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Kevin Bakker (right) helps young compulsive gamers at his unique clinic in Amsterdam. He says most young people aren't addicted to gaming, but compulsively game due to social problems.  (Source: BBC News)

Some gamers, like "George", one of Mr. Bakker's patients, find games such as Call of Duty 4 a convenient outlet for very real rage.  (Source: Activision)
Study hints that there may be a bit of exaggeration when it comes to gaming addiction

Recent studies have shown that 97 percent of children and teenagers in America -- the majority of both boys and girls -- play video games regularly.  Some experts fear that this feel-good recreational activity may give rise to a new type of addiction -- video game addiction.

Anyone who's friends with an extremely active World of Warcraft player may be familiar with the phenomena -- a tendency to spend more and more hours online every day and to withdraw from real world relationships in favor of virtual ones.  In some cases, gaming addiction has led people to die from physical stresses of gaming marathons, particularly in countries like China and South Korea where internet cafes are popular.  While few have hard numbers on the topic, many psychologists and medical professionals haven't been afraid to chime in on the topic and how widespread the illness might be.

Now one of the foremost experts in the field has come forward to say that some figures of the prevalence of gaming addiction are greatly inflated.  Keith Bakker, the founder and head of Europe's first and only clinic to treat gaming addicts -- the Smith & Jones Centre in Amsterdam -- says that while many of his young patients have a serious problem, most cannot be labeled as addicts.

He says that about 10 percent of patients respond well to a tradition abstinence-based treatment regiment, the hallmark of an addiction.  Many of these patients are cross-addicted to alcohol, sex, and/or drugs.

The vast majority of patients though show little response to the traditional addiction recovery programs.  The reason says Mr. Bakker -- they're not addicted.

He says that close to 90 percent of compulsive gamers, people with a serious problem affecting their lives, are not addicts.  Rather, he says they have social problems.  He describes, "These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies.  But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers - this is a social problem."

The clinic, already a pioneer in the field, is now leading it further by developing a unique treatment regimen.  The regiment places compulsive gamers into simulated social scenarios to help them rejoin society and learn to socialize.

Mr. Bakker states, "This gaming problem is a result of the society we live in today.  Eighty per cent of the young people we see have been bullied at school and feel isolated. Many of the symptoms they have can be solved by going back to good old fashioned communication."

Thus far the treatment is working -- the vast majority of the clinic's patients have gone out and been able to live normal lives.

Who's to blame for this problem, though?  Mr. Bakker says that parents do indeed deserve the blame in some cases.  However, he aptly points out 87% of online gamers are over the age of 18.  After 18 he says, much like alcoholics, compulsive gamers must realize themselves that they have a problem.  However, for younger gamers parental intervention works well, he says.  He states, "It's a choice.  These kids know exactly what they are doing and they just don't want to change. If no one is there to help them, then nothing will ever happen."

Young people like George [name changed], an 18-year old who played Call of Duty 4 ten or more hours a day, are excited to finally find a place that is willing to look at their problem in a unique light.  Says George, "Call of Duty was somewhere I felt accepted for the first time in my life.  I was never helped by my parents or my school. At the clinic I also feel accepted and have come out of myself... I was aware that I played too much but I didn't know what to do. But it helped me because I could be aggressive and get my anger and frustration out online."

Aggression, both online and in games, adds Mr. Bakker, stems from social isolation.  He reminds psychologists and medical professionals worldwide, "If I continue to call gaming an addiction it takes away the element of choice these people have.  It's a complete shift in my thinking and also a shift in the thinking of my clinic and the way it treats these people.  In most cases of compulsive gaming, it is not addiction and in that case, the solution lies elsewhere."   



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Now we're getting somewhere
By Quiksel on 12/1/2008 10:28:39 AM , Rating: 4
This is far and away more sane of a look at what the gaming era is doing to kids (and adults) these days. After seeing Jack Thompson finally get put in his place, I'm relieved that some people are taking this more seriously instead of the knee-jerk "WoW is crack, GTFO now" argument when it comes to playing games.

Kudos for more rational studies on this topic. WTB more.




RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By BZDTemp on 12/1/2008 12:56:06 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think it's games doing it to kids. If anything the games allows the kids with social problems to perhaps ease into being social with the help of on-line gaming.

Lots of todays heavy gamers would just be loners doing all sorts of single person activities. Gaming has just been looked down on by society because the older generations did not get it. Today most parents have tried computer games them self so many get that it's just gaming and not the devils work.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 2:46:14 PM , Rating: 1
Nonsense. The game keeps people inside away from others in real life. They'd be out and about, not doing single person activities because there aren't that many single person activites a young adult wants to do.

No it's not "the devil's work", it's rather destructive to a person's self esteem and cripples their social skills to the point where they can't interact as well with other people, meaning they often end up missing out on opportunities in life from both the lack of social skills and lack of being out there IRL to catch as many opportunities when they come along. The same would be true of many other loaner activites, in that it's not the activity itself that is the problem, it's the being preoccupied with something other than normal healthy interactions in the world, reality versus a scripted interactive cartoon.

