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New Study Links Video Games and Mental Problems

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

Education 306

eldavojohn writes "A new study published today in Pediatrics Journal conducted in Singapore on three thousand children in grades third, fourth, seventh and eighth claims that one in ten are video game addicts and almost all of those suffer mental health problems. This comes conveniently after the suspect in the Tucson shooting has widely been reported as an online gamer. Among the accusations from the study are that playing video games leads to lower school performance and fewer social skills while exacerbating existing depression, anxiety and social phobias. Gamasutra reports that the Entertainment Software Alliance is already criticizing this study, saying, 'Its definition of "pathological gaming" is neither scientifically nor medically accepted and the type of measure used has been criticized by other scholars. Other outcomes are also measured using dubious instruments when well-validated tools are readily available. In addition, because the effect sizes of the outcomes are mainly trivial, it leaves open the possibility the author is simply interpreting things as negatively as possible.' It seems that the doctors are still disagreeing on whether or not gaming causes problems."

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306 comments

fist post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903700)

Yes I said fist

The Tucson Shooter... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903714)

..Was reportedly walking. Now we need a study that links walking with mental problems!

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903790)

This is the kind of crap that keeps people from thinking straight. Video games do affect people. If you play them every now and then its normal. BUT if you play them to the point where you can't pry yourself away from them, then you have problems. For example if I eat like a pig and can't stop eating nobody would ever say, "oh no problem there." Or if you read, read, and read, and read to the point where you drone out reality everybody would say, "oh there is a problem." So why on this green earth can't people in slashdot admit that if you overdose on gaming then you have a problem!!!! Addiction, is an addiction and gaming is a vent for that addiction.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (5, Informative)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903830)

Hell, this study was nothing more then a survey anyways.. from the Reuters article...

In the study, teachers handed out questionnaires to students in the third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades, including questions about their gaming habits, social skills, school performance and depression.
The kids also answered ten questions to find out if they were addicted to gaming — so-called "pathological" gamers. If they answered half in the positive, they got the label.
The questions included things like having neglected household chores to spend more time on video games, doing poorly on a school assignment or test as a result, or playing video games to escape from problems or bad feelings.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903992)

Same as the study that "Finds Video Games Are Not Bad for Kids."

You are just cherry picking the studies you want to believe are true.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (4, Insightful)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904046)

Which study would that be?

I will gladly mock it also if it does the same or similar things.

Giving children a questionnaire, to see if they are "pathological gamers" where they only have to answer yes to 5 questions, is NOT a scientific study.

It does NOT fit the description of a "study". A study would monitor the children over a period of time, and use a guideline for what makes an answer yes or no.

This "study" is bullshit.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (5, Funny)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904004)

Sheesh, they might as well have asked:

"Have you ever put off doing something that sucks in favor of doing something you like?"

A) Yes
B) I'm an addict
C) I have a problem
D) I have mental health issues.
E) All of the above

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (4, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903840)

And if you walk, walk, walk to the point where that's all you do and drone out all reality, maybe that's a problem too, as the AC suggested. We might even find that gaming itself isn't even a statistically significant factor, and that the addiction component will take affect regardless of what the subject becomes addicted to. That might actually show that, as many here would suggest, gaming itself is not a problem at all.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904054)

Right because everyone on slashdot is a mental health expert.

You believe what you want to believe.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903844)

The issue is one of getting causes and correlation straight, instead of blaming gaming without evidence. A mental issue may have caused attachment to gaming, and not have resulted from excessive gaming. That this man got violent may have had nothing to do with the fact that he was also a passionate gamer. Mental illness of his sort is generally attributed to changes in brain chemistry that would have taken place regardless.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904082)

Possibly we could find that different addictions have different effects in the real world. For instance, eating might just make you fat, but gaming or reading violent stories might make you more violent, whereas posting all day to a forum or reading some other kind of books might make you suicidal.

(I'm not suggesting this is true, just suggesting that gaming could cause more problems than some other addictions. The man might have got violent because he became absorbed in violent media.)

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903890)

It seems that the claim is a tautology anyway. If you're addicted to anything, then you have a mental problem. People who have a specific mental problem have are a subset of people who have mental problems! Shock and amazement!

