A new national study claims one in 10 youngsters, ages 8 to 18, may be addicted to their PlayStation.
Iowa State and the National Institute on Media and Family compared gaming habits to the symptoms of pathological gambling established in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The study -- which analyzed data from more than 1,100 U.S. out in January 2007 -- found that nearly 8.5 percent of young gamers were addicted, showing six of 11 classic signs.
1. Lying to family and friends about video game usage.
2. Using video games to escape from problems or bad feelings.
3. Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to stop playing video games.
4. Skipping homework in order to play video games.
5. Doing poorly on a school assignment or test because they spent too much time on games.
“Many parents have been worried about their children being ‘addicted’ to video games,” said Dr. Douglas Gentile, assistant professor of psychology at ISU and lead author. “While the medical community currently does not recognize video game addiction as a mental disorder, hopefully this study will be one of many that allow us to have an educated conversation on the positive and negative effects of video games.”
Gentile, who also serves as the director of research for the National Institute on Media and the Family, was especially surprised by the gap between casual and “addicted” gamers.
In the study, “addicted” gamers played video games 24 hours per week or twice as much as casual gamers. Those "addicted" gamers were more likely to report having trouble paying attention in school, with and some even stealing to support their habit.
“This study is a wake-up call for families,” said Dr. Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and Family. “While video games can be fun and entertaining, some kids are getting into trouble. I continue to hear from families who are concerned about their child’s gaming habits. Not only do we need to focus on identifying the problem, but we need to find ways to help families prevent and treat it.”