed that addiction has six components: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse. But, APA's 9 criteria for diagnosing Internet gaming disorder were made by taking point of departure in 8 different diagnostic/measuring tools proposed in other studies. Thus, APA's criteria attempt to condense the scientific work on diagnosing Internet gaming disorder.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also proposed possible categories for "gaming disorder" for the forthcoming International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). A group of 26 scholars wrote an open letter to the WHO, suggesting that the proposed diagnostic categories lacked scientific merit and were likely to do more harm than good. A December 2017 draft of ICD-11 submitted to WHO approval (expected by 2018) includes "gaming addiction", defined as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour ('digital gaming' or 'video-gaming')", defined by three criteria: the lack of control of playing video games, priority given to video games over other interests, and inability to stop playing video games even after being affected by negative consequences. A report, prepared by mental health experts at Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University, Stockholm University and the University of Sydney, sponsored by The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, and supported by 22 video game industry trade organizations including the Entertainment Software Association of the United States and Interactive Software Federation of Europe, asserts that while there may be potential addiction associated with video gaming, it is premature to consider it a disorder without further study, given the stigmatization that video games are perceived as, and request WHO use caution when finalizing the ICD draft.
Because few clinical trials and no meta-analyses have been completed, research is still in the preliminary stages for excessive gaming treatment. The most effective treatments seem to be, as with other addictions and dependencies, a combination of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy and twelve-step programs.
Some countries, such as South Korea, China, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States, have responded to the perceived threat of video game addiction by opening treatment centers.
Online Gamers Anonymous, an American non-profit organization formed in 2002, is a twelve-step, self-help, support and recovery organization for gamers and their loved ones who are suffering from the adverse effects of excessive computer gaming. The organization provides a variety of message boards and other tools for healing and support.
Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous (CGAA), formed in 2014, is a recovery fellowship, based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous, with specifically adapted forms of the twelve steps and twelve traditions. CGAA groups hold meetings in several cities around the world and hold voice meetings online.
Selected treatment options, by country
The Chinese government operates several clinics to treat those suffering from overuse of online games, chatting and web surfing. Treatment for the patients, most of whom have been forced to attend by parents or government officials, include various forms of pain including shock therapy. In August 2009, Deng Sanshan was reportedly beaten to death in a correctional facility for video game and Web addiction.
In June 2006, the Smith and Jones clinic in Amsterdam – which has now gone bankrupt – became the first treatment facility in Europe to offer a residential treatment program for compulsive gamers.Keith Bakker, founder and former head of the clinic, has stated that 90% of the young people who seek treatment for compulsive computer gaming are not addicted.
McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts has set up Computer Addiction Services. Elsewhere, gamers may seek services at generalized addiction support centers.
In July 2009, ReSTART, a residential treatment center for "pathological computer use", opened in Fall City, near Seattle, Washington.
At a Computer Addiction Services center in Richmond, British Columbia, excessive gaming accounts for 80% of one youth counselor's caseload.
Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia provides a list of therapists who help video game and internet addicts.
Public concern and formal study
One meta-analytic review of pathological gaming studies concluded that about 3.0% of gamers may experience some symptoms of pathological gaming. The report noted problems in the field with defining and measuring pathological gaming and concluded that pathological gaming behaviors were more likely the product of underlying mental health problems rather than the inverse.
In year 2010, article 24 of ACM Journal of Computers in Entertainment (volume 8, issue 4) by Andrews Samraj and CK Loo suggested a built-in component based remedy for reverting the children back from the adverse damages caused by the video games.
A report by the Council On Science And Public Health to the AMA cited a 2005 Entertainment Software Association survey of computer game players and noted that players of MMORPGs were more likely to play for more than two hours per day than other gamers. In its report, the Council used this two-hour-per-day limit to define "gaming overuse", citing the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline of no more than one to two hours per day of "screen time". However, the ESA document cited in the Council report does not contain the two-hour-per-day data.
In a 2005 Tom's Games interview, Maressa Orzack estimated that 40% of the players of World of Warcraft (an MMORPG) were addicted, but she did not indicate a source for the estimate. She may have derived the estimate from the informal survey managed by Nick Yee at The Daedalus Project, who notes that caution should be exercised when interpreting that data.
A 2006 lecture reported by the BBC indicated that 12% of polled online gamers reported at least some addictive behaviours. The lecturer, Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, stated in another BBC interview that addicts are "few and far between".
