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DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

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FAQ: The Good and The Bad

What are indicators of possible addiction?

A combination of:

- Anxiety, frustration and anger when unable to play.
- Feelings of guilt when playing.
- Continuing to play even when you’re not having fun.
- Peers or family have suggested that game-play has become a problem.
- A deterioration in social life.
- Emergence of financial or relationship problems.

How much time is reasonable for a youth to spend playing video games?

MMORPG players play on average about 22 hours per week. This, on the other hand, is less than the average number of hours that a typical American watches TV per week which is 27 hours. The important thing is to make sure you can set clear time schedules ("I’m only going to play for 2 hours") and to be able to log off when that time is up. I think around 22 hours is a reasonable amount per week. Of course, if a teenager is out of school, then it is ok to play more since they have more time as long as they can moderate their game-play and aren’t playing the whole day away.

Individually, how can a possible video game addiction be resolved?

Different players play the game for different reasons, and this is actually a fairly complicated issue. Some players are driven by the achievement cycle, while others get tied up with their online social network. Others play to escape real life, and yet others play to become the heroes they can’t be in real life. On an individual basis, the key to resolving addiction is to identify what is motivating the individual to play and address that issue specifically. Of course, this should be done with the help of a counselor who is familiar with online games or non-substance addictions.

How would you recommend solving the problem on a nationwide basis?

I’m not sure if there’s an actual problem per se. Driving automobiles causes far more deaths on a statistical perspective than playing video games. An addiction is not something a substance/game causes as much as it is vulnerability in the individual that has gone out of control. As such, destroying all games won’t suddenly cure all people of their self-image and confidence issues. And in fact, there’s a lot of good that is coming out of these games as well. To me, the problem isn’t the games. The problem is people who blame the game instead of really helping the person when he/she becomes addicted.

What can others do to help eliminate this problem?

As with all other indulgences in life, moderation is the key. I would rather see all these people campaigning against video games to campaign against alcohol because alcohol, by far, causes more deaths and problems in our society than video games …


Posted on September 3, 2003 | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)


“I would rather see all these people campaigning against video games to campaign against alcohol because alcohol, by far, causes more deaths and problems in our society than video games”

I fully agree with this statement. The problem I see is that video game addiction is not “socially acceptable” whereas alcoholism is “socially acceptable.” Many years ago an amendment was written that outlawed alcoholic beverages. This was a good act. If that amendment had lasted alcohol today would be like many other illegal drugs. Yes you would still be able to get it, but, generations would have grown up without its affects and this country would be wiser, more powerful, and it would have prevented countless deaths. However, that amendment was repealed because the majority of the population accepted alcohol as an acceptable drink. Thus, alcohol remains “socially acceptable.” Video game addiction however is looked upon as bad like illicit drug abuse.

Alcoholism truly claims more lives than video games but more times than I can count, alcohol even claims more lives that illicit drug abuse.

There is another addiction I would like more people to campaign against, but unfortunately it is even more “socially acceptable” than alcoholism. That is sex addition. Sex addiction claims tens of thousands of lives each year, and many more lives that it ruins and destroys. And yet the majority of society wont face the facts that this is an addictive activity that is more powerful than either alcohol or video games. Those deaths are written off to other things. And, the ruined lives are only a social problem lying in some individuals, instead of a preventible and treatable addiction that is spreading the nation.

Posted by: Nathan Tyler on September 7, 2003 12:03 PM

I to would say that games like EQ are not yet "socially acceptable" to be addicted to, many people can not understand why some one could even be addicted to it. I watch new programs on people addicted to everquest but none of them show it like it is some thing normal that many people do, the new people are so unimformed about the game and how it works it even is funny watching them try and tell other people about it. I my self have pled EQ since its beta and for about a year at the start I was very much addicted to the game, but I broke that and took a year off, I now play every now and then for a few hours a night maybe 2 or 3 days a week. I would not think that gameing addictions will be socially acceptable any time soon, our country has millions of people siting at home watching their TV's I would say this is an even worse addiction then a game. as far as the post above, I never realy though of sex as addictive but when u say 'addictive activity that is more powerful than either alcohol or video games' I guess I can't say your wrong, but personaly I would have to say its different, its some thing that cave men could do, and not some thing artificial that we made but I have not done any research in to that field so I guess now I am the uninformed news reporter =)

