Douglas Gentile, a research psychologist from Iowa State University (and director of research for the National Institute of Media and the Family), recently conducted a study that found 8.5 percent of Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 (that's roughly 3 million people) are addicted to video games. During his research, Gentile polled 1,178 youths to see whether they possessed symptoms of pathological gaming -- symptoms which include spending increasing time behind a controller, irritability when playtime is reduced, "escaping problems through play," skipping homework in favor of gaming, and stealing money with which to purchase additional games.
Using these criteria, we've been addicted to the following at some point in our lives: Pokémon cards, Pogs, Skittles, Spelling Bees, laser tag, gardening, dating, Lego bricks, Frisbee golf and blogging. Yet somehow, despite our multitude of unshakable, soul-crushing dependencies, we turned out just fine.
You can check out the Entertainment Software Association's response to the study after the jump.
Here's what ESA senior vice president of communications Rich Taylor had to say about Gentile's study:
"This is a report more in search of media headlines than scientific truth and facts. In an interview, though not in the report itself, Dr. Gentile said, 'It's not that games are bad. It's not that games are addictive.' Medical experts, including the American Medical Association, have already rejected the fallacy of video game 'addiction,' and we completely agree."
"Like all forms of entertainment, computer and video games should be a part of a well-rounded lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise. It is up to parents to determine when and how often their children should play any game. For our part, the industry already provides a wide range of tools and information, including timers and parental controls, to help caregivers ensure that entertainment software is used appropriately."