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903906)

So why on this green earth can't people in slashdot admit that if you overdose on gaming then you have a problem!!!!

That's an easy one. A chunk of the slashdot crowd derive their paycheck from video games. They're going to have a very special blind spot here, and be pretty vocal about it.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903952)

It is a chicken and egg problem. I think the main question is if gaming is the cause or a symptom of the issue. The "think of the children" crowd seem to believe the former, that video games make people go nuts. Others think it is the latter, that video gaming is merely one manifestation of a kid's depression or mental problems. It is probably a bit of both, w/ video games letting one feed the other.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903954)

But the point is, if you eat like a pig nobody organises a witch hunt against food. The overeating is recognised as a symptom of a problem (which, admittedly, will cause its own medical complications in short order). Similarly if some people get too engrossed in games to the point that it negatively affects their personality, that's a symptom of an underlying problem. You don't treat the problem by papering over the cracks - taking away their games will just force them to find another outlet that's likely at least as destructive (violence, self harm, drugs), yet this focus on the true issue is always lost under a media rush to demonise video games. This study is actively trying to suggest that video games are part of the problem because they exacerbate those negative aspects - well of course they do, the subject of ANY addiction does the same - this is like blaming hat for someone being fat.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34904206)

Ha ha! That's a good one. You're right, there have been absolutely NO witch hunts against, for example, fast food restaurants. Not a one. Nope, never happens.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903956)

Video games do affect people.

Unfortunately, that's not true in the least. Both games and TV absolutely can negatively and positively affect people. As can music. The problem is, it doesn't affect ALL people nor does it affect them the same way. And that seems to be what confuses so many people. When you have people who already suffer from some type of social or mental issue, they are far more likely to find escapes and rationalizations within their escapes. Furthermore, in the pursuit of their escape, as mentioned, they tend to disengage from people and society which can have very negative and very real repercussions.

So blaming it entirely on TV or games or whatever, isn't entirely accurate because the game isn't really to blame. But, the personality and whatever disorders they may have are certainly affected by the game and/or TV.

Example: Child has a violent tendency. He watches kung fu movie and after doing so, uses "kung fu moves" to beat up his siblings. Behavior almost never occurs without fung fu movies. Behavior always follows that of watching a kung fu movie. Is the movie to blame? No. Did the movie have an affect? Yes.

People who are in denial about such things are themselves somehow deluded. The simple fact is, there is endless research that clearly shows causation between our environment and our behavior. With TV and games so prevalent these days, only a fool would argue they are no part of our environment.

Ultimately, the problem stems from parents who want to blame the evils of the world rather than hold their own precious child accountable. Because obviously their child would never have any type of negative behavior by themselves...and its easier to blame an external factor that it is to properly parent and make sure your child isn't unduly influenced by the factors which contribute to a negative personality trait. After all, TV and games are the modern day sitter. And if you don't have those, you're forced to do the job yourself. Easier to simply blame and attempt to hold accountable everything else but yourself and your child.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (3, Funny)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903986)

Video games do affect people.

Unfortunately, that's not true in the least. Both games and TV absolutely can negatively and positively affect people.

Erm...

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903980)

Perhaps you should read what you've just written...

Nobody here doubts that _excessive_ gaming is harmful, just like any other action that is done _excessively_ is harmful. See the connection? It's the action being done EXCESSIVELY that is the problem.

What we don't like is it being stated in a way that makes people think ANY kind of gaming would be harmful.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34904064)

What if you've got the cart-before-the-horse. In the interest of a balanced debate, I would just like to point out that excessive gaming my be the symptom of the problem, rather than the cause: If I'm an asocial, depressed, introverted kinda person, gaming might be just something that appeals...gaming hasn't CAUSED the problem, it's just something that "people like that" like to do, perhaps because it's still mind-engaging whilst allowing you to be alone in your basement. I think that if gaming didn't exist, these people would still exist, and there would be something else that these people would do - obsessive stamp collecting, train-set building, you name it...it doesn't mean to say that that pastime is the CAUSE...

