Teen Video Game Addiction Statistics in Los Angeles
Teen Video Game Addiction Statistics in Los Angeles: One of the favorite pastimes of most teenagers today is playing video games. Usually, these games have engaging animations and graphics, so gamers get easily stuck in these virtual worlds. It is worth noting that teen video game addiction is increasing in Los Angeles each year.
Video games are electronic games that someone can play by using an interactive system. A player can use input devices such as a keyboard, mouse, controller, joystick, or motion sensors. Due to the advancement of technology, teens now have video games at the tip of their fingers. They can be easily downloaded from the App Store and Play Store to their smartphones.
Aside from fun and excitement, video games connect people around the globe — from friends to colleagues, and even to strangers who participate in multiplayer online games. The video game phenomena has reached people worldwide, and according to recent data, there are approximately 2.81 billion gamers in 2021. This number has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 breakout, and some cases can be quite alarming.
According to video game addiction statistics, teenagers who spend excessive time playing violent video games have a higher susceptibility for aggressive conduct in their real lives. As such, it is advisable for parents to monitor their teens and encourage their children to play video games in moderation.
Why Are Video Games Addictive?
Many teens nowadays suffer from video game addiction. More often, gamers start playing moderately until they can’t control themselves anymore and then need to constantly be on their smartphones, computers, or game consoles.
Playing video games is all well and good until one gets addicted to them. That’s where the issues begin. Video game addiction also called “gaming disorder,” starts with the irresistible use of video games, which hinders the person from functioning normally in their daily living. This disorder can be seen when an individual refuses to carry out everyday duties, responsibilities, and other social interests only to play games the whole day.
The World Health Organization (WHO) included gaming disorder in the International Classification of Diseases 11th edition (ICD-11), so that health professionals can be notified and use appropriate treatment programs, like how any other mental health conditions are treated across the globe. Learn more about teen mental health treatment and teen depression treatment today.
How Video Games Affect The Brain Of A Teen
Excessive playing of video games can be addictive, and have a negative impact on the teenage brain. It can cause the following:
- Alexithymia — This results from the persistent subduing of negative emotions. Playing video games can make teens feel random emotions. Individuals with alexithymia struggle to distinguish the emotions they are feeling.
- Dopamine Addiction — Our brain releases dopamine when something excites us. Addicted teens find video games fun and exciting, so dopamine levels are high when playing. In the long run, the brain gets used to the constantly high supply of dopamine, preventing them from engaging in other activities that are not as invigorating as video games.
- Social Anxiety — Isolating oneself in a dark room while playing video games can hinder someone from socializing and interacting with friends. If this continues, an individual’s social skills will worsen, which might lead to social anxiety.
Why do teens get addicted to video games?
The adolescent years are incredibly challenging. Teens battle with their identities, attempting to find their place in a tough social environment. This is why they become fond of online gaming, as it allows them to loosen up and be whoever they want to be.
Moreover, a poor family relationship can be another reason why teens get addicted to video games. Children with insecure attachments (avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized) to their parents tend to spend more time on their phones and playing video games.
Teens get easily addicted to video games because they use them to cope with their emotions and life challenges.
General Video Game Addiction Statistics
Video game addiction is already widespread across the world. According to studies, addicted individuals vary in age, demographics, gender, geographical location, and more. Below are statistics relevant to video game addiction or gaming disorder:
- Statistics by Age
Statistics reveal that 8.5% of children and teenagers below 18 have some kind of gaming disorder. Meanwhile, the age bracket of young adults — from 18-24 years old — is most likely to suffer from video game addiction. It was also shown that 38% of people aged 18-34 are at high risk, while the average age that suffers from addiction are young adults aged 24.On the other hand, a German study shows that between 3.3% and 6% of teenagers struggle with gaming disorder.
- Covid-19 Video Game Addiction StatisticsAmidst the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a 63% increase in the sales of the gaming industry, and 39% more game time was spent worldwide. The industry’s market value soared from $151 billion to about $180 billion in only two years — from 2019 (pre-pandemic era) to 2021.Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic propelled the number of video game addicts in the world. According to a study conducted through multinomial logistic regression, the gaming disorder was induced by extreme loneliness, which was especially compounded by the pandemic. Teenagers played video games to cope with Covid-19 related stress and depression, leading to video games abuse and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). A survey during the pandemic showed that among 2863 participants, 83% of them (2377 of 2863) were gamers, and 5.3% (153/2863) and 20.9% (597 of 2863) of them showed pathological and excessive game disorder, correspondingly.
- Statistics by DemographicsApproximately 2.8 billion people all around the world enjoy playing video games. A survey in 2021 shows that 38% of gamers are 18-34 years old, while 7% of them are 65 years and above. In addition, between 1% to 10% of gamers have gaming disorders.Meanwhile, the statistics of gaming ethnicity in the United States reveals that among video game players, 69% of Caucasians and 13% of Asians suffer from addiction. The remaining 18% belong to other ethnicities.
