Author Archives: TechAddiction
By Dr. Brent Conrad, Clinical Psychologist at TechAddiction.ca
Although Internet / video game addiction treatment centres are becoming more common in North America and Europe, countries like China and South Korea have been offering “detox” camps for years.
A new documentary called “Web Junkie” takes a peek inside one of 400 video game detox centres in China and follows three boys during their one month treatment.
Treatment at the military-style boot camp does not come cheap – at 10,000 Yuan, this is double the average monthly salary in Beijing. But when parents are desperate, they will do anything to help their children.
Although the film (not surprisingly) does not provide all the details on what “treatment” for video game addiction entails, it does show the boys navigating military obstacles, receiving medical treatment, participating in family therapy, and having their heads covered in wires to monitor their brain activity (see the picture above).
Good intentions I suppose, but the treatment methods remain more than little suspect. It makes you wonder what kinds of treatments were not allowed to be filmed…
What do you think? Would you ever consider sending your child to a similar detox camp for video game addiction?
Original article: Weaning from the Web
By Dr. Brent Conrad, Clinical Psychologist at TechAddiction.ca
A new study has found that young adults who remember their parents as being overly stick, demanding, and without being affectionate, tended to be more likely to have problematic Internet use (often referred to as Internet Addiction).
As this is obviously a correlational finding (and we all know that correlation does not imply causation), the authors suggest that other factors may be at play.
For example, kids with very demanding parents who lack affection may experience mood problems, may have difficulty relating to peers in person, or may struggle to making friends in general…which may cause them to retreat to online games for comfort and support.
The study of 600 adults concluded that almost 2% of men and 0.6% of women could be classified as “severely addicted”.
The take home message is pretty simple isn’t it? Be an authoritative, not an authoritarian parent. Set reasonable expectations for your children, but don’t expect perfection and 100% obedience all the time. And always show that you care for them and love them.
Doing so may protect not only against Internet Addiction, but will likely prevent many (many) other problems as well.
Original Article: Parenting Style and Internet Addiction
So, have you heard about this one yet?
Chris Sevier, a 36-year-old man from Tennessee plans to sue Apple (get in line Chris) on claims that the company is responsible for his addiction to online pornography – which eventually lead to the loss of his marriage and children.
In a 50 page complaint (yes, really) Sevier claims that Apple is a “silent poisoner” (intentional biblical reference?) and is responsible for “arousal addiction”, sex trafficking, child pornography, prostitution, and well, just about any vice that is available online (i.e., all of them).
He is (of course) seeking damages, but states that he will drop the lawsuit if Apple starts selling computers and gadgets in “safe mode”.
Adding absolutely no credence to his claims, he states that prior to unintentionally (uh huh) stumbling upon some porn sites with his MacBook a few years ago, he had never seen porn of any kind.
Honestly, I don’t really know if this is just another in a long line of people attempting to cash in with frivolous lawsuits based on an absence of personal responsibility, or a hoax intended to get a little self-promotion for his music project (he has a link to one of his YouTube videos in the complaint).
Real or self-promotional hoax? Either way, he can’t possibly win…right?
Online pornography will soon be blocked in public places in the UK.
According to this report, the six major Internet service providers in the UK have agreed to block online porn in public places such as “public transport and sports venues”.
The article is vague about exactly how they plan to do this. I’m assuming that it will only apply to free public Wi-Fi (for example libraries, malls, coffee shops, etc.).
However, I have no idea how it would be possible to filter it on public transportation for people using their own data plans – unless there is also free Wi-Fi on buses and in the Tube? UK readers, is this true?
Regardless, what do you think about this plan? Would you like to see similar filtering methods used in your country? Yes, I suppose it is a form of censorship, but would anyone argue that they have a right to watch porn in public?
Doubt that the decline in sales is a bubble about to burst. Mobile platforms may be a factor, but we are also in the last few months of the current console generation. Lots of gamers saving their $$$ for a PS4 or Xbox One?
