Tag Archives: addiction

South Korean Politicians Still Think Video Games Are Drugs

In South Korea, some politicians (certainly not all) seem to have it out for gaming. These politicians want video games in the same category as alcohol and even illegal drugs. P

Last month, for example, Hwang Woo-yea of the majority conservative Saenuri party talked about rescuing “society from evil.” ThisIsGame (via tipster Sang) quotes Hwang as saying:P

According to the Ministry of Welfare, four major categories of addiction where medical treatment is needed are 2.18 million alcoholics, 0.47 million internet gamers, 0.59 million gamblers, and 0.09 million drug addicts. The sum of them accounts for 6.7 precent of the population which adds up to 3.33 million people. This country has to be be saved from the four major addictions. We have to understand the pain individuals and families of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and game addicts go through, heal them and provide them with a proper environment so we can save our society from these evils.P

Hwang went on to call for strict regulations for game developers in South Korea. Obviously, the country’s game industry doesn’t seem too happy about this.P

The addiction bill hasn’t passed, but the country’s conservative Saenuri party keeps pushing it. And since this is the majority party, things do not look good. The country’s leader, President Park Geun-hye, is in the Saenuri party.P

Read more (http://kotaku.com/south-korean-politicians-still-think-video-games-are-dr-1468852258)



I happen to agree with the South Korean Politicians, think about why it most people play video games in the first place… because they are bored, sound familiar. Also video games designers make an effort to keep their users around by making their games more and more addicting. Just because it does not cause any physical harm to the body there are arguments that excessive video games may lead to mental problems.Would love to hear what you think…

Gaming Addictions Cause Health Issues, Even Death, in China


Internet cafes are a huge phenomenon in countries such as South Korea and China. People play video games here for hours on end with little breaks. Players become addicted to their games and are so submerged in them that they live more in the virtual game than in reality. These café players forget to take care of their bodies. A lot of them don’t eat or sleep or get up to move and stretch muscles. So much so in this particular case that a gamer died of cardiac arrest and was left unnoticed for nine hours. His body was found by a waitress, still in a gaming position at his computer.

The attention economy

It costs nothing to click, respond and retweet. But what price do we pay in our relationships and our peace of mind?

How many other things are you doing right now while you’re reading this piece? Are you also checking your email, glancing at your Twitter feed, and updating your Facebook page? What five years ago David Foster Wallace labelled ‘Total Noise’ — ‘the seething static of every particular thing and experience, and one’s total freedom of infinite choice about what to choose to attend to’ — is today just part of the texture of living on a planet that will, by next year, boast one mobile phone for each of its seven billion inhabitants. We are all amateur attention economists, hoarding and bartering our moments — or watching them slip away down the cracks of a thousand YouTube clips.

If you’re using a free online service, the adage goes, you are the product. It’s an arresting line, but one that deserves putting more precisely: it’s not you, but your behavioural data and the quantifiable facts of your engagement that are constantly blended for sale, with the aggregate of every single interaction (yours included) becoming a mechanism for ever-more-finely tuning the business of attracting and retaining users.

via What is the real cost of your online attention? – Tom Chatfield – Aeon.

First inpatient treatment program for Internet addiction

Ten years ago, Kevin Roberts suffered from an addiction that took over his life.

Roberts, now 44 years old, would sit eight to 12 hours a day in front of the pale blue glow of his computer, playing a videogame. During holidays, he “binged,” spending nearly all his waking hours at his keyboard. Finally, a friend who had been through Alcoholics Anonymous told him he displayed all the same characteristics of an addict.

“Like most addicts, I went through a series of self-deception,” said Roberts, who documented his struggle with addiction in his book, “Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap.”

The story of Roberts, who came to grips with his addiction through years of therapy and spiritual retreats, is not unique. Treatment facilities have sprung up in recent years, but a psychiatric hospital in central Pennsylvania is now set to become the country’s first facility of its kind to offer an inpatient treatment program for people it diagnoses with severe Internet addiction.

via Pennsylvania hospital to open country’s first inpatient treatment program for Internet addiction | Fox News.

Break Your Facebook Habit With Electrocution and Ridicule

So, a couple of PhD students at MIT—finding themselves too addicted to do their actual research—developed a system that tracks your online activity and zaps you with a painful shock if it sees you’re spending too much time on Facebook.

They’re calling it the Pavlov Poke, after 19th century Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, famous for discovering classical conditioning—the concept of using positive or negative stimuli to encourage a behavior change. We employ the psychological trick all the time: Finish homework, get cookie, the homework gets done. Cat jumps on counter, gets sprayed with water bottle, it no longer jumps on counter. The Pavlov Poke works like an electric fence: youre the dog and Facebook is the neighbors yard.

“To be truly effective, many shock exposures are probably needed. Proper conditioning procedures should be followed,” wrote Robert Morris, one of the students, for an article on Medium. However after electrocuting themselves several times in the name of science, the pair decided the shocks were a bit too unpleasant, and decided to try a different approach: peer ridicule.They enlisted Amazons Mechanical Turk and paid strangers $1.40 to call them up and yell at them for wasting too much time Facebooking. The callers read from pre-written scripts: “Hey, stop using Facebook! What the hell is wrong with you? You lazy piece of garbage. Youre a dumb freaking idiot, you know that? Get it together!”

via This Project Breaks Your Facebook Habit With Electrocution and Ridicule | Motherboard.

BBC – Future – Health – The psychology of Tetris

Shapes fall from the sky, all you have to do is to control how they fall and fit within each other. A simple premise, but add an annoyingly addictive electronica soundtrack (based on a Russian folk tune called Korobeiniki, apparently) and you have a revolution in entertainment.

Since Tetris was launched on the world in 1986, millions of hours have been lost through playing this simple game. Since then, we’ve seen games consoles grow in power, and with it the appearance of everything from Call of Duty to World of Warcraft. Yet block and puzzle games like Tetris still have a special place in our hearts. Why are they are so compelling?

The writer Jeffrey Goldsmith was so obsessed with Tetris that he wrote a famous article asking if the game’s creator Alexey Pajitnov had invented “a pharmatronic?” – a video game with the potency of an addictive drug. Some people say that after playing the game for hours they see falling blocks in their dreams or buildings move together in the street – a phenomenon known as the Tetris Effect. Such is its mental pull, there’s even been the suggestion that the game might be able to prevent flashbacks in people with PTSD.

via BBC – Future – Health – The psychology of Tetris.

BBC – Future – Health – Email: A psychological self-defence course

This piece is relevant to our discussion of videogames and particularly to the reading for next week.

Problems with an overflowing inbox? It’s not just technical issues, understanding how and why we respond to emails could help relieve the stress.

Here’s a pretty safe assumption to make: you probably feel like you’re inundated with email, don’t you? Its a constant trickle that threatens to become a flood. Building up, it is always nagging you to check it. You put up spam filters and create sorting systems, but it’s never quite enough. And that’s because the big problems with email are not just technical – theyre psychological. If we can understand these well all be a bit better prepared to manage email, rather than let it manage us.

via BBC – Future – Health – Email: A psychological self-defence course.