A new US study says one in twelve (8.5%) of young gamers age 8-18 display telling signs of being addicted to gaming in line with the American Psychiatric Association's list of symptoms of gambling addiction.
The study was undertaken by Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the Family. According to the research 1 in 12 of the 1,178 subjects displayed addictive traits and typical behavior of a gambling addict such as:
• Lying to family and friends about video game usage
• Using video games to escape from problems or bad feelings
• Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to stop playing video games
• Skipping homework in order to play video games
• Doing poorly on a school assignment or test because they spent too much time on games.
"Many parents have been worried about their children being 'addicted' to video games," said ISU Prof Douglas Gentile. "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."
"This study is a wake-up call for families," added NIMF president David Walsh.
Methodology under question
Meanwhile co-author of Grand Theft Childhood:The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games, Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson, questioned the study's methodology, telling GamePolitics:
"The concern here is labeling normal childhood behaviors as "pathological" and "addicted." The author [Iowa State University's Prof. Douglas Gentile] is repurposing questions used to assess problem gambling in adults; however, lying to your spouse about blowing the rent money on gambling is a very different matter from fibbing to your mom about whether you played video games instead of starting your homework.
"It's also very questionable whether kids as young as 8 can accurately fill out a self-administered online questionnaire, especially one that uses questions designed for adults."
You can check out a copy of the detailed study online right here.