Pathological video game use exists

By Tom Nordlie • Published: July 14th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

As every parent knows, kids can get awfully wrapped up in their hobbies.

But when does devotion to an activity become downright unhealthy?

That’s a question one researcher tried to answer with respect to video games.

An article published in the journal Psychological Science set forth criteria to identify pathological video-game users.

What’s more, some kids met those criteria.

In the study, almost twelve-hundred U-S boys and girls ages eight to eighteen took confidential surveys about gaming and its impact on their lives.

The surveys were developed from questionnaires used to identify problem gamblers.

The results showed that eighty-eight percent of the kids played video games at least occasionally.

Eight percent suffered enough negative impacts that their gaming was considered pathological.

On average, they spent twice as much time playing as their better-adjusted counterparts.

Gaming also led many of them to skip homework assignments, shirk household chores and lie to friends and family.

Problem gamers were more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, fight at school and suffer repetitive-motion injuries.

Boys displayed pathological symptoms more often, with one exception. Girls were more likely to report they had tried, and failed, to cut back on their gaming.

Unfortunately, the study yielded more questions than answers.

But it strongly suggests more research is needed, not to mention treatment strategies.

So if a youngster in your life seems a little too caught up in video gaming, it may not be your imagination.

There might be a serious, and very real, problem.