Myth of Video Game Addiction
Literally everyone has an opinion. Especially if we’re talking about such an interesting topic as addiction. Especially if we’re talking about game addiction.
The game addiction issue has attracted a lot of attention over a long period, and it is still doing so today. There are certainly a lot of myths around this issue, so we’d like to structure them, analyze them and share our results with you.
Let’s start with the fundamental question.
Are video games addictive at all?
Many people think video games are as addictive as drugs. Well, that makes some sense. Game developers design games to hook you on them.
Those playing Dota 2 know perfectly well how significant it is to have a beautiful hook for Pudge – that’s why they are ready to buy such items on DMarket.
But this is the case for all things in the entertainment industry. Movies are made to hook you; table games are made to hook you; everything’s made to hook you, in fact.
Addiction can be triggered by many other reasons. You can binge watch your favourite TV series on HBO or Netflix, and there won’t be any issue with it. Because society has made it a social norm: society has normalized such behaviour and sees no evil in it.
Meanwhile if you’re rocking your PUBG game, this could be a problem for those who are not into video gaming at all. There is no stigma in being a so-called “TV-addict,” but there is a stigma for gamers. This simply isn’t fair!
The thing is, you should be careful and moderate your time spent not only on games, but on any entertainment stuff. To say that video games should be blamed for being addicting and obstructing productivity is false; anything can become addictive and harmful if you don’t use it in moderation.
But the thing is, it’s so easy and fun to blame video games for everything, from bad grades at school or university to a bad career and always being late for work. And it takes a little more analysis to understand that games become an escape if a person lacks socializing skills, or coping skills, or some other oh-so-needed skills.
We should understand the root issue with overplaying games, and it’s not the game itself. It’s something else. You may have some trouble socializing and pick TV series binge watching as an escape. Moral panics around the harm of video gaming might result in premature application of clinical diagnoses and the treatment of many false-positive cases, especially among children and adolescents.
But some will still blame games and talk about a “video game addiction” diagnosis. According to a quite recent report for the World Health Organization, behavioral effects research among scholars concluded that video game addiction is not a legitimate disease.
Therefore we should ask ourselves once again: is it a real thing or not? Because even scientific studies confirm a false alarm. How many people pick gaming instead of doing regular and important things, such as doing homework, or preparing a job report? a small percentage of gamers overdo it – gaming instead of doing homework, going to work or interacting with friends offline.
The number of gamers affected in such a manner is quite small. One recent American Journal of Psychiatry study of nearly 19,000 young adults found less than 1 percent of people experience video game addiction. The same can be said of many activities: people overdo it with sex, food, exercise, work or religion, none of which (gambling is the exception) have been enshrined as an official disease.
If we include “video game addiction” diagnosis as a real diagnosis, this will cause significantly more harm than good. Given the immaturity of the existing evidence base, it will negatively impact the lives of millions of healthy video gamers while being unlikely to provide valid identification of true problem cases.
If this is not enough, there is a 2014 study done by Brunborg, Mentzoni and Froyland which found that video game addiction does have a correlation with negative outcomes, such as depression.
However, as stated in the article, the link between time spent on gaming and the same outcomes was found to be weaker than the former, showing that time may not be the only factor in gaming addiction. Though the critiques are present, studies on this topic are still relatively young and growing and there is much to still be explored in this area.
So, just stay healthy and keep playing. And remember that you should not totally escape into the gaming world, you should just be yourself and spend your time on everything you love, including playing CS:GO, dating, studying, having a party with friends, or reading. By the way, if you’d like to switch your attention to some gaming articles, check out our PC vs Console in 2018, Top 45 PC Games of All Time, or Top 7 PS4 Games pieces!
What do you think about video game addiction and the myths around it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!