You might think something as innocuous the American Library Association’s third annual National Gaming Day, held this past Saturday, might be beyond the scope of criticism, but when you have an agenda (and a book) to push, logic, perhaps, goes out the window.
Psychology Today is hosting a column by Ryan Van Cleave, author of Unplugged; My Journey Into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction and the man behind the Video Game Addiction Awareness Week (VGAAW) website.
In his column, Van Cleave takes a chapter out of Iowa State researcher Douglas Gentile’s play book, writing, “…to encourage video game playing without discussing video game addiction is like announcing the pleasures of drinking wine without discussing hangovers and alcoholism.”
Van Cleave goes on to recount a variety of tales of videogame addiction, before stating:
Video game addiction is a future that's available to anyone no matter their race, socio-economic status, or age. That's not to say that everyone who plays will become addicted, but without good role models to show what a healthy relationship to virtual environments looks like, it's easy to slip so far into the digital rabbit hole that once you realize it's too far, it's too late.
The author notes that he does support public libraries and urged National Gaming Day attendees to stick to board games.
If attendees did want to play a videogame, be careful! Van Cleave warned:
If you want to play video games there too, go ahead. Just understand that, statistically speaking, everyone knows at least one person who's either a video game addict or is well on that path.
If you can't locate that person, it might well be you.
Van Cleave’s column was supposed to appear in a “very respectable newspaper,” but a “big-time snafu” relegated it to an appearance on the Psychology Today website.