Posted by: Aaron on September 7, 2003 12:36 PM

I am one of those who played DaoC due to stress in my real life. I thought it might be a release to chat and enjoy the creativity of one of these games. It was effective in the beginning--I had fun, laughed a lot, and felt a bit refreshed in that I got my mind off of my real life problems ( a physical disability which is very painful) for a few hours every now and then. The trouble I had with it was that once I made the final level, there was incredible pressure to come online at times when it was either disruptive to my real life, or at some ungodly hour to fight a virtual war. There was also way too much chest-beating and too many ego-battles for me to further enjoy my experience there. I found it tremendously creative in the beginning, but was forced to leave the game when my stress levels rose to a point of ill health instead of decreased after I made that final level. I did manage, however, to leave with a handful of new friendships, so it wasn't a complete loss. I have trouble understanding an addiction to a game, even though I recently recovered from a drug addiction, so I was unable to relate to most of the people I met there. A large population simply could not understand why I needed to go do grocery shopping and clean my house instead of play the day away. The pressure took away all pleasure from tjhe game. I would have most certainly stayed, probably for a very long time, had it not been for this odd behaviour. I'm not angry--just somewhat perplexed.

Posted by: Anonymous on September 7, 2003 3:28 PM

I think it is deffinetly a factor of my personality, but for me games are not addictive in the traditional long term sense. Usually, I will get interested in a game, and spend all of my spare time playing it for a month, or a couple of months, but then gradually lose interest in it as it gets old and repetative (which most of them seem to do). There have been times when I've played games for hours on end, but I think my longest single stint in any game was probably 3 months in DAOC.

Posted by: Anonymous on September 8, 2003 9:05 PM

Sex addiction? Sure, there might be such a thing as too much, but as you havent really been specific as to how it kills tens of thousands, I can only assume you're referring to STD's, and that can be prevented in almost all cases by the simple use of a condom.

Alchohol addiction? My old man's been rotting his brain with about 5 beers a night for as long as I can remember...At 76, he's a lot more fit than most men his age and continues to work at pharmacy...He says he knows when he's reached his limit and won't drink any more. Then again, He uses it to escape, drinks with his friends even when he doesnt want to, and gets a little pissed off when he doesnt get it. Still, he's gone a full month without it before, he just didnt see the point though.

MMORPG addiction? It exists. Most of the people I see limit there playing time and flat out say "no" to events when they don't fit their schedule. As for myself, it has eaten into time I should be working before, and while I can go without it with no problems whenever I spend a month in another state or something, I can't help playing it when it's available. I'm not about to quit everything else for the sole purpose of playing the MMORPG, though. Another possible reason for people being addicted is people looking for a really special gaming moment...not the achievement of a goal or an expected outcome for time input, but a time when you are completely absorbed with what's happening on your screen, and having a huge amount of fun that you probably won't have again for a long time. Such moments are rare, however.

Posted by: Anon on September 12, 2003 3:33 AM

MMORPGs are something I've only just got into in any sense - and so far as I can see, there's only one main reason why the one I've gone for (Priston Tale) could become addictive. Well, acombination of reasons, but they boil down to essentially the same thing.

The servers are VERY crowded - so once you secure a place, it does often seem a good idea to keep it - which is an incentive to play more. Possibly more importantly, it is impossible to ALT-TAB out of the game top perform more important tasks - like, as mentioned, grocery shopping, or more poignantly for me, schoolwork. So once I'm on - so far (although I've yet to have a situation where I actually need to do something and have chosen the game over doing that thing) - I've tended to stay on. This *could* be sorted out by implementing a queue system into the connection bit, so that you could do whatever else, and the more time you spent with the queue-bot on (perhaps something fairly system intensive so that people didn't just leave it on all the time), the quicker you'd get a place when you actually told the server you wanted one. Or something of that ilk.