It's a bit like the Matrix, you can spend your time pretending the world is what's on a computer screen and preoccupy yourself with it or instead wake up and adapt to what's outside. This is not an argument against gaming, it's one against an excessive amount of gaming which is each individual's choice to make. If someone really wants to game it is their life but it's far too easy to let one day go by, then another, then another, seeing a gaming session as a short term reward when it delays or prevents normal human activites.

It's not that the older generation doesn't get it, it's that the older generation realizes what people are missing out on by gaming while the younger generation hasn't lived through that period and looked back to realize what they're missing out on. I'm old enough to be the father of someone my age when I started getting into computer gaming, my views may not represent those of others but the general idea is there's a time for games, there's a time for work, and there's a whole world full of people out there waiting to meet you and lots of interesting things to do in the finite amount of time one has on Earth. Each has their time and place.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By Gannon on 12/1/2008 4:37:52 PM , Rating: 1
"Nonsense. The game keeps people inside away from others in real life. They'd be out and about, not doing single person activities because there aren't that many single person activites a young adult wants to do."

I'm going to call bullshit on your little reply, gaming is a catharsis for those who are bullied and ostracized in life and school and for those who's parents are workaholics and don't do jack for their children. I know because that's exactly what I used gaming for.

I came from a fucked up family who had serious problems, I'm not sure what I'd do without having gaming there to ease the bullshit. Most human beings are inhuman towards others, especially the socially clueless.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 11:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think you just proved my point, instead of calling BS.

Only after you stop gaming, then becoming bored from not gaming, will you venture out and find the things that were lacking because you spent so much time gaming.

Yes parents and bullies can cause harm, but it's very important to remember that at some point a person can see the habits that developed and choose different ways to spend their time that more directly address their needs instead of distracting from those needs.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By MightyAA on 12/1/2008 7:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree.. it's not like the Matrix where he was living a life inside a program without knowledge of the real world. Computer gaming is very real. It preoccupies yourself with the entertainment. What entertainment doesn't; ones you don't like won't do that to you. I know car guys, online stock traders, gardeners, fantasy league sport nuts, skier & boarders, jet setters, and even workaholics. They have the same "symptoms" where they can't stop thinking about their interest. What's your reality, and do you do anything to "relax" that is your personal hobby/interest unrelated to the daily grind? Better seek help...... resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 11:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
Computer gaming is very real? LOLROFPMPWTFBBQ.

Remember something, the article is not attacking all people who play games, not even those who identify themselves as gamers, it's addressing people who play games to such an excessive extent that it interferes with other normal activities.

yes, nutso personalities can find many ways to obsess over something other than games, and it is no proof that it's all ok, it's just another way people try to distract themselves from something, "IF" and when they feel they don't have what they want in life and yet are still spending time on something so clearly not apt to put them any closer to what they claim they want.

It's like saying, I want to shoot a hole in one in golf but I can't yet, and it bothers me, so I will distract myself playing HL2 instead of practicing more at golf.

It's not a hobby to these people going to a *rehab*, it's a hobby to people who don't think it's a problem. There is the difference, perception of what matters and wanting to change habits. Not all habits need changed, not all habits are bad, but those who run this rehab are going to play up the "need" to change as much as they can because that is the money trail.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By ilikepop on 12/3/2008 7:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
Remember, it's only abnormal behavior

Atypical
Disturbing
Maladaptive
Unjustifiable


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By Myg on 12/1/2008 8:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
This guy is dead on, being a former hard-core gamer for alot of my life; I can look back and see the effect its had on me and what I have missed etc.

Kudos for your clarity on this subject.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By Lerianis on 12/1/2008 8:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
No,he isn't 'dead-on'. The fact is that most gamers who are really 'hard-core' retreat to gaming because they do not like the outside world.
They have tried being in the 'outside world', have been looked down upon because they do not understand or do not accept the world like it is, and retreat to gaming and solitary pursuits because other people are always trying to force their 'morality', religion, etc. on them.
That is the reason why I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to go outside to things with other adults, and spend most of my time at the local park hanging out with some young friends: because I understand them a whole HELL of a lot more than I do most adults, and they understand me a lot more than most other adults do.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By derwin on 12/1/2008 10:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
[they] retreat to gaming and solitary pursuits because other people are always trying to force their 'morality', religion, etc. on them.


What are you talking about man? Thats not the real world I live in. Yeah, its got plenty of sticking points, but seriously? That is called rationalization. It is a part of addictive behavior, although it does not imply adictive behavoir. If your mind is made up that you are going to do something, you will convince yourself you should, regardless of whether you really should or not.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 11:37:07 PM , Rating: 2
He's not dead-on, but his initial impressions before he tried to inject his own interpretation were mostly correct.

Yes, gamers retreat because they don't like the outside world (in some cases, not all, maybe not even most cases remembering that the majority of people who own a PC eventually find a game or two to play on it).

