Uploaded by Nathan Ramirez

Video Games and Gambling

Running Head: VIDEO GAMES AND ADDICTION
Video Games and Addiction
Natalie Ramirez
Upper Iowa University
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VIDEO GAMES AND ADDICTION
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Abstract
Video games have been incorporated into various aspects of life in the past couple of decades.
With an increase in the number of hours spent gaming among the youth, there seems to be no
limit on how much time they will spend gaming. With so many different platforms to game on,
accessibility to gaming systems has become increasingly easier to attain. Addiction is not
something you would immediately think of when asked to describe video games. The youth who
become addicted can suffer from decreased social skills, mental health decline and even health
risks. At what point do video games become more of an addiction rather than a hobby. This
essay will be addressing factors that increase the likelihood of addiction in gaming and how it is
reinforced through its exposure, attainability, and popularity. Finally, two solutions will be
explored as possible deterrents to the growing addiction. The first suggestion is to educate at a
young age the behaviors that lead to addiction and how to catch it early on. Secondly, we will
explore the use of rehabilitation specifically for addicted gamers and their successfulness.
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Video Games and Addiction
There are so many different systems that support gaming software. Mobile devices that fit
right into your pocket can carry a range of games that are accessible at any moment. Various
gaming consoles on the market appeal to a wide audience and have many different game genres
that guarantee the user will find something they enjoy.
More than 150 million Americans play video games, according to new research released
today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The report, 2015 Essential Facts
About the Computer and Video Game Industry, also shows that 42 percent of Americans
play video games regularly, or at least three hours per week. (Forsans, 2015 para. 1).
There’s no saying to what degree video games have become a regular part of life.
There are huge companies that corner the market of games and their distributing.
Companies like Google and Apple supply most mobile applications. With so many games
offered for free, it is as simple as clicking the download button to begin a collection. However,
while these games are free to download, you soon run into wait times to be able to progress.
They so generously offer discounts and coupons on in-game purchases to help you progress
faster. Free to play tends to lead to a game that focuses on a pay-to-win atmosphere. A couple
dollars for in-game currency is easy to spare but it can quickly accumulate and hook you to
spend on the game to keep advancing.
It wasn’t that long ago that gaming systems were not seen in every household, much less
multiple gaming systems. With generations growing up with video games, it is more likely their
children will have more access to games due to the exposure and familiarity the parent has with
the concept. Higher rates of gaming have led to a culture to rise with it. Avid gamers tend to
spend their free time playing games and tend to seek other video games when they have
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exhausted interest in their current venture. It may seem harmless to play game for extended
periods of time at first, but it can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Sitting seems to be the first step in getting ready for a session of gaming. There’s nothing
wrong with gaming but in excess amount, it can slowly affect your health. “Some children and
youth with high videogame addiction tendencies may be at risk of sleep deprivation and
disorders associated with obesity and poor cardio-metabolic health, Hamilton researchers have
found” (McMaster, 2016 para. 1). There’s a lot of studies focused on health risks of video games
and it is always related to an excess time spent using minimal movement. A gamer may opt for
quick finger foods such as chips, candy, fries, and other unhealthy foods. This puts them at
increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. So many food companies have
advertisements on their packaging for these games and a lot of time it is the unhealthy choices
that hold codes for free content in video games. It only encourages and reinforces poor diet
choices.
It doesn’t stop affecting your health there, it also increases the risk of eye strain from
constantly staring at a screen as well as prolonged bad posture. It is not uncommon for avid
gamers to get signs of carpal tunnel from constant use of a computer mouse or controller. Quite a
few of these health risks aren’t temporary and can have a long-term effect on the body.
The diversity of games means that not just one culture or country is attracted to gaming.
Worldwide, the effects of gaming on a person’s mental health is being studied. Those with an
addiction have increased isolation and lesser developed social skills than those who aren’t heavy
gamers. The World Health Organization (WHO) added gaming disorder and defined it as
“impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the
extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or
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escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences” (WHO, 2018 para. 1).
Even though those addicted to gaming are a small portion of those who partake in it, it has
caught the attention of WHO because of its growing popularity.
There seems to be no exact point into which a gaming hobby can be pinpointed into its
transition into a full blow addiction. There are several videos out thereof parents recording their
child’s outburst of anger and despair when their gaming system is destroyed. These videos seem
ridiculous and it is easy to dismiss them, but they’re very good examples of possible addictions.
