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15.9 Cause-and-Effect Essay

Learning objective.

  • Read an example of the cause-and-effect rhetorical mode.

Effects of Video Game Addiction

Video game addition is a serious problem in many parts of the world today and deserves more attention. It is no secret that children and adults in many countries throughout the world, including Japan, China, and the United States, play video games every day. Most players are able to limit their usage in ways that do not interfere with their daily lives, but many others have developed an addiction to playing video games and suffer detrimental effects.

An addiction can be described in several ways, but generally speaking, addictions involve unhealthy attractions to substances or activities that ultimately disrupt the ability of a person to keep up with regular daily responsibilities. Video game addiction typically involves playing games uncontrollably for many hours at a time—some people will play only four hours at a time while others cannot stop for over twenty-four hours. Regardless of the severity of the addiction, many of the same effects will be experienced by all.

One common effect of video game addiction is isolation and withdrawal from social experiences. Video game players often hide in their homes or in Internet cafés for days at a time—only reemerging for the most pressing tasks and necessities. The effect of this isolation can lead to a breakdown of communication skills and often a loss in socialization. While it is true that many games, especially massive multiplayer online games, involve a very real form of e-based communication and coordination with others, and these virtual interactions often result in real communities that can be healthy for the players, these communities and forms of communication rarely translate to the types of valuable social interaction that humans need to maintain typical social functioning. As a result, the social networking in these online games often gives the users the impression that they are interacting socially, while their true social lives and personal relations may suffer.

Another unfortunate product of the isolation that often accompanies video game addiction is the disruption of the user’s career. While many players manage to enjoy video games and still hold their jobs without problems, others experience challenges at their workplace. Some may only experience warnings or demerits as a result of poorer performance, or others may end up losing their jobs altogether. Playing video games for extended periods of time often involves sleep deprivation, and this tends to carry over to the workplace, reducing production and causing habitual tardiness.

Video game addiction may result in a decline in overall health and hygiene. Players who interact with video games for such significant amounts of time can go an entire day without eating and even longer without basic hygiene tasks, such as using the restroom or bathing. The effects of this behavior pose significant danger to their overall health.

The causes of video game addiction are complex and can vary greatly, but the effects have the potential to be severe. Playing video games can and should be a fun activity for all to enjoy. But just like everything else, the amount of time one spends playing video games needs to be balanced with personal and social responsibilities.

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Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Video Game Addiction and Emotional States: Possible Confusion Between Pleasure and Happiness?

1 Research Center for Work and Consumer Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

2 Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

Nicolas Debue

Jonathan lete, cécile van de leemput, associated data.

All datasets generated for this study are included in the article/supplementary material.

Internet gaming disorder is characterized by a severely reduced control over gaming, resulting in an increasing gaming time and leading to negative consequences in many aspects of the individual life: personal, family, social, occupational and other relevant areas of functioning (World Health Organization). In the last years, the significant boom in using video games has been raising health issues that remain insufficiently understood. The extent of this phenomenon (the estimated prevalence is between 1.7 and 10% of the general population) has led the mentioned Organization to include gaming disorders in the list of mental health conditions (2018). Several studies show converging findings that highlight the common brain activities between substance use disorders and behavioral addictions (i.e., gaming disorders). Addiction specialists observed that addict subjects tend to confuse pleasure with happiness when linking emotional states to their addictive activities. As far as we know, beyond the mentioned observations, distinguishing the perception of these two emotional states in the frame of an addiction has not been yet the object of formal research. This study aims at examining the possible confusion between pleasure and happiness within the addiction sphere. Video game addiction has been chosen to explore the possible occurrence of this perceptional distortion. A mixed design lab-based study was carried out to compare between video games addicts and non-addicts (between-subjects), and video games-related activities and neutral activities (within-subject). Emotional reactions were gauged by self-reported scales and physiological data acquired through a range of biosensors: Relaxation and Hearth Rate. From a therapeutic standpoint, this research intends to explore alternatives to deal with this sort of disorders. More specifically, at the cognitive level, the idea is elaborating guidelines to develop patients’ insights into these emotional states and thus increasing their ability to handle them. Overall, several indices resulting from this study constitute a bundle of arguments that argue in favor of the confusion between pleasure and happiness made by addict users when associating their affective states to video gaming. Furthermore, this approach illustrates how reappraising emotions may contribute to reducing the perceptional distortion of these emotional states.


In the last years, the significant boom in using video games (VG) has been raising health issues that remain insufficiently understood ( Khazaal et al., 2016 ). The World Health Organization [WHO] (2018) has recently included “gaming disorders” in the list of mental health conditions. According to WHO this affliction is a “persistent or recurrent behavior pattern of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

The fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) considers the ‘Internet Gaming Disorder’ as a potential new diagnosis that requires further research ( Petry et al., 2015 ). The prevalence of problematic gaming is estimated to range from 1.7% to over 10% among general population ( Griffiths et al., 2012 ).

Compared to the core topics of research in neuroscience such as stress, depression, etc., the chronic use of VG is a rather recent field of investigation. Yet, a growing number of studies have been produced in this field in the last two decades ( Andreassen et al., 2016 ). Indeed, several research projects have been exploring VG addiction from a behavioral, emotional, brain circuits and genetic perspectives ( Griffiths et al., 2012 ; Dong et al., 2017 ).

There seems to be converging findings that highlight the common brain activities between VG disorders (belonging to the cluster of behavioral addictions) and substance use disorders (SUD). It has been shown that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, orbital frontal cortex, para-hippocampal gyrus and thalamus were activated in both disorders ( Han et al., 2011 ). The limbic structures appear to be the key circuits linked with reward and addiction ( Cooper et al., 2017 ). In subjects suffering from these disorders, cues associated with SUD and with behavioral addiction can trigger craving, which is connected with the dopamine reward system ( Ko et al., 2009 ; Han et al., 2011 ). In addition, it has been observed that the level of dopamine released in the ventral striatum when playing a competition like video game is comparable to that provoked by psycho-stimulant drugs ( Koepp et al., 1998 ; Yau et al., 2012 ). Few studies have been carried out on the genetic aspects of this topic. Some of them indicate that there would be genetic background similarities between these two disorders. For example, the homozygous short allelic variant of the 5HTTLPR gene (encoding the serotonin transporter) is more prevalent among the excessive Internet user, which is also linked with increased drug consumption ( Serretti et al., 2006 , as cited in Yau et al., 2012 ; Lee et al., 2008 , as cited in Yau et al., 2012 ).

As described later, studying the confusion between pleasure and happiness in the frame of addiction requires as clear a demarcation as possible between these two emotional states. Although a consensus among scientists on how to define and distinguish pleasure and happiness remains to be reached (see next section Pleasure and Happiness ), in this research we have adopted the following distinctive traits to describe and to work with these two emotional states: pleasure relates to a transient emotional state resulting from the satisfaction of a desire, a craving, and happiness refers to a lasting emotional state of contentment, euthymia ( Pollard, 2003 ; Lustig, 2017 ).

According to Lustig (2017) , addictions together with depression are two rampant afflictions in the last decades and constitute the harmful extremes of pleasure (associated with the dopaminergic system) and happiness (associated with the serotoninergic system) respectively ( Üstün et al., 2004 ; Lepine and Briley, 2011 ; Szalavitz, 2011 ; Whiteford et al., 2013 ; Gowing et al., 2015 ; Keyes et al., 2015 ). Based on his long practice on addiction issues, this author argues that confusing pleasure (in the sense of longing, craving, strongly driven by a short term reward) with happiness is linked with SUD and with behavioral addictions (i.e., gambling, eating disorders, excessive use of technology like for example social media and VG, etc.), which could lead to depression ( Lawrence et al., 2014 ). According to the author, confusing pleasure with happiness is related to the growth rate of this disorder insofar as it would encourage seeking immediate gratifications perceived as sources of happiness, which in turn triggers the reward system with the risk to sink into the vicious circle of addiction ( Pollard, 2003 ). Besides, the significant industrial development, through its commercial campaigns, probably tended to lead individuals to equate consumption with happiness ( Schmidt, 2016 ; Lustig, 2017 ). From a physiological standpoint, the author highlights that an over excited reward system engenders an excess of dopamine (DA) release from the ventral tegmental area, which in return decreases serotonin (5HT) level (associated with depression) ( Pollard, 2003 ; MacNicol, 2016 ).

Moreover, Lustig underlines that DA and 5HT amino acids (needed for the production of DA and 5HT) share the amino acid transporters, which poses a problem in case of DA amino acid over presence: that is to say, the more amino acids for DA, the less amino acids transporters are available for 5HT amino acids. In short, this DA-5HT unbalance illustrates one of the facets of the DA-5HT interaction in which the low 5HT level, associated with depression, prevents the serotoninergic system to exert its inhibitory role to imped the over drive of the dopaminergic system ( Esposito et al., 2008 ).

Chronic stress and anxiety may further aggravate this problem by increasing the cortisol level and thus creating a loop with dopamine activating the sympathetic nerve system and reinforcing the reward seeking behavior while down-regulating 5HT -1a receptor, which decreases the serotonin signaling and increases the depression likelihood ( Lustig, 2017 ). These findings are in line with studies that associate stress, anxiety and depression with Internet gaming disorders ( Wenzel et al., 2009 ; Griffiths et al., 2012 ).

Fundamentally, from a phylogenetic standpoint, it is likely that pleasure has contributed more than happiness ( Pollard, 2003 ; Lustig, 2017 ), which could explain the stronger drive of the short term gratifications over the quest for medium and long term euthymia. In sum, this suggests that identifying the possible confusion between the mentioned emotional states associated with the addictive activities may contribute to deepen the understanding of this sort of disorders and consequently to explore new therapeutic options.

The emotional states (and their consequences) associated with VG as felt and perceived by chronic users led to thorough interrogations of health professionals. Several studies intended to explore this issue by focusing on the individual characteristics of addict players. For instance, the general level of happiness appears to be a firm candidate to predict addiction to VG playing ( Hull et al., 2013 ). In effect, it has been shown that gaming disorders are positively correlated with depression and loneliness and negatively correlated with well-being ( Lemmens et al., 2011 ; Sarda et al., 2016 ). These two studies relied on a eudaimonic notion of well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, a life well lived). Thus, based on the mentioned definitions of pleasure and happiness, on the semantic net (see Annex ) and on the analysis made in the next section (Pleasure and Happiness), in this research well-being is assimilated to happiness due to the considerable common ground shared between these two concepts. In line with these findings, another study highlights the association between high frequency of online gaming with depression and social phobia ( Wei et al., 2012 ). Similar results were found in a study in which, compared with no addict Internet user, Internet addict subjects used to play online games reported significantly more depressive symptoms ( Geisel et al., 2015 ).

From a psychological symptoms standpoint, it has also been observed that when playing VG, addict gamers have a sense of well being or euphoria while playing VG, inability to stop the activity, craving more time at playing VG, feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not playing VG, with all the pernicious consequences these symptoms have on the private, social and professional life ( Griffiths, 2008 ). At glance, the coexistence of well being and craving might come across as paradoxical, although the mentioned work ( Lustig, 2017 ) on this issue provides some elements of answer to this finding.

Using a video game clip as a stimulation trial, it has been studied ( Kim et al., 2018 ) the craving state of chronic users when playing VG through measures resulting from addiction questionnaires and several bio signals such as eye blinking, eye saccadic movements, skin conductance and respiratory rate. The results of this work showed that during the stimulation trial video game there was a decrease of eye blinking rate, eye saccadic movement rate and mean amplitude of the skin conductance response whereas there was a significant increase of the mean respiratory rate.

Another study ( Lu et al., 2010 ; as cited in Kim et al., 2018 ) focused on a group of individuals with high risks of developing Internet gaming disorders (IGD) and their sympathetic nervous system responses. When using Internet in this experiment, increases were observed in blood volume, body temperature and respiratory rate. Heart rate (HR) has also been used as a reliable indicator of craving in subjects with SUD ( Kennedy et al., 2015 ).

Pleasure and Happiness

The psychophysiological and brain mechanisms of pleasure and happiness are quite complex and probably more research is required to better discerning these processes. Some studies have underlined that the hedonic system includes wanting and liking and each of these two emotional states may operate in a conscious and unconscious mode ( Berridge and Kringelbach, 2011 ). Studies indicate that unconscious wanting would function as a conditioned desire involving the nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, hypothalamus and dopamine; on the other hand the unconscious liking would relate to a sensory hedonic dimension associated with the nucleus accumbens, ventral pallidum, periaqueductal gray, amygdala, opioids and cannabinoids ( Kringelbach and Berridge, 2009 ; Berridge and Kringelbach, 2013 ). The same studies show that conscious wanting would relate to cognitive incentives, subjective desires and dopamine whereas conscious liking would be linked with subjective pleasures, opioids and cannabinoids; both would involve the orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate and insular.

It has been shown that the level of activation of some of the mentioned areas would be altered in subjects with Internet gaming disorders: sensing craving for gaming is associated with an increased activation of the left orbitofrontal cortex (correlated with desire for VG play) and with a decreased activation in the anterior cingulate cortex (probably linked with the reduced capacity to inhibit craving for gaming) ( Wang et al., 2017 ).

