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Addicted: When gamers become gamblers

Researchers have found that game addicts are looking more and more like gambling addicts. Maybe it's time to check your child's gaming behavior.

A new study suggests that video games are highly addictive, with game addicts showing more than half of the same traits as those addicted to gambling.

Researchers at Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the Family studied 1,178 American children and teenagers, aged 8 to 18, and found that addicted gamers played video games 24 hours a week, twice as much as casual gamers.

Some gamers have shown similar symptoms to those suffering from gambling addiction, including:

  • Lying to family and friends about how much they play games
  • Using the games to escape their problems
  • Becoming restless or irritable when they stop playing

On a positive note, if kids 8 to 18 are spending so much time playing games, then there are big opportunities to make games more educational, or to make educational games more interesting.

One thing that is becoming very clear is that video games are the new TV.