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ESA CEO Contests Recent Game Addiction Study

There used to be a time when video game studies weren't scrutinized; the concerned parents merely accepted them as irrefutable fact. Well, no more.

A recent study stated that 8.5% of children were addicted to video games, but ABC's Gary Langer was quick to attack the results and according to Gamasutra, ESA CEO Michael Gallagher is about ready to join the fray, too. The study, conducted by Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University, said that "addicted gamers play 24 hours a week, twice as much as more casual players, and they show at least six symptoms of gambling addiction -- including lying about play habits, becoming irritable when not playing, and even stealing to support their habit." ...well, I don't know about anyone else, but after 25 years in gaming, I've yet to meet a single solitary soul who fits into this ridiculous description. Anyway, there are two major problems: 1. the "random sampling" of 1,178 American kids aged 8-18 wasn't random; they were invited to participate "via an opt-in online panel" that offered gifts in exchange for participation. 2. that 3% margin of error. Said Gallagher in a note to Psychological Science's Dr. Robert Kail:

"As you are likely aware, such a sample is not truly representative of a national population group. Thus the results cannot be projected onto the broader population of children in this country. And the sampling error of plus or minus 3% that Dr. Gentile cited in the study is also meaningless."

Gallagher wants Kail to include the fact that this study suffers from "methodological flaws" when it gets published, and that "it would be unfair and misleading for a respected publication to leave on the record such knowingly mistaken information." I've got an additional note: children aren't addicted to video games in this generation any more than they were addicted to Saturday morning cartoons, Fluffernutter sandwiches, and Kool-Aid in my generation. If you people can't stop trying to single out gaming as some sort of "especially dangerous" entertainment medium when it isn't a jot more "addictive" than tinkering with old cars or any other favorite hobby...then I'm just gonna lose it.

4/29/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (32 posts)

coverton341
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 11:26:53 AM
Reply

Wow Ben, Fluffernutter Sandwiches. Bringing out the memories again buddy, and Saturday morning cartoons god I loved those.

I am studying psychology and any respectable doctor would know that this "random sample" is invalid but sadly most people are ignorant to those types of things and see Dr. in front of a name and take the person at their word. I'm just glad some people are standing up to BS like this.

But, on the other hand doesn't playing video games as a child mean you are going to turn into an injection drug user and give out sexual favors for Metal Gear tips when you get older?

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EddPm6
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:30:06 PM

yeah this study just had stupid written all over it. " Come on kids, come over and play video games for as much as you like for a week and ill give you presents! You wont have to go to school and for you teenagers, no parents to b***h at you for playing games!" im sure those kids were addicted.............not.

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Powershifter
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 11:30:21 AM
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Good points Ben. I always ask people, "What do you like to do? Read? Watch sports?" Well, I like to play video games. So what? I would probably play an average of 24 hours per week if I wasn't married - but that doesn't make me addicted.

Also, whenever someone says some % of a total population falls into a certain category, be VERY skeptical. Unless the people who conducted the survey asked all students in the world, their conclusions are inaccurate. Especially considering that they only asked 1178 gamers out of millions. It's like during the elections and the news says that a certain candidate has 56% of the popular vote. I say, "Oh really? Well no one asked me.."

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GuernicaReborn
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 9:29:46 PM

You never see a study like this done on people who read or watch sports as a hobby. If someone says, "I couldn't put that book down!" does that make them addicted to reading?

6 people called in to my workplace after the Syracuse-Uconn game that went 6 OT's. Usually when someone misses work because of a hobby it's a sign of addiction, but nobody batted an eye.

Videogames still have that stigma. The hobby has come a long way, though. This article is proof, with organizations disagreeing over the study.

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MadKatBebop
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 11:38:42 AM
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You tell em eh, tell that b**ch.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 11:48:39 AM
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I have nothing wrong with people playing games, but when people play them all day you do have to wonder...i've been guilty of it in the past. Though to be honest games are starting to lose they're effect on me, the only ones im looking forward to atm are Heavy Rain and FFXIII. most games nowadays are either FPS or action games, which dont really appeal to me much. i guess to put it simply, im growing out of them.

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 11:58:58 AM
Reply

Let's see now, things that have been called addictive and evil(to varying degrees)

cars
radio
jazz
rockabilly
rock and roll
punk rock
heavy metal/death metal/dhrash
rap
hip-hop
TV
color TV
Role Playing games (the kind with dice)
Internet newsgroups
Internet porn
regular print porn
Internet chat rooms
MySpace
Facebook

Video Games have been attacked with accusations of being addictive before. Every meaningful study has shown that with the exception of those already prone to addictive behavior, video games are no more addictive than any other self gratification activity performed alone or in groups.

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Nynja
Thursday, April 30, 2009 @ 12:26:00 PM

You forgot food and masturbation. Which I may be addicted to one of those, which I am not sharing.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:06:44 PM
Reply

I agree with half of them..... especially rap (It gives you brain damage.)

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 4/29/2009 12:06:56 PM

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opsdaddy
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:11:30 PM
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Wow, Ben, great photo... anyone we know?

Unfortunately, it seems none of the reputable psychological community is willing to engage in a balanced study of gaming, but if they did, they'd find that it has no more and no less fanatics/lunatics than participants in any other human activity.

It seems there's a good deal of data-fitting going on, whereby those funding/behind these studies design them to ensure their foregone conclusions are borne out by the data. I wish these people would just grow up and study those areas of society that are causing genuine, not imaginary, problems for us all--like televangelists! heheh

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:29:25 PM

Actually, it's usually the reputable psychology community that eviscerates this kind of poor science and methodology. It's just that these kinds of study results - however preliminary and unvalidated - make great headlines and great copy. So they get reported. Later on after the peer review period and the final edits and analysis, when the reputable practitioners have had a chance to tear the research apart and find how poor it is, the same reporters are no where to be seen, so only the sensational end of the story gets reported, the sane, calm analysis might as well never happen as far as the media are concerned.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:32:14 PM

"Wow, Ben, great photo... anyone we know?"