In 2007, Michael Cai, director of broadband and gaming for Parks Associates (a media/technology research and analysis company), said that "Video game addiction is a particularly severe problem in Asian countries such as China and Korea." Results of a 2006 survey suggested that 2.4% of South Koreans aged 9 to 39 suffer from game addiction, with another 10.2% at risk of addiction.
A 2007 Harris Interactive online poll of 1,187 United States youths aged 8–18 gathered detailed data on youth opinions about video game play. About 81% of youths stated that they played video games at least once per month. Further, the average play time varied by age and gender, from eight hours per week (responses from teen girls) to 14 hours per week (responses by teen boys). "Tweens" (8–12-year-olds) fell in the middle, with boys averaging 13 hours per week of reported game play and girls averaging 10. Harris concluded that 8.5% "can be classified as pathological or clinically 'addicted' to playing video games", but did not explain how this conclusion was reached.
Since the American Psychiatric Association decision in 2007, studies have been conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine related to video game play. Researchers found evidence that video games do have addictive characteristics. An MRI study found that the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings is more activated in men than women during video game play.
The 2009 OSDUHS Mental Health and Well-Being Report, by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario, showed almost 10% of 9,000 surveyed students from Grades 7 to 12 get at least 7 hours a day of "screen time". A little over 10% also reported having video gaming problems in the previous year. A recent article in Pediatrics found a mild association between watching television or playing a video game and attention issues in more than 1,300 children ages eight to 11 years old. Children who played video games or watched television for more than the normal two hours a day maximum, which is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics were 1.5 – 2 times more likely to show signs of attention issues, the researchers found. However, the study was further criticized in eLetters to the same journal for failing to use well-validated measures of attention problems or control for other important variables. A more recent study using the Child Behavior Checklist and controlling for family and mental health variables, found no link between video game use and attention problems. Also, a study in Pediatrics found problematic gaming behaviors to be far less common, about 4%, and concluded that such problems were the result of underlying mental health problems rather than anything unique to gaming.
Writing in the Review of General Psychology's special issue on video games, Barnett and Coulson expressed concern that much of the debate on the issue of addiction may be a knee jerk response stimulated by poor understanding of games and game players. Such issues may lead both society and scholars to exaggerate the prevalence and nature of problematic gaming, and overfocus on games specifically while ignoring underlying mental health issues.
Other scholars have cautioned that comparing the symptoms of problematic gaming with problematic gambling is flawed, and that such comparisons may introduce research artifacts and artificially inflate prevalence estimates. For instance Richard Wood has observed that behaviors which are problematic in regards to gambling may not be as problematic when put into the context of other behaviors that are rewarding such as gaming. Similarly Barnett and Coulson have cautioned that discussions of problematic gaming have moved forward prematurely without proper understanding of the symptoms, proper assessment and consequences.
Some scholars suggest that psycho-social dependence may revolve around the intermittent reinforcements in the game and the need to belong. Some scholars explain that the social dependence that may arise due to video games occurring online where players interact with others and the relationships "often become more important for gamers than real-life relationships".
Through interviews with gamers who were addicted to a MMORPG but have quit playing, multiple reasons causing gamers to leave their game has been disclosed. This also reflects a number of aspects of online game addiction.
Many[who?] describe video game addiction to be a global mental health problem and that gamers who gain characteristics of addiction show decreased functioning in school, social, family, occupational, and social domains of their lives. Once addicted to video games, these youth are more likely to become depressed, anxious, and have lower academic achievement. In a qualitative analysis of online gaming addicts done by Marta Beranuy, Xavier Carbonell and Mark D. Griffiths they dived deeper into the source of gaming addiction in which one interviewer described it as a way of stress relief. "I played just to forget almost everything, it is like a second life. I was stressed but I found a way out to forget all my problems" [P2]. Another person described gaming as a medicine "it was a medicine for me. I was a bit depressed and left my job because I thought I was ill" [P7].
General critiques on addiction research
Though the study on the topic of gaming addiction is growing, the research is still young, and is therefore conducive to critique. Common challenges involve the reliability of the methodology and validity of the results in some studies. Many rely on self-surveys from University students and also lack time frames making it difficult to study the impact, if any, of addiction on a long term scale. Other concerns also address the definition of addiction and how to measure it, questioning whether or not time is a proper unit to determine how addicted someone is to gaming. A 2014 study done by Brunborg, Mentzoni and Froyland found that video game addiction does have a correlation with negative outcomes, such as depression. However, as stated in the article, the link between time spent on gaming and the same outcomes were found to be weaker than the former, showing that time may not be the only factor in gaming addiction.
