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Why do people get addicted to computer games ?

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bullbudder | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 22, 2013 at 6:59 AM via web

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Why do people get addicted to computer games ?

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mvcdc | Student, Graduate | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM (Answer #1)

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There really is no universally accepted explanation as to why (some) people get addicted to computer games. There are, however, some theories in the works. (Note that video game addiction is not considered a diagnosis).

It is possible that video game addiction is similar to impulse control disorder. ICD can be cause by dopamine-agonists. A more accepted theory, however, (and probably a more realistic one since most people aren't usually faced with dopamine-agonists) is that it is caused, like all other addictions, by constant rewards and reinforcement. Most games have goals, and hence, rewards. These reward-seeking objectives make games attracted. Gamification is the use of the fact that most people are more attracted to games in more productive ways such as social engagement and involvement. 

In this case, it is a social thing (so as to avoid the use of disorder). People seek rewards and reinforcements and these come a lot in games. Another possible social explanation would be the fear or perhaps the need to belong. Video games offer a different platform for relationship, albeit not the social-human personal relationship. In some cases, these "virtual" relationships become more important than real relationships. 

In general, people play games not just because they find them fun - but because they find them satisfying -- and satisfying here can refer to broad kinds of satisfaction. Games can satisfy our need to connect, our need to be motivated, or probably our need for freedom, in the case of some games. It also gives us power over the game world, where we can do anything without an actual consequence aside from a restart or the lost of one of many lives (which we can simply gain at some other point in the game).

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In my own opinion, video game addiction is just the need of the brain to do something. Some people aren't able to find their passion, but instead find their way to games - which, given the aforementioned causes, eventually gets them addicted -- Hence, video game addiction MAY be a social "disorder" but it could have roots in the very workings of our brains (probably, the need to FUNCTION). 

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[ It is interesting to note that there are some observations that say that people who play games are more apt in problem solving! -- but at the point of addiction, video game playing PROBABLY becomes a bad thing. I attached an article about video game addiction, should you want to read further]

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