The rise of online game addiction may be linked to growing numbers of young males who play games for more than 60 hours a week, according to new research.
The study also found that online game addicts were likely to have a lower academic performance and were more likely to be bullied at school than those who played less than an hour a week.
The findings are based on a questionnaire sent to over 1,500 boys in two-year classes at a secondary school in the south of England. They also drew on interviews with the class teachers and social workers.
After adjusting for the age of the boys, the researchers found that high levels of game-playing were associated with lower performance in academic subjects and with a greater likelihood of being bullied.
The researchers said that the study, by the University of Portsmouth, could lead to more research into ‘Internet and video game addiction’ and help to understand the social aspects of game-playing among boys and young men.
Boys and men were found to be the most frequent ‘online gamers’, playing for an average of two hours a week, although some played for up to ten hours.
In a separate study, by the University of Kent, it was found that less than one in five students who played computer games for more than three hours a week in their teens reported having gaming-related problems that had harmed their ability to do homework, study or socialise.
But those who spent more than three hours a week were more likely to have behavioural problems such as lack of control over time use, depression and anxiety, and to have received formal help from their school about their playing.
A separate study by the University of Portsmouth also found that young men who play online games were significantly more likely to be social outcasts in their schools, despite generally having a good relationship with their teachers and with their peers. The ‘Internet and video game addiction’ study has been published in the journal Addiction. If you want more information visit here zumroad.com/game
In a commentary on the study, Dr Nick Heather, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, said the research was based on self-reporting by the students, which could mean that the results did not reflect the reality of their gaming habits.
‘However, given that it is a matter of great interest to examine the psychological and social effects of excessive gaming, it is important that such research is undertaken.
‘The study provides evidence that there is a link between game-playing and problematic gaming.
‘This may be an area that has not yet been examined thoroughly in the UK or internationally.
‘This is a rapidly developing area that will almost certainly require further research.’