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Video Games and their potential negative repercussions on their end users
I do believe RayJ was onto something in the other thread, but it may have been a bit too broad for the scope of that discussion. I feel this is worthy of discussion, nevertheless. So I have made it a topic in its own right. Discuss.
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
"Of course, all gamers are not addicts – many teens can play video games a few hours a week, successfully balancing school activities, grades, friends, and family obligations. But for some, gaming has become an uncontrollable compulsion. Studies estimate that 10 percent to 15 percent of gamers exhibit signs that meet the World Health Organization’s criteria for addiction. Just like gambling and other compulsive behaviors, teens can become so enthralled in the fantasy world of gaming that they neglect their family, friends, work, and school."
"A recent article published in the journal Psychological Science indicates that youth in the United States may be at risk for addiction to video games. According to a 2007 Harris poll of 1,178 American children and teens (ages 8 to 18), 8.5 percent of those who played video games exhibited six of 11 addiction symptoms. These symptoms included skipping household chores or homework to play video or computer games, poor performance on tests, and playing video games to escape problems.
Experts are comparing video game addiction to other pathological non-substance related behaviors like compulsive gambling. Researchers at Iowa State University, who conducted the study, actually utilized gambling addiction criteria to help develop the self-administered questionnaire. Currently no clinical diagnosis exists for video game addiction.
In general, boys exhibited a greater number of addictive symptoms than girls. Boys tended to exhibit two or more of the 11 symptoms, while girls were more likely to show two or fewer. In addition to the symptoms listed above, other symptoms of gaming addiction exhibited by youth who played video games includes excessive thinking about playing games, excessive planning for the next opportunity to play, trying to play less and failing to do so, becoming restless or irritable when trying to play less or stop playing, lying about how much they play, and stealing a game or stealing money to buy a game."
"In an April 21 article on the TimesOnline website, technology correspondent Mike Harvey reported that Prof. Gentile's research had yielded the following statistics:
ScienceDaily noted that the young people whose behavior rose to the level of video game addiction were more likely than were non-pathological players to report the following:
* Just under 90 percent of survey respondents reported playing video games.
* The average boy in the survey spent 16.4 hours a week playing games, while the average for girls was just over nine hours every week.
* The average "addicted" gamer played 24 hours a week -- twice as much as casual gamers.
* 8.5 percent of the young gamers exhibited "pathological patterns of play," which was described as the presence of at least six of the 11 clinical symptoms (as defined by the American Psychiatric Association).
* One-fourth of the surveyed gamers reported turning to video games in an attempt to escape problems, and nearly as many said they played instead of doing homework.
* Twenty percent of the young video game enthusiasts said that their schoolwork had suffered because of the time they spent playing the games.
* Having game systems in their bedrooms"While the medical community currently does not recognize video game addiction as a mental disorder, hopefully this study will be one of many that allow us to have an educated conversation on the positive and negative effects of video games," Prof. Gentile said in the TimesOnline article."
* Receiving poor grades in school
* Feeling "addicted" to game systems
* Experiencing a higher than normal number of health problems
* Stealing to support their video game habit
"But it begs the question: Which comes first? Can aggressive and violent behavior be attributed to violence in video games? Or do those who play already have violent tendencies which draw them to violent games? It's a type of "chicken or the egg" debate that has strong advocates on both sides.
Though video games made their appearance in the 1970s, it wasn't until systems like the Sony PlayStation were released in the 1980s that violence became an issue. Along with these more sophisticated systems came the ability to make graphics more lifelike. The more lifelike they've become, the more interest there has been in the correlation between violent games and violent behavior.
One of the primary concerns with violence in video games is that gaming is not passive. In order to play and win, the player has to be the aggressor. Rather than watching violence, as he might do on television, he's committing the violent acts. Most researchers acknowledge that this kind of active participation affects a person's thought patterns, at least in the short term.
Another factor that concerns both researchers and parents is that violence in video games is often rewarded rather than punished. In army and sniper games, players "level up" based in part on how many people they kill. If played frequently enough, games like this can skew a young person's perception of violence and its consequences."
"Short-term effects were easily identified in the GAM; the most prominent being that violent games change the way gamers interpret and respond to aggressive acts. Even those who aren't predisposed to aggression respond with increased hostility after playing a violent video game. The game becomes what's called a "situational variable" which changes the perception of and reaction to aggressive behavior.
Long-term effects of violent video games are still uncertain and are fiercely debated. No long-term studies have been conducted to date, so there are only hypotheses. Anderson and Bushman theorized that excessive exposure to violent video games causes the formation of aggressive beliefs and attitudes, while also desensitizing gamers to violent behaviors."
"While occasional use of video games is harmless and may even help with some disorders like autism, doctors said in extreme cases it can interfere with day-to-day necessities like working, showering or even eating.
"Working with this problem is no different than working with alcoholic patients. The same denial, the same rationalization, the same inability to give it up," Dr. Thomas Allen of the Osler Medical Center in Towson, Maryland.
Dr. Louis Kraus of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center, said it is not yet clear whether video games are addictive.
"It's not necessarily a cause-and-effect type issue. There may be certain kids who have a compulsive component to what they are doing," he said in an interview.
But addictive or not, too much time spent playing video games takes away from other important activities.
"The more time kids spend on video games, the less time they will have socializing, the less time they will have with their families, the less time they will have exercising," Kraus said.
"They can make up academic deficits, but they can't make up the social ones," he said."