3m US gamers are addicted, says study

That's 8.5 per cent of kids, mathsfans.

The lights are on, but they're not home - might as well face it, 3 million Americans are addicted to games.

That's the verdict of a study by Douglas Gentile, a researcher at the Iowa State University, as reported by the Washington Post.

He found that 8.5 per cent of gamers aged 8 to 18 showed symptoms of addiction. Symptoms include "spending increasing amounts of time and money on video games to feel the same level of excitement" and "irritability or restlessness when play is scaled back".

Other symptoms are escaping problems through gaming, skipping chores or homework, lying about the length of gaming sessions, stealing games or money to play more, your heart sweats, your body shakes, another kiss is all it takes.

Gentile identified 11 symptoms in total, stamping a big fat "pathological" on anyone who reported experiencing six or more. These addicts, Gentile reported, performed worse in school and were twice as likely to report attention-deficit disorder.

He calculated that of the 45 million Americans aged 8 to 18, 88 per cent play games. Show us how it's done, Carol: that means more than 3 million children and teens are in deep.

"It's not that the games are bad, it's not that the games are addictive," said Gentile. "It's that some kids use them in a way that is out of balance and harms various other areas of their lives."

Gentile, by the way, is director of research at the National Institue on Media and the Family - the media monitoring group Jack Thompson claimed to have the support of, but didn't.

Are you addicted to games, readers? Is Oblivion all you crave? Or do you like to think you're immune to the stuff, whoa yeah?

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