Video Game Addiction

Video Game Addiction

The problem to be addressed by this study is whether or not video gaming is dangerously addictive, and the influence that video games have on individuals, organizations, and the society at large. In fact, video games have been identified as being highly addictive, with many people reportedly spending a considerable amount of their time playing them. Much as video gaming is a beneficial recreational activity of helping people unwind, there are concerns that it can generate undesirable effects. These consequences include academic dysfunction, development of problematic behaviors, and physical unfitness (Bean et al., 2017). The mentioned concerns appear to be valid, especially considering the definition of addiction as “a state of physiological adaptation to presence of [some stimulus] so that absence of [the stimulus] leads to physiological dysfunction, which manifests to the sufferer as unpleasant or even life-threatening ‘withdrawal symptoms” (West & Brown, 2013 p.12). Even so, the idea that video gaming is addictive with serious negative consequences has been contested on grounds that it is an unfounded stereotype. Some people argue that the hype surrounding video gaming is nothing but moral panic caused by the new media (Bean et al., 2017). With such mixed feelings, it is necessary to establish the truth concerning the addictive effects of video gaming, which will assist in formulating strategies of containing the problem.

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Technology has brought about numerous developments with mixed effects on consumers. One such technological development that has gained immense popularity among the current generation is video gaming. According to Bean et al. (2017), many people of diverse backgrounds and age groups engage in video gaming in different parts of the world. These games affect people, organizations, and societies differently. On the positive side, video gaming is popularly and pervasively used for entertainment. Video games also enhance an individual’s visual-spatial skills, besides making one develop the heart of helping (Prot et al., 2014). In institutions such as schools, the use of video games has been found to be an effective teaching tool that helps students to learn and internalize important concepts. The same applies to business organizations: video gaming assists in elaborating key organizational concepts-such as management together with communication- to employees (Warmelink, 2014). Therefore, it cannot be ignored, but has to be used wisely.

To the society, video gaming has identifiable positive impacts. For example, past societal structures that were typically characterized by rigid, inflexible bureaucracies no longer apply in the contemporary society. On the contrary, the society demands flexibility and decentralization of practices (Warmelink, 2014). This much-needed evolution has been accelerated by gaming, which has been established to be effective in transforming organizational, societal culture and structure as well as performance.

On the negative side, video gaming is partly blamed for mental health conditions such as depression. Other concerns include the notion that video games consume too much of an individual’s time, leading to poor academic achievements. Conduct problems and increased alcoholism are also cited among the undesirable influences of video gaming to individuals (Brunborg, Mentzoni, & Froyland, 2014). Whilst there is an element of truth in these arguments, it is important to take a balanced view that acknowledges the cognitive, social, emotional, and motivational effects that video games have (Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2013). Otherwise, the problems are inevitable.

The view that video gaming is addictive and falls in the category of disorders is widely supported, with the World Health Organization classifying the behavior as a disorder affecting one’s mental health (Cleveland Clinic, 2018). According to this source, video games are said to be addictive when they produce rewards that are so on-and-off that they drive the players to actively seek the pleasant feeling produced in their brains upon completing a given objective. Worth noting about video games is that they are designed in such a manner that causes players to repeat specific behaviors (Cleveland Clinic, 2018). This observation indicates that gaming gives rise to an addictive behavior, hence supporting the notion that video games are an addiction.

Video gaming has also been included as a disorder in the International Classification of Diseases, which serves as the foundation upon which health trends as well as statistics are identified globally and diseases together with health conditions reported. Pursuant to this classification, video gaming is considered as addictive because people who have developed this addiction receive the same treatment given to people who have dependency to other substances such as alcohol (The World Health Organization, 2018). Thus, the issue has to be perceived with due seriousness.

The definitions and classifications above do not conclusively suggest that the video gaming qualifies as an addiction disorder. There are too many controversies surrounding the view of gaming being a disorder. To be more precise, attempts by researchers to establish the truth regarding this debate have not yielded results; instead, more controversies have emerged. Bean et al. (2017, p.383), for instance, report that recent research has found that addiction to video games is not “a stable construct”. On the contrary, this kind of ‘addiction’ resolves of its own accord ‘without intervention’. Apart from this, research has been unable to prove that the said addiction to video games presents as a single condition, one that is not associated with loneliness or depression (Bean et al., 2017). Hence, many people still consider the issue insignificant.

Unknown about video games and how well they fit in the category of addictive disorders is the extent of truth in the results generated by diagnostic tests. Elaborating on the current dilemma surrounding video games, Ferguson (2018) states that available research studies on the topic are founded on misguided premises, one of them being that it is possible to measure addiction to video games using the same questionnaires that are used to measure addiction to gambling and substances. In addition to this, there has been excessive emphasis on video gaming by the media. It is worrying to learn that much of the content aired by the media concerning video games lacks credible research back-up; public health organizations and media houses have been subjected to enormous pressure from governments and other stakeholders to list video gaming among addiction disorders (Bean et al., 2017). All these aspects water down the claim that video games are addictive and threatening to public health.

The above discussion proves that there are many unknown facts about video gaming that need to be known. Just to mention a few, it ought to be acknowledged that video games have many positive impacts on individuals, organizations, and the broader society. Secondly, there is a need to understand that the proper research methodology or approach must be applied when studying the degree of addiction in video gaming. As Ferguson (2018) states, “most of the existing evidence stands on such shaky grounds that it should not be used to inform policy or treatment or even be used as a starting point for future research”. The meaning of this is that unless the unfilled gaps and unknown facts about video gaming are addressed, there are negative consequences that could potentially result. For example, it might be difficult to provide relevant help to people who demonstrate addiction to video games. Similarly, policymakers may end up developing policies that do not really address the issue.

 

References

Bean, A. M., Nielsen, R. K., Van Rooij, A. J., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017). Video game addiction: The push to pathologize video games. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice48(5), 378. DOI: 10.1037/pro0000150

Brunborg, G. S., Mentzoni, R. A., & Frøyland, L. R. (2014). Is video gaming, or video game addiction, associated with depression, academic achievement, heavy episodic drinking, or conduct problems? Journal of Behavioral Addictions3(1), 27-32. doi: 10.1556/JBA.3.2014.002

Cleveland Clinic. (2018). Video game addiction is now a real disease (and what help is available). Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/video-game-addiction-is-now-a-real-disease-and-what-help-is-available/

Ferguson, C. J. (2018). Video game influences on aggression, cognition, and attention. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist69(1), 66. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0034857

Prot, S., Anderson, C. A., Gentile, D. A., Brown, S. C., & Swing, E. L. (2014). The positive and negative effects of video game play. Media and the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents109, 2010-2014. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/daeb/6178d0e950e9ff2128434ce415542c58698a.pdf

The World Health Organization. (2018). Gaming Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/

Warmelink, H. (2014). Online gaming and playful organization. New York,NY: Routledge.

West, R., & Brown, J. (2013). Theory of addiction. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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