Cyber Addiction: Effects of
By: Grace Danis
Cyber Gaming Addiction: What is
Internet use that is excessive to the extent that social
relationships and daily functions are affected.
Symptoms that characterize this addiction include withdrawal,
tolerance, salience, and dependence (Young, 1996; Griffiths,
Based on the general concept of addiction, internet addiction is
described as having the strong possibility of physical, social, and
These problems manifest themselves into very problematic
symptoms that include the ability to control oneself when
playing video games, suffering withdrawal when prevented from
playing, as well as becoming overly dependent on the games
(Young, 1996, Griffiths, 1998).
Why are Online Video Games so
In a study on addictive disorders among Internet users, online
(Internet) games are one of the most addictive activities on the
Recent video games such as massively multi-user online games
and social network games, have provided both game-playing as
well as social interaction features such as chatting, item-trading
and also information exchange (Kim & Jeong, 2005).
Online video games can provide players with a sense of
community by offering virtual contacts that act as a subsitute for
real, offline relationships. The attention received from other
players by an individual provides social reinforcement, which is
an important characteristic of the addictive properties of online
games (Morahan-Martin, 2000).
Why are Online video Games so
Studies indicate that both personal and social factors are associated with
Internet addiction. Ex: People who lack confidence and/ or the
opportunity to engage in social interactions are more vulnerable to
internet addiction. The more isolated and depressed an individual
becomes, the more he or she becomes immersed in the internet
Those who are severely limited in terms of social activities or who are
excessively cautious or self-defensive may become addicted to the
internet, specifically games, as they pursue an alternative means of
satisfying their unfulfilled psychological desires (Young, 1998; Davis,
Flett, & Besser, 2002).
Accessibility affects users’ level of immersion in the Internet. This refers
to the amount of opportunity that individuals have to engage in Internet
use or play games, and also can be applied to the amount of time
available to play games or the frequency with which they are played.
The greater level of accessibility an individual has, the greater the
likelihood that an individual will experience the negative affects of
Internet gaming addiction.
Who Does Online Gaming Affect
Studies of Internet gaming addiction have reported those most affected
are young, unmarried males. Excessive computer users are traditionally
young, introverted, aim-oriented males who are skilled at handling
computers (Young, 1996; Griffiths, 1999; Hall, 2001).
Given that Internet game addiction has been shown to be related to
student’s engagement in social activities and adaption to school, it is
likely that those with low GPAs exhibit a higher degree of game
addiction than those who achieve better grades (Young, 1998, 1996).
Individuals with less social self-efficacy are less likely to have and
maintain social relationships and are more likely to experience
loneliness. Individuals who suffer from loneliness hold more negative
perceptions about their competence in terms of social interaction than
those who do not. Loneliness is strongly correlated with addictive
internet use; social self-efficacy in real space can be expected to be
negatively associated with the degree of game addiction.
Who Does Online Gaming Affect
Adolescents, specifically young boys are more likely to
play online games. A recent study showed that young
boys were more likely to play more video games than
young girls. Male gamers spent much more time on
games than female gamers.
In general, adolescents with a lower level of education
spent more time on online video games than
adolescents with a higher level of education.
Preoccupation: An individual who is addicted to computer, video, or internet gaming
often exhibits a preoccupation with the game when he or she is away from it. The
person may talk about the game almost constantly.
Lack of control: A person who is unable to control the amount of time he or she spends
playing online games. HE or she may go online with the intent to play for only 20 – 30
minutes and lose track of time and find that several hours have passed.
Hiding from negative or uncomfortable feelings or situations: When confronted with
situations or feelings that are uncomfortable (feeling sad, arguing with a friend, or
getting a bad grade), the person may “hide” in the game as a method of avoidance
Defensiveness: When confronted or asked about the time spent gaming, a person may
Mixed Feelings: As with any addiction, use of the "substance" – in this case, the video
game – initially causes euphoric feelings, but that euphoria is quickly followed by guilt.
Guilt may be felt either over what the person is doing while online or simply the amount
of time he is spending at the computer.
An addiction to video or computer games should be treated in much the
same way as any other addiction.
A therapist or treatment program that specializes in adolescents would
be a first place to start. For example, a summer camp or wilderness
program will get your child out of his or her normal environment and
into a situation where he is forced to experience reality. His time will be
filled with activities that are designed to instill confidence, develop
healthy passions, and foster social skills.
Remove the computer from the individual’s household.
Push the individual to pursue other hobbies away from the computer
such as exercising or volunteering.
However, because video game addiction is a recent phenomena there are
limited outside resources available.