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April 20, 2009, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
"I started studying video game addiction...largely because I didn't believe in it," says the Iowa State psych prof whose nationwide study just concluded that 8.5 percent of American kids are addicted to video games.

I've covered this topic before at length. I'd still put myself in the "skeptic" category, but I have to admit that a big reason I'm still wavering on computer addiction is simply my own fear: If it really exists, the implications are far-reaching and terrifying.

After all, a console video game isn't that much different than, say, Facebook. The physical activity is the same: Staring, pushing buttons. Stimulus, reward.

How is all this screen time re-wiring our brains? Who, if anyone, controls the medium? And to what end?

Does keeping a healthy distance from the computer make us more connected to our surroundings—or more isolated, because everybody else is plugged in?

Finally, is it self-defeating, or just silly, that I'm blogging about this subject?

One interesting finding in the Iowa State study: "Pathological gamers were also significantly more likely to have been involved in physical fights in the past year."

Doesn't he mean that gamers were more likely to lose a fight?



(Cross-posted at pinecore.com)

 

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