A new study published today found that more than 8 percent of American kids ages 8 to 18 are addicted to video games. Impacts of video game addiction include doing less homework, lying about how much you play, and being unable to cut back on the hours spent in front of the game.
“Although the general public uses the word ‘addiction,’ clinicians often report it as pathological use,” said Iowa State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Douglas Gentile. “This is the first study to tell us the national prevalence of pathological play among youth gamers, and it is almost 1 in 10.”
Gentile analyzed data collected in a January 2007 Harris Poll survey. He compared respondents’ video game play habits to the symptoms established in for pathological gambling. Gamers were classified as “pathological” if they exhibited at least six of 11 symptoms.
“What we mean by pathological use is that something someone is doing — in this case, playing video games — is damaging to their functioning,” said Gentile. “It’s not simply doing it a lot. It has to harm functioning in multiple ways.”
The pathological gamers in the study played video games 24 hours per week, about twice as much as non-pathological gamers. They also were more likely to have video game systems in their bedrooms, reported having more trouble paying attention in school, received poorer grades in school, had more health problems, were more likely to feel “addicted,” and even stole to support their habit.
Time to put down that game controller and move slowly away from the TV.