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904156)

So in other words they haven't found a direct link between video games and mental health problems, they've found a link between addiction and mental health problems. Considering that addiction is a mental health problem, I'm not entirely surprised by this.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (1, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903966)

..Was reportedly walking. Now we need a study that links walking with mental problems!

Oh dear, yet another of the "because I can dream up a silly example I have now disproved ..." sort comments.

Or the slightly more informed comment: "Correlation is not causation". Friends, I think we are beginning to approach the point where can't honestly reject that there is some sort of causation going on; if there were just 1 - 10 studies showing a correlation, yes, but we are talking an ever increasing number of studies, and not only that, but there are other studies that supplement the suspicion, that computer games can cause a number of unfortunate consequences, by suggesting a number of plausible mechanisms. So, in the name of honesty, let's at least try to be open to the possibility that this may be true.

None of these studies say that "if you play computer games, then you will definitely become psychotic/have a heart attack/turn into a killing machine"; all they talk about is an increased risk - ie. it is something worth keeping in mind. You may still prefer to take the risk, but I think it is a good idea to be well informed when you decide to, don't you?

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (1)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904034)

Sure, violent media will make an already violent person worse, but it tends not to do anything to someone who can understand why what they do in the game is wrong in society.

I might bring up a point raised in bowling for columbine (not saying Michael Moore is good, just that he has a point in saying..) that the kids went bowling shortly before the attack. Nobody's going after bowling.

Attacks on gaming and say, rock music tend to be attacks of desperation, looking for someone else to blame. Video games have very few people speaking on their behalf in government.

However, it's not to say that video games aren't to blame. (or at least most). Games and children's stories and simple, uninspired works tend not to give a "middle ground"
In simple games, the media and much of our society, we paint the world as there are good guys and bad guys. No middle road. Your actions are just and theirs are wrong.
Both sides use this as we simply offhand this person as being "crazy" or "mentally ill"
He still had reasons to do what he did.

Re:The Tucson Shooter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34904100)

Post hoc ergo procter hoc.

Video games are still the lesser evil (4, Insightful)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903718)

Video games are way better then let your siblings lurk in the hood, take drugs, smoke or drink alcohol.

Re:Video games are still the lesser evil (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903744)

Those are the only two options?

Re:Video games are still the lesser evil (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903800)

Nah, they could be selling drugs.... :p

Re:Video games are still the lesser evil (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903934)

In addition to smoking alcohol or drinking alcohol, I hear you can inject it...

Re:Video games are still the lesser evil (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904126)

In addition to smoking alcohol or drinking alcohol, I hear you can inject it...

You can in fact get drunk off vaporized alcohol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_without_liquid [wikipedia.org]

Now the injection theory is something I've always wondered about, if you added enough USP ethyl alcohol to an IV bag to make it 0.15% and then hooked yourself up... This totally sounds like a biological hardware hacker stunt.

Re:Video games are still the lesser evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34904216)

Those are the only two options?

It isn't two options, it is a time sequence. Games first, then lurking, drugs, smoking and drinking.

I always like to use the argument... (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903730)

Correlation is not Causation.

Re:I always like to use the argument... (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903808)

daily mail says no.....

Unfortunately studies aren't objective. (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903738)

If somebody did a study that discovered that video games are harmless fun, do you think it would get published? Do you think those who authored the study would get future funding, or tenure?

Re:Unfortunately studies aren't objective. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903760)

Yes, I do.

Re:Unfortunately studies aren't objective. (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903900)

Some tried to prove it but never finished writing the thesis. They took too much time on field testing.

The other way around? (4, Insightful)

pentadecagon (1926186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903742)

Could it be the other way around? Maybe people with this kind of mental health problems are likely to become addicted to video games.

Re:The other way around? (4, Informative)

tronbradia (961235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903962)

The study was longitudinal, meaning that they could follow the kids around and look at the order in which things happen. This means that they were able to show that lower social competence and greater impulsivity were predictors (ahead of the fact) of 'pathological' gaming, and that depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance were seen to increase within subjects who developed pathological gaming, after they developed pathological gaming. Since causation probably doesn't run backwards in time, this actually is evidence that pathological gaming caused the problems, rather than being caused by them or being comorbid with them.

