Gamer – not a diagnosis!
Man among people
Does what we used to call teenage gambling addiction require medical intervention? Not at all necessary. At least this is indicated by the results of a joint study by the University of Oxford and Cardiff University.
Scientists have studied the data of over 1000 teenagers and their guardians and found that children who are overly passionate about dysfunctional (overly violent) games often have the main types of disorders and problems of psychosocial functioning – and it is these problems that most likely make them look for a certain content, not the other way around.
“The World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association have encouraged scientists to investigate the clinical relevance of an uncontrolled craving for video games among teens,” said Professor Andrzej Przybylsky, Research Director, Oxford Internet Institute and project co-author. – In previous studies, a broader context was not considered: what generally happens in the lives of these young people.
This will be the direction for our future work. Our task is to identify the connection between the satisfaction of psychological needs and disappointment in everyday life among adolescents and their uncontrolled craving for the game. ”
Passion for games is not a clinical disorder
The findings do not confirm that unhealthy relationships with games lead to significant emotional, interpersonal, and behavioral problems. The differences in the game experience and the choice of content are most likely related to whether the needs of adolescents for competence, independence and social affiliation are met, and whether they experience more global functional problems.
Participants in the control group filled out questionnaires about game behavior, which included questions about how much time they spend playing, who they play with, and whether they use the Internet for this. In addition, parents or other guardians rated their emotional and social health.
As a result, the research team came to the following conclusions:
- Most teenagers play at least one online game every day.
- Less than half of these online gamers report symptoms of gambling addiction.
- Teenagers devote a lot of time to games – an average of three hours a day.
- Still not proven that a strong passion for games significantly affects the behavior of adolescents.
Not the love of computer games itself spoils teenagers, but problems determine the choice of content and format of the game
“Based on the results of the study, we do not believe that we have enough evidence to attribute the passion for games to an independent clinical disorder,” Przybylsky emphasizes.
His colleague, Dr. Netta Weinstein, senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Cardiff University, adds: “To understand the nature of gambling obsession, we encourage physicians to study factors such as psychological satisfaction and everyday frustration of adolescents.”
“Although the growing popularity of games is a concern among healthcare and psychiatry workers, our study does not provide conclusive evidence that games alone are to blame for the problems players face in life,” says Professor Przybylsky. “In order to better understand the issue, you will need more data and close cooperation with video game manufacturers.”
Thus, perhaps, contrary to popular belief, cause and effect are reversed. It’s not the love of computer games that spoils teenagers, but the problems they face in real life and possible dependencies determine the choice of content and format of the game.