Once video games moved from the arcades of the 1970s and 80s to family living rooms, the video game industry came into its own. The industry generated as much as $10.3 billion dollars in 2002 surpassing even film industry revenues.
Since that time, more and more people – young and old alike – have gotten caught up in what’s soon to become the next official diagnosis: video game addiction. Ongoing technological advancements make it possible for anyone with a television, desktop, notebook computer or mobile phone to play video games whenever the mood strikes.
While children and teenagers naturally gravitate towards video games, adults have also fallen into the gaming arena. These developments have given rise to some alarming video game addiction statistics that seem to be increasing with each passing year.
With high rates of video game use taking off just over a decade ago, video game addiction statistics and studies have yet to show the whole picture. A study appearing in the medical journal Pediatrics, conducted by research scientist Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D., examined video game usage rates of 3,034 children and teenagers. Video game addiction statistics from this study revealed the following:
- The average length of time spent playing video games was 20 hours per week
- An estimated 72 percent of American households play video games
- An estimated nine percent of the 3,034 participants in the study showed signs of video game addiction
- Four percent of percent of study participants were categorized as extreme users who played video games 50 hours per week on average
Online Video Games
The online world of video games has opened up a whole new realm for video game addiction statistics. As of 2013, “internet-use disorder” exists as a full-fledged diagnosis within the DSM-IV, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Internet-use disorder includes five sub-categories, one of which is online gaming.
While the notion of video game addiction has been around for a while, online access to video games has brought about considerable increases in the size and scope of the problem.
Effects on Behavior
Video game addiction statistics show as much as 40 percent of online video game players admitted to playing online games as a way to escape from the real world. Escape as a coping mechanism is one of the key components of an addiction, whether a person escapes through drugs, gambling or video games.
Another study found in the American Academy of Pediatrics examined the effects of violent video games on aggression in children. Video game addiction statistics showed children who spent excessive amounts of time playing violent video games showed a greater propensity towards aggressive behavior in their daily lives. This same set of video game addiction statistics also showed ongoing gameplay resulting in poorer grades in school and difficult relationships with their parents. As the amount of time spent playing video games decreased, children showed reduced levels of aggression, better grades and improved parental relationships.