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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » WoW - The Burning Crusade - Tanya Byron likens games to Drug Addiction

Default WoW - The Burning Crusade - Tanya Byron likens games to Drug Addiction

April 15th, 2008, 23:30
Mcvuk.com has a news article on Dr Tanya Byron's comments on TV program Am I Normal?
“It might seem ludicrous to compare a childish computer fantasy game with hard drug addiction. But addiction counsellors offering treatment to gamers argue that there are key similarities in the way that the consumer gets hooked into coming back for more.”

Byron spoke to counsellor Stephen Noel-Hill, who she revealed was “himself a recovering gambling addict” – and who had set up a recovery clinic in Amsterdam which welcomed ‘games addicts’
More information.
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April 15th, 2008, 23:30
Okey then. Everyone, I am a junky. I have been a junky for 10+ years now. Game junky, that is…

— this just in: I am probably not as retarded as previously assumed!
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April 16th, 2008, 01:48
No wait. Im a member of Gamers Unanimous. We unanimously vote that Dr Tanya Byron is a tard.

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April 16th, 2008, 09:39
Hi, my name is Sorcha, and i've fallen off the bandwagon again…

I just resubscribed, hehe. I can only play WoW in chunks of 6 to 8 weeks, then I get fed up, leave it for a few months, and go back.

I object to the way she describes the game as a 'childish computer fantasy game'. Games are NOT just for children, and some of them (like MMO's, unless they are supervised by an adult) aren't suitable for children at all. Ugh… statements like that really annoy me I have to say.
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April 16th, 2008, 09:49
It is statements like that which really disqualify her opinion. If she thinks they are for children — when at least 8 or 9 million players are FULLY ADULTS — then it shows she has no foundational understanding of the game. Hence her entire conclusion is rendered invalid. Because she is incompetent.

— this just in: I am probably not as retarded as previously assumed!
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April 16th, 2008, 10:53
To be fair, she did not say that WoW were for children, she said that it was 'a childish computer fantasy game'. And I agree. It's childish in the same way the two Lego Star Wars games, I just bought, are childish or like the game Beyond Good & Evil is childish. This does not stop me or other adults from enjoying these games like I have been known to read the Donald Duck comic books - even if this might be considered childish by someone. But I like to read these books - like I also like to watch family movies - even though I'm 44. I also like to read books written for children, like The Golden Compas or the Harry Potter series or the books written by Josefine Ottesen or Lene Kaaberboell. (both Danish authors that write fantasy books for children).

On the other hand she just said, in her recently written report, that no-one really seems to care if children read a lot while every-one seems to care if they play computer-games a lot.

And let us not forget that being addicted to either books or computer games can be a real threat to one's social life; if you read so much or play computer games so much that it interferes with your school life or social life, then it is time for raise the alarm….

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April 16th, 2008, 11:12
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
To be fair, she did not say that WoW were for children, she said that it was 'a childish computer fantasy game'. And I agree. It's childish in the same way the two Lego Star Wars games, I just bought, are childish or like the game Beyond Good & Evil is childish.
So do you mean childish as in it looks like childish with the graphics and all? What about adult-only games like age of conan? Nudity, decapitation, etc. Are they non-childish games then? How do you define the difference? Surely a nipple isnt enough.

Theres actually an adult version of donald duck. Its somwhat different..
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April 16th, 2008, 16:51
It's fairly obvious some people do have problems with games, but then again, people have/make problems with just about anything in life. Funny how very little gets written on Soap addiction and the like; just put it down to a more interesting medium I guess.
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April 16th, 2008, 17:15
MMOs are no more childish than any other activity involving a large amount of people (of all ages) interacting with each other - in an unreal, artificially restricted, or imagined setting. This includes theater, sports, movies, and other similar things.

I will not deny that children play MMOs, and that any escape from reality has aspects of what could be considered childish activity. It's childish in the sense that it represents a desire to embrace fantasy and imagination, but as such it's a fullfilment of a universal need, common in pretty much all human beings - in one way or another.

To single it out as childish, implying that, in this, it's unlike many other kinds of entertainment or social activities, is the same as demonstrating that you have limited experience with the medium, and with that lack of experience or knowledge, any encompassing judgment is a prejudice.