Whether someone retreats because of others forcing their ideas largely has to do with three things:

1) Being used to it. If you isolate yourself from this fact, instead of dealing with it as the norm, you don't build up coping skills, thick skin, self-identity, or whatever the popular term is at the moment.

2) The people at this place go there because they aren't confident their life has been what they want. Having that lack of confidence, they aren't as resistant to others trying to impose ideals upon them. They don't stand up for what they believe in so much because they don't have enough experience dealing with what negativity they will encounter when someone disagrees, and that will only come with getting away from the console, getting out there and talking their minds to lots of people. They may be genius, or idiotic, but either way will learn more from being among other dynamic people than from a pre-scripted game.

3) The reason why you understand certain people more is you spend more time with them. Granted, older people will do two things, try to idealize that because they are older, they are automatically wiser and you should be inclined to learn from them, but this is not so far from the truth (what did you ever really learn from playing video games compared to what you might have if out anywhere in public interacting with people who were different instead of like you?), and also expect you to do the same as they did and as society needs, that young people spend lots of time making the world a better place through study, through socializing if their career is aligned to that, through being out among other people so they have more awareness of what is going on in the world around them.

Remember something very important. In the blink of an eye years will pass and you will be one of "those adults" and the next generation will be looking at you for guidance. You will be in a leadership position of some kind whether you want it or not. If you retreat from it, that can make it harder, or embracing it through time spend out there in the world around diverse people can make a person well rounded and ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.

If you understand your peers, or anything really, it's time to move on!!! Next, confront the thing you don't yet understand. Refuse if you must, but remember is it your life and you will always grow more given new stimulus than the same old thing over and over again. Any changes you make benefit you, not so much anyone else.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By Noliving on 12/2/2008 5:30:29 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with your #1. Again video games most of the time by research are shown to be played with atleast one other person. Most people who play video games do not play it by themselves. I disagree when it comes to thick skin and self identity. Considering all of the trash talk that takes place over the internet gaming and during living room game session you need to develop a thick skin. Your online personality and gamertags, etc are your self identity.

When it comes to developing coping skills, that is debatable as it involves more of your self independence rather then physical social interactions and just social interaction by itself. In fact the only thing that helps with coping skills that requires a socializing with others according to psychologists is having a good support system and that support system can be done through phone calls, emails, regular letter mail, internet, group therapy, exercising with others or by yourself etc. The rest of developing coping skills are things that the person has to do by themselves like having realistic expectations, just exercising even by yourself, Self-efficacy, the ability to talk yourself through challenges, relaxation(which is taught that the person is to be alone so they can get rid of all distractions).


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By tential on 12/2/2008 12:03:43 AM , Rating: 1
I agree. I used to play online games compulsively. I didn't go out and meet new people didn't talk much at school and never really fit in. Gaming was an easy way to fill the time and to have friends. But the thing is that it isn't real and it isn't something you can talk about with people who you do see face to face. In the end it truly socially impairs you.

It was only when I got into my Senior year of high school, got a car and job, that I was able to actually able to start doing normal shit. I still play games an unhealthy amount of time probably when I'm at home but when I'm in college I am usually out with friends. It was only when I stopped playing games that I realized the affect it had as before I always told my parents that gaming was being social. The funny thing is that I know some people in college who game and it really screws up their social interactions. One of my friends who plays WoW right now is completely confused and anti-social. He's like 19, and never had a girlfriend, even though there are girls he definitely has a chance with (good looking ones too) he just doesn't know how to approach the situation and makes it so awkward now because he is used to online interactions.

Online interactions are completely different from real life interactions and too much gaming will make it not only hard to be social but it will make it next to impossible to move up in the work force to a meaningful level when it's the social people who have leadership skills are the ones who move up and not the smart brainy ones.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By Nirach on 12/2/2008 7:29:12 AM , Rating: 2
My concern with the very first paragraph is the way you sound so sure. I am in the UK, so my situation and experience could well be very different to yours.

Games don't keep me inside - My lack of desire to socialise with people outside of my current group of friends (Of which there are four) keeps me indoors. I play games as a by-product of not wanting to be around people. Before video games, I played with Lego and other such toys. I currently have a WoW account, which I log into once, or twice a week (More so during the Lich King launch week, as I wanted a DK, but I've slacked off since then), I have four consoles (All current gen), and yet, I am not even remotely addicted to any game I own, and very rarely actually sit down gaming for longer than 2-3 hours at a time.

My point being, games are not the cause for people to stay inside (I expect that what is true for me is also true for other people), but something to do when we're not socialising, if we even do.

I have tried to be social, and have in the past one out and so on, what would be considered 'normal' for a man my age, but I can't talk to the majority of people, because my interests are no where near in line with theirs - I am a gun nut, I love guns, the way they look, how they sound, their feel. I love computers, much the same reason as I love guns, and I love modding. No one, bar my very few friends, are interested at all in the same things as me.