Other challenges include the lack of context of the participant's life and the negative portrayal of gaming addicts. Some state that gamers sometimes use video games to either escape from an uncomfortable environment or alleviate their already existing mental issues – both possibly important aspects on determining the psychological impact of gaming. Negative portrayal also deals with the lack of consistency in measuring addictive gaming. This leads to discussions that sometimes exaggerated the issue and create a misconception in some that they, themselves, may be addicted when they are not.
Though the critiques are present, studies on this topic are still relatively young and growing and there is much to still be explored in this realm.
Connection with physical health
See also: Sedentary lifestyle § Health effects
Video game addiction may indirectly lead to premature death. Video game addiction may also lead to other health problems.
A Norwegian study conducted by the University of Bergen has looked at links between gaming problems and common health problems. The study compared health factors like headaches, neck or back pain, digestive problems and sleep problems between people with normal or no affiliation to gaming and people with gaming problems.
The study shows that people with gaming addiction are more exposed to all the tested health factors than the other groups.
The table below shows some numbers from the study. It compares the share of people who replied that they never had problems with each particular health factor between the groups "people with gaming addiction" and "people without gaming addiction".
|Health factor||Share who replied "never"|
|Non-addiction group||Addiction group|
|Sleepy in daytime||22.6%||10.4%|
The press has reported concerns over online gaming since at least 1994, when Wired Magazine mentioned a college student who was playing a MUD for 12 hours a day instead of attending class.
Press reports have noted that some Finnish Defence Forcesconscripts were not mature enough to meet the demands of military life and were required to interrupt or postpone military service for a year. One reported source of the lack of needed social skills is overuse of computer games or the Internet. Forbes termed this overuse "Web fixations" and stated that they were responsible for 13 such interruptions or deferrals over the five years from 2000–2005.
In a July 2007 article, Perth, Western Australia, parents stated that their 15-year-old son had abandoned all other activities to play RuneScape, a popular MMORPG. The boy's father compared the condition to heroin addiction.
In an April 2008 article, The Daily Telegraph reported that surveys of 391 players of Asheron's Call showed that 3% of the respondents suffered from agitation when they were unable to play, or missed sleep or meals to play. The article reports that University of Bolton lead researcher John Charlton stated, "Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming."
On 6 March 2009, the CBC's national news magazine program the fifth estate aired an hour-long report on video game addiction and the Brandon Crisp story, titled "Top Gun", subtitled "When a video gaming obsession turns to addiction and tragedy".
In August 2010, Wired reported that a man in Hawaii, Craig Smallwood, sued the gaming company NCsoft for negligence and for not specifying that their game, Lineage II was so addictive. He alleged that he would not have begun playing if he was aware that he would become addicted. Smallwood claims to have played Lineage for 20,000 hours between 2004 and 2009.
In January 2012, a video entitled "IRL – In Real Life" was released on YouTube. The film attracted widespread coverage on television, radio and in newspapers around the world. The film was made by graduate student film maker, Anthony Rosner. In the film he documents his experience with gaming addiction and how he was able to overcome it.
In 2013, a man from China observed his son's addiction to video games, and having studied these conditions for 25 years, decided to take action. He hired online assassins to kill his son's virtual avatar every time he logged in. He hoped that being relentlessly killed would help his son lose interest in this destructive habit.
According to ABC News, parents have many concerns about their children playing video games, such as:
- Age appropriateness: There is really no guideline to when a child should be introduced into the game world. Children have their own game of rights passage. There comes a time when a parent will know that their child is developed enough emotionally and socially and is ready for video games.
- Play time: The National Institute on the Media and Family suggests that a child should have no more than an hour to play video games daily.
- Health and obesity: For some parents, this should not be a concern because there are now video games that involve a lot of physical movement (Wii, Kinect). Parents should also require at least two hours of outdoors activities for their children.
- Violence: Violent video games can have adverse effects on the mental thoughts of young children. Children who play violent games exhibit more aggressive thoughts than those who play non-violent games.
Other concerns are addiction, safety concerns and violence, aggression and misbehavior.