Re:The other way around? (5, Informative)

coldsalmon (946941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903998)

Yes, the study does actually have a reasonable basis to claim causality. It also does say that people with this kind of mental health problems are likely to become addicted to video games. It only claims exacerbation of existing mental health problems, not creation of the problems.

Re:The other way around? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904010)

It might even be a positive thing - we don't have the figures to show how those people fit into society previously. I find it difficult to believe that, before the advent of games, such people set aside their mental issues and slotted into society without a hitch. More likely they found worse ways to sate their addictive behaviours - drugs, drink, cigarettes, self harm. Without knowing all the facts, who is to say that it's not a good thing that games are helping to identify people who can benefit from support without sending them off down a route that will marr them for the rest of their lives, destroying relationships or landing them with a criminal record, etc. and making it much more difficult to re-integrate when they do get help.

Correlation =/= causation (5, Insightful)

harperska (1376103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903746)

Or, you know, it could be that people with mental problems also have a predisposition to become video game addicts.

Re:Correlation =/= causation (3, Insightful)

cacba (1831766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903894)

It seems they have defined a video game addict in such a way that it implies you are mentally ill. The real question is how many mentally ill arent video game addicts. Which makes this a study on how prevalent video games are amongst the mentally ill.

Re:Correlation =/= causation (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903916)

it could be that people with mental problems also have a predisposition to become video game addicts.

My wife said this very thing when she took away my Xbox just because I hadn't bathed or eaten anything but protein bars and diet coke for 2 weeks.

I think it was when I ordered a catheter online that she finally put her foot down.

Re:Correlation =/= causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34904174)

I think it was when I ordered a catheter online that she finally put her foot down.

...right on my colostomy bag.

Re:Correlation =/= causation (2)

Maria D (264552) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903970)

There are studies confirming that people with emotional problems are more predisposed to play some types of games. Moreover, video games can be therapeutic, helping players cope with their problems, especially where other support isn't available.

Re:Correlation =/= causation (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904014)

Or, you know, it could be that people with mental problems also have a predisposition to become addicts.

Fixed that for ya.

It can be gambling, it can be alcohol, it can be drugs and it can be MMO or first person shooters.

Singapore and discipline (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903750)

Considering that Singapore is a country that will cane you for the most minor littering, spitting, or other innocuous offenses, I wonder how much higher the incidence of mental illness would be in that 10% if they didn't have an avenue to blow off steam.

But, but, but... (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903752)

Jack Thompson has been disbarred! Who will take up the "All gamers are violent sociopaths" banner?

I'm getting sick of these "studies" (3, Insightful)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903754)

I bet 8 in 10 of these school shooters have bicycles too. Why aren't they focused on the obvious bicycle problem?

Correlation is not causation. When will they figure this out?

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (2)

harperska (1376103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903780)

"8 in 10 school shooters known to be bicycle owners" sounds like a great Onion article.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903784)

And correlation does not, as most slashdotters seem to think, disprove causation. As a lifelong gamer I think it's ridiculous to think that in some cases video games can't exacerbate mental issues.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903816)

No, but lack of correlation says you're going to have a lot of explaining to do before you can claim causation. How many WoW subscribers alone are there? One rampage out of millions of gamers isn't even background noise.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903936)

I think it's safe to say that exposure to US culture seems to cause violent behavior.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904218)

Personally I noted that all the terrorists are human.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904028)

I would like to see a study where random non-gamers are given a psych review and then given a month to play WoW or SC or CoD or such and then removed from game. All the while studing the effects, physical, mental, and emotional. I hypothesize that those with addictive personalities will become addicted. I also hypothesize that the games will effect all the subjects, in one way or another.

PS I also would like to see a study that looks at what happens when parents remove games from a gamer. (Not the morality, just the effects) I do think that this is a emotionally charged debate, and therefore it will take some time to get the whole picture...

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (0)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903908)

And I think it's ridiculous that you fail to realize that someone merely being a dick to a mentally unstable person is plenty of catalyst for violence.

