ESA Responds to Column Comparing Drug Use and Slavery to Game Addiction

A column from April 9 in the Hartford Courant compared being addicted to video games like being addicted to hardcore drugs like Methamphetamines and slavery. The column, which makes some incredibly unsubstantiated claims about video game addiction and research, managed to get the attention of the Entertainment Software Association's Rich Taylor, who penned a "Letter to the Editor," pointing out the various ways in which the author of the column, "Helping Video-Addicted Teen Boys," written by John Rosemond is way off the mark on just about everything.

First, here's the worst part of that column, where the author, who is giving advice to the parents of a teenager who claims he is addicted to games and wants him to play sports instead:

"Before any evaluation of your son can yield a reliable picture of his mental health, the video games have to go," Rosemond writes. "To accomplish that, you have to recognize that you are part of the problem. You've become enablers. First, you cannot "suggest" to a methamphetamine addict that he shouldn't use so much meth, that he needs to get more exercise. If the addict won't give up the drug, then people who have influence and authority in his life need to take it away and make sure he can't get his hands on it again. Ever."

This is just one of several statements that Rich Taylor, senior vice president for Communications for the Entertainment Software Association, takes issue with.

In his response to the editorial, Taylor notes that "comparing video games to methamphetamine and slavery is both scientifically irresponsible and offensive."

He also points out that "more researchers are concluding that video games are addictive conflicts with findings from leading scientific and academic authorities," and that "both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have declined to classify 'video game addiction' as a mental disorder, concluding that there is insufficient evidence to make such a determination." It should also be noted that "Internet addiction" is also not recognized as a real addiction by mental health practitioners around the globe.

He closes by saying that Rosemond ignores the "growing body of independent research" that shows that video games can play a "positive role in physical and mental wellness, as well as education and childhood development."

You can check out the entire response from Taylor here.

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    In a way I see this as a bigger deal then the political fights we saw over the last few years.

    Laws are easy to fight, they are out in the open, often state or national in visibility, have well established methods of countering, and have nice big discrete points of succes or failure.

    Pieces like this though, this is the danger we are going to have to face over the coming decades. Therapists and quasi-authoritative advice givers are much smaller but common targets.  They tend to be invisible unless you happen to be the kid impacted by one, there are no laws involved so there is no simple way to fight them, no central authority to say 'ok, you have to behave now'.

    This is a big issue in sexuality right now, many big fights have been won (like Lawernce vs Texas) but we have an entire generation of out dated therapists who hold on to older ideas and prejudices, often ones that resonate well with people in their own age group, i.e. parents, and the impact of that filters down to their kids.  It is a much bigger and slower fight.

  2. 0
    RedMage says:

    Five years ago this might have been a bigger deal, but it's almost too pitiful to take offense now. Like a mean girl in middle school spreading rumors to get attention.

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