There might be a relation between the complexity of these brain circuits linked to these emotional states and the polysemy of these two terms, happiness and pleasure , which may contribute to the possible confusion between them. Indeed, the intense interrelation between them finds expression in subtle distinctive features and in some connotations with vague borders, to the extent that these words might be regarded as almost synonyms. The semantic analysis of these two terms produced in this research intends to show their core meanings, their nuances and the possible intersections between them ( Procter, 1985 ). Trying to unravel and to understand these two emotional states is not a recent endeavor. For instance, Greek thinkers approached the notion of happiness as a state constituted by two components: Hedonia (pleasure) and Eudaimonia (a life well lived) ( Kringelbach and Berridge, 2009 ).

Due to its nature, defining and studying happiness is a quite uneasy task. Although progress has been made on this rather recent area of study, there is still a lack of consensus when it comes to defining this concept. Some authors distinguish fluctuating happiness (self centered) from durable, authentic happiness (self-transcendent) ( Dambrun et al., 2012 ). Another study uses the value-arousal model on emotions to define it, according to which happiness results from a positive valence, high arousal and engaged and satisfied in life ( Cipresso et al., 2014 ). Lustig (2017) emphasizes the time perspective as one of the distinguishing traits between these two emotional states by opposing the short-term logic of pleasure to the longer-term characteristics of happiness .

These last two studies are quite illustrative of the differences with regard to defining happiness , in particular when it comes to including or not pleasure in it. Whilst there seems to be a consensus on “life satisfaction,” “connecting with others” and “contentment” as the main traits of happiness , it is less clear whether pleasure is part of it. Usually, in the literature there are two understandings to articulate these emotional states: either both ( happiness and pleasure) are seen as inseparable concepts or happiness is regarded as a state free from distress (‘liking’ without ‘wanting’) ( Kringelbach and Berridge, 2010 ; Berridge and Kringelbach, 2011 ; Loonen and Ivanova, 2016 ; Lustig, 2017 ). Whether or not pleasure is included in the definition of happiness , to the best of our knowledge there is no study that includes craving (intense desire, longing) as a trait of happiness .

Thus, based on the mentioned definitions and on the association between craving and arousal ( Kennedy et al., 2015 ), craving for playing VG may subscribe itself within the realm of pleasure , but stands outside of the happiness’ sphere.

Within the frame of this research, Pleasure refers to the hedonic reward processes driven by a desire to obtain a gratification that can lead to craving in certain circumstances ( Berridge and Kringelbach, 2011 ). Pleasure has been associated with the dopaminergic circuit which can, in certain circumstances, function in an addictive mode and can affect also habits, conditioning, motivation and executives functions such as decision making, inhibitory control, etc. ( Volkow et al., 2011 ).

Happiness is understood as contentment and euthymic state, in line with a happy emotional state defined by a positive valence and low arousal ( Jatupaiboon et al., 2013 ). Physiologically, this state implies a reposed mind; akin to the relaxation state measured through the brain electrical activity ( Teplan and Krakovskà, 2009 ). In the literature this mood is related to the serotoninergic circuit ( Lustig, 2017 ).

To the best of our knowledge, there is no existing questionnaire focusing on the association between VG and pleasure/happiness. Thus, our study required a preliminary phase to design such self-report tool whose aim is to explore the perceived emotional states (pleasure/happiness) associated with VG play.

As far as we know, distinguishing the perception of these two emotional states in the frame of an addiction has not been yet the object of formal research, hence the reduced literature on this specific issue, in particular the experimental one.

Consequently this research may be seen as a preliminary study, which aims at examining the possible confusion between pleasure and happiness within the addiction sphere. VG addiction has been chosen to explore the possible occurrence of this perceptional distortion. Emotional reactions of VG addicts and VG non-addicts were gauged via self-report scales and physiological data (Heart rate and Relaxation state) acquired by a range of biosensors.

Resulting from the mentioned background, it is hypothesized that addict VG users:

Are likely to confuse the notions of pleasure with that of happiness when associating their emotional states to VG play.

The results of this study are expected to show that addict VG users associate happiness with VG activities while feeling craving for playing accompanied by an increased HR and a low relaxation level. Given the shortage of previous researches on the specific issue related to the confusion between pleasure and happiness in VG addiction, the outcome of this study is approached in an exploratory manner.

From a therapy standpoint, this project intends to explore alternatives to deal with this kind of scenarios. More specifically, at the cognitive level, the idea is finding means to develop patients’ insights into these emotional states and thus increasing their ability to handle them.

Materials and Methods

Preliminary phase: design of the “pleasure and/or happiness and vg” questionnaire, participants.

In total 105 VG players participated in this survey, out of which 61 filled all the questionnaires required for the design of the “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire. The mean age of these 61 participants was 24.28 and the standard deviation 5.48. There were 33 males (54.1%) and 28 females (45.9%). The mean of playtime during working days was 4.49 h and the standard deviation 6.82, and during holidays and weekends 4.68 h and the standard deviation 3.13.

An online survey was run via video game forum and Reddit site (network of communities with common interests). The purpose of this survey was to evaluate the internal coherence of our self-report tool (Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG) relative to two validated questionnaires (on Hedonic tone and Happiness). Thus the survey consisted in filling the three questionnaires. Participants completed anonymously and voluntarily the questionnaires through their online gamers groups.

Two validated and known questionnaires were used to construct the ‘ Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG’ questionnaire through which the emotional states associated with VG activities were evaluated: the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS) ( Snaith et al., 1995 ), an assessment tool of hedonic tone, and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ) ( Hills and Argyle, 2002 ). The French version of these two questionnaires was used ( Loas et al., 1997 ; Bruchon-Schweitzer and Boujut, 2014 ).

The abbreviated SHAPS is composed of 14 items to assess the hedonic tone and the absence of it. The answer scale for each item offers four possible options ranging from ‘Definitely agree’ to ‘Strongly disagree.’ The OHQ is extensively used to evaluate the individual level of happiness. For each of its 29 items, the answer scale has 6 options going from ‘Strongly disagree’ to ‘Strongly agree.’

Several items of the SHAPS and the OHQ are quite adapted to the VG paradigm and lend themselves to be contextualized. For example, the first item of the SHAPS questionnaire is formulated as: “I would enjoy my favorite television or radio program.” In this case “television or radio program” is replaced by “video game.” An example of OHQ concerns the item “I am very happy,” which became “I am very happy when playing VG.” So, these kinds of items constitute the questionnaire whose aim is identifying the emotional states that users associate with VG. Initially, eight items were adapted to VG from these two questionnaires: four items from SHAPS and four items from OHQ. The answer scale provides with six possible options ranging from ‘fully disagree’ to ‘fully agree.’

Statistical Analysis

In order to ensure the usefulness of the designed self-report tool, an Alpha Cronbach test was run on the results of this survey to measure the internal coherence between the ‘VG and Pleasure/Happiness’ and the two other questionnaires (SHAPS and OHQ). Moreover, it has been examined whether there is a correlation between VG play frequency and the two areas explored in this survey: the general happiness level (OHQ) and the emotional states associated with VG (‘Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG’).

The Experiment

The study was announced through the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) scientific social media as well as via leaflets available in public cyber games centers in Brussels. Gamers interested to participate in this study had to answer an on-line survey ( N = 163), in which the following data was gathered: age, play frequency, name of VG played and a validated test to assess the gaming addiction level (Gaming Addiction Scale, Lemmens et al., 2009 ). The French version of this scale was used ( Gaetan et al., 2014 ). Being used to play to at least one of these five popular VG (Fornite, Overwatch, League of Legends, Counter-Strike or Rocket League) and an age ranging from 18 to 70 years old were the inclusion criteria. Competing against another team and playing in groups are the common characteristics of these VG. The exclusion criteria were having vision impairments and neurological problems.

Two groups of gamers were invited to participate in this study: addict users (AU) and non-addict users (NAU). None of the invitees met the exclusion criteria. The selection and recruitment were based on the score obtained in the test on gaming addiction, resulting in: AU ( N = 12) and NAU ( N = 17) (7 females and 22 males, ranging from 19 to 29 years old). They were all French speakers Belgian residents. The mean age was 23 and the standard deviation of 3. The difference between sexes in terms of VG addiction is not statistically significant (3/7 AU females and 9/22 AU males, U 45.5, p = 0.130).

This experiment took place within the frame in the usability laboratory of the Research Centre of Work and Consumer Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Before the experiment all the procedures were explained to participants and their consent was asked on formal basis. They were informed that:

  • – This experiment aims at better understanding the video game phenomenon (without mentioning the issue relative to the emotional states and VG).
  • – They have to fill several questionnaires (in French).
  • – Some non-invasive artifacts are set to gather measurements on physiological signals while they watch video clips.
  • – The Ethical Committee of ULB approved this study in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

The participants were welcome into the testing room of the laboratory by the examiner. They were seated and given an informed consent form. Once the form was read and signed, the study procedure was explained. Then, the Electroencephalogram (EEG) headset was placed onto the participant’s head and an impedance check was run.

Before the beginning of the experiment, each participant chose his/her favorite VG he/she uses to play among the five initially proposed. During the experiment, the examiner observed the participant through a one-way-glass, avoiding interference.

Finally, participants were thanked for their participation, compensated and given information on obtaining the results of the study. The whole experimental run took around 1 h.

Prior to starting the operational phases of the experiment, all devices are set to initiate the baseline recording of all the physiological signals.

Six phases compose this experiment ( Figure 1 ). In each phase of the experiment the emotional states associated with VG were examined either through self-report questionnaires or via physiological measures. The physiological measures were recorded during the visioning of two sorts of video clips: VG clips whose aim was to induce craving and neutral video clips (documentaries on nature) intending to reduce craving.

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Synthetic view of the experimental phases.

The six experimental phases:

  • (1) “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” (six items): Participants were invited to fill the self-report questionnaire designed in the preliminary phase.
  • (2) Watching a neutral clip during 2 min while recording physiological signals related the mentioned two emotional states. This phase intends to decrease craving in participants.
  • (3) Craving score: Participants were asked to express their craving state to play their favorite VG via a one item self-report questionnaire.
  • (4) Watching a VG clip during 2 min while recording the same physiological signals as in phase two related to the mentioned emotional states. The objective of this phase is to increase craving in participants.
  • (5) Craving score: the same procedure and self-report tool as in phase 3 were applied.
  • (6.1) “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” (Three bipolar items).
  • (6.2) “Key words and VG”: participants were invited to associate a list of words to VG activities.
  • (6.3) “Pleasure and VG or Happiness and VG” (one bipolar item): participants were asked to associate one of the two emotional states to VG play.

The cycle from the 2nd phase to the 5th phase was repeated five times for each participant. In each of these five cycles, different episodes of video clips (the chosen VG and the neutral clip) were shown randomly so as to avoid the habituation phenomenon and minimize the influence that the order of the sequence of episodes could have on participants’ responses.

  • – Experimental groups: AU and NAU

The Gaming Addiction Scale (GAS) ( Lemmens et al., 2009 ; Gaetan et al., 2014 ) was used to constitute these groups. As a tool to measure game addiction, GAS possesses significant assets. Lemmens et al. (2009) showed the validity of this scale from a cross population point of view and its one-dimensional characteristic resulting from the factorial analysis. In addition, in the same study it has been shown the concurrent validity of GAS insofar as this scale is associated with play frequency as well as with psychological features related with game addiction, namely decreased level of social competence and of well being, and high level of aggression and of loneliness. Moreover, high scores in GAS are also linked with attentional deficiencies in response inhibition when perceiving game cues ( van Holst et al., 2012 ; in Khazaal et al., 2016 ), which converges with results produced by other researches associating impulsivity and cue reactivity with other addictive behaviors ( Billieux et al., 2011 ; Khazaal et al., 2012 ; Torres et al., 2013 ). Relative to other game addiction measurements, GAS has the most complete covering of the Internet gaming disorder criteria of the DSM-5 ( Petry et al., 2014 ). Although it was initially designed for adolescents, there are substantial evidences to state that GAS is applicable for young adults too ( Khazaal et al., 2016 ).

Each of the seven items of this scale starts with the question “How often in the last 6 months…?” to explore the impact of video gaming on different aspects of the subject’s life. The possible answers are: never, rarely, sometimes, often and very often. The first two answers score 0, the last three answers score 1. If the total sum of these scores is 4 or higher, the subject is considered an AU according to this scale.

  • – The experiment

In the first phase, participants were asked to fill the “ Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire composed by six items: three items that tie Pleasure (P) and VG, three items that tie Happiness (H) and VG (six-items in total).

The answer scale for each item was composed of six options ranging from ‘Fully disagree’ to ‘fully agree.’ Each of these six items is answered separately, thus the overall possible results of this questionnaire can be: (1) P and VG > H and VG or (2) H and VG < P and VG or, (3) P and VG = H and VG.

In the second phase (Neutral video clip), two physiological signals related to Pleasure and Happiness were recorded. Based on the correlates found between HR and craving, this physiological signal is used as an indicator of arousal ( Kennedy et al., 2015 ).

