Most of the time, video game addiction isn't addiction at all


Well look at that, most gamers who are “addicted” to gaming aren’t addicted at all. That’s the conclusion of the first clinic set up to help gaming addicts get off the smack, Amsterdam’s Smith & Jones Center . One problem: 90 percent of the people who are labeled addicted are merely socially weird.

Let me explain. Clinical addiction makes you go into withdrawal after prolonged separation from the drug/substance/whatever. (See Tropic Thunder for a humorous take on drug addiction.) Take away World of Warcraft from the average kid and, at worst, the kid will be bored to tears. (I fit into this category. I play the game a lot for lack of anything better to do.) So rather than treat this 90 percent as addicts, it would be better to give them social support: make sure the players aren’t isolated or being bullied or otherwise intimated; make sure they have useful hobbies—reading things other than message board flame wars—that improve their lives; give these people an outlet where they can feel “accepted” (one kid said he plays games all day because it was his only “accepted” place); and so on.

So all these stories you see of kids being “addicted” to video games, they’re largely a load of bunk.