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Swedish group calls gaming addiction a 'pandemic' threat

The Youth Care Foundation says that gaming addiction is a global threat. I say we concentrate on real problems.

A Swedish organization called the Youth Care Foundation claims that computer gaming addiction is reaching pandemic proportions around the world. This is the same group that called World of Warcraft "the cocaine of the computer games world" back in February.

In an interview with Sweden's English paper, The Local, Sven Rollenhagen of the Youth Care Foundation touts his position as one that helps young people in Sweden recognize and manage computer gaming addiction.

Already ahead of the curve by "daring" to view gaming addiction as something distinct from other common problems facing young people, Sweden's Youth Care Foundation has put the country on the map as a leader in developing strategies for coping with the issue.

"Sweden has long been at the forefront of efforts to battle addiction," he said, adding that there are very few, if any, experts elsewhere in the world who have dedicated their work completely to the study and management of gaming addiction.

Obviously addiction should be taken seriously, but to suggest that we risk a pandemic of strung-out child gamers is just ridiculous. As it turns out, parents can turn off or simply take the games out of the kids hands, thwarting the game-play demons.

"If you extrapolate from the number of calls we received or simply from the millions of games that are sold around the world each year, you start to see how big the pool of potential addicts is," he said.

Extrapolating data is a tried and true tactic to conflate statistics, and in fact has provided plot-lines for both the Simpsons and Family Guy. It's also part of the renewed FCC investigation into Janet Jackson's 2004 Superbowl wardrobe malfunction wherein the number of complaints was extrapolated in order to prove a point, rather than provide a true statistical analysis.

I'd write some more but I have to get through the WoW Burning Steppes before a Blood Elf steals my gold.

Follow me on Twitter @daveofdoom.