Despite the difficulty in defining and in measuring happiness , the brain electrical activity is recorded (Electroencephalogram, EEG) mainly to detect the relaxation state. This state appears close to the notion of happiness; in the literature it is accepted that the increase of alpha waves is correlated with mental and physical rest ( Teplan and Krakovskà, 2009 ).

In the third phase, participants were asked to express their craving state to play his/her favorite VG. The statement employed in this self-report tool was: “State your present craving for gaming.” Participants have to choose the answer that best fitted their self-assessment among six possible answers offered by the scale ranging from “I do not feel any craving for gaming” to “I feel a very strong craving for gaming.”

In the fourth phase (VG clip), the same physiological signals as in the second phase were measured.

In the fifth phase, the same procedure to assess craving for gaming as in the third phase was employed.

In the sixth phase, three other self-report questionnaires were submitted to participants and used to evaluate the association between the mentioned emotional states and VG:

  • – “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” (three bipolar items). The same six items of the “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire used in phase 1 were presented in a bipolar structure: three items opposing “Pleasure and VG” vs. “Happiness and VG.” For example, if in the six items questionnaire the items “I would enjoy my favorite VG” (Pleasure/VG) and “I am happy when playing VG” (Happiness/VG) are presented separately, in this questionnaire they are part of the same item: “I would enjoy my favorite VG” vs. “I am happy when playing VG.” By doing so, participants are encouraged to choose which of their emotional states (Pleasure, Happiness) is associated with VG playing. That said, the scale has an uneven number of options (five) between the two extremes, the central option representing the equal association of Pleasure and Happiness with VG play. Thus, the overall possible results are identical as in phase 1.
  • – “Key words and VG”. Participants were asked to choose three words (out of ten) that they associate most with their VG activities. These 10 key words come from the semantic mapping elaborated in this research of the terms used in the formal statements defining pleasure and happiness in this study. For example, some words from the happiness sphere are contentment and well being , whereas desire and joy relate to pleasure . Besides, they are in line with both definitions Lustig’s (2017) . Only the ten words (French version) were shown to participants. Although the possible results are similar to those of six-item “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire and three-bipolar item “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire, this time the same association (emotional states and VG) is tackled via key words directly linked to the two studied emotional states ( Pleasure, Happiness ) but without mentioning them. This self-report format intends to gain accuracy in the identification of gamers’ emotional states associated with VG.
  • – “Pleasure and VG or Happiness and VG”. The written definitions of both pleasure and happiness , based on work Lustig’s (2017) , were shown to participants. Then they were asked to read carefully these definitions and to take them into account when answering one bi-polar item that opposes “Pleasure and VG” vs. “Happiness and VG.” Unlike in the three-bipolar items questionnaire, the answer scale between these this bipolar item has an even number of options (six). This time is an “either/or” choice they are faced with, therefore the possible results are: P and VG < H and VG or P and VG > H and VG. Basically this questionnaire intends to strengthen consistency in participants’ insights into this issue by inviting them to confront their perception of their emotional states associated with VG play with the mentioned formal definitions, comparable to an emotions reappraisal process ( Seay and Kraut, 2007 ).

In short, four self-report questionnaires (see Annex ) aim at exploring this dependent variable (association between these two emotional states and VG play) by looking at the consistency of participants’ answers to the different formats of questions. The questions’ formats are:

  • – Pleasure and/or happiness can be associated with VG (six independent items);
  • – Pleasure and/or happiness can be associated to VG (three bipolar items);
  • – Pleasure and/or happiness can be associated to VG through key words defining the two emotional states (without mentioning the words pleasure and happiness );
  • – Pleasure or happiness can be associated to VG (written explicit definitions of pleasure and happiness are given to participants).

This approach aims at exploring the coherence between the self-reported answers and the physiological signals, as a means to objectivize the perceived emotional states associated with VG play by the two mentioned groups of participants (addict gamers and non-addict gamers).

The previously mentioned theoretical framework indicates that the notion of craving relates to an arousal state that could lead to an addictive pattern and consequently stands out of the realm of happiness.

Expected Results

Based on the analysis made on this issue previously as well as on the hypothesis of this study, the expected results could be synthesized as shown in Table 1 .

Summary of the expected results.

  • – Self-Report Questionnaires

For the self-report questionnaires, it is expected that, compared to NAU, the AU group:

  • – In “Pleasure and/or happiness associated with VG” (six independent items) associates more happiness than pleasure with VG play.
  • – Reports more craving for playing after watching VG clip.
  • – In “ Pleasure and/or happiness associated to VG” (three bipolar items) associates more happiness than pleasure with VG play.
  • – Associates VG play with key words more related to happiness category than to those of pleasure .
  • – In “ Pleasure or happiness associated to VG” associates VG play with pleasure (like NAU).
  • – Physiological Signals

It is expected to observe an interaction between the groups (AU, NAU) and the conditions (VG clip, Neutral clip). Namely, it is assumed that visioning the VG clips has an effect on AU increasing HR while decreasing Relaxation.

After verifying the normality of distributions (Kolmogorov–Smirnov), the means comparison between the two groups (NAU, AU) was calculated for self-report questionnaires measuring the association between VG and Pleasure/Happiness (Mann–Whitney U ) for the six-items “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG,” the three-bipolar items “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” and the one-bipolar item “Pleasure and VG or Happiness and VG.” The Chi square was used for “Key words and VG.” In order to determine whether there are differences between independent groups over time and to identify possible interactions between the two independent variables on the dependent variables, a two-way mixed ANOVA (within and between subjects) was used for the craving scores and the physiological signals recorded ( Table 2 ).

Synthetic view of independent and dependent variables.

The experiment was run on a desktop computer with an Intel Core i7 quad processor and 8 GB RAM, running Windows 10. Stimuli were displayed on a 22-inch monitor and resolution was set to 1680 × 1050. Participants used standard mouse and keyboard as input devices. EEG measurement includes detecting the fluctuation of voltage potential generated by large group of neurons in the brain. The EEG signal was obtained through the use of EPOC headset. This device allows to remotely getting data of brain activity using a wireless set of fourteen electrodes (AF3, AF4, F3, F4, F7, F8, FC5, FC6, T7, T8, P7, P8, O1, O2) sampled at 128 hertz.

The relaxation state was measured by one of the composite metrics of the Emotiv software. HR was measured by using Schimer 3 (Photoplethysmography). The I. Motions software version 7.1 (Imotions Inc. 2018) was used to recording the mentioned data and presenting stimuli to participants. The statistical analysis was conducted with IBM SPSS statistics v.25.

Design of the “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” Questionnaire

The Cronbach’s alpha (0.859) showed a high internal coherence between the SHAPS and three items (out of four) of the “Pleasure and VG” within the “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire. The fourth item has been disregarded; its presence would have dropped the Cronbach’s alpha to 0.685. The internal coherence obtained between the OHQ and the “Happiness and VG” items within the “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire was quite high for the four items concerned (alpha 0.901). However, the internal coherence between these four items was too weak due to one item (alpha 0.407). The exclusion of this item raised the alpha significantly (0.836). Consequently, only the consistent items have been kept (six out of the initial eight items: three on “Pleasure and VG,” and three on “Happiness and VG,” see Annex ).

Moreover, it has been examined whether there is an association between VG play frequency and the two areas explored in this survey: the general happiness level (OHQ) and the emotional states associated with VG via the “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaire. The constitution of the group of frequent gamers and that of non-frequent gamers was determined by calculated median (18 h per week). In line with several studies linking problematic gaming and well-being and life satisfaction, a moderate negative correlation ( R = −0.249; p = 0.056) was found between VG high play frequency and the OHQ scores ( Griffiths, 2008 ; Lemmens et al., 2011 ). In addition, there is a marginal significant difference [ T (58) = 1.923; p = 0.059] between frequent VG users and non-frequent VG users relative to the OHQ scores.

The “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” Six-Items Questionnaire

The Kolmogorov–Smirnov outcome indicates the need for using a non-parametric test to compare the two groups. The Mann–Whitney test shows that there was no significant difference observed between the AU and NAU relative to association between VG play and pleasure (item 1. U = 78, p = 0.30; item 3. U = 75, p = 0.24 and item 5 U = 86, p = 0.49) ( Table 3 ).

Descriptive statistics of “Pleasure and/or Happiness associated with VG” (6-items): [Pleasure (P), Happiness (H) associated with VG].

In contrast, there is a significant statistical difference in the three items where AU associate VG play with happiness (item 2. U = 40, p = 0.005; item 4. U = 54, p = 0.034 and item 6. U = 34, p = 0.002) more than NAU.

Craving Scores

Results in craving ( Table 4 and Figure 2 ) show a statistically significant interaction F (1,25) = 4.78 ( p = 0.038). Indeed, relative to the neutral clip, the VG clip condition has significantly amplified the reported craving difference between the two groups (AU craving score > NAU craving scores).

Descriptive statistics for self-report Craving.

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Self-report craving (groups: AU, NAU; conditions: Neutral clips, VG clips).

Physiological Signals Measurements

The AU’s relaxation is significantly lower [ F (1,24) = 8.616; p = 0.007] than NAU’s in both conditions (Between-Subjects Effects). The relaxation level decreases in both groups during the VG clip. On the other hand, conditions do not influence the relaxation difference between the two groups [ F (1,24) = 0.001; p = 0.98] ( Table 5 and Figure 3 ). Furthermore, there is a significant statistical gender difference in both conditions (Neutral clip: Male 17.36, Female 7.57. U = 25, p = 0.008 – VG clip: Male 17.09, Female 8.43. U = 31, p = 0.019).

Descriptive statistics: Relaxation index (EEG EPOC, Emotiv software).

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Relaxation [groups: AU, NAU; Conditions: (1) Neutral clips, (2) VG clips].

Concerning the other physiological variable (HR) ( Table 6 and Figure 4 ), there is an effect of VG clips on both groups [ F (1,15) = 20.802; p < 0.001]. Nevertheless, there was no statistically significant interaction [ F (1,15) = 0.028; p = 0.86], nor an effect of addiction on VG clip condition [ F (1,15) = 0.083; p = 0.777]. It is important noting that due to corrupted data the number of valid subjects taken into account was 17 (8 AU and 9 NAU).

Descriptive statistics: Heart Rate (HR).

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Heart Rate [groups: AU, NAU; Conditions: Neutral clips (1), VG clips (2)].

The “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” Three-Bipolar Items Questionnaire

The descriptive statistics of this three-bipolar items questionnaire ( Table 7 ), indicate that the AU group linked VG activities more with happiness than the NAU group. The Mann–Whitney test shows a significant difference between these two associations ( U = 47; p = 0.013).

Descriptive Statistics: Pleasure/VG vs. Happiness/VG (3 bipolar items).

Key Words and VG

Results state the absence of significant difference between AU and NAU in associating the key words from the Pleasure cluster with VG play, and words from the Happiness cluster with VG (Chi square, p = 0.942) ( Table 8 ). When taking words separately, the biggest gap between the two groups relates to the word well-being (belonging to the happiness cluster) associated to VG play (AU: 25%, NAU: 0%).

Descriptive statistics: number of words per category (Pleasure, Happiness) associated to VG play chosen by NAU and AU.

“Pleasure and VG or Happiness and VG” (One Bipolar Item Questionnaire With Written Definitions)

The outcome of this questionnaire indicates that there is no significant difference between AU and NAU ( U = 102, p = 1). Both groups have clearly associated VG play with pleasure ( Table 9 ).

Descriptive statistics: Happiness/VG or Pleasure/VG (1 bipolar item, with Definitions of Pleasure and Happiness shown to subjects).

The following scheme summarizes the outcomes of the self-report tools used to evaluate the association between the emotional states (Pleasure and Happiness) with VG play ( Table 10 ).

Synthetic view of self-report results (Emotional states associated with VG play).

The following table indicates the mean, standard deviation and Skewness and Kurtosis values of the self-report craving, the HR and the relaxation level for both groups in the two conditions ( Table 11 ).

Descriptive statistics for self-report Craving, Relaxation, Heart Rate.

Overall, the results of this study show that AU associate happiness to VG while reporting craving for VG play and having a low relaxation level. These outcomes observed in this experiment constitute a bundle of arguments that argue in favor of the hypothesis of this study ( Lustig, 2017 ). Indeed, in AU, the high self-report craving score and low Relaxation level during VG clips visioning do contrast with their association of VG more with happiness than with pleasure in the mentioned “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” questionnaires (six-items and three-bipolar-items) relative to NAU. Consistent with previous findings in this area, these four measurements highlight the coexistence of the perception of happiness linked with VG play combined with elements related to pleasure such as craving ( strong desire, wanting ) ( Pollard, 2003 ; Griffiths, 2008 ; Waterman et al., 2008 ). Since craving and low Relaxation are rather incompatible with the mentioned notion of happiness ( Pollard, 2003 ; Waterman et al., 2008 ; Lustig, 2017 ), these indices may raise the question as to how accurate are AU’s insights into their emotional states associated to VG play and may support the idea that AU’s perception of their emotional states is somewhat distorted. In the literature, VG addiction would be linked with impairment in the self-regulation process, this finding may be linked with the difficulties AU have to observe and evaluate their own behavior ( Seay and Kraut, 2007 ). Besides, the mentioned results suggest that VG clip effect on self-report craving would depend on the addiction level.

