Playing online video games is an increasingly popular activity, especially among children and young people. The popularity of video games is at least partially due to the way the games’ manufacturers design them to affect the brain’s reward centers, keep users playing the games for as long as possible, and incentivize increased spending on in-game purchases.
Unfortunately, this can cause video gaming addictions. An estimated 8.5% of children between ages 8-18 suffer from internet gaming disorder (IGD) characterized by severely reduced control over gaming habits and negative impacts on personal, social, and educational responsibilities. Researchers have concluded that excessive use of video games may lead to negative effects like stress, aggressive behavior, verbal memory deficiency, depression, lowered cognitive abilities, sleeping disorders, anxiety, and behavioral addiction. Kids predisposed to impulse control disorders like ADD and ADHD are especially at risk of becoming severely addicted to video games.
These video games are intentionally designed with the help of Ph.D. behavioral psychologists and neuroscientists to keep minors and young adults playing longer and spending hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on the games. Defendants use game tactics such as reward systems, along with patented designs containing addictive features and technology to ensure its users keep playing longer and spending more. Most parents don’t understand what’s going on in their own homes as their children are manipulated and targeted by these multi-billion-dollar corporations.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, you know gaming addiction is a serious health issue. A gaming addiction can severely harm a child’s social life, future job success, and overall physical and mental wellness.
In the News
- Activision, Epic, Video Game Developers Face Addiction Suit – Bloomberg Law – December 7, 2023
- Mom claims video game companies are intentionally addicting kids – ABC News – November 30, 2023
- Arkansas families sue video game companies, contend games are addictive, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – November 13, 2023
- Arkansas parent files lawsuit against leading video game companies, KATV – November 8, 2023
- MICROSOFT AND EPIC GAMES SUED VIDEO GAME ADDICTION, Insider Gaming – November 7, 2023
- Understanding the Impact of Video Games on Children: A Closer Look at Recent Lawsuit, Game is Hard – November 7, 2023
What Are the Signs of Video Game Addiction?
According to an article in the medical science journal Cureus, symptoms of video game addiction include:
- Distracting preoccupation with gaming – Someone with a gaming addiction may think about gaming excessively often or for long periods of time. Such thoughts may be intrusive and can distract them from other important tasks.
- Deception – A person with a gaming addiction may lie about how they spend their time. For example, a teenager may tell their parents they’ve been doing their homework. Their parents might know they’ve actually been in their room gaming for hours.
- Gaming interfering with daily tasks – Gaming addiction involves playing games for long periods of time every day or most days. Some devote so much time to gaming that they overlook other daily tasks, like eating and bathing.
- Loss of interest in other activities – Gaming addiction may take over someone’s life to the point that they no longer participate in activities they once enjoyed. For example, a gamer might stop playing sports or working out when they develop a gaming addiction.
- Withdrawing from social life – Gaming is often a solitary activity. A person experiencing gaming addiction may thus withdraw from their social life to devote more time to gaming. Relationships gamers make in the game may become more important than those in real life.
- Emotional and psychological changes – Gaming addiction may cause a person to be agitated or unfocused when they can’t game. When someone asks them to stop playing, they may become defensive or angry.
- Using gaming as an easy escape – Escapism isn’t inherently negative. Many people watch TV or read books to escape for a moment. However, those with gaming addictions may rely on gaming to escape from life, so they don’t have to address actual issues.
- Gaming despite experiencing consequences – Experiencing the consequences of gaming addiction may not stop a person from continuing to play video games too often. For example, perhaps someone’s relationship ends, or they drop out of school because they spend too much time gaming. If they don’t make changes despite this consequence, they might have a gaming addiction problem.
How Does Gaming Addiction Happen?
While internet gaming disorder has not been researched as fully yet as other types of addiction, there is a strong body of scientific evidence supporting our legal claims. Gaming companies may create gaming addiction through such tactics as:
- Hiring Ph.D. behavioral psychologists and neuroscientists to develop their games
- Using predatory monetization strategies
- Collecting data to promote personalized content
- Using feedback loops to give users a reason to continue playing
What Are the Consequences of Video Game Addiction?
Those with gaming addictions may experience such consequences as:
- Cognitive changes
- Development impacts
- Lack of impulse control
- Forgoing sleep and food to game more
- Loss of communication and/or social skills
- Back strain
- Eye strain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Extreme weight loss or gain
- Changes in appearance
- Loss of friends
- Poor work/school performance
Along with the above, gaming addiction can have financial consequences. Virtually any addiction can cause someone to spend too much money to satisfy an urge.
What Are Treatment Options for Video Game Addiction?
Clinical evidence has shown that subjects addicted to online games experience biopsychological symptoms and complications including hangovers, changes in mood, adaptability, and withdrawal. Effective treatments for gaming addiction may include:
- Substance abuse treatment
Research into gaming addiction treatments has been fairly limited thus far. More research must be done to determine how effective these treatments may be.
How We Can Help
A gaming addiction can rob a person of their friends, family, career, and even health. It may be possible to hold negligent gaming companies accountable and recover money to take care of the addicted person’s medical and psychological needs. Gaming addiction claims and lawsuits aren’t as common as other types of cases, so it is important to hire a lawyer with relevant experience when filing a gaming addiction claim.
At Bullock Ward Mason, LLC, our gaming addiction attorneys are leading the fight against the multi-billion dollar video game industry and are representing clients whose children have become addicts. Our team of experienced, compassionate attorneys can:
- Explain whether you have a case
- Identify the liable parties
- Submit a gaming addiction claim on your behalf
- Gather documentation to prove your losses
- Negotiate for a fair settlement
Compensation for gaming addiction may include money for the cost of medical treatment, mental health difficulties, and other such struggles that can result from gaming addiction. Our gaming addiction law firm is also already working with clients in an effort to change how gaming companies like Microsoft and Epic Games design their products. A successful lawsuit could force them to stop actively designing addictive games.
Help is available if you or a loved one has become addicted to gaming. Learn more about what our gaming addiction attorneys may do for you by calling us at (833) 296- 5291 or contacting us online for a case review.