Gaming Addiction in US Kids at Dangerous Level

Gaming addiction, also known as video game addiction, is a growing problem in the United States. While not yet officially recognized as a mental health disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, many experts believe that gaming addiction is a serious issue that can have a detrimental impact on a person's life.

There are several facts and news reports that indicate that gaming addiction is increasing in the United States:

  • A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that about 8.5% of American youths aged 8-18 are addicted to video games. This is equivalent to about 1 in 12 young people.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recently included gaming disorder as a mental health disorder in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
  • According to a report from the National Institute of Mental Health, the percentage of Americans who play video games has increased from 58% in 2012 to 66% in 2018.
  • In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 71% of American adults reported playing video games, with 10% reporting that they play for at least 12 hours per week.
  • In 2020, the pandemic led to a surge in gaming activity, with many people turning to games as a way to cope with social isolation and boredom.
  • In 2019, a 17-year-old boy from Ohio was hospitalized after playing video games for 4 straight days. He was diagnosed with dehydration, kidney failure, and other health issues related to his excessive gaming.
  • In 2018, a 9-year-old girl from the UK was referred to rehab for her addiction to Fortnite. Her parents reported that she would play for up to 10 hours per day and would become agitated and aggressive when they tried to limit her screen time.

There are several factors contributing to the rise of gaming addiction in the USA. First and foremost is the increased availability of video games. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, games are now more accessible than ever before. In addition, online gaming has exploded in popularity, allowing players to connect with others from around the world and play for hours on end.

Another factor is the addictive nature of many video games. Game developers often use psychological techniques to keep players engaged and coming back for more. This can include rewards for completing certain tasks, as well as the use of bright colors, catchy music, and other elements designed to keep players engaged.

Finally, many people turn to gaming as a way to escape from the stresses of everyday life. For example, some people may use video games to cope with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.

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The consequences of gaming addiction can be severe. People who are addicted to gaming may neglect their responsibilities, such as work, school, or family obligations. They may also experience physical health problems, such as eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and obesity. In extreme cases, gaming addiction can lead to social isolation, depression, and even suicide.

To combat gaming addiction, it is important for individuals to recognize the signs of addiction and seek help if necessary. This may involve talking to a therapist or joining a support group. Game developers can also take steps to promote responsible gaming, such as limiting the amount of time players can spend on a particular game and providing resources for those who may be struggling with addiction.

Gaming addiction is a serious issue in the United States that is reaching dangerous levels. While there is no easy solution, raising awareness about the problem and taking steps to promote responsible gaming can help to mitigate the negative effects of this growing trend.

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