Considering that sensing happiness and craving are probably experienced as positive emotions by AU, and that usually negative and positive emotional events are reported to last longer and shorter respectively ( Gil and Droit-Volet, 2012 ; Tian et al., 2018 ), the arousal triggered by motivating stimuli, may modify the time perception and could mediate the effect of emotions on behavior ( Gil and Droit-Volet, 2012 ). In other words, the level of excitement produced by VG play could make AU underestimate the time spent at this activity, which may be perceived as an alleviating evasion free from stressors and possibly assimilated with the notion of happiness . This hypothetic mechanism would match one of the possible motives for online gaming ( Demetrovics et al., 2011 ). In this sort of precognitive process, several studies mentioned the involvement of the amygdala in interaction with the thalamus together with the dopaminergic system and a poor inhibitory control ( Gil and Droit-Volet, 2012 ; Petry et al., 2015 ).

It is noteworthy underlining that the bipolar structure of the three-items questionnaire increases the relevance of this outcome. In effect, although participants were incited to choose between the two emotional states opposing each other (VG and pleasure vs. VG and happiness), like in the six-items questionnaire, AU again did choose happiness as the main emotional state linked with VG play. This outcome would further state the difference between these two groups when it comes to associating the two emotional states to VG play. Besides, this would reveal to an important extent that the possibility whereby pleasure and happiness were regarded as synonyms could be overcome. In other words, this outcome shows that the similarity of meanings of these two concepts did not prevent these groups to make a clear choice. Finally, the similar scores obtained in the two questionnaires (six-items and three-bipolar items “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG”), in spite of the different disposition of the same items in these two instances, strengthen the value of the designed scale (“Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG play”).

The absence of interaction between the two independent variables on HR may be explained by the fact that a higher arousal would take place in AU when playing VG rather than when watching at VG clips. Moreover, the reduced number of valid subjects when measuring this physiological parameter (due to technical recording problems) could have contributed to this outcome too. The fact that the independent variables did not produce the expected different HR effects on AU and NAU could also be linked with one of the limitations of this study: the difficulty in integrating in this research the interaction between HR and depression (as mentioned, VG addiction is positively correlated with depression) ( Griffiths et al., 2012 ) that may lead to HR index modifications ( Cipresso et al., 2014 ). In sum, this issue illustrates that the difficulty to circumscribe the notion of happiness is also reflected in the complexity to establish physiological correlates so as to objectify this emotional state ( Cipresso et al., 2014 ).

Associating the clusters of key words with VG did not produce the expected results. Since AU linked VG with both pleasure and happiness , may be these words played a clarification role and facilitated Au’s insights into their emotional states when playing VG. It could also suggest the inadequacy of this self-report tool. However, it is probably worthwhile mentioning an index related our hypothesis: when taking words separately, the word “well-being” associated with VG play was chosen by 25% of AU and by 0% of NAU.

The outcome of the binary question in the “Pleasure and VG or Happiness and VG” one-item questionnaire with the definitions of pleasure and happiness ( Pollard, 2003 ; Deci and Ryan, 2008 ; Waterman et al., 2008 ; Kashdan et al., 2008 ; Lustig, 2017 ) shows that AU ceased associating happiness to VG play and instead, like NAU, clearly linked pleasure to their cyber activity. Caution is required in the analysis of these results because the validity of this questionnaire remains to be demonstrated. Having instructed participants to answer the bipolar question by taking into account the written definitions of the two measured emotional states, did modify the result of AU group relative to both questionnaires (“Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” six-items and three bipolar items). Within the framework of this careful approach, it could be hypothesized that explicit definitions of the two emotional states induced AU to adopting an introspection mode through a more pronounced involvement of cortical brain structures, akin to a therapeutic process in which the appropriate verbalization of pleasure and happiness facilitates the clarification of one own feeling as a prerequisite to elaborate more adaptive behavior in spite of the constraining psychological characteristics usually associated with VG addicts ( Kim et al., 2007 ; Kashdan et al., 2008 ; Wenzel et al., 2009 ).

This may be regarded as an example of emotions reappraisal which would increase accuracy of insights into one-self, reduce distorted perception of emotions and assess the adequacy of the behavioral response to a given stimulus ( Compare et al., 2014 ). In other words, it could be posited that the mentioned explicit definitions have somewhat constrained AU to use a cognitive approach to examine their emotional states related to VG play rather than merely relying on the sensory information as it tends to occur when sensing craving for video gaming ( Wang et al., 2017 ).

Moreover, the result of this one-item binary questionnaire would further support the hypothesis. In effect, the studied interrelation between hedonia and eudaimonia suggests that a highly rated hedonic activity (VG play in this case) is usually related with low rating in eudaimonia ( Waterman et al., 2008 ). This interpretation would fit with the resounding association between depression and gaming disorders ( Lemmens et al., 2011 ; Hull et al., 2013 ; Sarda et al., 2016 ; Bonnaire and Baptista, 2019 ) together with the confusion between pleasure and happiness occurring in addictive activities (AU associated VG with happiness in the first two self-report questionnaires and ended linking pleasure with VG in the last one-item questionnaire) ( Pollard, 2003 ; Lustig, 2017 ).

Overall, the more explicit the definition of pleasure and happiness and the narrower the choice offered by the self-report questionnaires, the less confusion of emotional states associated with VG occurred in AU group members whereas NAU invariably associated pleasure to VG as illustrated in Figure 5 .

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Shift of AU perception of their emotional states associated with VG according to the self-report tools.

Based on these results, it could be postulated that the tendency of AU to perceive happiness when feeling craving and pleasure linked to VG play, might be moderated by a clarifying cognitive process on the meaning of these studied emotional sates, which would interfere with the behavioral habits linked to the urge of gaming ( Ko et al., 2009 ).

The findings resulting from “Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG” six-items questionnaire could be regarded as an illustration of the confusion that AU might have when linking the studied emotional states with VG play. Unlike NAU, the significantly higher association between VG play and happiness expressed by AU matches the perceived level of well being reported by individuals with Internet gaming disorders ( Griffiths, 2008 ). On the other hand, apart from well-being , the same author cites euphoria as the other main emotional state that addict gamers may report when playing VG. Whilst happiness and well-being rely on each other to define themselves, euphoria would convey the notion of intense excitement, which would rather stand in the pleasure sphere. Moreover, in medical terms, euphoria refers to a feeling of great elation, not necessarily founded (especially when resulting from substances consumption). Since AU also associated VG with pleasure although they did it to a lesser extent than with happiness, it could hypothesized that the feeling of intense excitement derives, at least partially, from satisfying the craving for VG play, which in turn could engender relieve experienced as a sense of well-being ( Loonen and Ivanova, 2016 ).

The impact of VG clips on AU craving and relaxation scores underlines relevant aspects of this study, which support the hypothesis of this research. First of all, it highlights the incongruent perception of AU’s emotional states whereby both craving and happiness coexist as emotional states associated with VG play. Thus, this finding constitutes a relevant component of the confusion that consists in placing a short-term pleasure (VG play) within the sphere of happiness. Besides, the low relaxation state of AU would correspond with their self-reported craving and, therefore, further highlights the contrast between the perceived happiness associated with VG play and the indicators measured during the VG clip visioning (high craving level and low relaxation state level). Finally, it is noteworthy mentioning that relaxation was the only measure in this study where gender differences were observed. The lower relaxation level in female gamers in both conditions might be related to the gender expectation about playing VG in society at large and in the gamers’ community in particular ( Shen et al., 2016 ). Indeed, since female gamers are a minority in these sorts of VG ( Shen et al., 2016 ) (in line with our sample: 7 females, 22 males), it could be posited that they feel under scrutiny in an activity regarded as male oriented.

Putative Reasons of Distorted Perceptions of Emotional States Associated With VG Addiction

The social dimension of popular VG has been identified as one of the factors that may explain the addiction pattern ( Hull et al., 2013 ). In this kind of competitive games, improving the required abilities and obtaining better results would be part of the key motives for VG play ( Demetrovics et al., 2011 ), that usually generates the appreciation and the acceptance of the other group players. Getting this sort of feedback from others can be motivating indeed, especially when taking into account the correlation between IGD and social isolation, low self-esteem, traumatic experiences, depression and low life satisfaction ( Petry et al., 2015 ; Schimmenti et al., 2017 ; Bonnaire and Baptista, 2019 ). In turn, these psychosocial characteristics are probably related also with the high impulsivity level in VG addicts ( Billieux et al., 2011 ), which has been found to be associated with difficulties in interpersonal relationships ( Ryu et al., 2018 ). Thus, it would seem that VG activities are, at least partially, sating the mentioned social and psychological deficiencies. This suggests that AU’s emotional states related to VG play may be quite contrasting, in which components of happiness (i.e., interacting with others, fellowship and belonging to a group) are intertwined with those of short-term pleasure (i.e., craving for getting quick results, praise from others, etc.) ( Loonen and Ivanova, 2016 ). Now, craving for undertaking these cyber activities to respond to the mentioned social isolation issues places this emotional state much closer to the ‘pleasure governed by desire’ than to ‘atmosphere of good fellowship’ (Happiness) ( Lawrence et al., 2014 ; Lustig, 2017 ).

The flow, defined as the emotional state embracing perception distortion and enjoyment produced by VG activities, is another element that can create confusion in gamers’ insights into their emotional states ( Chou and Ting, 2003 ; Hull et al., 2013 ). As described in the mentioned study, experiencing flow implies not only losing the notion of time but also merging oneself with the VG actions. In these conditions, the gamer’s senses and attention are in the here and now , with little or no awareness about sources of stress relative to past, present or future events. In this line, the motivation to experience immersion has been associated with problematic gaming ( Billieux et al., 2011 ). Considering the fact that loneliness and depression have been identified as predictors of VG addiction and of Internet Gaming Disorders ( Hull et al., 2013 ; Sarda et al., 2016 ), it is understandable why in gamers’ mind experiencing flow could equate this feeling with a relieving emotional state ( Loonen and Ivanova, 2016 ). This sense of alleviation could match the notion of happiness as free from distress ( Kringelbach and Berridge, 2010 ; Loonen and Ivanova, 2016 ) if it resulted from the quality of real life being lived. Instead, in AU, this relieving and enjoyable emotional state would be engendered by a virtual activity (VG), possibly used as a means to escape from stress and to forget tensions ( Demetrovics et al., 2011 ; Bonnaire and Baptista, 2019 ). In the literature, the escaping strategy is a way to find relieve from stressors through the engagement in a pleasant activity, which may end up representing a space of happiness ( Seay and Kraut, 2007 ).

In sum, the incongruence lies in the coexistence of regarding VG as a space of happiness while using VG to get quick pleasures and relief. Individuals suffering from this disorder tend to pursuit short-term pleasures rather than long-term gains ( Dong and Potenza, 2015 ). Being driven by short-term gratifications rather belongs to the reward-seeking realm ( Waterman et al., 2008 ; Lustig, 2017 ). Thus, this pleasant emotional state could be associated with the arousal linked to a reward seeking behavior through which quick and positive results are obtained, which in turn reinforce the mentioned behavior. Probably, this intense arousal situates itself within the sphere of pleasure as a dysfunction in the rewarding system ( Pollard, 2003 ; Berridge and Kringelbach, 2013 ; Lustig, 2017 ) and not in that of happiness in spite of the relieving benefits it provides.

Another possible reading on why the emotional states generated by these cyber activities are linked with happiness may be related to the way in interpreting the experienced sensations. This representation is probably shaped by the individual background, experiences, culture, etc. From a brain mechanism stand point, conscious liking does not limit it self to a sensory outcome, it is also translated into a subjective liking through the recruitment of cognitive processes ( Berridge and Kringelbach, 2013 ). Indeed, these authors state that conscious pleasure rating is sometimes detached from affective reactions as people can elaborate reasons to themselves for how they should feel. Therefore, associating VG with happiness may be the result of a rationalization process to reduce the cognitive dissonance. In other words, the unwished consequences of the VG addiction pattern (increased stress, problems at working, studying, socializing, etc.) ( Griffiths et al., 2012 ) probably produce an increasing amount of pressure (due to the difficulty to reduce gaming time, guilt, etc.) that can become overwhelming if it lasts too long. Consequently, if the affected individuals are unable to master the yearning for VG, perceiving VG activities as a source of well being may reduce the mentioned pressures insofar as the notion of happiness usually suggests a socially acceptable mood, a legitimate aim and a safe emotional state. In this perspective, equating happiness with satisfying craving and with short-term pleasure might contribute to feed the addictive pattern ( Lustig, 2017 ).