Posted by: Tobriand on October 14, 2003 5:24 AM

"Sex addiction? Sure, there might be such a thing as too much, but as you havent really been specific as to how it kills tens of thousands, I can only assume you're referring to STD's, and that can be prevented in almost all cases by the simple use of a condom."

You are either a teenager or in denial if you don't understand or know the power and widespread problem of sexual addiction. Other then STD's like you mentioned the problem might as well kill considering the damage and destruction of families/relationships because of it.

You could basically remove "SEX" and put any addiction into that second paragraph. All addictions do is steal, kill and destroy.

Posted by: Patrick on October 17, 2003 8:03 AM

I became addicted to EverQuest for 2 years. I lost two friendships and quit orchestra. I'd also like to note that online relationships will never be as strong as real relationships. In fact, I never communicated with any of my online-friends again.

The only reason I did quit was because a good friend deleted my account. After that, I was in a daze for awhile, and then I quit my whining and my life picked up. I have been disillusioned with MMOs and I do play the occaisional MUD.(Note:Some MUDS are not level grinds and are actually roleplaying situations.) I think that deleting the account, and maybe cutting off internet access for awhile is an effective counter to a game addiction.

Posted by: Phil on May 4, 2004 5:26 PM

Twenty Two hours per week is not ok!!!

Do you have an idea of the damage it is doing? You spend one year of your youth playing a game and when you are 35 you realise it will take you four years to learn the same amount of information because you cannot absorb information as quickly and readily. The detrimental effects far outweight any benefits for people who do not have special requirements.

Whether we like it, or not, we live in the real world. The time we spend in the real world is important life experience. We learn how to interact, develop social and professional skills and basically improve our lot in life. You play 22 hours per week and you can kiss all that goodbye.

For me it was useful because I was an un-diagnosed depressive. Now it's fixed I realise that anyone who plays this for 22 hours per week is seriously impacting their life style. When the net result of online gaming is ZERO then you should limit the activity.

We all like escapisim but how many healthy people do you know do 22 hours of it a week? Everything in moderation. I support MMORPGS with responsible limits. I would happily support 10 hours per week gaming. Thats a reasonable limit. For working people even that is hard to do.


Posted by: Kevin Davies on May 12, 2004 12:02 AM

Just for comparison: Typical Americans watch 28 hours of TV per week.

Posted by: Nick Yee on May 12, 2004 10:18 AM

I'll agree that ppl play games too much...however, at least for me, my game time is drawn from the time i would have spent prob vegging out on the sofa watching TV.

at least when i'm playing i'm interacting at some level. ie, i'm not just laying back and watching the TV. So, if given a choice of TV or EQ, EQ is better for us. This is odd, because so many ppl watch tons of TV a week...and this is considered normal. Play games though, and you are labled a crazy.

Posted by: John Tedeschi on December 6, 2004 6:30 AM

My wife and I share in our online gaming experiences. We find that, after 6 years together, we still desire each other's company and aren't hunting for "alone time" or "me time".

By the way, 22 hours a week is bad because it's wasted time? What's 30+ hours a week watching sports? What's 28 hours a week watching tv? This 22 hours a week is spent interacting with real people. And, the nice part is, you aren't spending $100+/weekend to enjoy their company.

MMORPG's, for most, are hobbies like model building, sports, horror/sci-fi movies, comics, puzzles, reading, etc. are for others. I've found that most people who can't understand the draw of this type of hobby are the ones who don't understand computers much in the first place and need help finding the Start button. I'm continually surprised at the wider and wider accepting audience online gaming is finding. Now, if we could just get the press out of the hands of those who are still trying to figure out how a pushbutton phone works.