How can I socialise when I can't talk about anything, I can't empathise (I never have been able to, it's not something new for me), and generally can't be arsed to deal with people, when most of them are likely to turn out to be douchebags that weren't worth the time or effort?

I'd rather be alone than around people I don't really like, and even the people I do like, I see very infrequently (Once or twice a fortnight, bar the one I live with). I game for the sake of something to do. I don't even socialise on WoW, as far as I'm concerned, it is just an easy to pick up time sink when I've got no desire to think about another game.

I probably rambled a lot here, so forgive me.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By SharkManEXR on 12/2/2008 11:23:21 AM , Rating: 2
i totally agree with you, except the part about loving guns. I really think it comes down to the fact that there aren't very many things for us to do outside of the gaming modding world. Like I really like photography, but i see it as something I do by myself, to experience what I'm photographing and putting that experience into my photos. I couldn't imagine doing it with another person, it would just feel awkward. Our hobbies are mostly what people do together to socialize but with computer modding for me its something I do by myself and would feel less meaningful if I did it with someone else.

A few of my hobbies can be used to socialize but not in the "real world" like online gaming, or collaborative mapping projects. I just don't see anything that is interesting to me outside that I could do with someone else.


RE: Now we're getting somewhere
By Noliving on 12/2/2008 4:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but you do realize that the vast majority of research shows that people that play games play with atleast one other person the majority of the time. The vast majority of people who play games like call of duty play it online versus the single player. So it's not crippling their social skills or self esteem when playing video games, as shown by research, is not a "loaner activity" even if they are alone in the room and playing online.

There is no such thing as "normal" interactions in sociology or in psychology. There can be healthy and unhealthy interactions but there is no such thing as "normal".

No the older generation doesn't get it because it still views video games as anti socialization and loaner activities when the vast majority of research shows that it is indeed a social activity. The older generation is more used to person to person contact because of the lack of communications technology that we have now.

No one pretends that when playing the games that the world is whats on the screen. The reason why they play so long is because they feel it is the only culture/society that accepts them. Those people they are playing with over the internet are real, the voices they hear over the voice chat are real. The only thing that isn't real is the display and they are not playing for the display, they are playing for the social interaction over the internet and that social interaction is real.

Because they feel this social interaction over the internet is the only one that accepts/understands them they are going to spend almost all of their time socializing over the internet. This isn't about games or how games keep people inside away from others in real life, in fact playing video games with real people including people over the internet is real life so its not keeping people away from others in real life, it's about how young people during their childhood don't fit in with your so called "real life" and no one, the parents, the school is there to help them in getting accepted into your so called "real life" and once they become adult the same behavior continues that they formed during childhood.


what is the difference?
By Dreifort on 12/1/2008 1:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
According to the article, the rehab is more about social addiction (or lack of social participation) that draws kids to video games - especially online gaming.

How is this different than Myspace or Facebook?

Virtual friendships/social groups?

The only difference is you virtually mame/kill ppl.
And as witnessed recently, Myspace injuries ppl, just not virtually.

I know former Myspace user support groups exist. And it's openly acknowledged that Myspace/Facebook is an addiction.

If indeed the two platforms (social networks, video gaming) are both deterorating teens social skills - shouldn't they combine the two groups into one recorvery group?

Seems as if Mr. Bakker could work to solve two problems at once.




RE: what is the difference?
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 3:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
yes in some ways social networking sites could have similar undesirable effects, but possibly not so much so because they are after all, socially oriented sites meaning there is still some attempt and limited degree of striving towards social interaction instead of away from it.

The idea that "it's openly acknowledged that Myspace/Facebook is an addiction" is not a proof that it is. People are stupid, they'll even call chocolate an addiction, compulsive obsessive disorders or even air "an addiction", instead of the proper clinical meaning.

Why combine two different groups into one "recovery group"? This isn't about trying to pack as many kids into a classroom as possible, it's about tailoring a program to the extent of drawing the attention of a limited group of people whose numbers fall within the capacity of the center to treat, and in the end most of the useful things accomplished are 1 on 1 not huddled in a group.

Mr. Bakker is not solving problems as some kind of generic topic, he's putting his own spin on the basic idea that stereotying conditions as being out of someone's control is not as effective as getting individuals, one at a time, to recognize they do have control over the choices they make.


RE: what is the difference?
By Shmak on 12/1/2008 8:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
yes in some ways social networking sites could have similar undesirable effects, but possibly not so much so because they are after all, socially oriented sites meaning there is still some attempt and limited degree of striving towards social interaction instead of away from it.


Many Massively Multiplayer games (the genre that feels the brunt of this "addictive" label) can be considered very social games. After all many of these games force you to play with others. I would also pose that the social aspect of these games is often the most addictive. I've heard countless players say that their online friends kept them coming back even when the game experience itself became tiresome. So, in some sense, the players have a virtual social interaction supplanting real world social interaction. This sounds quite similar to social networking sites to me.


