Once again, video games are in the news being painted in a negative light. This time, it’s related to people suffering from video game addiction to the detriment of their health. While that’s actually something that needs addressing, a psychologist has advised against rushing to pathologize the phenomenon for accuracy.
Video games are no strangers to being in the news for a variety of reasons, mainly the fact that they supposedly make children and adults more violent and aggressive by playing them. Despite multiple studies that have proven this assertion false, it keeps coming back up, and this is the reason that psychologist Anthony Bean thinks that we run the risk of throwing out the scientific method if video game addiction is declared an actual mental issue.
Bean has decried calling a hobby for millions of people an addiction, equating it to how people see football fans, who constantly obsess over the sport for the entirety of football season and want to catch every game on TV, spending hours watching the game and talking about it to the point where football parties are thrown all over America. He has also equated it to people that like to read books.
He claims that repeatedly crying about video game addictions goes against science, and can cause hysteria in a similar manner to how video games have supposedly made children more violent and have, by that logic, caused more school shootings. Along with the types of music they listen to, the type of games they play have often been demonized by people looking for something to blame in the aftermath of such tragedies.
While people have died from playing video games for so long that they don’t eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom, those sorts of instances are few and far between, and many games already persuade players to take a break if they’ve been playing for several hours. So, hopefully reason will prevail and keep video games from once again being demonized for no reason beyond the fact that they’re popular, and video game addiction won’t be treated with hysteria.