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Can You Really Be Addicted to Video Games?

Arguments against gaming addiction

  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 

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Can You Really Be Addicted to Video Games?

Can You Really Be Addicted to Video Games?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/magazine/can-you-really-be-addicted-to-video-games.html

nytimes.com

7

Key Ideas

A new disorder

The World Health Organization officially added a new disorder to the section on substance use and addictive behaviors : gaming disorder

A gaming disorder is defined as an overly and uncontainable preoccupation with video games — the obsession results in significant personal, social, academic or occupational impairment for at least 12 months.

However,  the idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains contentious.

The term "addiction"

Addiction can include:

  • Addiction as a moral transgression, like excessive drinking or drug use.
  • Addiction as a scientific disease, which characterize alcoholism and drug addiction as biological.
  • Colloquial violation, which applies the term to almost any fixation. 

The idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains debatable.

Arguments against gaming addiction

  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 

A new framework for Addiction

Experts refer to addiction as a complex behavioral disorder that joins biology, psychology, social environment and culture.

Addiction is now defined as a compulsive engagement in a rewarding experience despite severe consequences. 

Video games are a social problem

  • 2+ billion people worldwide play video games 
  • A typical gamer in the US spends 12 hours playing each week.
  • 60% of gamers neglect sleep to keep playing.
  • 40% of gamers have missed a meal.
  • In 2018, people worldwide spent a collective nine billion hours watching other people play video games on a streaming service.
  • South Korea passed a Shutdown Law in 2011, which prevents anyone under 16 from playing games online between midnight and 6 a.m.

Why video games feel so addictive

  • Video games are alternate realities. We experience great satisfaction from our gaming achievements. When compared, real-life seems so much harder and less gratifying.  
  • Video games sometimes provide the guise of genuine social connection. In reality, it can push someone into a dangerously secluded way of life.
  • In games, there are rules and defined goals. Progress is quantified. There are no real-world consequences of failure. In essence, gamers gain a sense of inflated purpose and accomplishment. By contrast, the real world seems mostly bland, and self-worth can be difficult to obtain.

Video games are designed to be addictive

With the help of hired scientists, game developers have employed many psychological techniques to make their products as unquittable as possible.
  • First, players are enticed with easy and predictable rewards.
  • To keep players interested, many games employ a strategy called intermittent reinforcement, in which players are surprised with rewards at random intervals.
Some video games punish players for leaving by refusing to suspend time.

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Games are enticing because you might win but you might not. And video games do it so efficiently, because they ride the tide of computer technology. The balance between winning and losing is continuously adjusted, according to how well you’re doing, as measured in hits and misses, gains and losses, moment by moment. The sweet spot knows you, it finds you. It adjusts to you.