NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

April 29, 2009 -

As GamePolitics readers know, a study released last week by Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the family suggested that "nearly one in ten" 8-18 year-olds showed signs of video game addiction.

The research has been under fire, however, from the video game industry as well as from less biased critics such as Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson and ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer.

Yesterday game publishers lobbying group the ESA released a letter in which CEO Michael Gallagher criticized the study for a sampling error that has been acknowledged by Gentile. Gallagher also bemoaned the wide coverage which the flawed study has received from mainstream media outlets.

GamePolitics asked the National Institute on Media and the Family to respond to the ESA's criticism; we've just received this statement from NIMF President Dr. David Walsh:

Everyone knows at least one child who has struggled with balancing healthy game playing with academics and family life. Unfortunately, as Dr. Gentile’s study suggests, some children have more significant problems with gaming.  Regardless of whether you agree with the exact statistics in Dr. Gentile’s study, it provides the gaming industry, medical experts, and public policymakers with a new opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation regarding the effects of video games on kids.

One study will not determine if gaming is addictive for some kids. Again, additional research is required to determine if video games are as ‘addictive’ as gambling and alcohol. With this additional research, the medical community can make an educated decision on video games and addiction.

We look forward to leading the conversation with the industry, policymakers and parents on this important public health issue.

GP: Walsh discusses the research in the video at left. To be clear, the video does not address the sampling issue raised by the ESA.

Comments

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Unfortunately, as Dr. Gentile’s study suggests, some children have more significant problems with gaming.  Regardless of whether you agree with the exact statistics in Dr. Gentile’s study, it provides the gaming industry, medical experts, and public policymakers with a new opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation regarding the effects of video games on kids.

Unfortunately, Dr. Gentile's study cannot be said to suggest anything, as it isn't remotely scientific. The only thing it provides an opportunity for thoughtful conversation regarding something is the need for researchers to not lie about their methods in order to produce the results desired by the special interest groups funding the study.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

i could never trust an origination with the acronym NIMF, event if i agreed with them

 

this crap seams awfully Familiar... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_code#1954_Code_highlights http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hays_Code Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. But it is the best of all to be sane and h

Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. But it is the best of all to be sane and happy -Arthur C. Clarke

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

You know, this guy can do allot of good if only he could vent his anger and fustrations out on 'all the irisponsible parents who don't care about their kids' instead of trying to blame it all on the Videogames.

 

Plus if there was ever a Videogame addiction, I would call it the "Blaming Videogames for everything wrong in society addiction".

And surely, when ever this guy opens his mouth, he will say something bad about Videogames all because he does not understand it.

 

And the cure?

 

Why not just PLAY Videogames so you can understand how fun they are.

 

TBoneTony

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

It costed me two minutes of my life, but I think we finally got that hack's video down to one star. (In hindsight I could've just paused the video and voted it down, but what are ya gonna do.)

I'm surprised the comments weren't moderated, though...

300 Episodes and counting: http://www.orangeloungeradio.com/

400 Episodes, TEN YEARS and counting: http://www.orangeloungeradio.com/ | Voice of Geeks Network - http://www.vognetwork.com

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

This is like every other game-related research fiasco. They never lookd eep enough and take some minor symptom that appears ont he surface and try to turn it into a deadly dysfunction of its own when really, a little further examination reveals that Game Addiction, Violent Behavior Supposedly Caused by videogames, and Murderous anti-social behavior are all usually part of some other psychological maladies that are being ignored because the subjects in question were once in the same room as a Playstation.

In this case, I think Mr. Walsh needs to exam the other factors to which he claims Videogames are a detriment. If Children are having trouble balancing school and pleasure then what is wrong with the education system? What is it about the school work that leaves the child so totally disinterested that bad grades and reprimand don't make a difference?

Blaming videogames for a persons problems is like blaming the erratic behaviour of a schizophrenic person on the coffee they drink.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

It's possible this video might have been filmed prior to the brouhaha over the misrepresentation of the sampling strategy.  Hopefully people will understand that NIMF is a lobbying/pressure group and take their claims with a grain of salt.  More worrisome to me is the issue of whether the journal will correct the mistake in the final published version.  I still haven't seen any indication that they are, sadly.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Unfortunately, as Dr. Gentile’s study suggests, some children have more significant problems with gaming.  Regardless of whether you agree with the exact statistics in Dr. Gentile’s study, it provides the gaming industry, medical experts, and public policymakers with a new opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation regarding the effects of video games on kids.
 

