Video games are very sophisticated now about behavioral principles

Friday, March 19, 2010

Video game addiction a growing a issue, being treated by new in-patient clinic

by Casey Phillips

To many video game enthusiasts, popular titles such as "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty" offer a chance to escape ordinary life for a more glamorous, heroic existence.

The trouble starts when these virtual worlds crowd out the real one, said psychiatrist Hilarie Cash.

"The people who are developing video games are very sophisticated now about behavioral principles," Dr. Cash said. "... For them, it's good business to create a highly addictive game."

Dr. Cash has been treating video game addiction for 15 years, working mostly with people hooked on massively popular multiplayer online role playing games such as "Everquest" and "World of Warcraft."

Read the full article at Chattanooga Times


The digital disconect by Tyrone Beason

The digital disconnect: In relentless pursuit of 'connecting,' we miss out on each other

While communication and gaming gadgets have convenienced and connected us in ways never before possible, they may also be profoundly hurting our ability to be social, empathic and involved with each other. The signs are everywhere — from the near collisions on city streets where drivers are too busy texting to pay attention to the virtual relationships on Facebook and the addiction to video games.

By Tyrone Beason

By the time people reach the forested Internet addiction recovery center outside of Fall City known as reStart, the time for pre-emptive action has long since passed.

This is where counselors Hilarie Cash and Cosette Rae treat clients who are holed up in their Internet bubbles, sometimes after losing partners, jobs and homes because of their problem. ReStart, which opened in August, is the first rehab center in the nation aimed solely at helping a new category of addict that researchers are still working to understand. By February, eight people had completed the program.

What's not new, perhaps, is the reason people come to depend on their virtual tools and worlds. "I think what we do is seek emotional satisfaction through texting or the Internet," says Cash, who became intrigued by the Internet obsession in the mid-1990s after meeting her first video-game addict. The problem is "it's like satisfying hunger by eating sugar."

It becomes a vicious spiral...

Read the full article at the Seattle Times



Game developers use intermitten reinforcement to keep people hooked

March 8, 2010
Is there such a thing as internet addiction?

Can the internet be as addictive as drugs or alcohol, and should online games addicts be treated in the same way?

Smallwood, who doesn’t need convincing, interprets addiction as being “any substance or process that is continued despite increasing negative consequences. Addicts always do it more and more,” he says. “So a child plays internet games for two hours a day, then four hours, then eight ... I’ve had people doing 11 hours on it, but I don’t blame World of Warcraft — if someone is an addict, they are an addict.”

However, some people believe that software companies should take partial responsibility. Hilarie Cash, a mental health counsellor in America who runs ReStart, a treatment clinic for internet addiction, believes that games makers deliberately give their products an “addictive quality”. Many, she says, use the principle of intermittent reinforcement — “you have to be rewarded often enough to stay engaged but not so predictably that you get bored” — in the same way that fruit machines are designed to pay out to gamblers at certain intervals, to make the games more attractive. “Game-making companies hire psychologists to help them to design the right intermittent reinforcement schedule, but there is little effort on the part of these companies to put out warnings.”

Elizabeth Woolley believes that the suicide of her son Shawn in 2001 was the result of , , ,

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World of Warcraft gamer chokes mother

Guy Shot Over Gaming Noise, Beating Up Mom

3:30 PM - February 17, 2010 by Kevin Parrish 

  • A World of Warcraft gamer apparently lost his cool when Mom told him to keep the noise level down. 27-year-old James Swan was still living with his mother when he tried to choke her to death Sunday night.

Before the incident, he shared a room with his five younger siblings and played World of Warcraft in his little corner of the room. Other than the siblings and his mother, PC gamer James Swan also shared the house with his grandfather.

On the night of the incident, the mother was jolted awake by shouts coming from Swan's room. Concerned, she entered to find him drunk and playing the MMORPG around 10 p.m.


Read the full article at Tom's Guide




As the SMS epidemic reaches its fever pitch, avid texters might be at risk

By Stephanie Musat 

Weekend plans? Check. Homework? Check. Harmless flirting? Check.

But it becomes a problem when texters take it a step further.

A clear sign of texting addiction is constantly checking for messages and engaging in conversations all the time, despite negative consequences.

Hilarie Cash, co-director of reSTART, an Internet-addiction recovery program that treats Internet, gaming, texting and video game excess, said the biggest consequence is seen in brain functions and social interaction . . .

Read the full article at the Daily Orange