Can Kids Really Become Addicted to Video Games?

By JustMommies staff

It’s tough to pull them away from the computer, the Nintendo DS or wherever they are playing the latest video game. Now, a new study reveals that some kids – as many as 8.5% – actually become addicted to playing their video games.

LiveScience reported on the study done by Harris Poll, which questioned over 1,000 kids between eight and eighteen.

Assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University Douglas Gentle tells LiveScience that the numbers equate to about one in ten. “This is the first study to tell us the national prevalence of pathological play among youth gamers, and it is almost one in ten. What we mean by pathological use is that something someone is doing — in this case, playing video games — is damaging to their functioning," Gentile said. "It's not simply doing it a lot. It has to harm functioning in multiple ways."

According to LiveScience, kids that took part in the study and that were considered “pathological”  played about 24 hours per week and often times had the game setup in their bedrooms. They also received poorer grades in school and dealt with some health issues – including ADD and ADHD.

Interestingly, Gentile says he went into the study not thinking kids could actually be addicted to video games. He now has changed his tune after seeing the results. “I assumed that parents called it 'addiction' because they didn't understand why their children spent so much time playing. So I measured the way you measure pathological gambling and the way it harms functioning, and was surprised to find that a substantial number of gamers do rise to that level (of pathological addiction)."

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