Posts Tagged ‘gaming addiction’

Facebook, Farmville, and an Angry Mother

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Alexandra Tobias has pled guilty to Second Degree Murder

Anyone whoís been to my house has met Thor, Dog of Thunder. Heís a Shih Tzu with an uncanny knack of detecting when Iíve finally gotten a raid in WoW or a huge firefight in Modern Warfare 2 and choose that exact moment to need to go poop. It isnít a ďhey, I could go out in a few minutes??? need. Itís a frantic, bark inspiring, full-on ďI GOTTA GO NOW??? need. Even though it happens nearly every time Iím in into some epic gaming, I always look at him and ask the exact same thing, ďYouíve got to go *now*????

Itís not that I mind taking him out, it really isnít. I knew what I was getting into when I got him and Iím used to him hopping into my lap and trying to get some attention by putting a paw on my Xbox controller. Iíve gently chided him on more than one occasion to which he wags his tail and I end up feeling guilty and quitting out of whatever Iím playing in order to pet him or take him outside for a walk.

Youíre probably wondering why Iím sharing all of this with you but I swear thereís a good reason. In the news yesterday, there was a story of a mother who killed her three month old child because he was crying while she was on Facebook playing FarmvilleÖ† Iím going to let that sink in. Facebook, Farmville, dead infant. Hereís the full story for those of you who are interested.

Now, I was going to let this pass without saying anything but Iíve read and re-read the story and I really canít make sense of it so the soapbox is getting dusted off and Iím going to go on a rant. Iím a wordy bastard, folks, so if youíd prefer to keep right on browsing, I wonít be offended.

To say that Iíve been addicted to games would be an understatement. My history with World of Warcraft, Fallout, and Mass Effect has been well documented †through these very pages. Iíve spent entire weekends in front of my PC or a console bathing in the LCD radiation emitted by my monitor and lost myself in these epic stories. Iíve forgotten to have a meal, suddenly realized I needed to go to the bathroom, and even lost all track of time because I have been so immersed in a game. But, for the past six years, Iíve had that one little reminder that Iíve got this little lifeform that depends on me for food, water, and the distinct need not to pee on the carpet.

I canít count the number of times that I have gotten kicked from groups on WoW, been cursed at for just standing around on maps in Modern Warfare, or left a game on pause forever and a day because there was something I needed to do. I may, on the odd occasion, allow my personal hygiene to slip a little while I play a game or even forego grocery shopping until a weekday in order to get in just a little more weekend play time but I can honestly say, as addictive as some games are, Iíve managed to maintain hearth and home while indulging.

There are those who would say that what I describe isnít an addiction, that by its very definition an addiction overrides all other aspects of life. Itís not an argument I care to get into but two words should clarify my stanceÖ ďfunctional alcoholic???. Just because one is able to maintain a life while indulging an addiction doesnít make it any less of a handicap. It happens every day for people who are most assuredly in the throes of an addiction.

Thatís why this occurrence is so utterly alien to me. I canít comprehend what was going through Alexandra Tobiasí mind when she was interrupted by her babyís crying, went and picked up the baby to shake him, set him down, and come back after smoking a cigarette to shake him again. Iím not a woman, however, and so thereís a good chance that I will never experience postpartum depression but even trying to mentally account for that, I literally can not understand what would drive a person to become so angry over a game, especially one that is so geared towards casual play.

Donít talk to me about the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn. Iíve been an insomniac my entire adult life and Iím lucky to get three hours a night, if that. Even at my most irrational and/or my most paranoid, the most Iíve done is raised my voice to friends and family. Iíve never physically lashed out from lack of sleep, not even at my pets.

Iíve had friends who were single mothers as well as hardcore gamers. That their lives changed the moment their child was conceived was unavoidable. Iíve seen the eyebrow twitch when their child started crying. Iíve seen them cry for reasons I could never fathom. Iíve listened to them speak about how they thought they were going crazy from lack of sleep. After all of that, I am certain of one thingÖ none of them would ever harm their child for something as innocuous as crying while they were trying to squeeze some game time in.

Perhaps I am more emotionally and mentally stable than I have assumed throughout my life. Perhaps I am being too harsh in regards to what Alexandra was going through for the past three months. Perhaps Iím even being much too judgmental about someone I know nothing about and the circumstances that led to this outcome. Thereís nothing I can do about it though. As a gamer, an avid gamer, the idea that a game could cause me to harm my own flesh and blood is so foreign to me that I literally canít see this from another point of view.

