Study: Nearly one in 10 video gamers could be addicts

Nearly one in 10 U.S. children who play video games might be growing addicted to the pastime, AFP reports. A study released by the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University drew comparisons to compulsive gambling, concluding that some children lie, borrow money from friends, or dodge work to play video games. Researchers based their findings on a national sample of 1,178 people ages eight through 18, with the group containing nearly even numbers of boys and girls. Almost 90 percent of the youths polled said they played video games. Of these, 8.5 percent exhibited "pathological patterns of play" gauged by the presence of at least six of 11 clinical symptoms showing damage to family, social, school, or psychological functioning. A fifth of video gamers said they had botched schoolwork or done poorly on exams because they had spent time playing instead of focusing on academics. "It is certainly possible that pathological gaming causes poor school performance," the report maintains. "But, it is equally likely that children who have trouble at school seek to play games to experience feelings of mastery, or that attention problems cause both poor school performance and an attraction to games."

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