RE: what is the difference?
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 11:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
Not so much, because at least social networking sites seek to be a virtual representation of what one would act like in reality without social restraints, while virtual worlds seek to do the opposite, allow people to do what they couldn't in real life and that's why it is a diversion so many seek.


RE: what is the difference?
By Myg on 12/2/2008 5:13:39 AM , Rating: 2
Any expression of "socializing", be it on the internet or not; has social restraints.

The only question is wether the social restraints have been normalized based on people's concience and reason or basic shallow desires. You will find that most people who are real addicts/compulsive/emotional issues will fall into the latter group.

It would be ignorant to assume that any interaction between humans, be it limited or full is free of such elemental human requirements.


RE: what is the difference?
By Boze on 12/2/2008 9:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
while virtual worlds seek to do the opposite, allow people to do what they couldn't in real life and that's why it is a diversion so many seek.


Any MMORPG player who wants to be successful, and moreover, who wants to be successful is going to be a social maven. You have to treat people just the same in an MMORPG as you do in person if you want to succeed; I have seen this firsthand playing these games for the past 14 years.

I don't know a single guild leader who runs any sort of successful guild that doesn't have a knack for motivating and inspiring people, dealing with people (or being able to find and identify other people to help bridge this gap) - it is probably one of the most social things the average person will ever do.

Sure, you can do whatever you want in an MMORPG... and some people might, but usually these are people who have never played the genre before and they're generally unsuccessful relative to the game's own version of "winning" (conquering challenges, acquiring money, etc.). Every player I know who is "successful" in an MMORPG can trace it back to a mixture of skill, ability to work together with others, and being able to network. Being able to work with others and network are social skills .


RE: what is the difference?
By Noliving on 12/2/2008 5:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
All online and non online multiplayer parts of a video game all strive for social interaction rather then away from it.


Yay!
By 306maxi on 12/1/2008 10:36:50 AM , Rating: 5
When my wife complains that I'm addicted to playing Left4Dead and TF2 on my PC I'll say I'm not addicted, just socially impaired.




RE: Yay!
By 306maxi on 12/1/2008 10:40:09 AM , Rating: 2
On a serious note though I think this sort of work is great. I find it hard enough to stop playing and I usually get tired after a couple of hours most nights though I have been known to play for a good 6-10 hours when a lot of mates are on.


RE: Yay!
By Myg on 12/1/2008 8:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
"Compulsive Gamers Socially Impaired, Not Addicts"

The problem with this description is that most human issues are dual feedback...

If someone is an addict, they become compulsive; if someone is compulsive they become an addict.

Its basically just putting a different name to the same essential issue of human weakness and vice.


RE: Yay!
By on 12/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: Yay!
By Ordr on 12/1/2008 12:37:03 PM , Rating: 1
Another gem from you, huh...


Solution
By FITCamaro on 12/1/2008 4:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
Straight from Sinbad. Smack your kid. They play games too much? Smack them and tell them to go outside.

Much cheaper than therapy.




RE: Solution
By Lerianis on 12/1/2008 8:46:49 PM , Rating: 1
And that will lead to them needing therapy for your unwarranted attacks on their person. BTW, Sinbad is an IDIOT of the first caliber.


RE: Solution
By FITCamaro on 12/1/2008 8:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
Bullshit. Punishing your kid does not mean they'll need therapy. Liberal bullshit pure and simple.


RE: Solution
By callmeroy on 12/2/2008 1:41:16 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with "FIT", but with a slightly toned down approach. I'll use my sister as an example - she has 4 boys between the ages of 4 and 12, prime group for just getting into video games. She simply has rules for them to have game time.

1) Chores done?
2) Homework done?
3) If 1 and 2 are NOT done REPEAT 1 and 2 until they are. If 1 and 2 ARE done continue to number 4.
4) 1 hour of game time on school nights, and as many (or as little) hours as my sister or my bro-in-law decide on non-school nights (that's put in there based on their behavior).

That's the easiest way I could explain her system for game time, but basically that's all it is.

I'm one who also has wasted plenty of hours in front of a computer game...I've gotten much better as I've gotten older. In my teens I'd play 12-14 hour gaming sessions w/o a blink and I'd actually NOT attend some family functions or stuff with friends to just game more. Now today, many years later, I'll turn off the computer for almost any social opportunity/event -- I even went to the Art Museum with my brother one weekend over playing a game...the friggin art museum, I never thought I'd go to that place. I still play a lot, about 3 hours a night, if I'm really into the game I might put in 4 hours a night -- I know that's still bad, but I rationalize that as my substitute for watching TV, which millions of folks do for the same amount of time each night -- that and the thing about turning off the game for any social interests is how I feel ok about the 3-4 hours per night.

I think gaming is fine if its just a hobby -- meaning you'll interrupt it for "finer things" in life -- family, friends, women, etc. Its when those finer things in life are viewed to you as interrupting your game time is when you have serious issues.