Judge me if you will, I accept that you might and invite you to voice your disapproval. At this point of my rant, however, Iíll take time out for a public service announcement.

If you or someone you know may have a problem with a gaming addiction, there are support groups who can help. Go to for help and support with your addiction.

And if you or someone you know is going through Postpartum Depression, thereís support groups for that as well. Visit for more information.

Gritskrieg Ė End of Line

New study show stats of “gamer addiction”

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

(Gamespot) – It’s not uncommon to hear gamers jokingly praise their favorite games as “addictive,” but researchers are treating the issue seriously. A new paper from the National Institute on Media and the Family’s director of research (who also serves as an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University) suggests that as many as 8.5 percent of gamers in the US qualify as addicted.

The paper’s author, Dr. Douglas Gentile, commissioned a Harris Poll survey of 1,178 US gamers between the ages of 8 and 18, asking them questions about games modeled after other addiction tests. Gentile asked respondents 11 questions about their gaming habits to see if the hobby disrupted their ability to function in various aspects of life. If a person answered affirmatively to six or more questions, Gentile considered them an addict, or pathological gamer.

One question asked if players sometimes skipped homework to play games. Others asked if they unsuccessfully tried to cut back on gaming time, played games to escape from problems and bad feelings, or ever stole money in order to play. Respondents could answer “yes,” “no,” or “sometimes.” Counting every “sometimes” response as half of a “yes,” Gentile found that 8.5 percent of the gamers surveyed had six or more “yes” answers. If “sometimes” was considered the same as “no,” that dropped to 7.9 percent.

“Pathological gamers had been playing for more years, played more frequently and for more time, knew more of the video-game rating symbols, received worse grades in school, were more likely to report having trouble paying attention in school, were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with an attention-deficit disorder, had more health problems that were likely to have been exacerbated by long hours of playing video games (e.g., hand pain and wrist pain), and were more likely to report having felt ‘addicted’ to games and having friends they thought were ‘addicted’ to games,” he said. “Pathological gamers were also significantly more likely to have been involved in physical fights in the past year.”

Although the abstract for the article doesn’t mention it, Gentile’s paper stresses that his findings only show a correlation between pathological gaming and those factors, and nothing causal.

“It is certainly possible that pathological gaming causes poor school performance, and so forth, but it is equally likely that children who have trouble at school seek to play games to experience feelings of mastery, or that attention problems cause both poor school performance and an attraction to games.”

Warrior needs food bad

Saturday, November 29th, 2008
It's what's for dinner

It's what's for dinner

Swedish boy collapses after 20hr binge of World of Warcraft

According to The Local (an English Sweden news publication), an avid Warcraft gamer went into seizures on Sunday, November 16 from an extended session of gaming shortly after the release of the new expansion “Wrath of the Lich King”.

The boys father was quoted saying “They played all day and all night. Maybe they got a few hours of sleep. They ate a little food and breakfast at their computers.???

At the hospital, doctors said the boyís bodily systems had been thrown off by a combination of sleep deprivation, lack of food, and and excess of concentrated game playing (not sure how that was diagnosed, but apparently the medical professions are aware of the signs of game related addiction..sarcasm..sarcasm.)

The boy is expected to make a full recovery and family stated that they would be more vigilant in enforcing a limited time of indulgance on the massive online gaming phenomenon, along with other games I’m sure.

The WoW experiences I have encounted in my past can and have been extended sessions, exceeding the 8hr exposure limit. Most of the literature that comes boxed with the game have warnings and such about seizures and the dangers of prolonged gaming, which probably can be applied to pretty much any kind of entertainment that anyone participates in. Warcraft has some strong addictive features, hence the 11 million or more current subscribers.

Ultimately, moderation is the key word here. Maybe take a few breaks, hopefully involving emptying out your body of it’s wastes and a quick intake of some calories at the very least, may even throw in an honest “i love you” to your family and dear ones, for being kind enough to let you ‘crack out’ on the game anyhow for 10+ hours. It’s good practice I tell you.

Will this lead to a heightened awareness to video game addiction and it’s dangers? Possibly but I’m leaning more on the ‘No’ side. We really ought to focus more on people passing out behind their steering wheels and scoring a crit on a pedestrian then staying up all night to gain enough honor points to score that new S4 headpiece that looks so menacing on your gnome sword specced Cuisinart.

Crutchboy – out.