The Entertainment Software Association, one of the foremost collectors of data on the video game industry, has released their 2013 data about video game consumption and use. It’s some pretty nifty information on gamers, their buying habits, and their make-up. In terms of sociology and video games, this is the bee’s knees (That’s a good thing, right?)
Let’s talk about some of the more interesting findings.
58% of American play video games:Look to your left, look to your right. Chances are the person sitting next to you is a gamer. This means that gamers are no longer in the minority. Like it or not, if you’re an American you’re most likely at least a little bit of a gamer. While this statistic doesn’t go into how it defines gamers, it shows that playing video games is now a hobby or activity that most Americans partake in.
45% of Gamers…
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Study finds that heavy users of the Internet are more likely to be depressed and suggests that they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug users.
A recent study in the international journal PLOS ONE, has found that excessive users of the Internet are more likely to experience mood difficulties such as depression than those with more moderate habits.
The study also concluded that heavy users of the Internet may suffer from mood-related withdrawal symptoms when access to the Internet is removed.
How about an attention-grabbing quote from the researchers?
When these people come off-line, they suffer from increased negative mood – just like people coming off illegal drugs lke ecstasy.”
Here’s the thing – excessive use of the Internet is a real problem for some people, and it doesn’t matter if we call it an “addiction”, “excessive use”, or “unhealthy habits”. It can certainly cause problems at school, work, and in relationships. I’ve seen it and I work with it every day.
By the way, deterioration in mood was tested like this:
1. Baseline mood questionnaire
2. Use the Internet in a lab setting for 15 minutes
3. 2nd mood questionnaire
External validity questions aside, I don’t see a lot of value in trying to equate video game and Internet addiction with drug addiction. In my opinion this trivializes the very serious problem of drug and alcohol addiction and does nothing to “legitimize” the problem of unhealthy online habits.
Comparing online habits to ecstasy is not very helpful – it just seems like an unnecessary attempt to give weight to the very real problem (for some) of Internet addiction.
Internet addiction (or video game addiction) is comparable to drug addiction: Agree or disagree?
Study finds that MMOs and FPS video games are most often associated with problematic gaming. Also, what kinds of games are preferred by different racial groups?
The finding that MMO and FPS games are more likely to be linked to problematic or unhealthy play is not unexpected given previous research.
Somewhat more interesting are the gaming habits of different ethnicities / races.
Caucasians: Role-playing and strategy games
African Americans: Sports and gambling
The study itself presents the findings, but doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing why certain races seem to prefer certain game genres.
Given that we are talking about racial differences I know this may be asking for trouble, but why do you think this is?
Any theories on the different preferences? If you are going to comment, keep it respectful please.
Original Article: Racial Differences in Video Game Preference
A computer gamer in China who died after a 24-hour marathon gaming session will allow others to live on via organ donation.
On May 19, 2013, 18-year-old Guo Quon collapsed and never regained consciousness after playing computer games for almost 24 hours non-stop. Although rare, these sudden deaths have been previously reported and are thought to be caused by blood clots.
Quon remained on life support following the collapse but suffered severe brain damage and was not expected to ever wake up.
His parents made the difficult decision to remove him from life support and donate his organs to China’s fledgling organ donation program. Organ donation in China is in its infancy, with many “donations” coming from inmates on death row.
A 15-year-old boy in the U.K. has received a three year custodial sentence for slashing the throat of a rival online gamer when they met in person.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons (and who was 13 at the time of the attack), admitted that he attempted to kill another boy while they were at a friend’s house.
Fortunately, the victim did not die, but suffered a 15cm wound that has required extensive surgery.
The defendant’s lawyer argued that her client was desensitised due to overuse of violent video games and used violence as a way to solve problems. Also of note, the boy (at just 15) is already a father and “has particularly low intellectual ability”.
When passing the sentence, the judge concluded “I accept that exposure to violent video games increases the risk of violent behavior on the viewer’s part”.
Are the effects of violent video games to blame for this attack? Is the legal defence looking for a convenient scapegoat (i.e., violent video games)?
It seems rather likely that this boy had serious psychological and/or emotional issues above and beyond an obsession with gaming…
What do you think?