PROCESS ADDICTION PAPER 8
Gamingaddiction is increasingly becoming an attractive topic in research.The gaming world has evolved from the arcades in the 1970s and 1980sto home living rooms. According to a report from the University ofPittsburg, the gaming industry generated as much as 10.3 billiondollars in the year 2002. Since that time, many people are gettingcaught up in the gaming world. Many people, however, do not considervideo game addiction as a critical condition. New evidence from therecent research will highlight both the positive and negativeconsequences of video game addiction. While video games are thoughtto be interesting for children and teenagers only, adults are alsogravitating towards the gaming arena. Given the lack of consensus onwhether video game addiction is the correct term to use, someresearchers opt to use the terminology such as excessive orproblematic to refer to the harmful use of video games.
Statisticsand prevalence of problematic video game use
Thereis no clear evidence as to how many people are affected by gamingaddiction. However, there exists several statistics. The gamingindustry is currently a 66 billion dollar industry. According to arecent study in 2007, 2 percent out of 700 people were diagnosed withaddiction to video games (Flanagan, 2014). A survey carried out in2009 revealed that 41 percent of respondents admitted to playingvideo gems to escape the real world. There is a close relationshipbetween escapism and gaming. Prevalence studies conducted from 1994to 2012 reveal the problematic video gaming. A group of 300 peopleparticipated in the studies. Estimated prevalence of gaming addictionranged from 1.7% to over 10% in the selected sample. The studies alsorevealed that males are more likely than females to experienceproblems related to gaming.
Adifferent research involved a scientist Douglas A. Gentile whoexamined usage rates of video games among children. The researcherconcluded his studies in a medical journal of pediatrics. He reviewedthe usage rates of 3,034 teenagers and children. The statisticsrevealed that the average time spent while playing video gamesamounted to 20 hours per week. 72 percent of households in Americaplay video games according to the research (Griffiths, Kuss &King, 2012). A further 9% of the participants in the study indicatedsymptoms of gaming addiction. Four percent of the participants fellinto the category of extreme users who spent at least 50 hours ofgaming per week.
Benefitsof playing video games
Althoughdecades of research back up the effects of addiction to video gamesand effects of violent games on both children and adolescentbehavior, there exists a significant advantage to playing videogames. For anyone to comprehend the impact of video games on thedevelopment of children and adolescents, we need to focus on abalanced perspective that considers not only the adverse effects butalso the benefits of engaging in those games (Granic, Lobel &Engels, 2014). Video games are concluded to provide cognitive, socialand emotional experiences among youth. Some of the major benefits ofgaming include cognitive, motivational, emotional and socialadvantages.
Contraryto beliefs that playing video games contribute to laziness andsedation, playing those games can turn out to promote cognitiveskills. In games such as “shooter games,” or the so-called actiongames which are mostly violent, the game increases cognitive ability.Evidence originates from the numerous training studies that recruitamateur gamers and randomly assign them to shooter games for the sameperiod (Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2014). Compared to amateurparticipants individuals experienced in the shooter game conditiondisplay faster and more accurate allocation, attention, higherspatial resolution in visual processing and improved mental rotationabilities.
Designersof games are professionals of engagement. They have mastered the artof attracting people of all ages into virtual environments and makethem work towards achieving meaningful goals. Praising children ontheir efforts influence them to develop an incremental theory ofintelligence. Children believe that intelligence is malleable, andthey can obtain it through time and hard work. Video games are,therefore, an ideal ground for acquiring incremental theory sinceplayers receive immediate feedback regarding efforts made by them(Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2014).
Gamingis among the most effective and efficient means by which childrengenerate positive feelings. Several studies indicate the relationshipbetween playing preferred video games and increased positive emotion.An example is playing puzzle games with minimum interfaces, a highdegree of accessibility and short-term commitments such as “AngryBirds,” improves the player’s moods and promotes relaxation(Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2014).
Contraryto stereotypes average gamers are not socially isolated. 70% ofgamers play with their friends either competitively or cooperatively.An example is Farmville the most popular social networking game onFacebook hosts more than 5 million daily users. In the virtual socialcommunities decisions such as who to trust or reject and how to leada group need to be made (Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2014). Gamerslearn social skills faster through such games.
