The latest video game addiction statistics are pretty alarming. Even though there is nothing wrong with spending time doing things you enjoy, can a hobby be taken too far? When should we be concerned about gaming becoming an addiction?
Researchers have an answer to this question.
- Research shows that men enjoy games more than women.
- Playing video games elevates dopamine levels.
- 90% of gamers do not engage in behavior that has long-term consequences.
- COVID-19 has resulted in a 39% increase in gaming time around the world.
- ADHD symptoms can be linked to the severity of video game addiction.
- By 2019, the global prevalence of gaming disorder had grown to 3.05%.
- The average time spent playing video games is 7.71 hours per week in the US.
- 0.3%–1% of the general population fit the diagnostic criteria for IGD.
- During COVID-19 lockdowns, 30% of Brits skipped a meal or shower to play.
- Underaged Chinese aren’t allowed to play for over 90 minutes on weekdays.
Video game addiction has sparked debate in the medical, scientific, and gaming communities due to extensive research, debate, and discussion among professionals from various fields. So, what do statistics say?
1. Research shows that men enjoy games more than women.
According to a 2008 article, a group of Stanford researchers put 22 young people in MRI machines to investigate what happens to their brains when they play video games.
The findings revealed that gaming activated the brain’s reward areas in male subjects more than it did in the brain of young women. In other words, video games are physiologically more fulfilling for guys — and research has shown that men play regularly more than women.
With all that in mind, it’s not that surprising that young men are more likely to become addicted to video games than young women.
2. Playing video games elevates dopamine levels as much as eating a slice of pizza would.
Or an ice cream dish. Additionally, it boosts dopamine levels to nearly double the normal resting levels, while narcotics like heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine raise those dopamine levels by roughly ten times that amount.
3. 90% of gamers do not engage in behavior that is dangerous or has long-term consequences.
This was the conclusion of a six-year study on video game addiction, the longest of its kind.
According to it, a small percentage of gamers can develop a pathological addiction to video games and suffer mental, social, and behavioral consequences as a result. However, most gamers will suffer no long-term effects.
The survey was conducted on 2,801 adult video game players.
Regardless of the type of video game they prefer, research shows that gamers with more severe ADHD symptoms may be at a higher risk of video game addiction.
Video gaming is one of the most popular recreational pastimes on the planet. However, as the popularity of video games has grown, so has the number of reports of problematic video game playing.
5. By 2019, the global prevalence of gaming disorder had grown to 3.05%.
Estimates of prevalence were derived from more than 50 studies conducted between 2009 and 2019, with 226,247 participants from 17 countries.
When only studies that met more stringent sampling criteria were considered, the global prevalence of 3.05% was modified to 1.96%.
The same research also shows that men are more likely to have a gaming disorder than women, with rates of 2.5:1 in favor of men.
6. As of January 2021, the average time spent playing video games is 7.71 hours per week in the US.
According to the same stats, gamers in China spend the most time playing games, averaging roughly 12.39 hours per week.
With roughly 10.16 hours of gaming time per week, Vietnamese gamers came in second. The global average is 8.45 hours of gaming per week.
7. According to stats from 2017, over 22% of US gamers spend 61–80% of their time playing multiplayer online PC games.
(Statista, Addiction Center)
Apart from this genre, video game addiction facts show that role-playing games (RPGs) are just as addictive. This is because they provide a constant interchange of virtual engagement while allowing players to lead a different lifestyle in-game.
League of Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush are all among the most addicting video games. Believe it or not, over 10.4 million years have been spent playing Fortnite.
8. Studies have found that 0.3%–1% of the general population fit the diagnostic criteria for IGD.
The study was published in 2016. It was done on 18,932 adult gamers in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
More than two-thirds of individuals who played games did not report any symptoms of Internet gaming problems.
However, according to the reviewers, the accuracy of the figure above is not reliable because relevant research doesn’t differentiate between enthusiastic participation and pathology.
9. 13.9% of male Hong Kong student respondents spent more than 21 hours per week playing video games in 2017.
(University of Hong Kong, CBR)
On average, this equates to more than 3 hours every day. However, the research only included 2,006 students of primary schools, so the actual numbers could be somewhat different.
As one of the solutions to video game addiction, the limits on video games that have been enacted in mainland China may soon be extended to Hong Kong.
To combat the local rise in teen addiction to video games, those restrictions include placing time limits on gaming and requiring real-name registration. Considering that Asia accounts for more than a third of all PC gamers, some might say these measures are long overdue.
10. There has been a case of a man in South Korea playing for 72 hours straight.
(Los Angeles Times)
Roh Sungwon, an addiction specialist and professor of psychiatry, stated that one of his patients was a video game addict hospitalized for mental treatment for a month. That happened after the internet café owner became concerned and called the police.
