There are five aspects of internet addiction noted by Shaw and Black (2008): Cyber sexual addiction, cyber-relational addiction, net compulsions, information overload, and computer addiction. The main subtype we will be looking at is computer addiction, as it is described as “Many computers come equipped with pre-programmed games and people become addicted to playing them at the cost of work performance or family obligations”. There is a lot of controversy over the overlap of devices in gaming, which has resulted in an ambiguous definition for computer games and computer game addiction. For instance, a game that was made for a video game console now has an internet version, a computer game has moved onto the tablet, gambling has also moved to the internet, etc. We will extend their definition to include all computer games playable on a web-enabled device that is not a video-game console, as computer games are recreational activities that are meant to be enjoyed, and outside of educational games have little productive value.
The following are in depth examinations of computer-game addiction symptoms as studied by researchers as well as real life-examples. Running Head: COMPUTER GAME ADDICTION Poon 7 Persistence
Persistence, or behavioral salience, is an activity that dominates a person’s behavior to the point that self-maintenance is neglected. In 1938, Skinner created a device that allowed rats to push a lever that would release a pellet into their cage. Once the rats realized that the action of pressing the lever resulted in a reward, they continued to press the lever until exhaustion. Doing so demonstrated an aspect of operant conditioning called positive reinforcement, in which a reward stimulus will result in the continuation or increased frequency of a behavior. In Loftus and Loftus’ (1983) study, they found similar behavior in humans, except with video arcade games such as Pac-man and Invaders. The reward stimulus is often a higher score, accomplishing a task, or defeating a virtual enemy which causes a feeling of achievement. People would gain injuries by standing in front of a machine for hours and repeatedly moving a joystick or pushing buttons, resulting in blisters, callouses, etc. These injuries were given humorous names, such as Pac-man’s Elbow which refers to a mild form of tendinitis. These injuries have become more varied across different platforms for gaming and computing usage. Commonly cited injuries include tired eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. due to staring at a computer screen and repeating the same keystrokes when playing.
Besides repeating an action to the point of self-harm, computer game addiction is more associated with ignoring bodily needs in favor of playing. The BBC (2005) posted an article about a man in South Korea who played for 50 hours straight in an internet café, and eventually collapsed from exhaustion. He died in the hospital from heart failure. There are several reports of gamers refusing to use the bathroom or using a bottle to release their urine, and eating little food or snacks to nourish themselves; all to remain in front of the computer for a while longer (Chappell et al., 2006). Many of these stories usually stem from developed countries in Asia such Running Head: COMPUTER GAME ADDICTION Poon 8 as China, South Korea, and Japan where computer gaming is more accepted and popular than in the United States. For instance in South Korea, StarCraft is a popular spectator sport and one needs a license in order to qualify to play as a pro-gamer. Computer Game Addiction has been recognized as a formal disorder in these countries, and the government has taken steps against it by creating programs and clinics to battle against it. In South Korea, after repeated incidents of self-neglect leading to death, and the death of a child that was neglected by its parents, they have enacted policies to fight against computer...