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Old 01-15-2013, 08:49 AM
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Helo Helo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: California
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I accept fully that someone can become psychologically dependent on something to the point where it becomes a serious problem, including videogames.

My basic assertions are:

1. Psychological dependence and addiction are different things
2. Videogames are not inherently more or less prone to causing psychological dependence
3. The focus on videogame "addiction" is motivated primarily by profit and class distinctions
4. The correlation with anti-social behavior is a symptom rather than a cause
5. The criteria for and mechanisms of videogame "addiction" are terribly vague
6. It is a charge that is impossible to defend against

Put a real conoisser in a room with someone who slams back $50 scotch, and he'll be mortified at the waste of fine scotch.
The social stigma is still largely absent; alcohol abuse is tolerated (and even encouraged) in many settings and with people associated with higher socio-economic status.

Some are, some aren't. Of course there are people who get pain medication prescriptions to treat chronic pain. There are junkies who fake pain to get prescriptions. The system is aware and does what it can to prevent abuse.
Prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing in the US and when you see a parent gargling a mouthful of Zoloft, most people's reaction is to make jokes; "Mommy's Little Helper." When's the last time you heard heroin referred to as "Daddy's Little Helper?" Prescription drug abuse is becoming more stigmatized because its starting to filter down to the lower classes but by and large its still a middle and upper class problem and as such it gets treated with far more levity than something like cocaine.

The first thought that comes to mind when I hear "addict" is someone planted in front of a slot machine. The second thought is myself, hunched over the laptop at 3 a.m. knowing that I really should go to bed and promising this is my last post.

Perhaps it's your own prejudices that prevent you from seeing the possibility of gaming addiction. "I'm not like THEM. THEY are dirty homeless junkies. I live in a nice house with a good job. So what if I can't stop playing my game when I know I need to go to bed. I'm not an addict!"
That's definitely a possibility. I also look at my own behavior and I can see that it doesn't stray into unhealthy territory; I have two great relationships, I have a steady job, I'm very healthy, I have an active circle of friends, I'm extremely engaged in politics, and I don't spend vast sums of money on games. And yet I will still sometimes stay up till 4am gaming or pull 12 hour marathons, I dont see that as unhealthy and therein lies the rub; I dont see any problem with the way I handle things yet someone who has read one website can immediately diagnose me as an addict and there is nothing I can say that can defend against that. They dont have to know anything about games, anything about psychology, anything about ME, and yet they can drop a very serious accusation.

I'll be the first to admit that I have addictive tendencies. Did you see the time stamp on my previous post? I should have been in bed hours earlier. That, my friend, is an addiction. I fully admit and accept it. Do you?
I think you're very quick to pull out the addiction label. Simply because you stay up late on a website, how does that make you an addict?

Society's misperception of addiction and who can have it does not itself negate the existence of addiction. Professionals in addictions treatment services will be the first to tell you that anyone, of any race, gender, or class, can become an addict.
Again I dont dispute that there are substances that physically change brain chemistry and activities to which people can become psychologically dependent. I'm not for one second suggesting we just ignore things like smoking or alcohol abuse.

What I AM saying is that the definition of addiction is often so broad and applied to so many things that it ceases to have any meaning whatsoever. If I may respectfully use yourself as an example; citing staying up late on a website as a sign of addiction seems incredibly hasty.

I didn't say that all activities are addictive, I said all activities have the potential to become addictive. Huge difference. All objects have mass, and that means all objects have the capacity to acquire momentum, not that all objects have momentum. And to carry the analogy further, it depends on the frame of reference.
I take your point but that sounds an awful lot like "six of one half dozen of the other." If all activities have the potential to become addictive, what exactly about them gives them that potential? That would seem to indicate its the PERSON involved and the repetition of the activity is to serve the needs of that person rather than the activity fostering the need for repetition of the activity in the person.

Not all addictions are harmful. Most are. But a single man addicted to his job, earning a huge salary and enjoying his life? Still an addiction, but not necessarily harmful.
I would dispute that but that's a topic for another thread and for the sake of argument I accept it.

But a family man addicted to his job, driving his wife away and making his kids feel neglected? Harmful. Context matters.
True, but then again how many people do you know who are addicted to their jobs who are leading a healthy life?

State your source. When I Google "fast food addiction," the entire first page of results takes its existence for granted. Who are these "most people?" They must not have computers.
Try telling someone you're eating McDonalds because you're addicted and see how fast the "personal responsibility" lectures come out. There's a trend amongst the granola crowd of calling fast food addictive that some people (usually the people EATING the food) have latched on to but by and large just talk to people. Bring up people who've sued fast food restaurants for making them fat, the ranting will begin in earnest.

I'm focusing on that here because gamers are the topic of this thread. If someone would have initiated a discussion on gambling or sex addiction, I would be focused on that. In my experience, video games receive no more of a bad rap than anything.

I just did a search for "most common addictions."
  1. Listed video games as #6 out of 10.
  2. Doesn't list video games at all.
  3. Focuses on "new addictions" compared to those that existed 10-20 years ago, and lists texting, video games, the internet, food, and self-cutting as new, increasingly common addictions, right along the old favourites like smoking, drinking, and gambling.
  4. Doesn't list video games at all.
  5. Doesn't list video games at all.
If you watch media coverage and the dialogue in popular culture (which tends to harbor a lot of the conceptions and values we have as a society) videogame addiction is the buzz. "Treatment" centers are opening up all over the country and helping fan the flames for money.

The anti-addiction folks aren't biased, you are. Assuming you don't have anyone in your life with a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction, you have no reason to pay attention to those public service announcements. But when someone talks about video game addictions, you pay attention. You feel that your personal pastime is being attacked, and you take that personally.
Fair point, but I would be more inclined to take the idea seriously if it had the weight of an actual explanation that didnt apply to every other form of entertainment. Virtually every charge you can level at videogames to support them being "addictive" is a trait shared by a multitude of other media and no one is making a fuss about addiction to them.

I'm not sure what else to call that except selective targeting of new and poorly understood media.

The reason there is more media attention on video game addiction is that it's new. People are just beginning to understand it. The media reports new things; alcoholism is old hat.
And again that's part of my point; the vast majority of people waving the "videogame addiction" banner know zip squat about games at all. They've seen a 30 second clip of GTA and they're off to the races.

A non-addicted player makes a conscious choice and sticks to it. An addicted player tries to make that choice, but when their time's up, they say "just 10 more minutes" and before they know it, another 6 hours have passed.
I do that with countless activities, am I addicted to all of them? That's the sign of being engaged and interested in what you are doing.

Only 25% of that $28b accounts for general reading, so about $7b to the gaming industry's $10B in revenue... So you've got me that books have just as much industry backing as video games. I'm just as addicted to books as video games. However the baked good industry has nothing to do with baking as a hobby. The hobby is not to go out and buy ready-made cookies, it's to buy flour and chocolate chips, and make cookies from scratch.
The basic point is you have money-grubbing motherfuckers behind every product on the shelves and they ALL have motivation to want you to buy more of their crap.
I am as direct as a T-Rex with 'roid rage and about as subtle. It isn't intended to cause upset, I just prefer to talk plain. There are plenty of other people here who do the nice, polite thing much better than I can. I'm what you'd call a "problem dinner guest."
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