In a broader perspective, the rationalization process described in the previous paragraph may be also related with coping strategies to deal with adversity. For instance, it has been observed that problematic gamers may use VG play as a means to cope with stressors and to enhance mood ( Demetrovics et al., 2011 ). An association has been found between stressful life events and addiction to Internet activities ( Schimmenti et al., 2017 ), with the mediating role of psychological needs satisfaction and the moderating role of coping styles ( Dongping et al., 2016 ). Several theories and studies support this approach that strives for a more holistic understanding of this issue. The self-determination theory postulates that humans share three universal psychological needs ( Deci and Ryan, 2000 ; in Dongping et al., 2016 ): autonomy (i.e., feeling of being self-determining in one’s behavior), relatedness (i.e., the feeling of connectedness to others) and competence (i.e., the feeling of dealing with issues in a competent manner). Besides, individuals can adopt different strategies to cope with adversity ( Lazarus and Folkman, 1984 ; in Dongping et al., 2016 ). According to Zheng et al. (2012 ; in Dongping et al., 2016 ), the positive coping approach is the set of strategies aiming at problem solving, support seeking and cognitive restructuring to address the stressors. On the other hand, according to the same authors, the negative coping consists in strategies such as blaming, social withdrawing, denial and disengagement so as to avoid the stressful situations. Now, a parallel can be established between these two coping styles and the brain activities involved in the goal-directed learning and the habit learning.

The goal-directed learning would correspond to the positive coping style insofar as it focuses on the relationship between an action and the motivational value of the outcome, and is associated with the activation of the prefrontal cortex, the dorsomedial striatum and the dorsomedial thalamus ( Ballaine and Dickinson, 1998 ; in Schwabe et al., 2012 ). On the other hand, habit learning, would be linked with the avoidant coping style. This learning process encodes the relationship between a response and preceding stimuli without taking into account the outcome caused by the response and is related to the activation of the dorsolateral striatum ( Yin et al., 2004 ; Tricomi et al., 2009 ; in Schwabe et al., 2012 ). According to Schwabe et al. (2012) , stressful situations may modulate the processes involved in instrumental learning in a way that may produce the shift from goal-directed learning to habitual learning.

In line with these findings, it has been observed that, like cocaine cues, psychological stress induction can generate the same craving response in a cocaine abusers population ( Bradley et al., 1989 ; Wallace, 1989 ; in Sinha et al., 2000 ). The relevance of these observations lies in the fact that both SUD and behavioral addictions (including gaming disorders, Han et al., 2011 ) recruit to an important extent common brain regions and produce similar physiological patterns, as quoted in the introduction of this document.

Considering the association between unhappiness and VG disorders mentioned earlier, it could be posited that the gamers concerned could not overcome the causes of their unhappiness. Indeed, studies suggest that subjects with Internet gaming disorders embark in VG play more to deal with negative affect than to achieve a good performance in the game ( Schimmenti and Caretti, 2010 ; Billieux et al., 2013 ; both in Bonnaire and Baptista, 2019 ). In this scenario, based on the mentioned studies, a low level of happiness would imply that psychological needs are somewhat unmet and associated with the avoidant coping style together with the habit learning. Furthermore, this pattern is supported by compensatory Internet use theory, which postulates that adversity can operate as a stimulus to seek psychological comfort (i.e., satisfying the psychological needs via the cyberspace) ( Kardefelt-Winther, 2014 ; in Dongping et al., 2016 ).

In other words, the psychological comfort engendered by the VG activities in this population of gamers, combined with the characteristics of the avoidant coping style (denial, social withdrawal, avoiding stressful situation, etc.) and with the traits of the habitual learning (actions’ outcomes are disregarded, with little or no awareness of actions’ consequences), might explain, at least partially, the biased perception of the emotional states in AU ( happiness associated to VG) and of their causes of craving for VG. This assumption suggests that online gaming might not be the cause of VG addiction, but rather that VG excessive use could be a compensatory strategy to deal with pre-existing psychological characteristics and deleterious social context ( Kowert et al., 2015 ). For instance, some studies suggest that traumatic experiences, poor emotions regulation, elements of impulsivity and the motivation to experience immersion in a virtual world would increase the likelihood of IGD and Internet addiction ( Billieux et al., 2011 ; Schimmenti et al., 2017 ).

In sum, it would seem as if for AU the mentioned behavioral pattern is a manner to mitigate the difficulties to deal with stressors. This interpretation would be in line with the motives for play in problematic gaming ( Demetrovics et al., 2011 ). Through a massive survey these authors observed seven dimensions that would cover the entire spectrum of motives for VG play in all sort of on line games: escape (from reality), cope (with stressors, playing as a way to improve mood), fantasy (trying new identities/things in a virtual world), skills development (improving concentration, coordination, new skills) recreation (relaxing aspects of gaming), competing (sense of achievement), and social (knowing/being/playing with others). This study suggests that there would be positive and beneficial motives for playing (entertaining gaming) as well as harmful ones (problematic gaming). The correlations between these factors appear to shed light on the positive and negative aspects of gaming. Whilst the weakest correlation is between escape and recreation (also low correlation was found between escape and both, skills development and competition), the strongest correlations were observed between escape and cope and fantasy. These results would indicate that escape and coping are motives associated with problematic gaming, however, the authors argue that escapism would facilitate the coping efforts to deal with stressors and negative moods. Moreover, it is noteworthy underlining that escapism had the lowest mean score in this study among the seven dimensions, which would match with the prevalence level of problematic gaming mentioned previously ( Griffiths et al., 2012 ).

Probably, regarding AU, the accuracy in perceiving emotional states, the ability to deal with stressors and the quality of insights into oneself are dimensions that deserve much attention in the therapeutic processes.

Therapeutic Implications

A cognitive-behavioral approach may contribute to the recovery process by enabling problematic gamers to explore the motives that lead them to abuse of VG play ( Orzack et al., 2006 ; in Griffiths, 2008 ). Developing strategies to tackle stressors appears to be a therapeutic priority for treating this disorder. Consequently, this axis of work includes the understanding of the environmental demands that are perceived as exceeding the individual abilities to handle them. In this line, ensuring the accuracy of the individual’s insights into the emotional states linked to the sources of stress as well as to the game habit could increase the awareness of the underlying issues to be addressed. In particular, deciphering the conditioned desires (unconscious wanting) and the hedonic dimension (unconscious liking) ( Kringelbach and Berridge, 2009 ; Berridge and Kringelbach, 2013 ) linked to VG play may produce added value information for understanding and overcoming the problematic gaming pattern. Within this frame, it could be hypothesized that distinguishing between happiness and feeling alleviated could be beneficial to the therapeutic process, although it remains to be demonstrated.

Overall, this sort of therapeutic approach may contribute to reduce the alexithymia, usually associated with this kind of disorders ( Kandri et al., 2014 ).

In problematic internet/gaming several studies have explored and highlighted to role of alexithymia and its links with other therapeutic issues. For instance, it has been shown that alexithymic individuals are more associated with Internet addiction than non-alexthymic ones ( Baysan-Arslan et al., 2016 ). In this research, the authors consider that the difficulty in identifying and differentiating emotions that characterizes alexithymia may lead individuals with this affliction to regulate their emotional states via their addictive activities.

Another study showed that IGD would be related with alexithymia, anxiety and depression ( Bonnaire and Baptista, 2019 ).

Schimmenti et al. (2017) observed that traumatic experiences (mainly in males) and traits of alexithymia (mainly in females) were associated with Internet addiction symptoms, which may enable a tailored prevention and treatment approach. Besides, Internet addiction (including online role-playing) would be correlated with alexithymia, dissociation (protecting one-self in a more pleasant created reality as a means to deal with traumatic experiences) and insecure attachment ( Craparo, 2011 ).

However, the causal link in the association between alexithymia and Internet addiction would still need to be verified, as indicated by Mahapatra and Sharma (2018) . Moreover, discerning the nature of alexithymia remains an uneasy task: this emotional identification and differentiation disorder might be regarded as a stable personality trait that could increase risks of mental disorder development, and also may be seen as a defense mechanism to cope with psychological stressors ( Mikolajczak and Luminet, 2006 ; in Mahapatra and Sharma, 2018 ).

Apart from alexithymia and traumatic memories, high urgency (a dimension of impulsivity defined by the proneness to have strong reactions usually tied with negative affect) and being motivated to experience immersion in a virtual world would be psychological predictors of problematic multiplayer online games ( Billieux et al., 2011 ). These findings led the authors to posit that individuals with the two mentioned traits are more likely to use the immersion in the virtual world as a means to avoiding facing real life adverse issues. According to the authors, this behavior will lead to a deleterious outcome (culpability and embarrassment as a result of feeling unable to deal with problems), which in turn is experienced as a pernicious condition likely to activate behaviors related to high urgency and immersion.

Like the previously mentioned clinical issues, this vicious loop reinforcing escapism also appears to be a therapeutic target.

Considering the possible association between alexithymia and problematic gaming as a manner to regulate emotions ( Baysan-Arslan et al., 2016 ; Bonnaire and Baptista, 2019 ), the Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) might strengthen the therapeutic process. The aim being that the observed difficulties in Internet (including VG) addicts to identifying emotions and regulating affects ( Caretti et al., 2010 ; in Craparo, 2011 ) could be, at least partially, overcome through the ERT process. In effect, Compare et al. (2014) , show that ERT operates as a means to reappraise emotions that trigger actions leading to negative consequences. Reappraising emotions is associated with the involvement of the medial prefrontal cortex, which attenuates the amygdala activation and, thus, reduces the intensity of negative affect; these two areas being coordinated by the orbitofrontal cortex ( Compare et al., 2014 ). Since AU would be prone to associate happiness with VG play, ERT might facilitate the perceptional change enabling to link VG play with pleasure [ Caretti and Craparo, 2009 ; in Craparo (2011) consider Internet addiction (including VG) “as a syndromic condition characterized by a recurrent and reiterated search for pleasure derived from dependence behavior, associated with abuse, craving , clinically significant stress, and compulsive dependence actions despite the possible negative consequences”]. Within this approach, it may be postulated that enabling problematic gamers to familiarize with and to see the self-transcendent notion of happiness could favor the distinction between pleasure and happiness and would render them less vulnerable from impulses and from environmental circumstances ( Dambrun et al., 2012 ). The idea is to facilitate the shift from wanting more than liking (or even without liking) toward liking with little or without wanting ( Berridge and Kringelbach, 2011 ). Furthermore, regarding motives for playing, it could be posited that helping problematic gamers to identify and distinguish the emotions tied to escaping/coping from those related to recreational gaming ( Demetrovics et al., 2011 ), would be a necessary condition to orient effectively the ERT toward the escaping issues and targeted emotional states requiring therapeutic input. In this line, based on the previously mentioned studies in this section, it might be useful exploring the possible link that the excessive time spent in cyber activity could have with past traumatic experiences, insecure attachment, impulsivity, anxiety and depression.

In conclusion, this study suggests that the mentioned confusion of emotional states (pleasure and happiness) associated with addiction ( Lustig, 2017 ), could take place in subjects with VG addiction, and potentially in the entire spectrum of addictions. Moreover, from a cognitive therapeutic perspective, it shows the potential benefits of reappraising emotions as a means to contribute to the emotional distortion reduction.


The small sample of this study demands cautiousness when making generalizations from its results. Besides, watching VG clips rather than actually playing VG might be less stimulating for chronic gamers and could have influenced the physiological values recorded during the clip visioning phases. That said, many gamers do attend to public competitions to watch other gamers playing VG. Although, to the best of our knowledge, there is no information available to affirm that there are VG addicts in these audiences.

We also faced the usual paradox when assessing craving via self-report tools. Indeed, participants were asked to judge their craving intensity for VG play whereas sensing craving often may imply a compromised self-awareness level and thus a self-assessment whose value needs to be interpreted carefully.

Although the GAS is a validated tool, which has shown its usefulness in screening addict gamers, having complemented this measurement with thorough diagnostic-driven interviews run by specialists when choosing participants to form the AU and the NAU groups would have strengthened the selection process.

The participants’ selection was centered on the gamer status (gaming addiction/non-addiction and names of games usually played) rather than on the cultural and/or educational background of the persons. Future researches could complete this approach by assessing the possible cultural and educational bias in perceiving the studied emotional states.

Moreover, including more physiological parameters related to pleasure and happiness could further complete the self-reported information and may enable reaching more robust results.

Prospective Research

Further research is required to better understand the relationship between the studied emotional states and this addiction. For instance, since VG addiction decreases with age ( Wittek et al., 2016 ) a longitudinal study could reveal the factors (psychophysiological, environmental, etc.) that operate that change. Moreover, VG addiction is only one area of the spectrum of addictions. Undertaking similar researches on other addictions and with larger samples could also contribute to deepening the comprehension of this issue. Finally, keep enhancing the scales that measure pleasure and happiness may provide with more accurate information about the range of nuances intrinsic to these two emotional states.

Data Availability Statement

Ethics statement.

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by the Université Libre de Bruxelles Ethical Committee. The patients/participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study.