Easy solution
By AlexWade on 12/1/2008 10:48:43 AM , Rating: 1
Get them a girl. Provided that you can find a girl that will go within 10 feet of them.




RE: Easy solution
By kristof007 on 12/1/2008 1:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
First of all there is a girl in the picture which leads me to believe some of the "patients" are girls as well in the place. Also these people are not socially incapable, they just got stuck in a bad habit of not being socially accepted.

On a more fun note... I hope they parked their toons before going in so they could rested XP after the treatment was over :)


RE: Easy solution
By Lerianis on 12/1/2008 8:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
Quite true. The bigger problem is that a lot of these people are ostracized for many reasons. They usually don't believe in the 'sexual morality' of the religious conservatives, they don't believe in feminism (not to say that they are misogynists), etc. and are ostracized for that, which I find SERIOUSLY DISGUSTING.

People need to realize that the world is not as 'all-inclusive' as people would like us to believe, and a lot of times these people who are 'socially inept' are that way because they are like me: TERRIFIED of making the wrong statement in front of someone because we don't believe in the 'not-so-common' 'morality' of today, have a more simplistic view of the world than other people (usually, a BETTER view of the world than other people) or are just terrified of crowds period.


RE: Easy solution
By Boze on 12/2/2008 9:35:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
People need to realize that the world is not as 'all-inclusive' as people would like us to believe, and a lot of times these people who are 'socially inept' are that way because they are like me: TERRIFIED of making the wrong statement in front of someone because we don't believe in the 'not-so-common' 'morality' of today, have a more simplistic view of the world than other people (usually, a BETTER view of the world than other people) or are just terrified of crowds period.


I wouldn't worry too much about that, to be honest. I've made it pretty well through my life doing and saying exactly how I feel, sure I have people that hate me, but I have a lot more that love me.

I'm not sure why you'd be terrified of making the wrong statement in front of anyone. Just say what's on your mind, if they don't like it, they can walk away.


Enough of the medical mumbo-jumbo.
By Ordr on 12/1/08, Rating: 0
RE: Enough of the medical mumbo-jumbo.
By elessar1 on 12/1/08, Rating: 0
RE: Enough of the medical mumbo-jumbo.
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 4:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that describes a lot of people who spend a great deal of free time on Dailytech and other websites. So how screwed up is the internet generation? They are in some ways a society too, but you don't see doctors claiming someone has problems from spending too many hours out in the real world instead of being online enough.

The key thing is these people who come for treatment either feel they have this problem with gaming, or someone else felt they did (parents) and insisted they go there. That doesn't necessarily mean a generalized afterthought that their condition is more like lack of socialization than like an addiction means much except a recognition that things get really dumbed down and overgeneralized when a group theory is being proposed because such a theory fails more and more the more precise and directed it is towards only one individual.


By Noliving on 12/2/2008 5:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
Describe real world, the physical world? There are plenty of times where doctors have claimed that people spend too much time in the "real world" and not on themselves and that they need to spend more time doing things alone/on their own and for themselves.

There are also times when doctors and family and friends recommend online support groups.


RE: Enough of the medical mumbo-jumbo.
By Ordr on 12/1/2008 6:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
How did my biting and insightful commentary get downrated?!


Agree..
By excelsium on 12/1/2008 8:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
In the past I've been a more compulsive gamer and certainly socially impaired - I still have this a little today.




RE: Agree..
By piroroadkill on 12/2/2008 3:52:35 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, same, and if I had the chance I'd probably sit and play WoW excessively


By Hieyeck on 12/2/2008 2:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
By playing games online, I have access to a larger pool of people whom already share the similar interest of enjoying that particular game. I therefore can be pickier about my friends and as a result, when meeting them face to face, get along much better than I normally would.

Would someone follow the "normal" socializing path, they would tend to be limited to their physical community - no more than one block in any direction of their house in a city. A high school, even the newer megasized ones, limit someone to a few thousand people, and one tends to only socialize within one's level - reducing it to a further quarter of the school population. In such a population, you're likely to find one, maybe two, "best friends".

Simply by carrying that social environment online, physical, age, race, and gender barriers are removed. I've met people whom I've become good friends and who lived a mere 15 minutes away, but we were separated by a year or an arbitrary school zone border.

Heck, the existence of the internet itself is a great matchmaker. Frankly, I'm not one who enjoys socializing with people too dumb to figure out how to point and click on links.

Simply put, if you can only be good friends with 0.1% of the people you meet, why not meet the world's 1.5 billion people with internet access and have 1.5 million good friends. (Obviously, you can't meet 1.5 million personally in your lifetime, but I'm just emphasizing a point here)




By Master Kenobi (blog) on 12/2/2008 7:59:56 AM , Rating: 2
I agree entirely. I game with guys/gals in other countries and other time zones within the USA that would normally not be possible because of the geographical problems posed. I also agree with being pickier about people. Rather than settling for "whos around" you can pick and choose who you want to deal with. If Guy #2 is a whiner, ditch him and replace him with Guy #8 who has fun and doesn't whine when everyone wipes. Good times all around.


