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Video game addicts aren't exactly 'shy nerds'
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Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:26 am Reply and quote this post
YOU might think of video game addicts as "shynerds", but an Australian study has found that they are just asoutgoing as everyone else.
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DanLoton, a Psychology graduate from Victoria University, conducted anhonours research project to find out if video game addiction wasrelated to social skills and self-esteem.
"From a clinical point of view, an addiction is a mental illness with very serious consequences," he said.
"In this context, we need to ask whether gaming is responsible forcausing people’s lives to fall apart in the same way we see withgambling, alcohol or drug addiction."
Mr Loton's study found that only 1 per cent of game addicts sufferedfrom shyness and there was no direct connection between problemgame-playing and social skills or self-esteem.
The research has implications for the American Medical Association(AMA), which plans to formally recognise video game addiction as amental disorder in 2012.

Last year the AMA described players of massively multiplayer onlinerole-playing games, known as MMORPGs, as "somewhat marginalisedsocially, perhaps experiencing high levels of emotional lonelinessand/or difficult with real-life social interactions".
MMORPGs such as World Of Warcraft are often associated with problem gaming due to their virtual economies, expansive worlds, and in-game socialisation.
"There have been some concerns in psychological literature,including the AMA report, that excessive game playing... is related toa difficulty in establishing social relationships and maintainingthem," Mr Loton told NEWS.com.au.
"It was theorised that people who have social difficulties areturning to games, particularly games that offer social communication,to alleviate those difficulties and (are) therefore getting stuck inthe game."
Mr Loton conducted a survey of gamers using two psychologicalscales, the Problem Video Game Playing scale (PVP) and Social SkillsInventory (SSI), to measure how addicted respondents were and how theyoperated socially.
Of the 621 respondents, around 15 per cent were identified asproblem gamers who spent over 50 hours a week playing games. Withinthis group, there was no clear link between problem gaming and poorsocial skills or low self-esteem.
However, the study showed MMORPG players were more likely to suffer problems with addiction.
"We found that those who played MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft,which currently has over 10 million fee-paying monthly subscribers,were more likely to exhibit problematic game play," he said.
"But, what is important to note is that even problem gamers did notexhibit significant signs of poor social skills or low self-esteem.Only one percent of those identified as problem gamers appeared to havepoor social skills, specifically shyness."
The research showed there was no direct relationship between socialcharacteristics and video game playing, and more research needed to bedone before the AMA was able to make an informed decision, Mr Lotonsaid.
As for people suffering game addiction, Mr Loton suggested they try to balance their play with other activities.
"If a person feels that they're at the point where they feel thatthey want to stop playing but they can't and it's interrupting elementsof their lives, I would advise them to seek counselling," he said.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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