Author Contributions

LG developed the proposal and the conception of the original project research, searched and articulated the theoretical background, participated in the study and protocol design, elaborated the results interpretation, assembled all the chapters of the study, and in charge of the manuscript writing. ND was involved in the scientific and publication management, participated – as the Research Center Manager – in the study and protocol design, and in charge of the configuration and writing of the physiological measures. JL, as a member of the Research Center, was involved in the study and protocol design, also involved in the configuration of physiological measures, managed the experimental phases in the laboratory, and elaborated the data analysis. CL, as a full Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Director of the Research Center for Work and Consumer Psychology, assured the scientific and publication management, participated in the study and protocol design, in charge of making the critical reviews of the manuscript along the process, and involved in the manuscript writing.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


We would like to express our gratitude to Maastricht University (Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology) as well as Université Libre de Bruxelles (Faculty of Psychological Sciences and of Education – Research Center for Work and Consumer Psychology). This work was performed as a partial fulfillment toward the International Master in Affective Neuroscience of Maastricht University and the University of Florence.


Self-report questionnaires.

– Six items Questionnaire: Pleasure and/or Happiness associated with VG play (Items 7 and 8 were suppressed after the preliminary phase)

  • (1) I enjoy playing video games.
  • (2) I am happy when I play video games.
  • (3) I would find pleasure in my video game activities.
  • (4) I find video games amusing.
  • (5) I enjoy playing my favorite video game.
  • (6) I often experience joy and exaltation when playing video games.
  • (7) I would feel pleasure when I receive praise from other people on my capacity to play video games.
  • (8) I don’t have fun when playing video games with other people.

fully disagree disagree slightly disagree slightly agree agree fully agree


– Questionnaire on Craving for playing VG

– After having watched this clip I feel craving for playing video games.

– Three bipolar items Questionnaire: Pleasure and/or Happiness associated with VG play

Bipolar items.

(1) I enjoy playing video games I am happy when I play video games


(2) I would find pleasure in I find video games amusing my video game activities

(3) I enjoy playing my favorite I often experience joy and exaltation video game when playing video games

– Ten key words [resulting from the semantic mapping of pleasure (P) and happiness (H)]: 3/10 words to be associated with VG play

  • – Joy
  • – Craving
  • – Well-being
  • – Impulsivity
  • – Fellowship
  • – Desire
  • – Fun
  • – Contentment
  • – Gratification
  • – Serenity

Pleasure cluster: joy, craving, impulsivity, desire, fun, gratification.

Happiness cluster: well-being, fellowship, contentment, serenity.

– One bipolar item Questionnaire: Pleasure or Happiness associated with VG play (with explicit definitions)

Happiness : emotional state of lasting contentment.

Pleasure : transient emotional state when satisfying a desire, a craving.

A bipolar item

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Object name is fpsyg-10-02894-i001.jpg

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3.2: Cause and Effect Model Essay 1

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Read the essay and answer the questions that follow.

First Name Last Name

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Course Name and Number

Day Month Year

Video Game Addiction

(1) Video game addiction is a serious problem in many parts of the world today and deserves more attention. It is no secret that children and adults in many countries throughout the world, including Japan, China, and the United States, play video games every day. Most players are able to limit their usage in ways that do not interfere with their daily lives, but many others have developed an addiction to playing video games. Regardless of the severity of the addiction, many suffer detrimental effects.

(2) One common effect of video game addiction is isolation and withdrawal from social experiences. Video game players often hide in their homes or in Internet cafés for days at a time—only reemerging for the most pressing tasks and necessities. The effect of this isolation can lead to a breakdown of communication skills and often a loss in socialization. While it is true that many games, especially massive multiplayer online games, involve a very real form of e-based communication and coordination with others, and these virtual interactions often result in real communities that can be healthy for the players, these communities and forms of communication rarely translate to the types of valuable social interaction that humans need to maintain typical social functioning. As a result, the social networking in these online games often gives the users the impression that they are interacting socially, while their true social lives and personal relations may suffer.

(3) Another unfortunate product of the isolation that often accompanies video game addiction is the disruption of the user’s career. While many players manage to enjoy video games and still hold their jobs without problems, others experience challenges at their workplace. Some may only experience warnings or demerits as a result of poorer performance, or others may end up losing their jobs altogether. Playing video games for extended periods of time often involves sleep deprivation, and this tends to carry over to the workplace, reducing production and causing habitual tardiness.

(4) Finally, video game addiction may result in a decline in overall health and hygiene. Players who interact with video games for such significant amounts of time can go an entire day without eating and even longer without basic hygiene tasks, such as using the restroom or bathing. The effects of this behavior pose significant danger to their overall health.

(5) In conclusion, the causes of video game addiction are complex and can vary greatly, but the effects have the potential to be severe. Playing video games can and should be a fun activity for all to enjoy. However, just like everything else, the amount of time one spends playing video games needs to be balanced with personal and social responsibilities. Otherwise, the effects can be detrimental in many ways.

Questions about Model Essay 1

  • Highlight the thesis and the concluding sentences. Is this essay about causes or effects?
  • Which transitions and signal words are used to show cause & effect? NOTE: there are various sentence structures featured in this essay.
  • Underline the topic sentences for each body paragraph—those are the sentences that introduce each new subtopic.
  • List the three subtopics of this essay.

Writing fo success citation

Refer back to the essay “Video Game Addiction” and complete the following outline with the missing information.

I. Introduction:

Thesis: Regardless of the severity of the addiction, many suffer detrimental effects.

II. Supporting Topic Sentence 1: One common effect of video game addiction is isolation and withdrawal from social experiences

A. Hiding at home or an internet cafe

B. some interaction in gaming communities but

C. ___________________________

III. Supporting Topic Sentence 2: Another unfortunate product of the isolation that often accompanies video game addiction is the disruption of the user’s career.

A. some people don’t have problems; some do

1. demerits / poor performance

2. ______________________

B. sleep deprivation

1. ______________________

IV. Supporting Topic Sentence 3: ______________________________


A. days without eating

B. _________________

V. Conclusion: In conclusion, the causes of video game addiction are complex and can vary greatly, but the effects have the potential to be severe.

how to write an essay about video game addiction

Essay On Video Game Addiction

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This essay on video game addiction examines its causes and effects of and provides strategies to help manage and reduce its prevalence. Learn more about the potential dangers of excessive gaming and how to address the issue with a proactive approach.

Video game addiction is a growing problem in today’s world. It is becoming an issue for people of all ages, especially for children and teenagers. Kids who are addicted to video games can become so preoccupied with playing that it can interfere with other important activities such as school-work, family relationships, and even physical health. When a person becomes addicted to video games they can become withdrawn and can even isolate themselves from other people. They can become so wrapped up in the game that they forget to eat, sleep, and do other important activities. They may even neglect their school work and family responsibilities, which can lead to poor grades and strained relationships. Video game addiction can also lead to physical health problems. People who are addicted to video games often forget to take care of their bodies, which can lead to poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and poor physical health. To prevent video game addiction, it is important to set rules and limits for children and teenagers. Parents should know what games their children are playing and how long they are playing for. It is also important to encourage other activities such as sports, reading, and outdoor activities. If a person is already addicted to video games, it is important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help them understand why they are addicted and help them learn better ways to cope with stress. In conclusion, video game addiction is a growing problem and it is important to take steps to prevent it. Parents and other adults should be aware of the signs of addiction and seek help if they are needed. By taking preventive steps, we can help ensure that our children and teenagers don’t become addicted to video games.

FAQs Related To Essay On Video Game Addiction

1. what is video game addiction.

Video game addiction is a form of behavioral addiction that is characterized by an excessive or compulsive use of video games. It is often described as an impulse-control disorder, as the person suffering from video game addiction is unable to control their urge to play video games for extended periods of time.

2. What are the physical and mental health risks of video game addiction?

Video game addiction is a serious issue that can have a major negative impact on a person’s physical and mental health. Physically, addiction to video games can create an unhealthy lifestyle, leading to a lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and inadequate sleep. Mentally, video game addiction can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It can also cause a person to become socially isolated and lose interest in activities that used to bring them joy.

3. What are the signs of game addiction in children?

Signs of game addiction in children can vary from child to child, but there are some common signs to look out for. These may include an increase in isolation from family and friends, a decrease in physical activities, a decrease in school performance, irritability when not playing, preoccupation with video games, and playing for longer periods of time than intended.

4. What is the difference between healthy gaming and video game addiction?

Healthy gaming is the act of playing video games in moderation, with a balanced lifestyle that includes other activities such as exercise, socializing, and education. On the other hand, video game addiction is an excessive or compulsive use of video games that affects a person’s life in a negative way. Someone who is addicted to video games may show signs of irritability when they are not playing and may have difficulty focusing on activities outside of gaming.

5. What strategies can I use to help someone with game addiction?

When helping someone with a game addiction, it is important to focus on strategies that encourage healthy lifestyle habits. The most effective strategies to help someone with game addiction include setting limits on how much time can be devoted to gaming each day, creating a balance between gaming and other activities, and introducing alternative activities that can help distract from the urge to game.

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Home — Essay Samples — Social Issues — Violence in Video Games — The Negative Effects of Video Games on Children


The Negative Effects of Video Games on Children

  • Categories: Violence in Video Games

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Words: 594 |

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Words: 594 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Table of contents

Physical health issues, social and emotional consequences, academic performance and cognitive effects, addiction and dependence, counterargument and refutation.

  • "Video Gaming Contributes to Obesity in Children," Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, October 2012, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/video-gaming-contributes-to-obesity-in-children-201210245400.
  • "Video Games and Aggressive Tendencies," American Psychological Association, November 2019, https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-amp0000323.pdf.
  • "Video Game Addiction: Does It Occur? If So, Why?" National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, February 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2982791/.

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Video Game Addiction

Updated 18 August 2023

Subject Addiction

Downloads 31

Category Entertainment ,  Family ,  Health

Digital Technologies and Video Game Addiction

Digital technologies that include video games can be a cause for much concern to the modern generation. Teachers and parents are raising concerns due to reports in the main media about the problem brought by of technology especially video game addiction (Schmitt and Livingston 27). This study aims at critically examining some of the greatest concerns related to the idea of video game addiction and ensures provision of a discussion of the impacts.

Time Spent on Technology Devices

The main issues discussed include the notion that more time is being spent in technology devices such as mobile phones and computers reveals signs of addiction. The other issue is the idea that video games are forms of digital substances, which can be compared to cocaine or heroin considered very dangerous in young people. According to global estimates given recently close to one in three internet users constitute a child and kid internet users have outnumbered adult users in several regions of the world (Ng and Wiemer-Hastings 111). Therefore, technology addition has led to negative impacts on the users especially the digital video game players that can take a lot of their time and affect their performance in school, health, and antisocial behaviors.

Negative Effects of Technology in Education

Technology is one of the greatest tools for learning but sometimes people can overuse it leading to addition. In the classroom, spending too much on technological devices can negatively affect the learning process. Plagiarism as well as cheating has risen but analytical and critical thinking skills have declined. Studies report that many students that rely so much on entertainment technologies such as games and social media perform poorly in academics (Ng and Wiemer-Hastings 111). Instead of concentrating on learning and doing homework, modern children are indulging in entertainment. Online gaming and socializing are associated with low exam results due to the distraction caused by games, messages, as well as videos. The young generation has a hard time paying attention during lessons and end up resisting impulsive behavior.

Health Issues Caused by Technology

Some of the most dangerous impacts of technology include obesity and overweight. A laptop or a tablet can absorb the mind of the user leading to increased snacking, keeping late hours, and engaging in little or no exercises. Too much staring can cause headaches as well as poor eyesight. Another impact of technology use is the decrease in the quality as well as quantity of sleep in the users. The sleeping chemical known as the melatonin is negatively affected by the continuous glow of screens interfering with an individual’s sleep (Al-Bayed and Samy 2). Technology addiction has a detrimental impact on one’s health and social lifestyle, which can cause destruction of social and family bond. Constant use of computers can lead to chronic stress mostly by their notifications or their absence, and constant messaging or e-mailing. If a person fails to get enough attention, he/she may feel depressed while excessive information spaces, exaggerated online realities, overuse of internet as well as social comparison can potentially provoke depressive symptoms.

Negative Consequences of Violent Video Games

Violent games have been associated with negative consequences in gamers especially children and adolescents. Video games are common to many Americans aged between 2 and 17, with males revealing a higher usage rate and preference of games containing more violence and explicit content (Schmitt and Livingston 25).The negative consequences of violent video games include increased aggressive behaviors, cognition problems, and low empathy and prosocial behavior. The video game addiction is negatively affected by expectations regarding college performance. The higher the addiction scores, the lower the performance for college engagements. High video game addiction score was found to lead to decreased first year GPA according to research by (Schmitt and Livingston 25). Different views of the video gaming sector are given as people argue about the way the industry is responsible for majority of children challenges in the society. The impact is on memory, health, behaviors, as well as attitudes in the normal life conditions. Research has confirmed the adverse effects that associate addiction of video games to violence, aggression and other problems such as depression (Nielsen and Kardefelt-Winther 60). Recently the trend for the normal rate of playing computer games has risen compared to the use of E-learning in kids. The growth of the gaming industry has come with greater concerns due to their impact on aggression and violence in young people. The school shootings can be associated with constant watching of the games especially ones that involve shooting targets. For instance, young children may not contemplate on the negative consequences of killing virtual characters on screen. Sometimes, they may extend it to the real world and kill colleagues at school or homes. Violent games may be blamed for increased aggressiveness, as some players tend to identify with the characters in the game. Failure to differentiate acting and real life makes it difficult to control their actions later in life.