The first video game to attract political controversy was the 1978 arcade gameSpace Invaders. In 1981, a political bill called the "Control of Space Invaders (and other Electronic Games) Bill" was drafted by British Labour Party MP George Foulkes in an attempt to ban the game for its "addictive properties" and for causing "deviancy". The bill was debated and only narrowly defeated in parliament by 114 votes to 94 votes.
In August 2005, the government of the People's Republic of China, where more than 20 million people play online games, introduced an online gaming restriction limiting playing time to three hours, after which the player would be expelled from whichever game they were playing. In 2006, it relaxed the rule so only citizens under the age of 18 would face the limitations. Reports indicate underage gamers found ways to circumvent the measure. In July, 2007, the rule was relaxed yet again. Internet games operating in China must require that users identify themselves by resident identity numbers. After three hours, players under 18 are prompted to stop and "do suitable physical exercise". If they continue, their in-game points are "slashed in half". After five hours, all their points are automatically erased.
In 2008, one of the five FCC Commissioners, Deborah Taylor Tate, stated that online gaming addiction was "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs". However, she did not mention a source for the statement nor identify its position in relation to other top reasons.
In 2011, the South Korean government implemented a law, known as the Shutdown Law or the Cinderella Law, which prohibits children under the age of 16 from playing online video games between the hours of 12 am to 6 am. However, as of 2014, the law was amended and now children under the age of 16 can play after midnight if they have permission from their parents.
Deaths By Video Games
Video game addiction may indirectly lead to premature death (see Sedentary lifestyle § Health effects). It is not normally a direct cause of immediate death.
Still, there have been at least few deaths caused directly by exhaustion from playing games for excessive periods of time. There have also been deaths of gamers and/or others related to playing of video games. Some brutal murders are sometimes also caused by violent video games.
In 2007, it was reported that Mr. Zhang died in Jinzhou after playing online games persistently during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday as a result of a heart attack, brought on by a lack of physical activity. During the same year, reports indicated that a 30-year-old man died in Guangzhou after playing video games continuously for three days.
The suicide of a young Chinese boy in the Tianjin municipality has highlighted once more the growing dangers of game addiction, when those responsible do not understand or notice the risks of unhealthy play. Zhang Xiaoyi was thirteen when he threw himself from the top of a twenty-four story tower block in his home town, leaving notes that spoke of his addiction and his hope of being reunited with fellow cyber-players in heaven. The suicide notes were written through the eyes of a gaming character, so reports the China Daily, and stated that he hoped to meet three gaming friends in the after life. His parents, who had noticed with growing concern his affliction, weren't mentioned in the letters.
In March 2005, the BBC reported a murder in Shanghai, when Qiu Chengwei fatally stabbed fellow player Zhu Caoyuan, who had sold on eBay a dragon saber sword he had been lent in a Legend of Mir 3 game, and was given a suspended death sentence.
In 2012, two males in Taiwan died while playing computer games. The police "speculated that long hours in a sedentary position created cardiovascular problems" for the second, an 18-year-old.
In 2015, two men in Taiwan died after playing computer games for days in an Internet cafe.
In 2005, Seungseob Lee (Hangul: 이승섭) visited an Internet cafe in the city of Taegu and played StarCraft almost continuously for fifty hours. He went into cardiac arrest and died at a local hospital. A friend reported: "...he was a game addict. We all knew about it. He couldn't stop himself." About six weeks before his death, his girlfriend, also an avid gamer, broke up with him, in addition to him being fired from his job.
In 2009, Kim Sa-rang, a 3-month-old Korean child, died from malnutrition after both her parents spent hours each day in an Internet cafe, rearing a virtual child in an online game, Prius Online. The death is covered in the 2014 documentary Love Child.
An Independent Online article reported in 2007 that police arrested a 13-year-old boy accused of murdering and robbing an 81-year-old woman. A local policeman was quoted as saying that the boy "...confessed that he needed money to play online games and decided to kill and rob..." the victim. The article further related a police report that the murder by strangling netted the thief 100,000 Vietnamese đồng (US$6.20).
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(January 2018)
In November 2001, Shawn Woolley committed suicide; it has been inferred that his death was related to the popular computer game EverQuest. Shawn’s mother said the suicide was due to a rejection or betrayal in the game from a character Shawn called "iluvyou".
