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Characteristics of Addicted Gamers

Who Develops Video Game Addiction?


Updated March 07, 2012

When we think of video game addiction, the stereotypical addictive gamer is a teenage boy who spends countless hours in front of a TV with a controller in his hands. In reality, however, the market of people who "game" (play video games) is diversifying. Who are video game addicts? These days, there's no one type of addicted gamer, as video game addiction and internet addiction are reaching more and more demographic groups. Here are some of the characteristics identified by research.


While most American youth do play video games, only 25% of gamers are under age 18. However, it appears that the younger the child, the more vulnerable he or she is to negative effects of gaming and to video game addiction. Children under 10 years old are particularly vulnerable to video-game related aggressive behaviors.


Research shows that the average gamer is 35 years old, and that 67% of heads of U.S. households play video games.


Gaming is not an exclusively male activity, although 60% of gamers are male. Only 18% of gamers fit the stereotype of being boys age under 17.


What may be a surprising 40% of gamers are now female, with adult women making up 33%. There are as many women as men who play online puzzle and cellphone games. Certain online multi-user video games are also attracting more women.

While it may appear that females are playing harmless games, a sub-group of young female gamers have been identified who play the kind of aggressive games traditionally thought to be attractive to males.

So Who Develops Video Game Addiction?

Studies show that between 10% and 15% of video game players meet the criteria for addiction. This may seem like a small amount of individuals until you consider the popularity of gaming -- that is a substantial number of people.

More research is needed, but at present, the group most vulnerable to video game addiction is Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) players, also known as persistent multiplayer gaming universe. They form 9.1% of video game players, and play these addictive video games on the internet.

In addition to video game addiction, computer addiction or internet addiction, there are several negative effects of excessive video game playing. Parents are encouraged to follow the guidelines for preventing harmful effects on their children.


Khan, MD, PhD, Mohamed K. "Emotional and Behavioral Effects, Including Addictive Potential, of Video Games." Report Of The Council On Science And Public Health Csaph Report 12-A-07. 2007. Accessed 14 Feb 2009.

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