‘1 in 10’ kids addicted to gaming

Better put down that glass of water. According to a new survey by Dr Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University, some kids actually prefer playing videogames to doing homework or household chores.

The study polled a random sample of 1,178 US residents between the ages of 8 and 18, to find out their gaming habits. Results showed that “nearly 1 in 10” – or 8.5% – displayed signs of being ‘addicted’ to videogames. Or, as Dr Doug prefers to say, they displayed signs of “pathological computer or video game use”. This includes behaviour such as skipping homework and chores to play games, stealing games from friends, and becoming irritable if forced to stop playing.

GamePolitics spoke to Dr Cheryl Olson, co-author of Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games, about the results. Dr Olson questioned whether children as young as 8 could accurately fill out an online questionnaire, especially one with questions designed for adults. However, she also said that the study is “well intended” and a reminder for parents to set limits and rules when it comes to playing games.

If I was a parent, I’d be more worried about the kids who said ‘yes’ to: “Obtained a mature-rated game with parents’ money, and parents did not know about it”. It’s bad enough that little Sebastian owns a copy of Super Sluts Unleashed, without him sneakily emptying his mum’s purse to do so.