Video game addiction is a compulsive behavior that develops from overuse of playing one specific or multiple games to the point that it interferes with everyday life. Although there is no official diagnosis or disorder currently defined on the matter there are many proposals to have video game addiction included in the next edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder a publication put out by the American Psychiatric Association.
While gaming is not something that is physically addictive like alcohol or substance abuse the effects and symptoms of video game addiction are similar to other compulsive behaviors such as gambling, pyromania and other impulse control disorders. A 2007 Harris Interactive Poll surveying subjects 8-18 showed that the average females spend up to 8 hours a week while the average adolescent male spends up for 14 hours in a single week on some form of computer or console based electronic game. Another poll in 2008 by Telegram.co.uk showed that 3% of roughly 400 polled admitted to being agitated when not gaming and also had sad that they had missed sleep or skipped meals in order to spend more time playing.
Frequent overuse of video games has led to a culture where more and more people are becoming increasingly more concerned with what's going on within the virtual world inside of a video game than the world around them. Such users have been reported to experience problems with weight loss and or weight gain, disruptions in sleep patterns, decreased productivity at work due to playing electronic games while on the job and a avoid spending time with friends and family to devote their time to gaming.
Computer game developers are designing products with more complex and life like graphics and story lines that are becoming more user interactive. This has fueled a trend of much more frequent video game use which over time may lead to addiction especially in adolescents. Experts recommend to limit daily use of video games and for parents to plan activities with their children and set up a schedule for selective viewing making it more of a reward for good behavior or an activity that is only allowed after other chores and schoolwork is done. As with many other potentially addictive items or behaviors, in this case practicing strict moderation is the key to preventing a love affair of video game technology from becoming addictive and socially harmful behavior.