|19 January 2011
New Research: What Is Internet Addiction or Pathological Gaming And Who Is At Risk
It’s a discussion had by every modern parent, ‘is my child addicted to electronic games, and when should I be concerned?’.
This week research published in Pediatrics, the journal of the
American Academy of Pediatrics, threw just a little more light on the
behavior of children and the impact of addiction to video games.
Around the world statistics reported are fairly consistent, 9% of children have an addiction to electronic games.
It’s figures that are reflected in Dr Douglas Gentile, Department
of Psychology, Iowa State University study of American young people,
aged from 8 to 18. In the American research of the video game habits,
from 2009, 8.5% of young people display addictive behavior.
In his most recent research Dr Douglas Gentile’s team followed the progress of over 3000 in grades 3,4,7, and 8 for two years.
The study aimed to assess what personality traits indicate a
susceptibility to addition and what are the psychological implications
for those who become addicted.
83% of children played games at least occasionally, while the average child played 20.5 hours per week.
Gentile identified 11 symptoms that indicate a child is addicted or
“pathological gamers”. Of the 11 symptoms if someone has 6 or more than
they are identifying as having a problem.
It seems those symptoms are similar to other addictions, including
the need to spend more money, or time to reach the same level of
excitement, becoming irritable when the devises are removed or exposure
reduced and when play gets in the way of other tasks, including
What was significant from the research was the development of a
greater understanding of which children display personality traits that
make them susceptible to being pathological gamers.
Many young people in this category were assessed as having low social competence and greater impulsivity
as compared with the general cohort.
Even more significant was the study’s assessment that pathological
gaming resulted in depression anxiety and poor school results. This
previously was assumed by many researchers to lead children to come
addicted rather than result of addiction.
For more information about the research: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/peds.2010-1353v1
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