Videogame Addiction

“Jeffrey Stark knew he was in trouble when his grades dropped from 90s to 70s and he had lost all his friends. He was spending far too much time and effort feeding his addiction. Stark wasn’t shooting heroin or drinking alcohol. He was playing computer games. “Getting hooked on computer games has stripped me of countless valuable hours which could have been spent studying,” says Stark, 18, of London, Ont. “I am now antisocial and have very few friends.” (Andrew Flynn) This story is not a unique one. Video games have been known to “consume” people to the point that their lives are falling apart. Video game addiction has wrecked people mentally, ruined professional careers, and destroyed marriage’s. Video game addiction is a growing epidemic around the world. It is an issue that needs to be dealt with so thousands of people can get the help that they need.

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“Jun. 28–Skip to 2012: Lindsay Lohan checks into treatment because the actress just can’t stop hitting the bars–the falling block-bars on Nintendo Tetris. A 33-year-old office worker is fired because he wouldn’t stop playing “World of Warcraft 3″ on the job. He sues and is awarded back pay and reinstatement, along with the accommodation that he be allowed at least three raids per day on the computer game. These scenarios could come to be if the American Medical Association classifies video game addiction as a mental condition tantamount to dependence on drugs and alcohol.” (Arizona Daily Star) Now this might seem far fetched to some people but scenarios like these could be a very real and frightening possibility. When video game addiction becomes a real medical disease, people all around the world will be affected. For example, if this happens video game addicts will be given breaks to get their fix similar to smokers, and with the fact that seven out of ten homes in America have a video game console in them, this would be harmful to everyone. Employers everywhere will lose out on possible income they can make.

In Tucson mental-health experts welcomed the study, saying the problems are real and on the rise. But some devout gamers say the issue is overhyped.”It is a valid addiction,” said Paul Gallant, a clinical outreach coordinator for Sierra Tucson, a treatment center for addictions and mental disorders. He said he’s seen a 20 percent increase in calls regarding compulsive gamers in the past 18 months. One case involved a 22-year-old college student who spent up to 20 hours on a computer game every day, and had failed classes and lost his job. “It meets many of the classic criteria for process addiction,” Gallant said. “Many people who doubt that these cases are addictions do not understand neurochemistry or the working of the addictive brain. Many people feel that unless there’s ingestion of a mind- or mood-altering substance–whether it be heroin, cocaine or alcohol–without that, addiction cannot be present, and that’s a lie.” Video game addiction can be very disruptive, costing gamers jobs and relationships, said Christi Cessna, Sierra Tucson’s director of marketing and intake. “It’s had a serious impact on lives, and frankly that’s one of the reasons the (American Psychiatric Association) is looking at it as a diagnosis,” she said. ” (Phil Villarreal)

Video game addiction has a severe effect on your social life. “”It’s similar to the idea of Internet addiction in that people are using video games to kind of disassociate from their lives in some way,” Cessna said. “We are getting calls, which is a challenge because no program out there specializes in video game addiction itself.” Those hooked on gaming also may suffer from additional problems, such as anti-social behavior and depression, she said.” (Phil Villarreal) This can be very disruptive costing people jobs and relationships and it one of the main reasons that the American Psychiatric Association. People have been using games to distance themselves from reality for decades but now with the type of games that are out now, one such game is “World Of Warcraft.” World of Warcraft or “WOW” for short, is a MMO RPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) where you create a character from a number of different races and level up and go on quests. This game that’s set in a fantasy world where someone can literally make a second life.

For many people out there life might not be ideal and lots of gamers seek out happiness in games which is perfectly fine and healthy to an extent, but some people take it too far. For most hardcore addicts, they will willingly forgo food, hygiene, and jobs to play a game instead. ” One case involved a 22-year-old college student who spent up to 20 hours on a computer game every day, and had failed classes and lost his job.” to go back to this quote from earlier, video game addiction needs more attention and people need help; just like alcoholics have AA for help with their addiction, video game addicts need something similar.

Although in recent years video games have got a bad rap. They have been accused of causing people to be violent and things of that nature which is untrue as proven in USA Today’s article “Study the Player, not the Video game”, “If you’re worried about a video game turning your son or daughter into a killer, don’t worry about that,” says psychologist Patrick Markey of Villanova (Pa.) University. “But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly? It’s probably not the best idea to have that child play violent video games.” With all that being video games can be used for good. In the past the authors have referred to games as good “learning engines.” “Here they argue that games are good learning engines because they are first good assessment engines.Games require the kind of thinking that we need in the 21st century because they use actual learning as the basis for assessment. They test not only current knowledge and skills, but also preparation for future learning. They measure 21st century skills like collaboration, innovation, production, and design by tracking many different kinds of information about a student over time.

As an example of how epistemic games can be used as assessment tools, the authors describe a game they developed called Urban Science, in which players work as urban planners who are creating proposals for the development of an area adjacent to a large wetland. Epistemic games can be used to test whether students can solve complex problem using 21st century skills. Thus the authors suggest that the road to better schools starts by making the tests in school more like the games that students are already playing out of school.” (James Gee, David Shaffer) Video games have been used by the military to help soldiers become better on the battlefield, in recent years schools have been pushing more interactive learning video games to keep students interested and having fun which in turn make you learn more.

In conclusion video game addiction is a real epidemic. It affects millions of people every day. It has been know to ruin professional careers, destroy personal relationships, and have a grave effect on someone’s social life. Currently today there really isn’t a good option for gamers to go to get help. Alcoholics and many other forms of recognized addictions have large and very effective and helpful organizations dedicated to alleviated peoples addictions yet videos game addicts do not. This is an issue that needs to be addressed because if it isn’t, it will affect us all.

Flynn, Andrew. “It’s No-Win for Those Hooked on Games.” Toronto Star. 27 Apr 2002: L9. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Gee, James Paul, and David Williamson Shaffer. “Looking Where the Light Is Bad.” EDge. Sep/Oct 2010: 1-20. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Jayson, Sharon. “Study the Player, Not the Video Game.” USA TODAY. 15 Sep 2011: D.3. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Steinberg, Michele. “Programmed to Kill: Video Games, Drugs, and the ‘New Violence’.” 21st Century Science & Technology. Fall 2000: 16-22.SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Villarreal, Phil. “Experts: Video Game Addiction Is Real; Players Scoff.” Arizona Daily Star. 28 Jun 2007: n.pag. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

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