Gaming addiction: darker side of video games


Screenshot by Blynn Beltran

Log hours for gaming on steam

Gaming addiction: dark side of video games

With the popularity of video games in the past two decades, it is inevitable encountering problems along its striving path. Sexism, violence, sloth, promoting anti-social behavior; all of these problems are discussed in the gaming industry. But the one problem that isn’t discussed frequently and is often ignored by the community is video game addiction.

“The thing about gaming [addiction], you’ll get pushed back on this,” Psychology professor Jennifer Merrill said.

Video game addiction has become recognized disorder. It is listed in psychiatric/mental disorder manuals such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association.

According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, video game addiction is described as an impulse control disorder that does not involve drug use and is very similar to pathological gambling. It has also been referred to as video game overuse, pathological or compulsive/excessive use of computer games and video games.

“It is easy to get addicted to video games. People use it for different reasons,” Psychology and Communication Studies Jon Blakeslee said. “For me, I use it as an escape.”

Well, how many people are addicted to video games? Dr. Douglas A. Gentile examined 3,034 children and teenagers in 2011 on their video game usage. The average play time was 20 hours per week for an estimated 72 percent of American households. Roughly nine percent of the 3,034 participants showed signs of video game addiction meanwhile four percent showed extreme use, clocking 50 hours per week playing video games.

Now, video game addiction is more relevant than ever. According to DSM-5, the prevalence of gaming disorders seems to be highest in male adolescents from ages 12-20. There are an abundance of reports from China and South Korea with fewer reports coming from Europe and North America.

However, this doesn’t mean that people should underestimate the prevalence of video game addiction in Europe and North America’s since their estimates are highly variable, especially with our increasingly technological society.

Adolescent males are at a greater risk of developing a gaming disorder and that includes people from all over the world, not just Asian countries. According to a book by Stanley J. Baran regarding media literacy and culture, there are 211.5 million Americans who play video games regularly; 55 percent of them are males and 32 percent are 17 years old and younger.

“Society is becoming more and more technology based and rather than talking to people they play video games,” Psychology and Communication Studies major Ryan Rosales said.

However, parents should be observant of gamers. Just because they spend enormous amounts of hours on video games doesn’t mean they are addicted. Some hardcore gamers play for about 20 hours a week or more and professionals play for about 50 plus hours to train for upcoming competitions. These people are able to control their gaming time while addicts cannot.

An extreme example of gaming addiction is the case of a Taiwanese gamer. According to a 2015 article by the Daily Mirror, a video game addict by the name of Hseuh Jun-Chen from Taiwan set himself on fire after an argument with his father. The two exchanged words about Chen’s late gaming and wanted him to stop.

“I play for probably about three or four hours a day. You have to learn how to set boundaries and time yourself. I have two tests this week and I haven’t touched my Xbox since,” said Blakeslee. “I do play a lot still but I’m getting better at controlling it.”

Friends and family members must be observant of the symptoms that a gaming addict have like being over-occupied by games, using video games to escape their problems, etc. They should also be aware that like any type of addiction, rehabilitation for gaming addiction is expensive, especially when you’re paying out of pocket. The previously mentioned DSM book is not only used to diagnose addiction but it also determines what will your insurance cover.

“One of the things that a DSM diagnosis can help is defraying some of the cost since insurance will cover it,” Merrill said. “This book has a lot of power because it pretty much determine whether your insurance will cover it or not.”

However, determining whether or not insurance will cover gaming addiction can be aggravating because of how insurance works.

“Dealing with insurance can be difficult. Some [psychiatrists] don’t want to deal with it at all and it’s completely private pay since it could take months until they get paid, so it’s extremely expensive,” Merrill said. “You can get treatment but you don’t know if your insurance will cover for that. ”

is something that needs to be addressed and gaming addiction can be a silent
killer if one isn’t paying attention. Please see if anyone you know has
symptoms of gaming addiction to prevent it. Parents must
understand to set limits for their children when it comes to video games. Video
game addiction must be nipped in the bud like any other affliction. Gamers play video games for plenty of hours but restraint is what they need to be true gamers. A healthy gamer is a good gamer.