A team led by associate professor Vladan Starcevic at the Psychological Medicine Department of Nepean Hospital in Sydney surveyed almost 2000 computer-game players aged 14 and above and found 156 responded differently to the questions they posed, and appeared to have a problem.
But people spending longer than they planned playing games might not be an indicator of a problem. "You can become engrossed in a good book and time flies by and before you know it you have spent an hour longer reading than you intended."
Part of the stigma associated with "addiction" to video games is because of the perception they are a "waste of time" or even damaging to social skills or that they incite violence, he says.
"There is a sinister connotation that addiction to video games has. A lot of the research as to the long-term effects is inconclusive, but nobody is concerned about someone who spends a lot of time reading."
"The issue was whether people were neglecting other aspects of their life, he says. "Ultimately, it comes down to the individual and their situation whether or not it is a problem. People have to weigh up the priorities in their lives and how they want to spend their time.
There are incidences where adults have become so engrossed with something they start neglecting their children. That is less about video games and more about the irresponsibility of those people and the addictive nature of humans in general."
Are YOU addicted to computer gaming!
- Recurrent thoughts and urges about playing
Yes if its a new game that im wanting to get started at.
- Restlessness and irritability when not playing
Sometimes depends on what im playing.
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut back
Yes, though only with MMO's like WoW. Otherwise single player games i dont play 24/7
- Studies or work negatively affected
- Couple of years back i would of said Yes.
- Problems in "significant relationships"
Well im divorced and it wasn't cause of gaming. She was a rampant 'The Sims' player anyways.
- Giving up other social activities
Yes - gave up Saturday rugby with old boys rugby team (30+ age grp) so i could instead spend my Saturdays gaming on the pc.
- Sore eyes, back pain, strain injuries
No - but ive experience dizziness sometimes - motion sickness in certain games
- Sleep loss, weight gains or losses of 5kg
Yes - weight loss over the years cause of not eating 3 meals per day instead replacing breakfast, lunch, with coffee and just having dinner - but that's got nothing to do with gaming I just changed my eating habits. I do drink far to much coffee when im gaming though.