Video Game Addiction
Written by Cedar Ridge Academy,
in Section Parent Resources
It’s great to do things you enjoy. But can you go too far with a hobby? And at what point does it become an addiction? That’s the question experts are trying to answer about playing video games.
Even though gaming has been around for almost 50 years, studies about its harms are still in the early stages. Different groups have come to different conclusions about whether problem playing should be called an addiction.
The World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to the 2018 version of its medical reference book, International Classification of Diseases. But the American Psychiatry Association’s manual, the DSM-5, didn’t. (So far, gambling is the only “activity” listed as a possible addiction.)
Signs to Watch For
The DSM-5 does include a section to help people and doctors know the warning signs of problem video gaming. These problems can happen whether you play online or offline.
Here’s what to look for in yourself or someone close to you -- your partner, a child, or a friend. You need to have five or more of these signs in 1 year to have a problem, according to criteria that were proposed in the DSM-5:
- Thinking about gaming all or a lot of the time
- Feeling bad when you can’t play
- Needing to spend more and more time playing to feel good
- Not being able to quit or even play less
- Not wanting to do other things that you used to like
- Having problems at work, school, or home because of your gaming
- Playing despite these problems
- Lying to people close to you about how much time you spend playing
- Using gaming to ease bad moods and feelings
Of course, not everyone who plays a lot has a problem with gaming. Some experts say that it’s harmful to label people who might just be very enthusiastic about gaming. One thing they do agree on is that the percentage of players who meet the proposed criteria for addiction to video games is small. It’s estimated to be somewhere between 1% and 9% of all gamers, adults and kids alike. (It’s more common in boys and men than girls and women.)
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