11. 45.5% of Japanese survey respondents found it hard to stop playing games when they were supposed to.
Those were the findings of a survey on gaming disorders performed in Japan from January to March 2019. It refers to people who frequently played video games for more than six hours on a weekday.
Respondents who played video games for shorter periods showed a considerably lower inclination.
Moreover, over 29% of respondents who frequently played video games for more than six hours on a workday claimed that their video game consumption had caused them to lose interest in other interests. Some include sports, hobbies, or even meeting friends and family.
12. During COVID-19 lockdowns, 30% of Brits admitted to skipping a meal or shower to play video games.
In addition, over 66% reported they had missed sleep as a result of gaming.
It was also discovered that, before March 2020, the average UK gamer spent roughly 13 hours per week playing video games, which equated to 39 days per year.
It grew to 18 hours per week during the lockdown, with the average sitting time ranging from 1 to 3 hours. However, some people claimed to have played for up to 15 hours at a time.
13. COVID-19 has resulted in a 39% increase in gaming time around the world.
Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, gaming has become many people’s new favorite hobby. This is especially true for younger generations, as it was a convenient way to spend the extra free time.
However, with increased gaming, the risk of addiction rises too.
One recent study has shown that while both children and adolescents played more, only adolescents showed more severe signs of gaming addiction when compared to the period before the pandemic.
Children and Teenager Statistics
Recent technological advancements have elevated video games to the top leisure activity for children, who are particularly prone to addiction. Here are a few stats that’ll show the importance of limiting access to addictive activities.
14. Teenage video game addiction stats confirm boys display more serious addiction signs.
A total of 827 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 19 took part in the 2018 study, showing the abovementioned results.
According to a study, boys were substantially more likely than girls to prioritize playing online games over learning, working, pursuing hobbies, and nurturing family relationships.
15. In 2019, 600,000 South Korean children suffered from gaming addiction.
As a result, video game addiction has been declared a public medical crisis. In addition, one of the interesting video game addiction facts is that the World Health Organization voted to add “gaming disorder” to the worldwide disease categorization system.
16. In Singapore, 10% of children are addicted to the internet and video games.
As a result, the government introduced a classification system that helped parents choose appropriate games for their children.
Furthermore, due to non-compliance with the grading system, the Singapore government has banned numerous popular video games.
17. Chinese under 18 are not allowed to play for more than 90 minutes on weekdays.
China, after trying to figure out how to break gaming addiction in children, decided to set a new regulation prohibiting youngsters from playing video games for more than 90 minutes on weekdays. They are only permitted to play from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
But that’s not all — on weekends and holidays, they are not allowed to play for more than three hours.
What percentage of gamers are addicted?
According to online video game addiction statistics, 1–16% of gamers struggle with obsessive gaming addiction. Around 40% of the world’s population, or nearly 3.1 billion individuals, play video games.
(Very Well Mind, GameRant)
What are the chances of getting addicted to video games?
The chances of getting addicted to video games depend on many factors.
For example, research has shown that young males who live alone, are not very conscientious, are highly neurotic, and are not very psychosomatically healthy — are more likely to get addicted to video games.
What causes video game addiction?
A burst of dopamine, the feel-good chemical released in the brain when we accomplish success or achievement, can also cause hyperarousal.
The same dopamine release process causes addiction to video games, TV, and substances like alcohol. Many youngsters and adults who play video games or watch television do so to exclude other things.
What are the signs of video game addiction?
There are several symptoms of game addiction you need to look out for:
- Finding yourself unable to stop
- Lying to others about how much you play
- Using it as an emotional crutch
- Physically suffering as a result of gaming
- Continuously thinking about gaming
- Losing real-world friends
These are just some of the signs of addiction.
What makes video games addictive?
Beating your opponent, the high score, relationships with other players, winning the game, and the discovery method in games are all examples of “hooks” incorporated into games to make them addictive.
(Video Game Addiction)
Fortunately, this problem has a solution, so yes — you can learn how to stop video game addiction. Numerous video game addiction treatment options are available.
So, if you enjoy playing from time to time, don’t let these video game addiction statistics scare you.
After all, the harm comes when there is no moderation. Even though addiction is a possibility, gaming is still more likely to remain a pleasurable hobby for most of us at the end of the day.
- Addiction Center
- Daily JSTOR
- DJS Research
- European Parliament
- Game Gavel
- Los Angeles Times
- NY Times
- Psychology Today
- Research Gate
- Science Daily
- The Edge
- The Gamer
- University of Hong Kong
- Very Well Mind
- Video Game Addiction