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Elizabeth Hartney, PhD

Video Game Addiction

By February 23, 2013

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Photo (c) Michal Zacharzewski

The potential for video games to be addictive is a great worry to parents. Kids sometimes spend hours a day playing video games -- but does that mean they are addicted?

Well, even the American Medical Association haven't made up their minds on this one. Initially, they released a review, advocating for inclusion of video game addiction in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), then they back-tracked and said more research was needed.

However, this should not be seen as an indication that video games are safe. There are a number of harms that have been associated with video game playing, so parents are advised to follow guidelines for safer use. Furthermore, the research indicators we have so far are that adults play video games as much as children do.

Research also seems to be indicating that certain types are games puts people at greater risk of addiction, and, as with other addictions, using the activity as a way of dealing with other life issues appears to drive the addictive process.

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