Let’s say you’re hopelessly addicted to World of Warcraft.
You play for 16 hours a day. You’ve lost your job, your friends, and you hardly eat or bathe anymore. Obviously, you need help but you’re unwilling to tear yourself away from your PC and see a counselor.
Well, if you’re not going to them, maybe they can come to you - in Azeroth.
Dr. Richard Graham, a consultant psychiatrist at the Tavistock Centre in London, would like therapists to join the game in order to treat addicted gamers right where they’re spending all their time.
[Addicted gamers] don’t exhibit the same outward warning signs as most teenage anti-social behaviour issues do because they’re in their bedrooms most of the time, seemingly out of trouble. Because of this we can’t get through to them in the traditional educational environment or intrude on their actual bedrooms, we need to turn to the internet itself to tackle these problems.
Graham admits that many psychiatrists may not be very good at playing video games and suggests existing players can be recruited to act as “peer mentors” for users identified as problematic.
The project is scheduled to be launched by year’s end by which time Graham hopes to convince Blizzard to waive or at least discount the game’s subscription fee for psychiatrists.
AE: An interesting idea but, as a practical matter, one wonders how an addicted gamer would react to another player "counseling" him or her to take a break.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen…