Reply to Tim Morin Post Week 6 Discussion The Pros and Cons of Addiction
Did your colleague present a plausible scenario or situation based on the chosen addictive substance or behavior? Were the arguments presented supported by the research findings offered by your colleague? What other research might you suggest that would further support or disprove the arguments presented? What professional resource or organization might you suggest that would provide further information and/or consultation on the specific topics raised in your colleague’s post? Does your colleague’s post appropriately reflect the guidelines presented in the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct? Do you agree with the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct in terms of how it suggests the situation should be handled? If so, why? If not, why not? Please provide specific examples.
Tim Morin Week 6 Discussion – The Pros and Cons of Addiction
The Pros and Cons of Addiction (Gaming)
Playing video games has produced different perspectives regarding the benefits and risks that can result from extended use. Video games encompass interactive play in which gamers actively engage with a gaming system (i.e., Playstation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One), and the system reacts to the player’s suggested behaviors (Granic et al., 2014). A gamer is an individual that plays video games for extended periods daily. In the United States, over 90% of children play video games between 2-17 years of age and at least an hour every day (Granic et al., 2014).
John is an 18-year-old who recently graduated from high school. He is living with his family and is currently unemployed. John’s mother constantly comes home to find his room messy with dirty clothes, gaming remotes, and video games across the floor. She often addresses his failures of not completing various chores around the house and forgetting to pick up requested items from the store. John’s mother continually asks why he is not looking for a job; yet, he plays video games for hours every day. John expresses that gaming is a job, and he could make a lot of money winning gaming tournaments. His mother stresses that playing games is not a real job, and he needs to find a reliable career.
The Pros of Addictive Gaming
Although gaming can become addictive, several benefits can occur from playing video games routinely. First, it is essential to understand that video games have changed significantly, and they have become increasingly realistic, complex, and social. These changes have helped foster the development and improvement of various areas of learning in children and adolescents, such as cognition, emotion, motivation, and social skills. For example, in a recent study that compared active gamers with a controlled group, results disclosed that the gamers exhibited enhanced mental rotation abilities, faster and more accurate attention allocation, and higher visual processing (Bediou et al., 2018). Children and adolescents also showed more developed problem-solving and creative skills through trial and error, analytical skills, and memorization. In a separate study, the researchers identified that the spatial skills obtained while playing action video games were comparable to the effects of high school and university-level courses whose goals were to improve the same skillsets (Granic et al., 2014). Failure within video games is often unavoidable; however, this occurrence has produced more positive attitudes towards failure and strengthened individual efforts to improve their performance, leading to feelings of accomplishment and reward. According to the behavioral theory, intermittent reinforcement schedules distributed throughout video games have disclosed an effective way to train new behaviors (Granic et al., 2014). Youth are no longer sitting alone playing video games. They can go online and interact with individuals across the world. Following the social theory, studies have indicated that over 70% of gamers play with a friend cooperatively or competitively, resulting in improved social skills and prosocial behaviors that could transition to peer and family relationships outside of video games (Granic et al., 2014).
In relation to the scenario, John can improve in various areas of his life that can transition to educational or professional opportunities. For example, by having improved motor skills, cognitive abilities, and social functioning through effective game playing, John can excel above his competition and become financially stable through winning gaming tournaments. For instance, in 2019, Kyle Giersdorf won first place in the Fortnite world cup at 16 years old, earning $3 million. In addition, universities are now offering full scholarships to major in a degree such as Game Design and Development. This opportunity would allow John to use his skills in gaming to obtain any educational goals, resulting in academic success.
The Cons of Addictive Gaming
There have been numerous studies regarding gaming and its adverse effects on the body. Research has revealed that overusing video games can lead to pathological symptoms and addiction, with adolescent males being the most vulnerable in developing negative behaviors (Yilmaz et al., 2017). Extreme gaming has also been linked with adverse effects in normal functioning, neglect in the routine of basic necessities, reduced in-person social interactions, preoccupation, and reduced time to complete essential tasks at a behavioral level. In a recent study, results disclosed that gaming could produce significant clinical impairments believed to be shared with gambling and substance use disorder (King & Delfabbro, 2018). For example, gamers may experience withdrawal symptoms comparable to symptoms of substance disorder. Similar to gamblers, gamers could spend a large portion of income on in-game purchases or game system accessories, resulting in accrued debt in hopes of improving player performance. Physical effects of gaming include weight loss due to poor diet, pain experienced from poor posture, and reduced sleeping habits, resulting in insomnia, fatigue, and lethargy (King & Delfabbro, 2018). In more severe cases, playing games for long periods and with high-resolution graphics can produce seizures. On an emotional level, gamers may experience intense feelings of boredom, sadness, and irritability when they are incapable of playing video games.
In relation to the scenario, John could impair relationships with his mother, peers, or other family members from failed social interactions caused by gaming. He may neglect essential activities that could adversely affect his health, such as personal hygiene, poor eating, and reduced sleeping. Negative consequences that could also result from extreme gaming are reprimands or loss of productivity when he gets a job, failing grades in school if he attends a university, and continual arguments with family members or a future partner (Yilmaz et al., 2017). A lack of positive reinforcement, success, and reward in non-gaming contexts could potentially cause John to retreat into gaming activities without the proper support system and professional help (King & Delfabbro, 2018).
Reliability and Generalizability of Articles
A recent meta-analysis study by King and Delfabbro (2018) sought to examine the harmful behaviors associated with internet gaming disorder (IGD). Although IGD is a proposed condition and not formally in the DSM-5, research has disclosed that the adverse effects can be linked to extreme gaming, negatively affecting areas of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social skills. Several studies within the literature review indicated that the findings had similar results, producing reliable measures within this study. However, this literature review did not provide data regarding specific demographics, reducing the generalizability. In a similar study by Yilmaz et al. (2017), the authors wanted to develop a valid and reliable instrument (Videogame Addiction Scale for Children [VASC]) regarding the evolution and effects of video game addiction. The sample included approximately 780 children who were evaluated with the VASC instrument. The internal consistency reliability was measured at .89 (Yilmaz et al., 2017). The survey included questions relating to age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and accessibility to technology devices, which helped ensure the study’s generalizability.
APA’s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct
As a psychologist assigned to consult John regarding his extreme gaming behaviors, critical areas of competence and avoid harming the client must be considered. A psychologist must be educated within the psychology field and trained in evaluating various complex situations. When providing services, therapists must only perform within the boundaries of their competence and be familiar with or undertake any education, training, or supervised experience prior to disclosing detailed information (APA, 2010, 2.01(a)). Gaming can be a complex topic to examine if a psychologist does not have experience with video games. Biased opinions may initially cause them to believe gaming is childish and should not require prolonged use daily. However, a psychologist who is an experienced gamer may not identify a problem with John’s behavior, resulting in more adverse symptoms. Psychologists must avoid causing harm when working with clients or take reasonable steps to minimize foreseeable and unavoidable harm (APA, 2010, 3.04(a)). A psychologist must understand the balance of gaming and the benefits and risks associated with playing video games for prolonged periods.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Including 2010 amendments. (Links to an external site.). http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
Bediou, B., Adams, D. M., Mayer, R. E., Tipton, E., Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2018). Meta-analysis of action video game impact on perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills. Psychological Bulletin, 144(1), 77-110. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1037/bul0000130.supp
Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1037/a0034857
King, D. L., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2018). The concept of “harm” in internet gaming disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(3), 562-564.
Yilmaz, E., Griffiths, M., & Kan, A. (2017). Development and validation of Videogame Addiction Scale for Children (VASC). International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 15(4), 869-882. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1007/s11469-017-9766-7
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