This is an important phenomenon to understand. We are seeing that some children and
teens develop serious addiction-like symptoms to video games," said Morrison. "It affects
a vulnerable population of children and youth, can impact social interactions amongst
youth and, as our research shows, can drive health issues. (Morrison, 2016 para. 5).
Increased Treatment Availability.
An increasing concern on health-related disease due to gaming has had professionals
address it to try and tackle the problem. With establishing a gaming addiction as a disorder, it is
easier for those to seek treatment rather than being ridiculed or dismissed.
The source of the addictive quality of gaming is still unknown, but researchers
propose that the process of playing and winning these games may trigger a release
of dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and provides a rush of energy.
Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter involved in other addictive activities, such
as alcohol or drug abuse. (American Addiction Center, 2016 para. 7).
Treating the disorder is an effective way to decrease the number of addictions. More and
more professionals are beginning to educate themselves on video game addictions to better help
them. Rehabilitation is starting to become an option to overcome this addiction. Many still don’t
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believe it is a real addiction that warrants intervention. It has only recently become a problem
with the sudden advancement of technology and its wide use in life.
The first step of making this a good solution would be to educate the professionals on
gaming addiction and giving them the information, they need to treat these individuals. To make
rehabilitation accessible, the public needs to be informed of this addiction. The social stigma
against excess gaming seen as a lazy and lack of motivation needs to me addressed for this to be
an effective treatment. There will be people who are in denial and unwilling to seek help due to
social stigma. Increasing the awareness would help dismantle the social stigma and make it
easier for people to seek treatment.
Early Intervention Education.
Treating the disorder is not the only solution to this addiction. Educating the youth about
the possibility of falling into an addiction can help them make better choices and prevent it.
Those who see the early signs can seek help before it becomes overwhelming. Addicts who
overcome an addiction still have a chance to fall back on it. Even with the implementation of
games that make you exercise; the risk of addiction is still there as the availability and diversity
of these games are currently limited and not as enticing.
With any addiction, there will still be parts of the population that disregard addiction
prevention information and believe they will not be a victim to it. It is important to continue to
provide free access to the information and work with the youth to make sure they comprehend
the risks and accept that they too are at risk.
Best Solution to Prevent a Gaming Addiction.
Prevention will always be the best way to reduce the number of addicts. Educating from
an early age about a gaming addiction would best help the youth navigate through a growing
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world of technology. There is no way to get away from using technology but there is a safe way.
There is no age level that makes you immune to getting addicted to gaming and being informed
on the subject will make the biggest difference. Many who do not know they have an addiction
can identify the symptoms and seek help on their own.
People who have previously been addicted have a higher risk of falling back into the
addiction than those who were never addicted. While it is important to have rehabilitations
centers for those who fall into it, there is no better way to fight addictions than preventing them.
The health risks associated with addiction can affect the younger population because they
are still developing both mentally and physically. Habits learned early in life are harder to break
and, in this case, can cause long-term damage. Bad posture from sitting and gaming can cause
back problems. Sitting for those extended periods of time can increase the risk of poor
circulation and heart problems. Accessing easy finger food can increase chances of developing
diabetes. Many systems in the body can be affected with this sedentary life and can lead to
chronic problems.
Conclusion
With many ways of accessing technology, there are bound to be negative side effects as
well as positive side effects. Addiction being one of the more extreme side effects. There is no
way to measure the exact amount of the population who is addicted to gaming nor is there a way
to differentiate between hobby gaming or addiction gaming. The health-risks of excessive
gaming and decreased social skills further push gamers into the perfect conditions to become
addicted. The only way to combat this is to education the public before it happens and provide
professional care for those who suffer from a gaming addiction.
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References
American Addiction Centers (January 2019) Video gaming addiction. Retrieved from
https://americanaddictioncenters.org/video-gaming-addiction
Entertainment Software Associate (April 15, 2015) More than 150 million Americans play video
games. Retrieved from https://www.afjv.com/news/5038_more-than-150-millionamericans-play-video-games.htm
McMaster University. (2016, May 9). Videogame addiction leads to sleep loss, obesity, and
cardiovascular risk in some gamers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160509150010.htm
O. Turel, A. Romashkin, K. M. Morrison. (2016, May 5). Health Outcomes of Information
System Use Lifestyles among Adolescents: Videogame addiction, sleep curtailment and
cardio-metabolic deficiencies. Retrieved from
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154764
World Health Organization (September 2018) Gaming disorder. WHO retrieved from
https://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/
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