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Video Game Addiction: Online And Offline Friendships Can Help Mitigate Symptoms In Teenagers

Update Date: Jan 16, 2017 08:33 PM EST

Parents and healthcare professionals consider teenagers who play more than four hours of video games a day as suffering from video game addiction. However, a recent study found that not all teenager who plays video games for more than four hours a day is suffering from video game addiction and symptoms of gaming addiction can be mitigated through online and offline friendships.

According to researchers, some teenagers who play video games for more than four hours are day are not suffering from video game addiction or develop problems related to gaming. On the downside, teenagers who are video game addicts may develop depression due to long hours of playing online or being isolated from their peers due to their gaming addiction.

But a study conducted by the Department of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School shows that symptoms of gaming addiction can be mitigated if the teenager develops strong friendships online, through social media, and offline, through a close group of friends with a common interest or from school.

The study, among to be published in the March issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior, suggests that people should not assume that teenagers who play video games for more than four hours a day are video game addicts. If teenagers who play video games do it together with friends or are regularly in contact with friends online or through social media, these behaviors are part of a perfectly normal development pattern as the researchers point out.

On the other hand, the researchers also suggest that institutions like the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association who are pushing for making Internet Gaming Disorder on par with substance abuse and gambling addiction to look further on the reasons why teenagers play video games for long periods of time. Based on the results of the survey conducted by the study, they found that video game addiction is not dependent on how long a person plays video games at a time but is also dependent on the interaction made during game play.

In other words, the researchers are suggesting parents and healthcare professionals dig deeper on the reasons for video game addictions and its possible downsides like depression. The researchers believe that playing video games is just a part of the current social norms for teenagers and that online communication from friends helps stave off symptoms of both gaming addiction and depression regardless of sex.

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