 

That says it right there "While our statistics aren't correct. It's a start to further smudging the truth"

 

It's like saying "Well, we didn't get it right this time. But if we keep trying it'll be right eventually"

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Hmm, his video is rated 1 star. Not looking good so far. I won't know what he's saying until I can listen to it at home...

GameSnooper

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Since when was behaving like a normal kid a mental illness?

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Good question. Last I checked, time management was one of those things that was learned by children ages 8-18, along with self restraint, and other things. Struggles with those things are not some huge health issue, because they're in the middle of the whole learning process.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

This post is fake, a joke post the reason since when does Mike Gallagher actually do his job?

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Mr Walsh used to claim he was against using government regulation to circumvent videogames.  It seems this latest statement is a reversal of that.  Working with policymakers = anti-games legislation. 

I always knew this guy was a creep.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

honestly it doesn't matter if the kid knows how to balance (most wouldn't anyways)

the PARENTS should balance it for them, or TEACH them to do it.

 

I.E. PARENT THEIR KIDS... sorry, had to be said.

my parents used to time us. or theyd just say get outside and play, then pull the plug on whatever we were playing/watching (literally the plug)

i even recall having my entire room cleaned out into boxes and stuffed in a storage room once till my homework was done! :)

so that sorta thing got burned into my head as a child because my parents took active part in kicking me off the Atari and/or nintendo when i was spending to much time on them.

plan is to when i get a home out of this 1 room apartment i'm stuck in atm (looking at mid summer atm) have a "game room" and put the thing under lock and key, with a clip board and time sheets for check in/out and names.

in agreemant with the lady, we too will use these charts to time ourselves in said room, and the key will be kept hidden away.

this protects both the gear (from possible theft, maybe not as a guarantee, but as a deterant)  and shows us how much we are in the room ourselves, and'll teach the kids to do it themselves. (mind you the rooms gonna be there once we get our own place, with out without any munchkins on the way. visitors will be clocked as well. unless hosting a game party of course :)  (i'd say LAN, but does that work for consoles?)

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

"Regardless of whether you agree with the exact statistics in Dr. Gentile’s study, it provides the gaming industry, medical experts, and public policymakers with a new opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation regarding the effects of video games on kids."
 

Translation-

We tell lies to get people talking about the subjects we want them to talk about. That makes us good people.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

'We did this poll which gave us totally bogus information and we jumped to the wrong conclusions, therefore this justifies us trying to get some real research done into it so that we can pretend we were ahead of the curve in demanding resesarch into a problem we are helping to generate an over-inflated view of'

I think that covers it.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Mr.Walsh, drop this while you still can. Even the sciecntific community isn't behind this study.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Not even common sense is behind of it...

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Someone should direct this guy to Nick Yee and Daedelus...

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

I posted some thoughts of mine on ther Youtube site:

When are you gonna to stop this?

Your study was wrong. It can´t even be taken as "serious study" because the data were wrong from the start.

Claiming that "With this additional research, the medical community can make an educated decision on video games and addiction (as Walsh stated recently)", it´s a complete lie.

This is a waste of time and you are not helping nobody.
 
 
 
 
 

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

If they're not even going to bother adressing why the dirty trick they used isn't that, then it's exactly that.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

"We look forward to leading the conversation with the industry, policymakers and parents on this important public health issue."

Important public health issue?  Says who?  You're broken study?  I read that as... we look forward to establishing a platform through which we can bend other people's behavior to suit our own morals.

Listen, if ever anyone does find a causal link between any type of violent or controversial media and behavior, I'll be the first to perk up and listen because we should all be agressive and anxious to protect ourselves (adult and children alike) from harmful things.

But this is just ridiculous.  It attempts to give credibility to things like the Shawn Woolley suicide, which itself is an equally disturbing misrepresentation of facts and information.

This is a tired cycle.  The devil made me do it!  The music made me do it!  The movies made me do it!  Dungeons and Dragons made me do it!  Now?  Well, now it has to be World of Warcraft or Peggle, because, ya know, there's no chance that I may actually be personally responsible for my own behavior, or at the very least - THE source of an addictive personality that has a tendancy to abuse any number of benign activities, i.e. sex, gambling, gaming... even *shock* Facebook now!

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Hey now, Facebook is a serious threat! It causes cancer too y'know! AND Autism! The Daily Fail said so, it's true! It's the Nuke of our time!

