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Almost 1 in 10 Young Video Game Users 'Addicted'
Date:4/20/2009

- conducted by Harris Interactive, the research firm based in Rochester, N.Y., that's perhaps best-known for its Harris Poll. The surveys were conducted in January 2007 and involved roughly 100 children at each age represented in the sample.

Children completed an online questionnaire using several scales to assess their video gaming habits. They were asked questions such as: "Have you every played [video games] as a way of escaping from problems or bad feelings?" "Have you ever lied to family and friends about how much you play [video games]?"

To measure pathological gaming in kids, Gentile adapted criteria used to diagnose pathological gambling. Gamers were classified as pathological if they exhibited at least six of the 11 criteria.

Pathological gamers played more frequently and for more time, received worse grades and were more likely to report having trouble paying attention in school than non-pathological players. They also reported more health problems associated with playing video games, such as hand and wrist pain.

They were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder -- 25 percent of pathological gamers versus 11 percent of non-pathological players. And they were more likely (24 percent vs. 12 percent) to report having been involved in physical fights in the past year.

"I think it does highlight that parents and kids do need to talk about game play and they do need to talk about rules," said Cheryl K. Olson, co-director and co-founder of the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

However, she questioned the appropriateness of adapting questions used to assess problem gambling in adults.

"It's one thing for a child to fib to his mom about how long he's played a video game," Olson said. "It's another thing to lie to your wife about gambling."

She also questioned whether kids as young as 8 can accurate
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