Nearly 1 in 10 videogamers could be addicts, study says

Almost one in 10 U.S. children who play videogames may be growing addicted to it, according to a study by the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University.

Almost one in 10 U.S. children who play videogames may be growing addicted to it, according to a study by the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University.

The study drew comparisons between pathological videogaming and compulsive gambling, concluding that some children lie, borrow money or dodge work to play videogames.

Researchers based their findings on a national sample of 1,178 people ages eight through 18, with the group containing nearly even numbers of boys and girls.

Almost 90 percent of the U.S. children polled said they played videogames, with the average amount of time spent playing videogames weekly was reported to be 16.4 hours for boys and 9.2 hours for girls.

Of the videogame players, 8.5 percent exhibited "pathological patterns of play" gauged by the presence of at least six of 11 clinical symptoms showing damage to family, social, school, or psychological functioning.

[Read a rebuttal by ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn: Videogame study: Science or politics?]

The findings are similar to other studies using the same age group, even in other countries, according to the study.

The most typical symptom? Skipping household chores to play.

A quarter of those surveyed said they played to escape problems, and almost as many admitted to playing when they were supposed to be devoting time to homework.

Shocker.

One-fifth of those surveyed copped to botching schoolwork or doing poorly on exams because of the habit.

Interestingly, girls were more likely than boys to try to cut back on videogame play to refocus on their home or school responsibilities, according to the research.