Antisocial Characteristics Developed through Excessive Gaming

Excessive gaming is associated with development of certain antisocial characteristics that may have adverse impacts on an individual especially kids. Some of the impacts include Social isolation due to continuous and ceaseless gaming since people and children may spend less time with their colleagues. Children and teenagers are at risk of experiencing confusion about reality and fiction in the games that can make coping difficult (Nielsen and Kardefelt-Winther 59) Kids find it difficult to mingle with others or experience the realities of the world. Thus, a child player can conclude that the virtual world of the games is similar to the real one. The content that the video game contains may lead to acts such as revenge thus; kids can be judgmental to the society and colleagues. Uncontrolled addiction negatively affects children performance in academics as well. Due to lack of interest in the studies and other school activities. If a kid is unable or unwilling to take part in any activity other than gaming, addiction has occurred, which may be difficult to control (Nielsen and Kardefelt-Winther 60). The child may always think about his next video, abandons former hobbies, or spends time discussing video games on the Internet. In many cases, relationships with friends as well as family members can due to increased concentration on playing favorite games. Video game addiction is viewed as a disorder in some countries such as China and a mental issue in the west. Deviant behavior in such children is common due to emotional challenges that arise when children are denied a chance to play their favorite games. If such behaviors are not controlled early, it may lead to criminal violence in the future. Computer games may not improve brain development since they simply need repetition of simple actions and thus can only stimulate quick reflexes (Roberts, Yaya and Manolis 256). They do not carry out more mentally challenging acts such as analysis. The player does not need to think about the next step of the game thus teaching kids to play other games such as chess will be much better compared to a computer game. Stimulating the frontal lobe is also important producing chemicals such as serotonin used by the brain for repression of impulses. Whenever, this region of the brain is stimulated it can effectively lead to production of serotonin repressing anti-social urges. However, whenever the area is not stimulated, serotonin levels fall leading to the ability of an individual to control own behavior.

In conclusion, technology addition can be dangerous to the users especially children. Gaming addition has negative impacts that include aggressiveness, poor performance in school, antisocial behavior, and violence among others. Users of technology especially video games need to be good time managers and ensure that Parents and teachers should be keen to ensure that students do not spend a lot of time on computers or mobile phones. Children must balance between socialization, outdoor games, as well as use of technology. Anti-social reaction in players of violent video games is common in people that spend a lot of time on their digital gadget playing. Taking the function of pro-social characters in violent games influences players to behave in a pro-social way thus identifying with violent and murderous characters can negatively affect behavior. Parents should regulate use of technology in their children especially video games to ensure that they engage in other physical activities. In school, teachers should also monitor the time students use their computers and the type of work they are doing to avoid overdependence.

Works Cited

Al-Bayed, Mohran H., and Samy S. Abu Naser. "An intelligent tutoring system for health problems related to addiction of video game playing." (2017).

Nielsen, Rune KL, and Daniel Kardefelt-Winther. "Helping parents make sense of video game addiction." Video Game Influences on Aggression, Cognition, and Attention. Springer, Cham, 2018. 59-69.

Ng, Brian D., and Peter Wiemer-Hastings. "Addiction to the internet and online gaming." Cyberpsychology & behavior 8.2 (2005): 110-113.

Roberts, James, Luc Yaya, and Chris Manolis. "The invisible addiction: Cell-phone activities and addiction among male and female college students." Journal of behavioral addictions 3.4 (2014): 254-265.

Schmitt, Zachary L., and Michael G. Livingston. "Video game addiction and college performance among males: results from a 1 year longitudinal study." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 18.1 (2015): 25-29.

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Andrew Fishman LCSW

Video Games Can Help Kids Learn to Read

Children can naturally develop reading skills while having fun..

Posted March 24, 2024 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan

  • Why Education Is Important
  • Find a Child Therapist
  • Some video games are designed to teach reading skills.
  • Children must read to understand and play many other mainstream games.
  • Young people are intrinsically motivated to read and write about their interests.

Learning to read fluently requires hundreds of hours of practice. Some children happily sit and read for hours, but others (especially those with ADHD or dyslexia) cannot. Parents and teachers often wonder how to get those children to practice. Some video games explicitly teach reading skills, but mainstream games are also useful.

Source: The Learning Company

Video games are ideal places for these children to practice reading. This is primarily because they’re both interesting and safe . Reading aloud in class can be frightening for young readers. Despite teachers’ best efforts, struggling readers are often judged or mocked by peers when they mispronounce or stumble over words other kids know. Many adults vividly recall counting the number of children ahead of them in line to read to determine which paragraph they would be called on to read. “I would ignore the rest of the lesson to covertly rehearse my paragraph over and over. It was terrifying.”

I worked with many of these children in a therapeutic middle school. After years of humiliation , many children started to act out during English class to save face. They could not read as well as other students and it felt emotionally safer to pretend to be uninterested and write off the class entirely. Arms folded, they sat in the back of the classroom rolling their eyes or glaring at the teacher and stomping out of the classroom when called upon. It was easier to insist they “hate reading” than admit they were afraid of it.

Luckily, I worked alongside fantastic teachers, who recognized the meaning behind this behavior and responded appropriately. They gave the students individual attention away from the rest of the class and provided individualized assignments catered to the students’ interests. For many, this involved video games. “Write three paragraphs about why you like Minecraft .” “Read and annotate this article about Pokémon .” “Write a one-page persuasive essay about why Call of Duty is better than Fortnite .” Unsurprisingly, interesting assignments and private space to make mistakes helped them feel comfortable as they learned critical reading and writing skills.

Many students who say they don’t like reading simply lack motivation . One researcher found that the average tenth-grade student spends over an hour every day happily reading about video games. In another study, 60% of 8- to 18-year-olds reported writing online about video games every month. In short, video games are a proven way to motivate children to practice reading and writing outside of the classroom.

Most video games require players to read. For example, Pokémon games have no voiced dialogue; every in-game character communicates through text. The same is true for Animal Crossing , Fire Emblem , Super Mario Bros. , and many others.

The Pokémon Company

Some young people skip on-screen text whenever possible. I have met several who press the “advance text” button as rapidly as possible to return to the action. For those children, I advise that their parents sit with them and help guide them. The child might read the protagonist’s dialogue and the parent can role play the other characters.

Some evidence suggests that reading text on a screen is inferior to reading from a book. One study found that children recalled more details when reading from a book than they do from the same text with interactive elements on a screen. Many teachers fear that screens are too distracting and don’t promote “reading stamina” – the ability to sit with and analyze a challenging text. This seems particularly true for very young children, whose brains are still developing patience and focus.

Therefore, I recommend that children be given as little screen time as possible before age 8-9. Talking to distant family members on Zoom and educational programs like Sesame Street are great in moderation. However, children may not learn from screens as well as they do from a live instructor. Some evidence suggests that children under three years old cannot learn anything from prerecorded videos , even ones explicitly designed to teach them. This means that the best way for you to help your children succeed in school is to spend time with them. Read them books and help them sound out words. Make reading a game. Help them figure out what the stop sign on the corner says. Occasionally make silly mistakes and encourage them to correct you. Have fun.

When they’re old enough and grasp the fundamentals, video games can help young people practice reading while having fun.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2007). What can video games teach us about teaching reading? The Reading Teacher, 60 (8). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238445863_What_Can_Video_Games…

Huebeck, E. (2024, January 15). Is too much screen time, too early, hindering reading comprehension? Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/is-too-much-screen-time-too-ea…

Picton, I .& Clark, C. (2021). Children and young people's video game playing and literacy in 2021. National Literacy Trust. https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/childre…

Roseberry, S., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R.M. (2015). Skype me! Socially contingent interactions help toddlers learn language. Society for Research in Child Development, 85 (3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962808/

Schwartz, S. (2023, March 15). Kids understand more from books than screens, but that's not always the case. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/kids-understand-more-from-book…

Thompson, C. (2014, October 9). How videogames like Minecraft actually help kids learn to read. Wired. https://www.wired.com/2014/10/video-game-literacy/

Andrew Fishman LCSW

Andrew Fishman is a licensed social worker in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a lifelong gamer who works with clients to understand the impact video games have had on their mental health.

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Essay on Video Games Addiction in English for Children and Students

how to write an essay about video game addiction


Video Games are fun to play when you are free. They bring interest and refresh our mind to get ready for work again. Their frequent use and that for a long time creates an addiction among the youth.

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Cause of Addiction

The video games entertain us. With every level, we pass the difficulty and the interest of the user increases together. Our interest increases to see the difficulty of each level. This interest later turns to be video game addiction.

Effect of Video Game Addiction

Video Game Addiction harms us physically and mentally. It weakens our vision, our body, and starts a pain in joints and fingers. It is also a reason for increasing depression, poor vision, high and low blood pressure, and also sometimes the case of paralysis. It may result in death too.

We can limit the use of Video Games. Play them only to refresh your mind, not to waste your time. Never stop your urgent work for playing video games, and decide duration for playing them.

Video Games are to entertain us, not to make us sick. Neither play them too much nor ask others to play. Social awareness is very important in this matter. It is not about our interest, but our health.

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You can't sue us for making games 'too entertaining,' say major game developers in response to addiction lawsuits

Microsoft, Rockstar, Epic, and others are being sued for using "addictive psychological features" in games like Minecraft, GTA 5, and Fortnite.

A motorcycle wheelie in GTA 5.

A string of six videogame addiction lawsuits have recently been filed against Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, Roblox, Epic Games, Rockstar, and other major game developers and publishers. The complaints, which were all submitted to courts within the past 12 months, claim that game developers are intentionally making players addicted to their games.

As part of a motion filed this month to dismiss one of the complaints, that of an Arkansas woman and her son, the targeted game developers called it "an attack on the First Amendment rights of videogame creators."

The Arkansas lawsuit alleges that Roblox, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Minecraft, and other popular games used "addictive psychological features" to hook the son starting when he was 12 years old. Now 21, he currently spends $350 a month on games, dropped out of school, has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and "anxiety," and has experienced "withdrawal symptoms such as rage, anger, and physical outbursts," according to the suit. It also alleges that the mother could not regulate her son's gaming because she "feared" him as a result of his outbursts.

The complaint says that the game developers are liable for defective and negligent designs that "take advantage of the chemical reward system of a user's brain (especially a minor) to create addictive engagement, compulsive use, and additional mental and physical harm," as well as failure to warn users of the risk of addiction.

In their motion to dismiss, the developers' lawyers argue that games are an expressive medium, as established in a 2011 Supreme Court decision , and that finding their expression "too entertaining" is not a valid reason to limit constitutionally protected speech. They also say that the plaintiffs fail to clearly establish what features of each game specifically caused harm and how.

The complaint dedicates a number of pages to describing generally the alleged addictive properties of each game. Some commonly criticized aspects of modern games come up, such as "predatory monetization" and deceptive UI tricks called " dark patterns ," but many of the complaints relate to aspects of games we'd consider normal or positive.

Call of Duty, for instance, is criticized for rewarding players with gun and attachment unlocks, which the suit calls "a form of operant conditioning," as well as for featuring "fast-paced play, satisfying graphics, sounds, and other dopamine lifts." Minecraft's multiplayer features are said to "addict players to connecting with others in the Minecraft world" and the suit warns that players with ADHD "can become easily hyper focused and addicted to building worlds." Grand Theft Auto 5, the suit says, "includes endless arrays of activities and challenges to continually engage users and ensure they are never bored."

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The game developers say that the complaint uses "ominous" terms like "feedback loop" and "monetization scheme" to justify attacking regular, creative features that make their games more attractive and challenging.

"That Plaintiffs find the expression in games 'too persuasive' and 'catchy'—ie, too entertaining—'does not permit [them] to quiet the speech or to burden its messengers,'" the developers said. 

(The bit about quieting and burdening is a quote from a 2011 Supreme Court decision which said that the marketing efforts of pharmaceutical companies can't be restricted for being "too persuasive." I have to imagine that the lawyers here would've preferred not to cite a win for the pharmaceutical industry—just, you know, to avoid irony—but I suppose you have to use the precedents you're given.)

Five of the six addiction lawsuits, including the Arkansas suit, were filed by Atlanta law firm Bullock Ward Mason, which counts videogame addiction as one of its specialties. 

"Videogame addiction is a serious problem created and perpetuated by a multi-billion industry with a profit incentive to create addicts out of our children," said a representative for the firm in a statement provided to PC Gamer. "The addiction we are seeing in children and young adults is severe, with gaming taking over their entire lives, causing drastic and detrimental impacts on their wellbeing.

"As we continue to investigate this crisis on behalf of impacted families, we look forward to shining a light on this industry, holding these videogame companies accountable for the harm they are causing, and ensuring changes are made to protect children going forward."

