Monday, 20 April 2009

nonsense about video game addiction

Is it possible to be addicted to video games such that they damage your life? Sure. But I would argue that the results presented in this article do not really offer much useful information.

First off, questionnaire-only data is notoriously inaccurate. People make rough estimations, forget things, provide the data they think the questioner is looking for, hide the data they think they should be ashamed of, etc. If someone asks you a 'simple' question like how many hours a week you play games, how likely are you to KNOW the correct answer, even if the answer actually is steady from week to week, which it probably isn't? And that's with adults. This study was surveying quite young kids.

But are the questions even meaningful? They suggest that kids' schoolwork and relationships may be suffering because they spend too much time playing games, but it's also a typical chicken-and-egg thing. A kid who *hates school* is probably more likely to blow off schoolwork in favor of games. A kid who is being bullied at school and getting into fights is, again, probably more likely to hide in her room and play games rather than hang out with friends she doesn't trust.

All the survey has really shown is that "Some kids play games a lot more than other kids do." Are some of them addicted? Maybe! But as of yet, the 'researchers' (and I doubt they deserve the dignity of that title) don't seem to have any idea of what addiction IS.

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