Thursday, January 20, 2011

Video Game Addiction: If You're Having Too Much Fun, There's Something Wrong With You

Image courtesy Mondo-Pixel
New study performed in Singapore has determined that 1 in 10 children are video game addicts. Addicts. As in, these children invest so much time into video games that it's negatively affecting their lives. 3,000 children from 3rd, 4t, and 7th grade were given questionnaires by their teachers. The questionnaires featured such questions as "Do you play video games instead of doing your homework or chores?" I still do that. I probably will never stop doing that. Someone else can take out the trash or do the dishes. I'm at the end boss of Chrono Trigger. Destroying Lavos is way more important than doing that paper tonight. Save all of mankind or finish an assignment not-at-the-last-minute? Decisions.

The study was done over a two year period, with reported symptoms of video game addiction being: Increases in anxiety and depression, drops in grades, increased impulsive behavior. Also, "addicted" children had bad social skills. Wait a minute. Impulsive? Bad social skills? Procrastination and an unwillingness to do chores? That sounds like my childhood. Growing up with A.D.D., video games were my bread and butter. Still are, except my social skills are better (I hope). These children don't have these problems because they play video games, they more likely play video games because they have these problems. If that. Correlation does not equal causation. I'm not the only one who's having a problem with this. Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit has voiced his concerns, too. "Video games have displaced television"

This is just another tirade done by closed-minded people like Jack Thompson. The study has already been called into question for its viability, and it's unlikely that it will have any long term effects. Video games are still working to becoming a fully accepted media form, and I'm thankful that we live in a time where things like this don't result in the sort of overreactions experienced in the 80's and 90's. Even though these sorts of things aren't too threatening, that doesn't mean we should just take them laying down. We should speak out against bullshit like this, and make sure that things like this don't go without rebuttal.

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