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

*blink*

While I agree it is a discussion worth having and perhaps there is some merit in researching where games fall on the scale of activities that kids get obsessed about, I do not think that starting this discussion with a flawed and boarderline unethical study is a postie (or constructive) move.

Studies like this have no place in the academic debate.  Their only function is pundit food and scare tactics.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

"Everyone knows at least one child who has struggled with balancing healthy game playing with academics and family life."

What exactly is his point?

I know several people who have struggled to balance healthy sports playing with academics and family life. Does that mean they're "addicted" to football, baseball, basketball or whatever other sport they choose to play?

And by the way "Doctor" anecdotes are NOT evidence. The fact that you know some kids who have trouble knowing when to turn off the TV doesn't mean you have evidence of addiction anymore than someone knowing a kid who has autism and got vaccinated is "evidence" that vaccines cause autism.

Sorry "Doctor" but you just outed yourself as a poor excuse for a scientist (to quote Ghostbusters).

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Think of this study, regardless of its flaws, as a good thing. Addictive games, truly addictive games, disappeared from around 1990 to the launch of the first modern MMORPG.

Now-a-days every game contains addictive elements, much like gambling. Fortunate for us, these games are typically crappy. If overtly addictive elements are singled out and warned about, the game industry will change and we'll get games that are playable on merit alone.

Addictive games are just like food products with MSG or other glutamates added. The addictive elements, like MSG, serve to trick the brain into thinking the product is better than it is. Further using the food analogy, most of the games we have today are like food cooked by a fry cook, instead of a five star chef. The analogy splits here : We pay as much for the 'deep fried MSG laden' crap as the stuff from a 'five star chef' today.

So...long rant short...let's use this to our own advantage.

 

I will not buy securom games. http://www.wolvenmoon.com/sharedfiles/message1.jpg and http://www.wolvenmoon.com/sharedfiles/message2.jpg

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

And on a unrelated note, I have the same salt shaker as you.

 

 

Anyway, it's Walsh and his group of NIMFOs, what does everyone expect?

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

On a side note, your DRM stance is pretty funny.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

His is mild compared to mine.

 

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

'One study will not determine if gaming is addictive for some kids'.

Indeed, and your study shouldn't even be involved in the discussion.  It was flawed from the get-go, written by a man who appears to be quite the hack, and has no use (you know, due to the flaw).  If I go outside and ask my nearest neighbors what their yearly income is, we'll get 5 responses (including my own) in the $250,000+ bracket.  That doesn't make it representative.  Yet, that is the same thing you tried to do here; rig a study to lie about the results.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

I still stand by the belief that gambling is in no way shape or form an addiction. Your body doesn't become dependent on it, you don't have withdrawal, nor is more gabling needed as you develop a 'tolerance'. Yeah, unchecked, it can be a social problem, but that is everything. Sex, video games, exercise, lieing, dieting... There are so many things that give you pleasure and a feeling of 'success' or 'achievement', that if we used the definition of addiction as it is used in gambling, EVERYTHING is addictive.

So... for someone who has basically been shown how flawed the study is, to not admid fault, and then make a claim that the study was apt and necessary to see if it is as addictive as gambling... Unless by that he meant 'not addictive at all', but considering his other example of alcohol, I highly doubt that's what he was thinking.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

As an avid poker player, I can tell you that you are wrong in this assessment.  There is definitely a rush of adrenaline* when you have good cards in front of you or you're in the middle of a big hand.  Maybe you're not putting anything into your body, but a chemical reaction is absolutely there.  Addicted and compulsive gamblers crave that rush.  Because of this, gambling is considered to be more mentally addictive than physically addictive.  Remember, just because YOU aren't addicted to something doesn't mean other people aren't.

 

 

*The key to playing poker well is being able to hide that you're experiencing an adrenaline rush.  If you're in a hand with someone and his leg is bouncing uncontrollably or his hand is shaking as he moves his chips on the table, you should probably fold.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

But you also get a rush of adrenaline from running, bungie jumping, sex, getting hired, getting fired, driving a car, being threatened, being scared, being excited, being under stress... Just because someone is naturally generating a hormone has no bearing on addiction. For 1, you don't become addicted to adrenaline. And 2, even if you were addicted to adrenaline, the gambling is still not the addiction, it's just a method of producing the hormone. And that in itself is still not even a problem. The issue is Compulsive Gambling, which is characterized by the effects on oneself and others caused by the gambling, not the gambling itself. When people gamble away debt, or gamble instead of going to work, or gamble instead of eating, that is where the problem lies. But as I said, that can be replaced with anything. People are compulsive eaters, people are compulsive liars, people are compulsive 'adrenaline junkies'. But it's not the act that's causing harm, it's the choises one makes while doing those acts that separates a problem and an enjoyment.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Saying it's the choices they make only works if it's not an addiction, but come on, does anyone "choose" to gamble all their money away? 