I've played video games for many, many years and I can tell you that every violent thought I've had was inspired by people who were assholes, not any game, movie, book, or song. For some reason though society cannot get over it's desire to absolve people of the negative consequences of their actions.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904030)

And I think it's ridiculous that you fail to realize that someone merely being a dick to a mentally unstable person is plenty of catalyst for violence.

Neither I, nor from what I read, the researchers, said this. This is another fallacy on slashdot, where since X causes Y, Z can't possible cause Y because all events have only one cause (that fallacy is frequently raised by those arguing that global warming can't be man-made).

I've played video games for many, many years and I can tell you that every violent thought I've had was inspired by people who were assholes, not any game, movie, book, or song. For some reason though society cannot get over it's desire to absolve people of the negative consequences of their actions.

If you've had that many violent thoughts I think you may have anger issues.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903940)

I don't think anyone is claiming that it disproves causation. The classic example is a study that surveyed young children showed a correlation between reading age and shoe size. It was a very accurate correlation - there were very few outliers who didn't have a reading age that you could predict from their shoe size with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Of course, children in the age group surveyed were all still growing, so both reading age and shoe size were correlated with age. Older children had been growing for longer (so had larger feet) and had been reading for longer (so had a higher reading age).

Any half-competent statistician would obviously spot this, but many of these 'x is correlated with y' stories have a correlation no more valid than this, but are presented as 'x causes y'.

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903832)

Forget bicycles - a lot of the school shooters in the United States enjoyed bowling. We clearly need to ban bowling immediate!

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (0)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903880)

I say we take every moron who thinks that video games or violent movies cause you to kill and we lock them in a room and force them to play video games and watch violent movies for 18 hours a day every day for 6 months, then return them to their normal life. Then we watch and see how many of them go out and kill people.

Kids on bikes with guns vs. sharks with lasers? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904012)

I bet 8 in 10 of these school shooters have bicycles too. Why aren't they focused on the obvious bicycle problem?

Who will win? I will pay top dollar to watch that match . . .

Re:I'm getting sick of these "studies" (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904184)

Yes and not everyone that smokes gets cancer and some people get lung cancer without smoking but they all drink water I bet they all drink water. So smoking isn't the problem water is.
  So any study that shows that video gaming may contribute to people having problems must be false because you do not like it? Sorry but I do not buy it. As games get more and more realistic they will tend to effect people more and more like real situations. I am not a big gamer but I can tell you that when I am shooting a VFR approach under bad conditions at an airport with mountains all around of FSX my heart rate goes up and I will bet that I am producing stress hormones and I know that it is just a simulation and I can not really die. That can not be good for extended periods of time.
Also the younger a person is the more difficult it is for them to tell the difference between reality and simulation.
I can see how it just wouldn't be healthy for a fourth grader to play COD black ops at all.
So lets put gaming is as potently as say drinking alcohol. In moderation it is probably harmless and may even be good for most adults. However for small children and people with certain personalities not so much. And that too much of it is probably not good.
I would not be so ready to dismiss the studies just because you do not like the conclusions. It may really be the case that too much high stress video gaming is just not healthy for people mentally and physically.

An Escape (3, Insightful)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903764)

Gaming, like alcohol and drugs is an escape. It's an escape from reality that is regularly used by people with mental problems. I don't have any evidence but I am hard-pressed to believe that games cause this condition.

Re:An Escape (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903818)

By this logic Sports also fit the category, we should ban all Television, Sports, Games, Drugs, Alcohol so that there will be no more violent outbursts from mentally ill persons.

Re:An Escape (4, Insightful)

Creepy (93888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904140)

you missed country music.

Joking aside, video games are a pariah, and the main reason they are targeted is because of the interactive nature of them. But if you read page 22 of this [ed.gov] you will find that books and movies are MORE influential than video games. And what is the #1 behavior? Self published violent writings, which Jared L Loughner did in spades.

Re:An Escape (3, Insightful)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903822)

Not only that, it's a popular thing to do. *Lots* of people play video games. It's as ubiquitous as watching a movie or talking on the telephone. Just by raw numbers alone, some of the people that play them might have a mental condition, it doesn't mean it's the games fault. All it means is popular activities are popular.

