Addicted to videogames?
A new Harris Survey suggests that video games are truly addictive and this addiction is increasing. The report states that, in the United States, 8.5% of gamers between the ages of eight and 19 can be classified as "pathological" or clinically "addicted. At the same time, 23% say they have felt "addicted to video games" including 31% of males and 13% of females.
Nearly four fifths (81%) play video games at least once per month, including 94% of all boys.
The survey was conducted online between January 17 and 23 this year. Harris reports that 1,178 children and teenagers participated. Among the findings: The average 8- to 12year old plays 13 hours of video game per week, while 13- to 18 year olds play 14 hours per week. Girls play about a third less than boys.
Dr. Douglas Gentile, Director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University and the director of research for the National Institute on Media and the Family, states, "It is important that people realize that playing a lot is not the same thing as pathological play. For something to be an addiction, it has to mean more than you do it a lot. It has to mean that you do it in such a way that it damages your life. This is why we based our definition on how pathological gambling is diagnosed in the DSM-IV. Almost one out of every ten youth gamers show enough symptoms of damage to their school, family, and psychological functioning to merit serious concern."