Signsand symptoms of video game addiction
Similarto other addictions such as drugs or alcohol, gaming addiction leadsto negative psychological and physical consequences. Game developersare in the business to make a profit. They will design the games tobe addictive enough to keep you coming back for more (Griffiths, Kuss& King, 2012). Gaming addiction also has warning signs that youshould look out for in victims. It is critical for anyone torecognize these signs.
Addictedindividuals suffer consequences such as sacrificing their work,education, socializing with family or partner, sleep and increasedstress, the absence of real life relationships, reduced psychologicalwell-being, academic achievement and loneliness maladaptive coping,aggressive behavior and hostility and decreased verbal memoryperformance. Game addicts get a feeling of restlessness when they areunable to play (Clark & Scott, 2009). Preoccupation with thoughtsof previous gaming activity is evident. They also often lie tofriends or family members concerning the amount of time spentplaying.
Individualsaddicted to video games often experience fatigue, migraines due tohigh concentration or straining eyes, poor personal hygiene andcarpal tunnel syndrome caused by overreliance of a controller.Affected individuals also experience neck pain, obesity, blisters,sore tendons, and numbness of fingers, strain injuries and wristpains (Clark & Scott, 2009).
Treatmentof video game addiction
Fromthe signs and symptoms of gaming addiction, you can quickly detectwhen a person is affected by video games. Once you realize that anindividual has an addiction, it should serve as a wake-up callwhether as a parent, friend or spouse. You should seek help for theaffected individual immediately. The American Academy of Pediatricsrecommends that if it a child involved, you should limit the timespent on the screen including time spent playing video games. If yourchild is playing more than two hours a day or school life isnegatively affected, professional help might be the best alternative(Griffiths, Kuss & King, 2012). Although a country such as theUnited States is behind countries such as South Korea in clinicstreating video game addiction, there are other available therapeuticoptions. The same treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can beapplied
Addictionto gaming is an underlying psychological issue such as depression andis often accompanied by defiance and attention deficit hyperactivitydisorder (ADHD). In this case, the victim needs a treatment programthat will address both the addiction and any underlying emotionalissues (Cash et al., 2012). Therapy programs and therapeutic boardingschools prove to be useful in helping youths with addiction to videogames. The programs and institution work by trying to strike abalance in the lives of affected individuals.
TheGaming world has both potential benefits and disadvantages. To avoidthe potential problems to outweigh the potential benefits,psychologists, game developers and clinicians should collaborate todevelop an innovative approach to mental health interventions. Giventhe future trends of modern gaming, it would be advisable to involvethe field in mental health interventions since it is an expensiveprocedure. Games are relatively cheaper and would reduce the barrierto effective treatment delivery. The long list indicating potentialnegative psychosocial and medical consequences clearly illustratethat excessive gaming is a major issue regardless of whether it is anaddiction. Research also suggests that the medical community shouldpay more attention on the implications of potentially harmful andlife-threatening consequences of gaming. Studies in this field are,however, prevented by the application of inconsistent andnon-standardized criteria to assess and identify issues concerningvideo game addiction.
Clark,N., & Scott, P. S. (2009). Gameaddiction: The experience and the effects.Jefferson, N.C: McFarland.
Cash,H., Rae, C.D., Steel, H.A., & Winkler, A. (2012). Internetaddiction: A brief summary of journalof national centre for biotechnology information,Research and practice, 8(4), 292-298.doi: 10.2174/157340012803520513
Flanagan,J. (2014). Thepsychology of video games addiction. Theweek. Retrieved from:
Griffiths,M.D., Kuss, D.J., & King, D.L. (2012). Video game addiction: Pastpresent and future. Journalof current psychiatry reviews,8(4). Bentham science publishers.
Granic,I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R.C.M.E. (2014). The benefits of playingvideo games. Journal of American psychological association, Americanpsychologist, 69 (1), 66-78. DOI: 10.1037/a0034857