Re:An Escape (1)

giles hogben (1145597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903866)

Exactly: Correlation is not causation

Re:An Escape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903892)

Gaming, like alcohol and drugs is an escape. It's an escape from reality that is regularly used by people with mental problems. I don't have any evidence but I am hard-pressed to believe that games cause this condition.

Does Mario, Kirby, Link or Donkey Kong show you how to shoot guns? I don't think so. Games are an escape from reality, but so is music! You put on headphones and then you are lost in the music! Also aren't some of these songs talking about guns and stuff? Don't take a single medium and make it sound bad, because other things you may like could be counted as well! I'm a gamer and I'm not mental dumbass! i may have ADD but, that don't mean jack! I'm smart at many things!

Re:An Escape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34904178)

Sometimes alcohol is just food.

News: Addiction linked with mental health problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903766)

How is this surprising? Excessive and compulsory behaviour is in itself a symptom of a mental health issue. The really interesting question is if limited cases of this behaviour cause mental health issues. As an example, if you drink 1 liter of alchohol each day, you have a drinking problem with the associated mental and physical health issues. Will you get those issues if you only drink a can of beer for supper?

In related news (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903796)

Fast-food eaters and fast-food chains are protesting against "eating too much shitty food can make you morbidly obese" study.

Re:In related news (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904044)

And right they are. That statement is so broad, a blind man without limbs couldn't miss it with a baseball even if he were looking the other way.

Yes, eating too much food of low quality, a lot of people can and probably will become obese.

Doesn't mean everyone will. Doesn't mean everybody who's obese ate too much food of low quality.

To differentiate and being objective are priceless skills... as in: They could be free. Still, it's a commodity more rare than an intelligent mob. Hmm... maybe there's a correlation there? ;)

It's about the money (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903804)

As in cell-phone cancer, bad fat and bad guns, you can't prove a negative. This makes the topic a research grant magnet, so we'll be seeing this kind of garbage forever.

About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903806)

I was wondering that these studies didn't show up 5 minutes after the shooting. I am sure Sarah Palin, YOUR new President, is behind this study... she cares so much for her country... god bless her.. xD

Re:About time... (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903958)

I am sure Sarah Palin, YOUR new President, is behind this study.

It appears she's behind in most of her studies.

Water is wet (1)

coldsalmon (946941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903828)

If you spend all your time living in a fantasy world, ignoring all your friends and social responsibilities, your social skills will suffer. When you finally confront your ignored responsibilities, you will perform badly. The more you ignore your depression, anxiety, and social phobias in favor of escapism, the worse they will get.

I'm not trying to say that these results are trivial; I'm just saying that they confirm things that seem obvious and widely accepted, even among gamers. I myself am a gamer and I see no reason to disagree with these results.

In other news (2)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903836)

A new study published today on Slashdot conducted in my mind on hypothetical children in grades third, fourth, seventh and eighth claims that almost all of those suffer mental health problems.

The video game part is irrelevant. Not as confident about the 3rd/4th graders but I don't know many middle school kids who aren't at least moderately depressed. They are in middle school, for christ's sake.

Re:In other news (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903848)

Blame Canada

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903888)

killmenow, are you in the middle school too? Exercise, a balanced diet, ritalin, and a steady dose of heavy metal music, along with daily marathons of playing Starcraft against South Koreans will brighten up your mood tremendously.

Sports (3, Interesting)

RafaelAngel (249818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903856)

I hear sports cause bodily harm. They also cause aggression. Being in sports competitively can also lead to steroid use. Playing a game leads to mental exercise. Sure, you're not moving much(unless it's Wii, Move, or Kinect), but I'd rather play make-believe games then come home with something broken. There should be a study on how sports affect teen aggression and how the competitiveness of sports lead to athletes doing things to their bodies that isn't healthy.

Re:Sports (1)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904146)

There are studies linking cometitive sports with poor health. But what has that got to do with the paper? Unless you are trying to say other stuff harms kids so therefore gaming is ok. Which doesn't really help much.

