January 23, 2007

Going Cold Turkey Against Video Game Addiction

The Charlotte Observer Health section has an interesting article on serving cold turkey to starve video game addiction.

I began to argue in the early 1980s that video games were addictive, and if the research to date is not completely clear on the subject, the anecdotal evidence is compelling, to say the least. More and more parents refuse to allow their children access to these nefarious devices, but most stories that come my way involve children who are already addicted.

"What do we do now?" their parents ask, to which I advise the most effective, albeit painful, of all anti-addiction programs: cold turkey.

[…] After initially complaining that her son was on the computer "pretty much every waking moment unless he was at school or work," and after I told her that she needed to take control where he had lost control, she and her husband lost their nerve and cut him back to four hours a day on school days and eight hours a day on weekends. No, seriously. She later admitted "I obviously am a total wimp" and "I feel really stupid about not having much backbone."

The cold turkey program proved to be a success in curing video game addiction after a single day. “We stuck to our guns,” says the mother of a 17 year old gamer. “The next day, he worked part of the day and was as pleasant and relaxed as can be for the rest of the evening.”

January 09, 2007

tyme2die

The China Post reports that a Taiwanese psychiatrist at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei has concluded the first studies linking violent video games and 'textspeak', an awful slang language spoken by a subculture of underground gamers and computer hackers.

Textspeak is the process of shortening words and adding numbers to a text message to make it "cooler." The form of text messaging is highly annoying. One example suffice: "RU cmin out 2nite?" Deciphered: "Are you coming out tonight?"

[...] Twelve young adults were given tests in an experiment Dr. Chow conducted at his hospital. They were required to play one popular game, "PS2:Real Three Kingdoms;Nonpareil 4 Generations," for half an hour. Blood circulation in their brains was scanned. The entire process was repeated half an hour later. Chow found the blood circulation in the frontal lobes of all the samples reduced. "Reduction in blood circulation in the frontal lobe," the psychiatrist said, "indicates that it may affect language proficiency."

The psychiatrist urges parents to limit the exposure of violent video games to their children if “they don't want to receive any more 'textspeak' messages."

January 02, 2007

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A new study found violent video games increased activity in the brain, which is involved in emotional arousal.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine say that brain scans of kids who played a violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal – and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention.

Don't just take our word for it, "There’s enough data here that clearly indicates that [game violence] is a problem."

December 27, 2006

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Researchers at the University of Rochester have found children and teens are addicted to video games to fulfill their psychological needs.

We think there's a deeper theory than the fun of playing," says Richard M. Ryan, a motivational psychologist at the University and lead investigator in the four new studies about gaming. Players reported feeling best when the games produced positive experiences and challenges that connected to what they know in the real world.

This discovery comes as no surprise to the video game industry, as they were the first to implement the exploitive “high score” system into its games to addict players.

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