The rise of video game addiction


According to the University of Washington, video game sales grew twenty-three percent in 2008. Scientists are beginning to see the correlation between the increase of the video game industry and the increase of video game addiction cases in the US.

“More and more households have gaming consoles because they can be an activity to do with friends and even family,” said Cory Scheviak, video game player and senior.

This certain type of addiction is serious to say the least. With over seventy percent of households owning video games, it is common to have addiction in schools like LRHS.

Video game addiction is the excessive or compulsive use of video games that interferes with the daily life of its users. There are some cases where people become depressed, lonely and isolated. Other cases include carpal tunnel syndrome, loss of vision and even death.

Those who suffer from this condition try to isolate themselves from the real world in order to focus on their games even more. By isolating themselves, students become deprived of things like exercise and nutrition that can affect one’s overall health. Also, when students isolate themselves they reject the help offered to them by parents, friends and neighbors.

It is crucial to recognize the symptoms and signs of addiction in the early stages before a student becomes completely addicted. Video game addiction symptoms include playing for many hours, doing more gaming than other activities, becoming depressed and anxious, making references to video games and believing they can solve problems with something seen in a video game.

“It seems that every time I head home I plan on doing my homework with the utmost conviction. It pounds glaringly in my head as I resolve to accomplish the necessary tasks set before me,” said Bilo Hoese, a senior. “However, when I enter the room where my Xbox 360 is, it’s as if I’m drawn to it, or that I’m being controlled by that which I should control. The machine takes a hold of my mind, and my inclinations, and I am unable to do my work.”

In 2007, a study conducted by Stanford University showed that roughly ten percent of youths in the US could be classified as video game addicts. In addition to that, twenty-three percent of youths in America classify themselves as addicts or close to being addicts.

Students who become addicted often find it more difficult to prevent this condition without outside help. In response to such needs, organizations like the reSTART Internet Addiction Treatment Center Rehab Program for Computer Internet Addicts began to take action against this rapidly growing condition.

reSTART is a 45-day video game and Internet addiction program that opened in 2009. They focus on reprogramming students to help them live a life without electronics and video games. It is one of many programs coming forth to help protect students from conditions like this one.

Other treatments include individual therapy, family therapy, wilderness therapy and interventions. Individual therapy focuses on the individual student while family therapy helps the addict realize the effect of an addiction on family members. Treatment should be chosen according to the situation the student is in. If nothing is done soon, then video game addiction will become a serious threat to the health of youth everywhere.

“Everything in moderation. If people can follow this rule, then there is no need for organizations that ‘prevent video game addiction.’ It’s difficult, but being able to play video games without being addicted is great,” said Scheviak.


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