I do not thik the gaming community should be scared by this research and should welcome it. The reason is simple. It might be the case that some types of gaming, in terms of quantity or content, could have deleterious effects. And if we are able to work out exactly who is predisposed and what triggers problems then people can be forewarned. But more than that, if games cause change in one direction then it is entirely possible that they can push behaviour in more pro-social directions. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity. Again, working out what triggers what could be advantageous. This longitudinal study is moderately interesting and maybe warrants a closer look.

Exacerbation is not causation (2)

coldsalmon (946941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903862)

Once again, a misleading Slashdot headline. The study does not claim that gaming causes mental problems. It claims that it can exacerbate existing depression, anxiety, and social phobia.

Re:Exacerbation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903886)

Once again, a misleading Slashdot headline. The study does not claim that gaming causes mental problems. It claims that it can exacerbate existing depression, anxiety, and social phobia.

Where does the headline claim that it gaming causes mental problems? Furthermore, from the article:

While these kids were more likely to have behavioral problems to begin with, excessive gaming appeared to cause additional mental woes. "When children became addicted, their depression, anxiety, and social phobias got worse, and their grades dropped," said Douglas A. Gentile, who runs the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University in Ames and worked on the study. "When they stopped being addicted, their depression, anxiety, and social phobias got better." He said neither parents nor healthcare providers are paying enough attention to video games' effect on mental health. "We tend to approach it as 'just' entertainment, or just a game, and forget that entertainment still affects us," he told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "In fact, if it doesn't affect us, we call it 'boring!'"

Of course you can't get your hands on the actual research thanks to the backwards journal mentality ...

Now I know what these studies remind me of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903878)

They're the modern day horoscopes. Horoscopes are still around, of course, but not as big as they were a couple of decades ago. It's modern to be science-like today, so what better way to fill the pages than hundreds and hundreds of quickly patched up provocative pseudo-studies.

People in the trade know that, just like horoscopes, these studies contradict each other, and for a good measure, often contradict themselves even in their premise, but hey, it's a living. You don't want to check the sources too much either, or things quickly fall apart. And then, what are you going to write about?

Apples bad for teeth, study shows. Reflex games make you slow, study says. Fast food not the cause of obesity, discovers a new study. Heroes are everywhere around us, study finds. You'll travel to a foreign country, study shows, and a tall handsome person is in your future, I mean ef it. Pump them articles.

And he drank milk (3, Insightful)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903896)

Seriously though, I bet if you did a study on the number of men under 25 you would find that 90% play video games or have played video games (aka, what they call a gamer). It would be like saying that the gunman didn't like doing chores or had at some point attended a concert.

Obvious? (2)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903912)

People who feel bad inside want to escape reality. Some turn to games. Is this surprising?

I'm betting the gaming is a symptom, not a cause. Not that I'd say it's harmless to escape into a game when you really need therapy.

Re:Obvious? (1)

coldsalmon (946941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903946)

Exactly; if you replace "gaming" with "playing alone in your treehouse," I'm sure the results would be the same. These are both things that you should do after you finish your homework.

Hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903922)

"This comes conveniently after the suspect in the Tucson shooting has widely been reported as an online gamer."

Conveniently? I don't think that word means what you think it does.

Causality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903928)

Perhaps there is a correlation but it doesn't imply causality. It might be that the 10% of pupils with mental health problems sought out gaming as a way of coping.

Completely agree (1)

KatchooNJ (173554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904050)

I agree completely. I think it is more likely that these kids were messed up to begin with and video games are just an easy thing to do solo in your room to occupy your time or distract yourself, rather than have proper social interaction with friends. I still miss when the focus of video games was to have your friends over and you would all play together and compete; it just isn't the same now that everything in that zone has shifted to online. Heck, even racing games nowadays don't seem to offer split-screen action! Is my only recourse to get a Wii?! Argh!

Maybe... (1)

steveaustin1971 (1094329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903976)

The one in ten that are "addicted" to video games are the normal one in ten that have mental issues, and the video game addictions are just symptoms of the problems they would have anyway? Before video games there were plenty of other reasons to neglect school and chores... I know I came up with plenty of them as a child.

Rated M for Mentally Insane (1, Interesting)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34903994)

Every time a shooting happens, it seems like video games are brought into the mix somehow. The news is reporting that this guy is "crazy", but what they aren't reporting is that there were TONS of people who KNEW is was totally nuts, and didn't report it. Then he was able to go to a Walmart to buy ammo (he actually got denied by 1 walmart and had to go to the next because the first realized something was "off" about him).