??
By seamonkey79 on 12/2/2008 9:14:20 AM , Rating: 3
How many hours a day/week do 'average' people spend watching TV?

I don't know about others, but I play WoW for about the same amount of time a day that most people probably watch TV. Then I go to sleep, wake up the next day, go to work, come home, play some more WoW. I have some pretty interesting/fun people in the guild, probably have more interaction with members of humanity because I play the game.

Like I said, though, I don't know about others. However, trying to blame anything on a game or gaming is pointless. If people have problems with something, it's not the game's fault, it's the person's fault.




By snownpaint on 12/1/2008 2:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
Back in the day, only you and your buddy attached to the console controllers were socializing while playing. Even then a Mario Kart Party wasn't out of the question..

Now friends and a few customers are online playing when I jump on. I talk to a few friends I would rarely call due to distance, more often while playing games online. I did meet them outside of gaming and I can't say I have made any good friends from the social network the games/consoles offer. But I can say as the consoles and providers like Steam increase social gaming, this will be less of an issue. Would you call a person that chats online anti-social? Would you say a person that goes to a hobby store to play magic anti-social gamer? The only difference is in leaving your house.. I go dirt bike riding by myself, and I can say I don't talk to anyone at the track (beside a hello) some days. I guess that is anti-social as well.

As for addiction anything that make you feel good or bad, can be over used.. In any case, doing anything for extensive amounts of time will lead to you not talking to other friends. Whether it be water parks, sex, driving, drinking, gaming or heroin..




By CSMR on 12/1/2008 4:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
It seems the article is based on the comments of an involved company, quoting his evidence which shows the advantages of his company's methods over others? (The other companies treating formal addiction, which according to this manager doesn't work for 90% of addicted gamers, who should instead come to his company.) You based an article on company publicity without taking it with even a grain of salt?




geeky bloggers
By RoberTx on 12/6/2008 3:49:46 AM , Rating: 2
Jason Mick is kinda geeky lookin'. Bet he gets beat up a lot.




Game rage
By Dreifort on 12/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: Game rage
By glitchc on 12/1/2008 10:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But if you notice, it's only the console games that brings out the rage in these kids. The PC versions of these games allow the kids the enter cheat codes so they can win everytime ...


Ever heard of a Gameshark or an Action Replay?


RE: Game rage
By Aloonatic on 12/1/2008 11:16:18 AM , Rating: 2
The timeless example of PC based game rage.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AD03y4VYriI&feature=...

Translated and muted for your viewing pleasure.


RE: Game rage
By UsernameX on 12/1/2008 12:13:05 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The PC versions of these games allow the kids the enter cheat codes so they can win everytime giving them a false sense of achievement and therefore pushing their unvent rage further into oppression to be stored until much later in life when it will errupt when the kid turned adult no longer plays video games.


"Cheat codes" are prevalent in PC games as well as console games.

" A false sense of achievement" - There are a few uncommon scenarios in which gaming does provide real life achievement: tournaments and rewards that are tangible. But for the most part gaming only provides a false sense of achievement - no matter if you cheat or not. Take world of warcraft for example: getting the top gear and into the perfect raid groups may be an achievement in game, but what is that actually doing to further your own life?

For me I can relate very well to this article. I played DAoC (Dark Age of Camelot) like a religion through my middle/highschool years. I lived off 4 hours of sleep every day - to dedicate my life to a false sense of achievement. Where does all that hard work bring me now? Well I can get over the learning curve to most MMORPG's faster then other people now - but does it really give me tangible results? No. But it did lead my step dad to kicking me out of the house and forcing me to find my own place. Thank god for that because I have only begun to realize the serious social impairment/lack of responsibility I have gained over the past 10 years. If I had spent that time playing an instrument, I would be somewhat of a badass by now. But I digress...

I hope this type of center opens everywhere world wide. If the article is indeed true that 97% of boys and girls play video games, and parents are as neglectful as ever, then we are going to need some serious help.


RE: Game rage
By rdeegvainl on 12/1/2008 4:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I had spent that time playing an instrument, I would be somewhat of a badass by now.


maybe, but unless you were somehow making money off that... then what real accomplishment would that be? all you really did was a more complex version of repeating the same thing over till you got it right, unless of course you are making your own music, and to be honest, the vast majority of those that do still suck. Nothing more or less than video gaming. Either one is fine, for hobby, but really don't do much for the VAST MAJORITY of people in the way of "furthering your own life"


RE: Game rage
By UsernameX on 12/1/2008 4:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Either one is fine, for hobby, but really don't do much for the VAST MAJORITY of people in the way of "furthering your own life"


Point taken. How you direct your efforts in life, is what will determine your success - I agree. Though I would argue that you would find many more instrumentalists that are at least remotely successful, then you would gamers. I have not read (admittedly I haven't search too hard) an article about music dependence. But I have read plenty about video game dependence (also without looking too hard). From my experience between games and music; music has challenged my discipline and efforts to learn more about myself as a person. Video games do not challenge my disciplines nor do they require near the amount of effort to play.


