Almost 1 in 10 Young Video Game Users 'Addicted'
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2009 Apr 22
What if your child is one of the almost 10% of kids addicted to video games? There are steps you can take. See Jim Burns' article, Help for a Child Who's Addicted to Video Games on HomeWord.com.
A sizable number of young video game players -- fully 8.5 percent -- exhibit signs of addiction to gaming, a new study has found.
These kids aren't just playing a lot. Their gaming interferes with school performance, disrupts interaction with family and friends and poses health problems, the study reveals.
Douglas A. Gentile, a developmental psychologist and an assistant professor at Iowa State University in Ames, said the study is the first to document the prevalence of video game addiction using a nationally representative sample of children and adolescents.
"What's most concerning to me is really the total percentage, just the vast number of kids that are having real problems in their lives because they play games, and they may not know how to stop it," said Gentile, whose study appears in the May edition of Psychological Science.
Pathological gamers played more frequently and for more time, received worse grades and were more likely to report having trouble paying attention in school than non-pathological players. They also reported more health problems associated with playing video games, such as hand and wrist pain.
They were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder -- 25 percent of pathological gamers versus 11 percent of non-pathological players. And they were more likely (24 percent vs. 12 percent) to report having been involved in physical fights in the past year.
"I think it does highlight that parents
and kids do need to talk about game play and they do need to talk about
rules," said Cheryl K. Olson, co-director and co-founder of the Center
for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.