Conclusively, I don't think the value of the opinion is very high. That's not to say it's useless, just uninformed and in effect misleading to those who share her inexperience or those with even less experience. I consider such exposed opinions dangerous to the truth, and I find it unfortunate that people persist in speaking about that which they don't understand, especially if their stance is taken seriously and used by others as an angle of approach - given their own lack of insight.
Last edited by DArtagnan; April 16th, 2008 at 17:22.
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April 16th, 2008, 17:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
To single it out as childish, implying that, in this, it's unlike many other kinds of entertainment or social activities, is the same as demonstrating that you have limited experience with the medium, and with that lack of experience or knowledge, any encompassing judgment is a prejudice.
Sitting on the couch, playing WoW = childish. Sitting on the couch, watching football = adult activity. Sounds convincing . That argument reminds me of my mother telling me off for reading sci-fi, because I should rather read "something real".

It's a bit sad that the article sounds this way, because I think that the similarity between playing MMOs and drug addiction can be quite real. Keep in mind that I don't say that everyone who plays MMOs is addicted - most people have a perfectly healthy behavior in this regard. For some people, though, it gets pathological. If you lose your job or your life partner because of this game, you have a problem that's worth talking about.
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April 16th, 2008, 19:30
They followed up on this because you can view the program online.
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April 16th, 2008, 20:05
If you click at the link that woges has set up so nicely - you get treated to a better explanation, including that of of a biological psychiatrist who says that when we play computergames the game produces dopamine to reward us for playing.

What he (or she) does not say is that every time we do something and what we do, be it playing computer games, reading a book, writing something og singing or yes, making love, pleases us, the brain produces (more) dopamine - to make us do more of the stuff. At least that's how I understand it to be…

I don't know if the 39-year old women who plays WoW every time she gets a chance is an addict or not. But I do know that if she lets her career, her boyfriend or her children slide away from her because she is playing too much WoW that she just might considered a video game addict. Then again, if she were a man, nobody would probably care - since that's just how men are —- I mean, playing videogames all day and all night long. Or so is the common (mis)conception of things…

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April 16th, 2008, 22:07
Addiction? No.
Obsessive, compulsive? Yes.

Addiction has physical and medical ramifications which are more immediately life threatening.

The body producing dopamines is not an issue, it's how the human body works to stimulus. Obsession or compulsion is the issue, plain and simple, and by changing life style patterns, it's easily fixed, and doesn't carry any long term medical or psychological repurcussions like other 'addictions' do.

For those reasons, I would not liken game playing obsessions to 'addictions'.

That being said, do your homework, take out the trash, and get a bath!
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April 16th, 2008, 22:25
Originally Posted by Greymane View Post
Addiction? No.
Obsessive, compulsive? Yes.

Addiction has physical and medical ramifications which are more immediately life threatening.

The body producing dopamines is not an issue, it's how the human body works to stimulus. Obsession or compulsion is the issue, plain and simple, and by changing life style patterns, it's easily fixed, and doesn't carry any long term medical or psychological repurcussions like other 'addictions' do.

For those reasons, I would not liken game playing obsessions to 'addictions'.

That being said, do your homework, take out the trash, and get a bath!
There are basically two meanings to the word addiction. One is what you're referring to, which includes physiological symptoms and effects.

However, you can be addicted to, say, gambling which is clearly not the same thing. In this case, addiction merely means the state of being addicted.

That said, the woman in the article is clearly comparing it to drug addiction, and as such I agree with you - addiction to gaming is something purely psychological and therefore quite different. It's not invalid to draw comparisons between them, though, but to suggest a similarity that close is yet another sign of someone not wearing their thinking cap.
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April 17th, 2008, 00:22
Originally Posted by Greymane View Post
Addiction? No.
Obsessive, compulsive? Yes.

Addiction has physical and medical ramifications which are more immediately life threatening.
The definitions here are not that clear-cut. You can also describe psychological dependencies as addictions, even if some doctors might disagree. As you can get withdrawal symptoms with psychological dependencies, other physicians don't see the differences between psychological and psychological addictions as that large.

Anyway, I'm no psychiatrist, but I know that the term addiction can mean both nowadays.
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