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.