Why One Professor Believes Video Game And Tech Addiction Is A Myth

video game addiction australia

Since the introduction of gaming addiction into the World Health Organisation's list of disorders, the discussion around addiction has cropped up more in mainstream media. This week, one professor has put forward a fairly strong view: that technology addiction is a myth.

Andrew Przybylski is a director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, an associate professor and a experimental psychologist who applies psychological models of motivation and health to learn how people operate in virtual spaces like the internet. He's one of the academics behind a paper that analysed the clinical relevance of internet gaming disorder, which warned that formal adoption of internet gaming disorder "would vie for limited therapeutic resources".

Professor Przybylski recently featured in a short video for BBC Ideas, an offshoot of the British national broadcaster that produces short form videos designed to offer different perspectives. In the latest film, Professor Przybylski argues that technology addiction and addiction to video games is a myth, and the casual adoption of the word addiction has trivialised more serious addictions to narcotics, alcohol and other drugs.

"What we really mean is the activity is fun," Professor Przybylski said. "We're not really sure if technology might cause problems in people's lives, or if those who already have problems in their lives gravitate to using technology in less healthy ways."

The Oxford Internet Institute associate professor added that a historical view on addiction had been left out from a lot of the debate, noting that people criticised Dungeons & Dragons in the '80s, worrying that tabletop players would engage in Satanic rituals and lose connection with the real world.

The BBC Ideas film was released earlier this week, and conveniently dovetails with research published today by the University of Sydney into the effect of video games on teenagers. A survey of 250 adults between the age of 18 and 25 found that video games played in moderation — less than three hours a day — was unlikely to have "any impact on depression levels, loneliness, resilience or overall quality of life". The study noted that those who played "luck rather than skill based games" were more likely to become regular gamblers later on. Kotaku Australia has contacted the researchers behind that study for comment.

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Comments

    Addiction that is NOT constituted of a chemical dependency, is a not a condition, its a symptomn of another underlying mental health issue that needs proper care and not deflection blaming technology use.

    I tend to agree. I think video game addiction is 2 problems under the same banner. 1 is an underlying mental health problem the other is lack of self control or responsibility.

    I love my tech but ultimately play games to get away from the real world. In my view this is no different to reading a lot of books.

    Gambling is addictive... Gambling mechanics are addictive...
    Remove the gambling mechanics (loot boxes) from the games and poof there goes the addictive influence for 99% of people.
    Remove seasonal benefits and battlepasses that require substantial grind and poof there goes massive incentives for people to grind the game long after it stopped being fun (thus reducing playtime).
    In short rein in current buisniess trends in gaming and the addiction will go away. As people will play for fun and not Skinner box rewards.

    A survey of 250 adults between the age of 18 and 25 found that video games played in moderation — less than three hours a day — was unlikely to have "any impact on depression levels, loneliness, resilience or overall quality of life".

    Hardly surprising.
    Having a few drinks with friends a couple of times a week is also not going to have any impact on depression levels, loneliness, resilience or overall quality of life.
    Drinking heavily every night though...

    It is the same with games. Most of us can game for a couple of hours, have fun, and go to bed.
    But some of us, my brother included, couldn't stop so easily, lost his job, his girlfriend and more.

    To me, it is addiction if you cannot stop doing something to the detriment of your life and those around you.

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