RE: Game rage
By PrezWeezy on 12/1/2008 6:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well I would urge you to think about the fact that you don't find those articles is because of social bias.

Gamers are looked at very differently than Musicians. However, if you go to Guitar World you will see just as many people who obsess over music as going into game stop to see gamers. I personally think that video games CAN be very stimulating to certain parts of the brain. They present puzzles and logical thinking challenges (many of the Zelda games were good at this). Other types sharpen fine motor skills and allow creativity outside of natural boundaries like gravity and without the need for millions of dollars (railroad tycoon, The SIMs).

The problem is not playing video games, the problem is obsessive playing. Although this is just the latest thing to blame. People naturally draw away from pain, so if they have societal issues, they will try to remove themselves from it.

You also attempt to make a point that musicians tend to more successful than gamers, but I would tell you that because we are at a point that 97% of teens play games, that trend will change. Playing games does not make you successful, nor does it impede your success. It simply will soon become another thing that people do as a normal every day activity.


RE: Game rage
By MightyAA on 12/1/2008 6:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I don't see gaming as anti-social at all. Online gaming is very social. You develop friends (though not close ones like real friends.. but every much like a long distance friend I could exchange phone calls with). My wife says I'm addicted. Well, from my standpoint I'd rather game with about 20 other guys after the kids go to bed than sit and watch tv. I'd rather game than go hang out in a bar getting plowed and eventually into some sort of trouble. I'm much more social computer gaming than I am when I'm at the track (car racing). This is my social outlet when otherwise my options are rather limited. Even when I played competitively in computer gaming, it was a lot more serious than my local touch football league. Socially acceptable??? Computer gaming is not... Sitting in a bar watching the ballgame with 4 other drunks ogling the waitress IS however. Funny, but when playing WoW, we also talk about the same stuff that my friends and I do at the bar.. Anti-social?

I don't fear that gaming will wreck future generations; it's just a different way to socialize and entertain. I do however fear the folks who label anything that is foreign to them as a social problem. Anyone hear old enough to remember tv addiction problems of the '70's, or rock & roll protest of the '50's my parents went through? You can even go back to dime store novels and book burning. Every older generation tries like hell to save our youth from a percieved social entertainment "evil". Kudo's that they are lowering the threat level....


RE: Game rage
By UsernameX on 12/1/2008 8:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Personally, I don't see gaming as anti-social at all. Online gaming is very social. You develop friends (though not close ones like real friends.. but every much like a long distance friend I could exchange phone calls with). My wife says I'm addicted. Well, from my standpoint I'd rather game with about 20 other guys after the kids go to bed than sit and watch tv. I'd rather game than go hang out in a bar getting plowed and eventually into some sort of trouble. I'm much more social computer gaming than I am when I'm at the track (car racing). This is my social outlet when otherwise my options are rather limited. Even when I played competitively in computer gaming, it was a lot more serious than my local touch football league. Socially acceptable??? Computer gaming is not... Sitting in a bar watching the ballgame with 4 other drunks ogling the waitress IS however. Funny, but when playing WoW, we also talk about the same stuff that my friends and I do at the bar.. Anti-social?


I would agree with you on most points here. However I've found that I experience social anxiety. I was so physically isolated from real life social events that, when I did go to a party or a big social gathering, I made it a purpose to hide myself, instead of mingle. But when I entered my online MMORPG world - I felt comfortable and at ease again - and had probably 20 or so better friends that I would speak to daily through the game world.

Also, I believe I have contracted a very mild case of narcolepsy because of my 10 or so better years with only 4 hours of sleep everyday. Unless I'm playing a video game, I will naturally fall asleep unknowingly. My few close friends make fun of me all the time because of it. IE: Walking into wendys one day with a big penis painted on my forehead. The lady taking our order just couldn't stop laugh and I was like wtf, is this lady high or something?


RE: Game rage
By UsernameX on 12/1/2008 8:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
Need an EDIT!

As far as the narcolepsy is concerend. I will naturally fall asleep at night (usually about 11pm) unless I'm playing a video game. Otherwise I'm fine.


RE: Game rage
By inperfectdarkness on 12/1/2008 1:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
the problem here is the censorship movement will grab hold of this and unleash their spin doctors.

if jeffrey dahmer were alive today--he'd be channeling his innate sociopathic behavior through gaming--and not through small animals. of course, the censors would be the 1st to claim that "video games cause murder & crime".

venting rage through gaming is healthier than venting it through someone's face. to whit, i fully support all gaming developments by "running with scissors".

besides, i'm not so much an "addict" as i am self-anesthestizing from things i don't want to think about.


RE: Game rage
By Senju on 12/3/2008 4:18:53 AM , Rating: 2
I play 4 hours of L4D every night!
No more! No less!


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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