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The World Health Organization recognizes videogame addiction as a disorder, and the American Psychiatric Association says that the question of whether or not videogames can be addictive is "still being debated," but that "early evidence suggests that videogames are one of the most addicting technologies around." The Chinese government restricts the number of hours children can play videogames, saying in 2021 that "parents have reported that game addiction among some youths and children is seriously harming their normal study, life and mental and physical health."

The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group whose members include the companies targeted by these lawsuits, defended game makers in a statement provided to PC Gamer.

"Videogames are among the most dynamic, widely enjoyed forms of entertainment in the world," said the ESA. "We prioritize creating positive experiences for the entire player community and provide easy-to-use tools for players, parents and caregivers to manage numerous aspects of gameplay. Claims that say otherwise are not rooted in fact and ignore the reality that billions of people globally, of all ages and backgrounds, play videogames in a healthy, balanced way."

Should the Arkansas lawsuit (or the others) not be dismissed, the developers have each motioned for the case to go to arbitration—as we all know, there's not a TOS on the planet that doesn't make us waive the right to a jury trial. The plaintiffs have asked for more time to respond to these motions as they await a decision on whether or not the pre-trial proceedings of all six very similar addiction cases will be consolidated.

This article has been updated with a statement from the ESA.

Tyler Wilde

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.

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14 Stories From Educators About Students Using AI For School That Make Me Want To Never Touch A Computer Again

"I think it is a good thing for students to disconnect from their addiction anyway."

Julia Corrigan

BuzzFeed Staff

Recently, I wrote about how different school is today compared with even 10 years ago , and the thing that stuck out most to me was the difference in technology. So I decided to ask teachers and professors in the BuzzFeed Community how student AI use is changing their classrooms. Here are some of their most interesting stories:

1. "i teach media studies at the college level. in a nutshell, it's just absolutely baffling the level of laziness that ai use shows. i've assigned video games for my students to play, and write up notes on and a response to, and received responses generated by ai about an imaginary video game that does not exist, based on the game's name.".

"But the funniest experience I've had was my first: In an intro course, after teaching the concept of remediation, a specific media studies concept, I asked a pretty simple question in a quiz: 'Give an example of remediation.'

"The response I got from a student using AI was about  removing chemicals from soil via the process of remediation — nothing to do with the media studies concept. I stared at it for about a minute and a half just trying to process what I was reading.

"I guess I learned something about soil management...thanks, ChatGPT?"

— visionarywitch14

2. "AI has already taken away the ability to see what the students are actually capable of because they won't put in real effort. They're putting in more effort to find ways to do as little as possible than if they just put the effort into writing. This is only going to get worse. It amazes me that students don’t know what a comma is in middle school."

A person lying down while intently looking at a smartphone screen

3. "Spanish teacher here. With the amount of cheating from using translators and essay writers only growing exponentially, I have all but gotten rid of technology in my class. Project? Handwritten, all work done in class. Quiz? On paper. Interpretive test? All the Chromebooks go on the counter, where students can't access them."

Students sitting at desks; one writing intently, another appears to be thinking hard, with more in the background

"The only time we use technology is for vocab practice games and accessing study resources. 

" I think it is a good thing for students to disconnect from their addiction anyway. They spend so much time glued to their short-form content that I can hardly keep their attention for more than five minutes. It is also best practice for language learning; writing things down helps you remember things way better than typing."

4. "Creative writing and publishing student here. Besides the fact that my professors will give you an automatic zero on assignments if you write them with AI, it's highly unethical because nothing it spits out is an original idea."

— daynam4b6e28fa3

5. "In my state, certain documents are required to be read during the first year of college, and then students must complete an assignment about the documents. It's been the law for a couple of years now. Students who use AI to do the assignments are breaking the law, which can jeopardize whether they get their college degree."

Four characters from &quot;Seinfeld&quot; sit in a jail cell, with expressions ranging from concerned to indifferent

6. "My students are spending more time using AI on their assignments than they would if they actually just did the assignment themselves. Absolutely bonkers."

7. "it has exposed new levels of student laziness. my husband teaches history, and he literally got an assignment that began, 'as an ai, i cannot give an opinion.'".

— lovelytortoise925

8. "It's less students using AI and more everyone else. Standardized tests are being written using it, and we can tell. The tests were already garbage and biased, but now they are riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes."

A student rests her head on her hand, looking tired or frustrated, with books open in front of her

"If they've been translated into Spanish, there are often a ton of mistranslations or places where it just hasn't been translated. Districts are supplying us with curricula that make no sense and are not teachable. AI is a way for these billion-dollar companies to cheap out and screw the kids over. It's just sad."

9. "I'm not a teacher; I'm a mature-age student getting my BA in design. My teachers still can't tell when students use AI! Our online discussion board is just stupid. The discussions mean nothing. I had to lie to the girl I was doing an assignment with and tell her that universities have this new AI scanner in order to actually get her to do the work."

10. "ai doesn't give room for critical thinking. students depend so much on the output of ai and give it no kind of mental review. students do not take classroom attendance seriously; they believe ai can give them whatever is given in the classroom.".

"In addition, it erases respect for teachers because students feel as if they don't have to depend on them but just on AI. This encourages a lack of discipline among the students. They can't recognize disinformation. They should be made to understand the need for critical thinking."

11. "The students don't know anything. They think using AI to cheat is the same as learning the information for themselves. Imagine you're having surgery and your doctor uses AI to fudge his way through medical school. Or you drive across a bridge built by an engineer who cheated by using AI. They think they're clever or insightful for sliding a generated response into the pile, but they're lying their way through an education that they aren't actually getting."

Alex Park in white lab coat, patterned shirt, in a hospital scene from "The Good Doctor"

12. "The majority of my students either do not speak English or just learned English within the school year. I teach first-graders in New York City ; it is very common to have ELL students in the city, as there are many immigrants and refugees here. We have been asked by the state to use online AI programs that read to the children to practice listening comprehension."

"The AI expects students to verbally reply to various prompts within specific time frames. The issue is that kids who have enough knowledge of English to reply to the prompts tend to have accents that the AI can't understand.

"When the AI doesn't understand their accents, it will continually ask the same questions and won't allow the child to move to the next question if it doesn't understand their reply. Naturally, this frustrates kids and takes a large toll on their confidence in speaking the new language.

"And for the kids who know no English at all, the platform is useless, yet the state still requires it to be used, thus leading to more wasted time and frustrated learners."

— meebz2173

13. "I'm a ninth-grade Spanish teacher. My students have writing tests that they type on their computers at the end of each unit. At least three or four students in each class will try to use our writing assistant to write the prompt for them. It's frustrating to have to run it through an indicator if the essay looks too good."

14. and finally: "i teach computer science at the high school level. ai has transformed students from being collaborative problem solvers to lazy, unimaginative robots who attempt to plug in their assignments and copy and paste. when i give them code to correct on paper, it becomes immediately clear who knows what they're doing and who doesn't. it makes it so hard to do fun projects like building simple video games because they don't know how to problem-solve on their own if they get stuck. i understand using ai to debug — i do it too — but only after i've actually written some of the code first.", if you work in education or are a student and have an opinion about ai in school (or any anecdotes about it), please divulge in the comments below or, if you prefer, feel free to check out this anonymous google form . your story may be featured in an upcoming buzzfeed community post..

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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The Answer to America’s Addiction Crisis Could Come Out of Tulsa

Nicholas kristof on the most effective recovery program he’s ever seen..

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email [email protected] with any questions.

I’m Nicholas Kristof. I’m a columnist at “The New York Times.” And I’ve got a rare story that is actually uplifting. It’s a story about how one place is overcoming America’s curse of addiction.


I think that we in the US have bungled our response to addiction. And that’s partly because people have just abandoned hope that anything will actually make a difference. And I think that’s wrong. So, let me tell you about Women in Recovery, which is a program in Oklahoma that treats addiction. And it has generated a remarkable track record.

Women in Recovery is a diversion program for women in Tulsa. The program says that it is cheaper than incarceration, which is the alternative for the women involved. And people in Oklahoma say that it saves the state millions of dollars for that reason. It typically lasts about 18 months. About 70 percent of women who start Women in Recovery manage to complete it. And of those who do complete it, fewer than 4 percent ever return to prison within three years of graduation.

I went to Tulsa recently to learn more about Women in Recovery, and I spent time with one of the women in the program, a 27-year-old named Katelyn Fulbright.


Katelyn began to use drugs at the age of 16, when her boyfriend introduced her to meth and cocaine. Katelyn then began to sell drugs to finance her habit.

It started off with small amounts and just dating bad boys. That’s definitely a fault of mine.

She ended up marrying a guy who was also in the drug world. And then she ended up being arrested with a large quantity of drugs. And really, out of desperation, then, she entered Women in Recovery.

I was like, I don’t want to go to prison, so let’s try this.

How long would you have faced in prison?

Women in Recovery is a tough program. For the first few months, participants are pretty much under house arrest. They have ankle monitors. They share apartments with other participants and are ferried back and forth between their apartments and the Women in Recovery offices, where they get intensive therapy and group classes.

I was super resentful towards the program. They wouldn’t let me talk to my husband. Of course, he’s a felon, been in prison four times.

There’s a real effort to largely cut them off from their old friends who were in the drug world to help them start over. And Katelyn hated all that.

So, after about three months, I went on the run.

A year after running off, Katelyn was caught. She was shipped back to Tulsa in handcuffs and then sent to prison. But at this point, she was just exhausted of that life. She’d had it with addiction and crime.

I took a chance, and I rolled the dice. And I said, OK, let me go back. I didn’t want to at all, but my mom did. And I was tired of breaking her heart. I came back August 10 of 2022. It was the best decision of my life.

And when you got back the second time, did things go more smoothly?

Oh, yeah. Well, because I was finally done with the ex-husband.

With help from the program, Katelyn was able to divorce her husband. She enrolled in therapy.

I got really involved in Narcotics Anonymous. That has been my saving grace.

And as she advanced through Women in Recovery, Katelyn earned more freedom. She won the right to live on her own, to hold a job. And frankly, it’s often tough for people who come from addiction and prison to find employment and housing. People are suspicious of them.

In Tulsa, it helps a great deal that Women in Recovery has a excellent track record of success and has the trust of businesses. So there are lots of Tulsa companies that go out of their way to offer apprenticeships to graduates of the program. In this case, an oil company took a chance on hiring Katelyn as an administrative assistant.

If I stay with this company and I go take classes that can help better and further my education, they can help me really go places. And I’d love to become a geologist. I don’t ever have to put drugs back in my body again to make me feel better. I’m now attracted to men who have it together, who work jobs, who are clean and not using drugs. And that’s because I made a change within me, not because I’m just like, oh, I need to go for these guys. Whenever I started to change me, that other stuff started to come along.

I attended the graduation for Women in Recovery.

Coming back to the program opened the door to where I’m staying today.

It’s an incredible scene. It’s a gymnasium full of people, and the audience is composed of family members who had given up hope on them. They had the police officers who had arrested them, the judges who had sentenced them. And they’re all wildly cheering these women.

There are thousands of treatment programs around the country. And for me, at least, Women in Recovery is the most effective one I’ve seen. And that’s partly because it lasts a lot longer than others. And a lot of them are over after a month or two months.

And when somebody has been wrestling with addiction for a decade, I mean, the truth is, it’s really hard to put that behind you after a month or two. So, Women in Recovery benefits from having a much longer program. And it also is very comprehensive. It really tries to deal with every aspect of the problem and then ushers people into jobs, into housing.

I’ve reported a lot about addiction, partly because it’s personal. My own community in Oregon has suffered a great deal from it, and I’ve lost a lot of friends to it. And when I explore these topics, it’s usually, frankly, pretty depressing. It’s about overdoses. It’s about the shame families feel. It’s about mourning those who they’ve lost.

But this is different. It is so wonderful to go to a graduation like Women in Recovery’s and emerge as full of hope and have tears of joy, not pain and sadness. And it’s a wonderful break for me to write about addiction in a context that is full of pride and joy and success.

The Opinions logo

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By Nicholas Kristof

Produced by Jillian Weinberger

Nicholas Kristof has spent a lot of time reporting on addiction. “My own community in Oregon has suffered a great deal from it. I’ve lost a lot of friends to it,” he says. In a recent trip to Tulsa, Okla., Kristof visited Women in Recovery, an addiction treatment program showing what’s possible. In this audio essay, he introduces us to a program graduate, Katelyn Fullbright, who struggled with cocaine and meth addiction but now holds a full-time job she enjoys.

(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication in the audio player above.)

An illustration in green shows Katelyn Fullbright, a program graduate of Women in Recovery.

This episode of “The Opinions” was produced by Jillian Weinberger. It was edited by Kaari Pitkin and Alison Bruzek. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud. Original music by Sonia Herrero and Pat McCusker. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , X (@NYTOpinion) and Instagram .

Nicholas Kristof became a columnist for The Times Opinion desk in 2001. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his coverage of China and of the genocide in Darfur. @ NickKristof


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