Computer Use and Gaming “Addiction”

Something that has been bothering me a lot lately is the amount of students in our school who can’t seem to tear themselves away from their computers. I don’t think I have to explain that to any of you; you see it every day just the same as me. I’ve been looking into a lot of research about teens and gaming; I’d like to share some of what I have found. (There is no attached article this week, so please bear with a little longer section here.)

To be up front, my “research” has been done completely on the internet with more than likely some reliability concerns…however, here are some of the things I’ve seen over and over: There is no definition for “Video game addiction” as there isn’t enough solid research at this time to classify this as an official addiction. However, survey upon survey has turned up signs of behavioral addiction symptoms in teenagers who play video games. Of those students who play video games, the number of students who show signs of addictive behavior ranges between 2-15% depending on the sources…the most common number I’ve seen is 5-8%. Again, this number isn’t an “official” number because there is no technical definition of gaming addiction.

However, if this number holds true what does that mean for you and your students? Well, using the 5-8% number would suggest that it is a good possibility that on average one student in each of your classes has developed some sort of addictive behaviors to gaming and/or their computer. How does this impact the students in your classroom? How can we help them? Are we even responsible to help them? A few of us have had these sort of discussions lately…I’d love to hear your two cents!

Originally published in SCIS MS Headlines on September 13, 2013.

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