Perhaps what we need is a National "You're Freakin' Nuts" Database, which will have to be checked not just for gun and ammo purchasing, but also for game purchases over a rating of E?

How far are we going to go in blaming games for the actions of PEOPLE though? If there WAS a database of crazies, but he bought "Rapala Pro Bass Fishing", too the included rod and reel and sharpened the end of it like a shiv, and killed someone with it, is it the video game's fault?

Exaggeration? Yes. Just as stupid as blaming games for a shooting? Yes.

Re:Rated M for Mentally Insane (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904200)

Yeah, good luck getting yourself removed from the database once you do something "insane", like tinkering with hardware well past midnight or running "hacker" software like Linux or calling your boss names or spending all your salary on stuff you don't need.

Btw, some countries require a doctor's approval in order to buy guns or drive a car or operate dangerous machinery.

Talking Heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34903996)

Of course it's gaming.

I mean, there's no way that the 24 hours news cycle, fueled by talking heads is contributing to this in anyway. No chance outrageous commentary and over the tope persecution of opinions, individuals, and points of view you don't agree with, for whatever reason. (Choice, Ignorance, Lack of Understanding, etc.) could be contributing in any meaningful way.

Inflammatory rhetoric never hurt anyone, right? Never stirred anyone to action, right?

Slanted population sample (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904022)

Maybe it is because normal people do not play video games... (ducks!)

Re:Slanted population sample (1)

y_axis (815085) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904158)

I would pay cash money to see a duck playing Dance Central. Normal or otherwise. (preferably otherwise). No "whoosh" please. I get it. I just like ducks.

It's not that complex (2)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904026)

Any activity that displaces the individual's perception from reality has the potential to contribute to mental illness. Whether it is drugs, TV, online games or romance novels, susceptible people risk becoming wrapped up in a fantasy world. Most often the results are benign to the outside world, so the pathology goes unnoticed. It doesn't mean the problem doesn't affect and detract from the lives of many.

misreporting (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904122)

Lets get it strait... the Tuscan shooter played ONE online game called "earth empires" which was about as sophisticated as mafia wars. The only interesting part of this were the posts he made in that games forums. He was clearly mentally unhinged and as you read them you can see the community is totally confused about what he's posting. They aren't sure if he's a Troll, just stupid or bat shit crazy. Unfortunately it ended up being the latter.

http://www.earthempires.com/jared-loughner-arizona-shooter-posts

At least they don't cause shootings (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904168)

These kind of studies are fine, showing that there is a link between video games and mental problems, but careless interpretration and reporting of the data screws it all up. Surely it's obvious that people with mental problems, especially the people they studied, which have "depression, anxiety and social phobia", will withdraw from society and play video games OR some other solitary pastime. But that makes for a boring headline. So, it becomes, video gaming may cause mental problems, your child may be at risk!

At least video gaming doesn't cause shootings for the moment. Thanks to similar loose causation/correlation, shootings are caused by Republicans...

I am my own study... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904176)

As an avid gamer since the days of the Atari 2600, up through PC gaming, a good 30 years. I can honestly say that no amount of gaming has made me want to randomly shoot people. What medical or scientific research do I need to link those two, exactly none.
According to wikipedia, yeah I know, take it with a grain of salt, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Singaporean [wikipedia.org] "74% of the population is Chinese" and that's as of 2009. Since we also know that Chinese are pretty much leading the way with computer addiction, online addiction and dare I say gaming addiction. I'd be interested to know what percentage of that 1 in 10 ratio is Chinese.

Widely reported? Convenient? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34904180)

This comes conveniently after the suspect in the Tucson shooting has widely been reported as an online gamer.

Widely reported? This is the first time I've even heard this in relation to the Tucson shooter. Second, convenient timing? Maybe the submitter doesn't understand how scientific publishing works, but there is no way to time the release of your paper. You submit it months before it actually gets published, it gets sent out for peer-review, rejected, revised, resubmitted, ad nauseum.

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