Video Game Addiction: Fact or fiction? Peer Response #3

December 8, 2009 queenbeedc1983
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Antonella’s December 2nd, 2009 post entitled, Game OverDOSE, got me thinking about how the success of the video game industry is ruining people’s “real-life.”  I can recall one too many stories from friends complaining that their boyfriend/girlfriend is more dedicated to their PS3 or Nintendo Wii than the relationship.  While it sounds absurd, it’s a real problem and I find it difficult to ignore the issue.  I think this topic raises some really important questions, including whether or not the gaming industry should respond to the controversial growing addictions?  And, whether video game addiction is fact or fiction?

But, before I could answer these questions I needed to do a little research on whether or not there was a firm link.  What I found was a lot of research working toward establishing a solid connection, such as a 2007 study conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine that found evidence of video games having addictive characteristics.  While I think many researchers are on the right path, there is no diagnosis of video game addition to date.  I would like to point out, however, that there has a been a proposal to include video game addiction in the upcoming version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  I will admit that I am not 100 percent convinced that video game addiction should be considered a disorder, but I definitely feel that excessive video game playing can be very detrimental to relationships.

As for the gaming industry, as long as there is no factual evidence linking video games to addiction and disorders, there’s not much they can do.  Are they supposed to put disclaimers on their games? Or restrictions?  Some countries have taken matters into their own hands, including the People’s Republic of China, which attempted to exert online gaming restrictions.  The restrictions lasted for a mere two years until it was “relaxed.”  Other countries, including the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands have introduced video game addiction clinics and prevention programs. As we can see, this issue is not being taken lightly.  Unfortunately, until we have solid evidence, I don’t think the industry will be joining or acknowledging the discussion anytime soon.  So, what do you think:  Is video game addiction fact or fiction and what role should the industry play?

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