The games that adolescents and young people used to play in the play grounds and on the streets have been replaced in recent years with cyber games played in front of the computer on the internet or in game arcades. This changing culture has particularly brought up the concept of “digital game addiction”, a condition that stems from the steadily growing passion for digital games and their excessive and uncontrolled usage among adolescents and young people.
Game addiction in the psychiatry literature has been described as an impulse control disorder characterized by the symptoms such as “the inability to control the time spent on game-playing”, “a loss of interest in other activities”, “continuing to play despite the adverse effects” and “feeling psychologically deprived when not being able to play”. Although digital game addiction has not been accepted by psychiatric authorities as a psychiatric disorder yet, the increasing psychiatry referrals due to the problems accompanying this disorder, the efforts of families to seek support and solutions, the evidence that similarities with other types of addiction have been revealed by researchers, as well as the current prevalence rates are all factors that suggest the existence of important of the examination of issue.
Gaming addiction could be a significant health hazard with harmful impact on physical, emotional, mental and social health. It is associated with sleep deprivation, eating irregularities, physical strain and fatigue, obesity, mood disorders, social incompetence and isolation from friends and family (Brunborg et al. 2014: Choo et al. 2010; Young 1998). Pathological gamers often have poor skills in problem solving and emotion management. Playing games provides excitement, relief and escape from daily stressors and problems (Griffiths 2008; Hussain and Griffiths 2009a; Li et al. 2011; Wood 2008; Wood et al. 2004). Playing games could help modifying moods and negative emotions (Gentile et al. 2011; Griffiths 2008; Hussain and Griffiths 2009b; Wolfling et al. 2008; Wood 2008; Wood et al. 2004), consequently the players are likely to indulge in gaming to excess.
Cognitive factors such as distorted perception of one’s intelligence and gaming skills may contribute to pathological gaming (King and Delfabbro 2014). Many pathological gamers have positive appraisal of their intelligence and gaming skills but a negative view of their social competence in interpersonal interactions (Gentile et al. 2011; Zhong 2011). They may also have a strong desire to seek new sensations and experiences (Mehroof and Griffiths 2010). Adolescents are susceptible to peer influence.
Modeling may play a role in pathological gaming. Teenagers watch and imitate peers around them playing games to seek relaxation, to meet others, and to cope with upsetting emotions and problems. They are also compelled to meet peer expectations and pressure to continue playing hours after hours to keep up with the game, especially in the Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). The MMORPGs could be a risk factor of gaming addiction as there seems to be no end to these games. The gamers are emotionally attached to the gaming group, and feel obliged to keep playing.
Family has an important role in influencing the socialization of adolescents. It has been shown that the family is a protective factor in preventing adolescents from taking part in problematic and hazardous behavior, for example, the use of tobacco, illicit substances, and alcohol, and unsafe sexual practices. It has been reported that similar family factors are associated with both substance use and IA, which indicates that these can be grouped under the term of behavioral problems syndrome. Furthermore, adverse conditions like a broken family, family conflict, and low family functionality are reported to be associated with adolescent IA.
Several types of parenting approaches are discussed in the literature. Parental monitoring and parental style are the more common parental skills in the daily life of adolescents, rather than paying specific attention to particular types of adolescent activities. Parental monitoring means supervision of the daily life of an adolescent, parental style focuses on the overall parenting climate at home , while parental guidance is more specific to one kind of activity. Parental guidance refers to setting rules, giving direction, counseling, advising, making a clear distinction between right and wrong, and providing protection in daily activities.
However, how these factors relate to IA has not yet been studied extensively, or, in other words, has not been Internet-specific. he concept of parental guidance refers to a variety of behaviors employed by parents to support their child’s performance. Bybee et al. developed a scale to measure parental guidance in television viewing, which modified has also been applied to other forms of media, such as books and computer games.
There are three patterns of parental guidance for television: restrictive, evaluative, and unfocused. Restrictive guidance refers to setting limitations or restrictions on the use of media. For example, parents may set a limit on the amount of time allocated for watching television, and may forbid the watching of particular programs. Evaluative parental guidance means parents will discuss media content with their child; they may also comment on particular content, whether good or bad, and might explain that the content is unrealistic. Unfocused parental guidance refers to a situation where parents only sit near the child while they watch TV and encourage certain watching behaviour.