I can stop anytime…

The Associated Press is reporting that Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has opened up the first detox center for video game addicts. Video games are said to be potentially as addictive as gambling and drugs. This essentially renders excessive gaming a disease, linked to endorphin production and withdrawl symptoms.

The article, of course, ignores the private clinics that have been operating in the US (don’t know about Canada) for some time where parents of means can send their kids to kick the horse (or is it the hedgehog?).

I should be more sympathetic since people can turn any number of activities (e.g., food, television, even exercise) into addictions. But it’s hard to take this seriously when the article throws in the “gateway drug” scenario:

It can start with a Game Boy, perhaps given by parents hoping to keep their children occupied but away from the television. From there it can progress to multilevel games that aren’t made to be won.

So, that initial pecking on the keyboard leads to obsessive playing of Worlds of Warcraft? The rest of the article is fairly reflective on the reasons for addictive behaviour. The perpetual temptation, however, is to embellish this into something frightening because it’s relatively new and therefore unknown. This leads to sensational media coverage (Danger, danger, Will Robinson, your child could be addicted to that PSP!) and the periodic re-surfacing of the meme of innovation as a horrific social/political condition. Here’s the latest edition in which the mainstream media and political structure create a discourse of hysteria instead of reflecting on root causes.

But back to gaming. Here’s a Wired article from 5 years ago on exactly the same subject.

One Response to “I can stop anytime…”

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