Over the past few decades of their existence, video games have been a major form of entertainment. As time goes by video games improve in graphics, sound, and storyline. It’s only natural that people would become more and more immersed in them. However, there are people who become far too immersed in them. They begin to lose touch with their true lives; instead they essentially give all attention to the virtual world. They become addicted, playing for far longer than the norm, suffering from real-world symptoms, even going so far as to neglect their children, unfortunately sometimes leading to the child’s death. Surprisingly enough, Video Game Addiction is not classified as a mental disorder even though there are several clinics available for treating it. Video Game Addiction should be listed as a disorder, as it is clearly a very real addiction.
Defining addiction is difficult. Webster’s Dictionary describes an addict as “A person with a habit so strong that he cannot easily give it up” (Webster’s 5). Is this an accurate definition? If that is true, is a person who bites their nails an addict? A much more detailed definition of an addict states:
An addicted person has a heightened need or severe craving for whatever his or her particular addiction. When denied access to it, the addict will suffer from withdrawal. He or she may feel actual physical pain, discomfort, or an uncontrollable feeling of anxiety. Addicts show a willingness to give up other things in order to indulge in their addiction--sometimes to the point of self-destruction. They may lose family, friends, or even their jobs during their quest to satisfy their addiction. (Rebman 1-2)
Video Game Addiction is a fairly new addiction, considering that the video game industry itself is not that old. There have been several symptoms listed, both psychological and physical, for it. Many of these symptoms share disturbing similarities with other addiction, such as drugs and alcohol. Some have spoke of withdrawal-like symptoms when the gamer goes without playing for any length of time. Just to clarify, just because you play a lot of video games does not mean you are addicted. Addicts have been known to play games consistently over a period of several days. One case of this is a boy, Xu Yan, who died after playing online games consistently for over fifteen days. Another is of a man who died from cardiac arrest after playing StarCraft continuously for fifty hours. There is a large distinction from being a gamer and an addict.
As is the tragic case with many addictions, there have been quite a few deaths involved. It is often difficult to prove Video Game Addiction as the main culprit, as it is not an official addiction, but there are a few in which Video Game Addiction is undeniably involved. In Philadelphia, Tyrone Spellman was convicted of third-degree-murder for killing his 17-month-old daughter in a rage over a broken Xbox. Ohio teen Daniel Petric shot his...