Oxford Study Proves Online Games are not as Addictive as Gambling

As of recently, scholars at Oxford University’s Internet Institute reported a new study that states that although Internet Gaming Disorder does exist, IGD does not cause the same crippling addiction as gambling. For those who walk the line by playing internet poker, the jury is still out. What the study meant by “gaming” was video games: games where people log on from all over the world to be social, whether that is through sports games, strategy games, first person shooters, or massively multiplayer online games. They did not mean the term that casino’s adopted to fend off some of the negative stipulation that surrounds the word “gambling.“ This study was the first one ever conducted to examine a disorder that was proposed in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) called “Internet Gaming Disorder.” What IGD describes is a series of behaviors that a patient exhibits while playing internet games that interferes with the person’s life.  The disorder was proposed by the APA but never diagnosed, which means that it is a “condition for further study,” and that nothing is official as of right now. That’s why clinical mental health researchers at Oxford were looking answer the question “does IGD really exist?” People all over the planet have heard about stories that concern some who had died from playing a videogame for too long without eating or going to the bathroom, and people who have lost all touch with those they’re close to because of an online video game. But, those incidents are few and far between. The Oxford study sought to investigate if there was actually a problem that was directly related to online video games or if it was a likely prevalence in our society. There were many skeptics surrounding the APA proposal, with the Huffington Post calling it a “muddled science” that used problematic diagnosis criteria that “pathologizes normal behavior.” “If you stop crocheting in order to use methamphetamine, sure, very, very bad,” posited the Post. “To stop crocheting to play more video games? Less bad, maybe even good.” “Thinking about gaming when not gaming is another good example of a bad diagnostic criteria. Many people who are deeply into their hobbies… golf, SCUBA, extreme sports, etc., do exactly this,” it continued. “Why is it bad when it’s video games?” The Oxford study surveyed 19,000 men and women from the United Stated, United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, who all claimed to play online video games on a frequent basis. What they found was that two to three percent of those said they had at some point experienced five or more feelings defined as indications of IGD, which may qualify them as possible IGD “sufferers.” What is unfortunate is that the study showed the IGD probably does exist, but it was shown that IGD still doesn’t come close to the amount of people that suffer from gambling. “Importantly, the great majority of gamers, nearly three in four, reported no symptoms at all that we would link with addictive gaming behavior,” the study concluded.

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TJ is a managing partner of USA-LEADS. USA-LEADS creates comprehensive and informative websites for individuals looking for educational information about the requirements and certifications needed in a given field. He has been in the digital space since 2009 and quickly went from having ZERO knowledge of all things internet to becoming the Director of Web Services at a custom software development company. Prior to entering the space he taught children with learning differences for 9 years.