Some people smoke without getting addicted to cigarettes; do the people who do become addicted choose it? 

Some people just don't believe in mental addictions.  I have a friend who doesn't, and also doesn't believe in mental illness or anything else.  10 years ago she didn't believe in taking medicine for illness (changed her mind when she had kids).  We do all get to choose what we believe.

Charles Herold - Wii Guide nintendo.about.com

Charles Herold - Wii Guide nintendo.about.com

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

No, but they chose to make the risk, knowing that they can't cover the losses. The choise being made is not about winning or losing, but whether or not the risk should be made at all.

No, everyone gets addicted to cigarettes. Nicotine is an addictive substance. People who aren't addicted are either lieing to themselves, or the addiction hasn't progressed to the point where the withdrawal symptoms are enough to keep them going.

It's not a matter of believing in them. It's that there's currently no scientific basis for gambling addiction. It's all quite speculative with either lack of any testable claims, or overly broad claims that end up encompassing far more than the target 'addiction'. And like I've said, compulsive gambling IS a problem, but with the person, not the activity. There's no personal beliefs involved in examining available facts.

Really the main problem is the use of the word addiction. What most people end up referring to is dependency. And there is quite a difference between physical dependence and psychological dependence. One of the big ones being that the symptoms of the two are quite different, and need to be distinguished if 'addiction' is to be a determining factor in public policy. 

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

While I agree, I think that there needs to be a definite distinction made between physical and psychological addiction, and by equating "gaming addiction" not only to gambling addictions but to alcoholism as well, David Walsh has effectively thrown that out the window.
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Just because the physical components of addiction aren't there doesn't mean the psychological components aren't.  Gambling is absolutely something one can be addicted to.

So can video games.

However, in no way, shape, or form was this study valid.  And just because games can be addicting, it doesn't mean that kids are at some kind of risk we should all be panicking over.

"Regardless of whether you agree with the exact statistics in Dr. Gentile’s study, it provides the gaming industry, medical experts, and public policymakers with a new opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation regarding the effects of video games on kids."

How did he even say that?!  "It doesn't matter if the methods we used were invalid, the conclusion we drew is still worth discussing because we say so!"

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

"So can video games."

You're characterizing these things as if they were addictive substances.  They're not.  That anyone gets a rush or enjoyment from gambling or playing video games is irrelevant.  They're meant to illicit these thrills so there isn't any inherent controversy in doing so - it's what makes them fun.  They don't, however, trigger any form of psychological or physical addiction.

So no, gaming or gambling is NOT something that someone can absolutely become addicted to.

Rather, like many other things (including something as simple as food), they're something that can be abused, and that people with psychological issues can form an unhealthy dependancy on.  In those cases, the actual person is what needs to be cured, because the activity they're obsessing over is itself not the issue.

You don't treat OCD by calling soap into question...

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Rather, like many other things (including something as simple as food), they're something that can be abused, and that people with psychological issues can form an unhealthy dependancy on.  In those cases, the actual person is what needs to be cured, because the activity they're obsessing over is itself not the issue.

That's still an addiction. That it's a psycholotical addiction on the part of the the victim rather than an innate trait of whatever they're addicted to does not make it less of an addiction.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Beat me to it.  Thank you.

The point is, people most certainly CAN be addicted to video games, like many other things, and the medical community, instead of damning games, should recognize that and try to find a way to help the people who need help instead of going after a straw man.

It's the same double-foul phenomenon we get from people blaming school shootings on video games.  Not only are games getting their name dragged unfairly through the mud, but resources aren't being spent on improving the real causes for these tragedies.

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

The irony is apparantly Gambling is enough to warnt a commerical on tv by a Law Firm offering comprehansion for some prescription that apparantly causes conplusing gambling

..

I lose more faith in the human race everyday XD

Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

"Statistics?! We don't need no stinking statistics!!" Should we be concerned by the fact he isn't even trying backpeddle means he's becoming more emboldened in his 'cause' or should we be chuckling because he has no rebuttle?


Re: NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

Translation: "It doesn't matter if we are right or wrong, or if our study is flawed, THINK OF THE CHILDREN FOR GODSAKES!"

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
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