Posted by: Bladewraith on January 19, 2005 6:25 PM

I have a huge problem, I have a boyfriend who is soooo into his online and off line roleplaying games he has refused me over these games for a long period of time we have been together for 3 and a half years, but our relationship is going down the drain due to his addictive behavior with these games. Help!!!!! any suggestions or advice?????? contact me at Thank you !!!!!!

Posted by: Nichole on January 22, 2005 12:12 PM

I think I play about 20 hours a week.. I'm labelled an obsessive / compulsive, WoW addicted, obsessed, freak, etc... But then again, I don't actually watch TV. If I were to label others "TV" obsessed for watching even 30 hours per week, it would be considered an invalid argument. I think this has been summed up really well. Well done nick!

Posted by: Timothy Shades on April 10, 2007 2:04 AM

(("Whether we like it, or not, we live in the real world. The time we spend in the real world is important life experience. We learn how to interact, develop social and professional skills and basically improve our lot in life. You play 22 hours per week and you can kiss all that goodbye"))


I strongly disagree with the above statement, because then you could say that about 22+ hrs of sport, TV, extra-curricular activities, reading, etc.. Combined. How come you haven't said the same about 27+ hours of TV? I think you have failed to take into account the essence of this article, as you are treating gaming as something less socially acceptable than other activities.

Posted by: on April 10, 2007 2:09 AM

I use to play World of Warcraft and I'm pretty much done with City of Heroes/Villains. I can say right now, having invested a lot of time and money in these games, nothing good really happens from it. I don't have anything to show from playing these games.

People argue that it has benefits in social interaction. It doesn't. I use to play with some friends at school. It was great because we could chill and relax together online. The only problem was in real life when we were all together. I realized that we didn't have anything to talk about except World of Warcraft.

I also realized people need real life experiences in order to deal with life. Going up to talk to a good looking level 34 blood elf isn't the same as going up and talking to a pretty girl at a party. Defeating a level ? boss isn't the same as catching a touchdown pass in a football game. Learning a new alchemy skill isn't the same as learning from your chemistry book. I regret playing MMOs so much because there's so much I could've done with that time.

Some of you are also arguing that T.V. is also a waste of time and that you would rather play MMOs. Yes, I agree that T.V. is a waste of time, but there is a definitive difference between the T.V. watchers and MMO players. T.V. offers a relaxed state of being that I find is necessary in the stress of everyday life. MMOs, though I believe they are poor imitations of life, offer a pretty good imitation of emotions and state of beings that are felt in everyday life. A person who has felt the stress of everyday life does not need an additional 5-7 hours of these emotions. That is why I believe T.V. is a necessary evil while MMOs are not. People really do need the relaxation which T.V. offers. MMOs at times do relax people, but they also enrage, sadden, elate, excite, etc. people to an extent that is not necessary with the addition of everyday life.

"I strongly disagree with the above statement, because then you could say that about 22+ hrs of sport, TV, extra-curricular activities, reading, etc."
Other than T.V., I don't see how any of these things are in the same category as MMOs. All of these things have social, economic, and intellectual benefits, while MMOs offer only pseudo-competitive(i.e. real competitive spirit, but nothing to show for it in the end) and unnecessary emotional benefits.

MMOs are fine, but there is a limit that humans are not suppose to surpass when it comes to hobbies that involve time and emotional involvement.

Posted by: Thaddeus Fox on August 14, 2007 3:29 AM

Working with children, hours playing isn't the main problem, but how well they're doing with other areas of their lives. Even if they could play together at the park on the weekend, for most kids, who live in a suburban area would be a great improvement. It's not about a set amount of hours are acceptable or not, but how they are doing elsewhere. There's no way real way to stop kids playing mmo's except to deal with the issues behind it. Sadly, for most kids it's just if they are allowed to go outside and arranging meeting so they can run around with friends.

Posted by: Alberto on September 18, 2007 3:44 PM
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