Key US study on youth videogame addiction

In what's being described as the US's first nationally representative study on videogame addiction, an Iowa State University researcher found that 88% of the US's 45 million 8-to-18-year-olds play videogames, and 8.5% of them show "multiple signs of behavioral addiction," the Washington Post reports. That means that 3 million young people are either addicted or "'at least have problems of the magnitude' that call for help," the researcher, Douglas Gentile, said. Symptoms include "spending increasing amounts of time and money on videogames to feel the same level of excitement; irritability or restlessness when play is scaled back; escaping problems through play; skipping chores or homework to spend more time at the controller; lying about the length of playing time; and stealing games or money to play more," the Post reports. It's important, I think, to note Gentile's remark that the study doesn't show that videogames are bad or even addictive, but that "some kids use them in a way that is out of balance and harms various other areas of their lives." The research is now in the journal Psychological Science.

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