Is Video Game Addiction Real?
With the explosion in the popularity of Fortnite parents, educators, and community members are starting to look at the potential for video game addiction. Common questions parents are asking include “Is video game addiction real” and “Is my child addicted to video games?” As an expert on video game addiction I frequently encounter these questions. While I need to conduct an assessment to determine if an individual child is suffering from video game addiction, I can answer unequivocally that yes video game addiction is real. While we are just starting to have these conversations in the United States, Asian countries have been treating video game addiction as a public health crisis since 2003.
What the Studies Show
Recent studies have shown that up to 8.5% of U.S. youth are addicted to video games. I live and work in Florham Park which has a population of approximately 12,000 residents of which 15% are under the age of 18. Based on these statistics over 155 youth struggle with video game addiction in Florham Park alone. Expanding the scope to Morris County overall shows that up to 7,100 youth suffer from video game addiction.
This problem is very real and is affecting a large portion of our youth population. Florham Park, Madison, Chatham, East Hanover, Morristown, Summit, Short Hills, etc. are all family focused towns. These towns and other towns are unaware that video game addiction is a silent epidemic affecting huge numbers of our youth.
Below is a research chart that shows some troubling behaviors and consequences of youth and excessive video game play.
|Behavior||Percentage (%) of youth who report engaging in behavior|
|Play as a way of escaping from problems or feeling bad||29% of boys
19% of girls
|Have lied to family or friends about how much they play||17% of boys
10% of girls
|Sometimes skip homework to play video games||29% of boys
15% of girls
|Have done poorly on school assignment or test due to playing video games||26% of boys
11% of girls
|Sometimes skip household chores to play video games||40% of boys
24% of girls
Parents are typically angry when they realize that their children have lied to them or skipped chores to play video games. Anger is a normal response in these situations and is easily processed in therapy. Parents may have fear about what will happen if their child continues to perform poorly academically. Additionally parents hearts’ typically start to ache when they realize that such a large percentage of our kids are trying to escape problems or feeling bad.
Video game addiction is very real and is something that we need to start talking about. While it can be scary to realize that your child may be addicted to video games there is help for it. Once we admit that a problem exists we can start to work on addressing it. There is hope.
What Do I Do If I Am Concerned About A Loved One’s Video Game Usage?
If you are concerned about how much a loved one is playing video games or the impact it has you have several options. First you can read the other articles on this website about video game addiction. Second you can always contact us here at the New Jersey Family and Addiction Institute.