Video Game addiction
The unreality we create
How so many people are addicted to video games
History of gaming problems
In 2005, Shanghai gamer Qiu Chengwei (link is external) stabbed a friend to death when he found out that he had sold a virtual sword belonging to Chengwei on eBay for 7,200 yuan ($738). After narrowly avoiding a death sentence, Chengwei was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 2009, an Ohio court sentenced 17 year-old Daniel Petric (link is external) to 23 years in prison for the fatal shooting of his mother. Petric had shot both his parents after they took away his copy of Halo 3. During his trial, the court was told that Petric had become addicted to the game after being left housebound following a jetski injury.
In 2011, Rebecca Colleen Christie (link is external) was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a New Mexico court for allowing her 3 ½ year-old daughter to die of malnutrition while she spent hours playing World of Warcraft.
biological factors that make video games addictive
Dopamine levels are associated with the reward center of the brain, and the heightened sense of pleasure that characterizes rewarding experiences. When we experience something pleasurable, our dopamine levels increase. It’s nature’s way of reinforcing behaviors that are often necessary for survival.
One of the frequent pieces of evidence to support video game addiction is studies like this one by Koepp et al, which was done in 1998. It monitored changes in dopamine levels from subjects who were playing a video game. The study noted that dopamine levels increased during game play “at least twofold.” Since then literature reviews and articles with an anti-gaming bias frequently and rightly state that video games can cause dopamine levels to “double” or significantly increase.
This shows how you get addicted from feeling happiness or pleasure from this activity like a drug.
Treatments ways for people who are addictive to video games
A therapist or treatment program that specializes in adolescents would be a first place to start. For example, a summer camp or wilderness program will get your child out of his normal environment and into a situation where he is forced to experience reality. His time will be filled with activities that are designed to instill confidence, develop healthy passions, and foster social skills.
Of course, choosing the right program, preferably one that has a therapeutic element, will be essential. Sending a socially challenged child to a rough-and-tumble military or boot camp with highly competitive activities could do more harm than good. Therapeutic boarding schools and wilderness camps for teens that specialize in treating addiction and behavioral issues may be just what your child needs to turn his life around.
With high rates of video game use taking off just over a decade ago, video game addiction statistics and studies have yet to show the whole picture. A study appearing in the medical journal Pediatrics, conducted by research scientist Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D., examined video game usage rates of 3,034 children and teenagers. Video game addiction statistics from this study revealed the following:
- The average length of time spent playing video games was 20 hours per week
- An estimated 72 percent of American households play video games
- An estimated nine percent of the 3,034 participants in the study showed signs of video game addiction
- Four percent of percent of study participants were categorized as extreme users who played video games 50 hours per week on average (http://www.addictions.com/video-games/alarming-video-game-addiction-statistics/)
Impacts of being addicted to video games
Other long-term effects of video game addiction to consider are the financial, academic and occupational consequences involved. Video games and video game equipment can be very expensive, especially when factoring in recurring costs such as the high-speed Internet connection required for online multiplayer games. These games can also be very time-consuming, leaving addicted gamers with less time to focus on their education or career.
ways you know your addicted to video games vs social/ free time
- You feel really happy when you're online or when you're playing games, but as soon as you have to stop, you get angry or upset.
- You think about going online or playing when you are supposed to be focusing on other things, like doing school work or having dinner with your family.
- You spend more time with your keyboard or controller than physically hanging out with your friends.
- Your friends or parents ask what you spend all your time doing, and you lie about it or laugh it off, but inside you know they may have a point.
- You get up in the middle of the night to check your e-mail or your MySpace comments because you're having a hard time sleeping. (http://www.video-game-addiction.org/signs-you-need-help.html)