Nah. Easily found in Google images. :)

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:17:47 PM
Reply

3 symptons the gov't is crap:

-Bad economy
-People fighting over being a Republican/Democrat
-War

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opsdaddy
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:59:18 PM
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Nicely stated, TheHighlander, that was a fine analysis. I love it when my literate kindred spirits come out to play. Bravo!

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BTNwarrior
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 1:19:34 PM
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I have a feeling that the online form that got people to sign up was something like "do you beleive your kids are addicted to videogames? well we are doing research to find out if kids are addicted to videogames, so send us all your problem children so we can say videogames are bad!"

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NiteKrawler
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 1:23:33 PM
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Ben, you forget that gaming is the scapegoat for all lazy parents. They want to fuel this fire so THEY aren't being blamed for how their children turn out. I remember this Douglas Gentile from a report I wrote defending games in college last year. If someone did the research, they would find a million more positives to gaming than there are negatives. For example, Gentile doesn't want anyone to know about John Grohol's studies that found gamers to make better businessmen and even surgeons. He has found some negatives as well but at least he is objective.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:09:43 PM

I don't forget at all. I've been aware of that for my entire adult life. ;)

There are many studies that prove the positives of gaming, but the mainstream media isn't interested in that. It's always a rule: humans are only interested in reading evidence that supports their theory, and when the widespread popular theory is that games are bad, the media will only run stories to support the negative side...hence, traffic for the news source.

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NiteKrawler
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:17:28 PM

I just don't see how we can change that widespread belief. Most of the young generation is comprised of gamers so maybe it will change with time?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:31:23 PM

Yeah, time is the only ally we have. But it IS an ally.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:01:07 PM
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The question is: what's the standard? Who says what's too much? And who here can honestly put a number to how often they game? Sometimes I play a couple hours a day, sometimes I play 5 hours straight, sometimes I don't play for a week.

If you are actually exhibiting addict behavior and stealing to support your habit yeah you have a problem, but I too have never met anyone like that. Don't let them tell you how much you can game! Like anything else if it isn't disruptive it's fine.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:48:25 PM
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The study is a load of hogwash done for their own slanted agendas.

The #1 problem/reason for a kid to delevop any gaming addiction is....
"LAZY. UNFIT, NON-PARENTING SKILLED, PARENTS"!

Every day in my complex, I watch some raggity excuse for parents who don't know the first thing about children(or birth control), throw the kids outside at the crack of dawn with not one single solitary second of supervision, until it's time they go to bed.

And for those same parent's who haven't tossed their kids outside for the whole day, I'll give ya a million-to-one odds that they just shoved their kids over to the TV & the thier gameing console for the whole day instead.

And it's these same parent's that don't give a flying F*ck about their own kids by making them into midless zombie twits that some of them have become. Just like the kid last year who killed his playmate because he thought he had to emulate the game he just played for the last 17 hours.

These so-called parents who do this need to wise the f*ck up, because.....

"Gaming consoles "ARN'T" f*cking supernanny's"

Last edited by BikerSaint on 4/29/2009 2:55:28 PM

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NiteKrawler
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 6:08:21 PM

I remember a video clip from some news show where even the newslady said something like "Videogames are like a babysitter in a box!" THAT'S the problem here. Anyone who feels that way is unfit for parenthood.

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GuernicaReborn
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 9:37:28 PM

I know how you feel, I see kids with their face glued to a DS all the time. It's just something the parents use to make their kids shut up... like a Binky for preteens.

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Jordahn
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 3:26:58 PM
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I used to be addicted to PSOne so I had my console and all games handed to my coworker for two weeks. Did I get withdrawals? Yes. But then there was a time when I didn't play video games for two years during the PSTwo days. Whatever...

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MadKatBebop
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 3:58:19 PM
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Ive never played over at least 9 hours a week(at least during the school year I don't know about the summer, probably around 15 hours a week if Im not out with my friends, or working but except last year which I didn't play any games at all until the fall) so I don't consider myself an addict.

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i402Merciless
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 4:12:52 PM
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See its things like this that really piss me off about our country i mean common its a hobby just like anything else but doctors and sh** say it messes up ur mind and stuff. How? How does it ive been playing games for 10 years now and im fine. I swear math has hurt me because it stresses me out. Games are a hobby anyone can do because there is something for everyone. My parents are so screwed over this i have a time limit to 4hrs on the weekend. Its bs and i dont know about u, but theorys are a huge issue. Its like one kid gets problems from video games and then the whole country freaks out.

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bearbobby
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 4:27:04 PM
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I work 40-50 hours a week, and I get irritable about it, does that mean I'm addicted to work? lol, hell no.

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Oyashiro
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 5:07:30 PM
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I'm sorry, but they people he described 95% of the time have problems before they even touched a Video Game. Addictions of non-substances (Drugs and such) are completely mental in nature.

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Alienange
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 7:05:43 PM
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I'll tell you who has real problems; those guys with train sets that span the length of their basement.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 8:05:42 PM

Those dudes are seriously mentally ill.

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NiteKrawler
Thursday, April 30, 2009 @ 12:23:30 AM

Gomez Adams pulls it off though.

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Nynja
Thursday, April 30, 2009 @ 12:26:23 PM
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People who perform these studies have an addiction to finding addictions.

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