In February 2002, a Louisiana woman sued Nintendo because her son died after suffering seizures caused by playing Nintendo 64 for eight hours a day, six days a week. Nintendo denied any responsibility.
18-year-old Devin Moore was addicted and obsessed with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. He suddenly snapped and went on a crime spree on 7 June 2003. He was caught trying to steal a car and was brought in to the police station where he then managed to steal one officer's gun, and shot him and two other officers dead before stealing a police car and escaping. He was eventually caught and sentenced to lethal injection. After he was recaptured he said, "Life is a video game. Everybody's got to die sometime."
Press reports in November 2005 state that Gregg J. Kleinmark, 24, pleaded "guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter". He "left fraternal twins Drew and Bryn Kleinmark unattended in a bathtub for 30 minutes, in order to go three rooms away and play on his Game Boy Advance" while "in the mean time, the two ten-months old kids drowned".
Ohio teenager Daniel Petric shot his parents, killing his mother, after they took away his copy of Halo 3 in October 2007. In a sentencing hearing after the teen was found guilty of aggravated murder, the judge said, "I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents they would be dead forever." On 16 June 2009, Petric was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison.
In Jacksonville, Florida, Alexandra Tobias pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for shaking her baby to death. She told investigators that the baby boy's crying had interrupted her while she was playing the Facebook game FarmVille. She was sentenced to 50 years in December 2010.
On February 19, 2017, Brian Vigneault died in Virginia Beach following a 24 hour video game marathon.
A New Mexico woman named Rebecca Colleen Christie was convicted of second degree murder and child abandonment, and sentenced to 25 years in prison, for allowing her 3 and a half-year-old daughter to die of malnutrition and dehydration while occupied with chatting and playing World of Warcraft online.
In March 2014, a 17-year-old boy assaulted and killed his grandmother in Quezon City after she scolded him for playing Defense of the Ancients at a local Internet cafe.
In popular culture
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Game", William Riker brings a video game from the planet Risa. It stimulates specific parts of the brain, and almost all of the Enterprise crew become addicted to it.
- In the second segment of the 1983 American horror anthology film Nightmares, Emilio Estevez plays J.J. Cooney, a video game-addicted teenager who is consumed by a challenging arcade game named The Bishop of Battle.
- ^"Computer Game Addiction". Berkeley Parents Network. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
- ^Hauge, Marney R. and James Robert 'Paynee' (April 2003). "Video game addiction among adolescents: Associations with academic performance and aggression"(PDF). Retrieved 25 June 2007.
- ^ abcTanner, Lindsey (22 June 2007). "Is video-game addiction a mental disorder?". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- ^"Conditions for Further Study". Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- ^"Negative Effects of Violent Video Games May Build Over Time". Psychcentral.com. December 11, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- ^Christopher J. Ferguson (5 November 2014). "Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When". Journal of Communication. 65 (1): E1–E22. doi:10.1111/jcom.12129.
- ^Przybylski, Andrew K.; Rigby, C. Scott; Ryan, Richard M. (June 2010). "A motivational model of video game engagement". Review of General Psychology. 14 (2): 154–166. doi:10.1037/a0019440.
- ^Haggard, Daniel. The computer game affliction: how they addict you.Archived 10 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
- ^LeClaire, Jennifer. Warning Signs Appear Along Road to Video Game AddictionTechNews World. 13 September 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
- ^JoyofAndroid.com Mobile Game Addiction 101
- ^Breeze, Mez (12 January 2013). "A quiet killer: Why video games are so addictive". The Next Web. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- ^Davidow, Bill (18 July 2012). "Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction". The Atlantic. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- ^ ab"Chinese suicide shows addiction dangers". Play. 3 June 2005. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010.
- ^ abcdGriffiths, M. (2010). "Online video gaming: what should educational psychologists know?". Educational Psychology in Practice. 26 (1): 35–40. doi:10.1080/02667360903522769.
- ^Kornhuber, J.; Zenses, EM; Lenz, B; Stoessel, C; Bouna-Pyrrou, P; Rehbein, F; Kliem, S; Mößle, T (2013). "Low digit ratio 2D:4D associated with video game addiction". PLoS ONE. 8 (11): e79539. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079539. PMC 3827365. PMID 24236143.
- ^ abcFerguson, C.J.; M. Coulson; J. Barnett Griffiths (2011). "Video Game Addiction". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 45 (12): 1573–1576. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.09.005. PMID 21925683.