- Statistics by GenderVideo games promote equal opportunities for genders — 50% of gamers are male, while 48% are female. However, among gamers suffering from addiction, 94% are men and only 6% are women. This reveals that males are particularly vulnerable when it comes to gaming disorders.An observation was made among 241 patients in the Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center in Japan, and it was revealed that 89% of game addicts are males.
- Statistics by Geographical LocationThe geographical location of gamers has little to no influence on their probability of getting addicted to video games, says Vladimir Poznyak, a WHO researcher. However, the number of video game addicts can differ depending on whether they are in developed or developing countries. As such, the number of gaming addicts in developing countries like Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa is inferior to those in regions such as China, Japan, South Korea, Europe, and North America.Researchers found that around 0.3% to 1% of adults in Canada, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. satisfy the Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) diagnosis criteria. Furthermore, a statistic in Norway shows that 1.4% of individuals could be considered gaming addicts, and 7.3% could be seen as problem gamers.
- Video Game Addiction Statistics: United StatesThe United States is one of the most populated countries in the world, with a very high number of gamers. Statistics show that 61% of gamers in America use their smartphones to play video games, and approximately 75% of American households have a minimum of one video game player in their residence. There will be 177.7 million gamers all over the country by the end of the year 2021 — more than 50% of the total population. Moreover, among all these gamers in the United States, 1.96% to 3% struggle with gaming disorder — almost 3 million to 5 million.
- The Rise in Gaming AddictionThe video game industry is rising as technology keeps advancing. From using gaming PCs, laptops, consoles, or even smartphones, gamers can now access their favorite video games anywhere they want. Most of these devices are convenient since they are small and easy to use. A study shows just how massive the video game industry has become — from a revenue of $7.4 billion in 1999 to $131 billion in 2018. The revenue has multiplied tenfold in almost 20 years. Video games dominate the world, so it’s unsurprising to see the number of gaming addicts increase as well.
- Video Game Usage RatesThe time spent playing video games is increasing through the years. Research on video game usage showed an average of 26 minutes of game time per day in 1999, and it increased to 32 daily minutes in 2004. A related study in 2009 found out that the average game usage of children and teenagers aged 8 to 18 years old is 1 hour and 13 minutes.A research conducted by Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D., studied the video game time of 3,034 children and teenagers. He found out that the average allotted time playing online and video games were 20 hours per week. Around 4% of the participants were categorized as extreme users, who spent an average of 50 hours playing video games per week.As game time increases, the attention of gamers gets drawn even more to the virtual worlds, which can lead to gaming disorders.
Most Addictive Video Games for Teens
Some of the most addictive games are role-playing games (RPGs), massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), and others that use both features like massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).
Gamers play RPGs because they allow them to role-play another life they desire. They can become their favorite characters without feeling any rejection, failure, and conflicts. Meanwhile, some gamers are drawn to MMOs, especially people who want interaction with other people but cannot apply it in real life. While video games are fun, they can be very addictive when they are not played in moderation.
These are some of the most addictive video games that people are obsessed with nowadays:
- World of Warcraft
Though World of Warcraft (WoW) was released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment, it is undeniably one of the most popular MMORPGs in the history of online video games. It had 12 million users in 2010 and it expanded to more than 100 million accounts in 2014. This game has become one of the highest-grossing online video games of all time, with $9.23 billion in revenue in 2017. World of Warcraft allows gamers to create their avatar, fight monsters, and complete quests. The game allows gamers to interact with other players and non-player characters (NPCs). Living inside the game can make the players feel powerful and invincible, and sometimes, they might struggle to differentiate between the real and virtual world.
- FortniteFortnite tops all online video games across the internet. This game is developed by Epic Games, and it has been dominating the video game world since 2017. Over 200 billion people play this game globally. Fortnite is played in three-game mode versions — Fortnite: Save the World, Fortnite Battle Royale, and Fortnite Creative. Moreover, this is a shooter game played by a hundred gamers in each match. The goal is to stay alive and be the last one standing, regardless of the situation or numerous enemies.It was reported that from January to September 2018, there were 200 divorce cases in the U.K. because of Fortnite. Not only it affects the children, but adults too, especially married people that are struggling with a gaming disorder.
- League of LegendsLeague of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer and team-based game developed by Riot Games. It is a free-to-play game released in 2009. League of Legends is played by two teams of five players each. Their goal is to destroy the rival team’s “Nexus,” protected by enemies and turrets. The downsides of this game are the negative feelings it can generate. When a player gets killed or loses the game, not only do they blame themselves, but their teammates as well. Thus, the pressure is always on, or they’ll be blamed by other teammates.
- C.S.:GOCounter-Strike: Global Offensive is a multiplayer game developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment, and announced on August 21, 2012. This game is one of the most popular competitive first-person shooters. Two rival teams (Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists) fight against each other in various game modes. They must complete objectives such as securing a spot to plant or deactivate a bomb, or capturing or rescuing hostages. The players are rewarded based on their performance, individually or as a team.
Harmful Effects of Video Game Addiction
Spending most of the time playing video games comes with higher risks of health-related conditions. Addicted gamers often forget that there’s still a real world behind the virtual world they are engaged in. Here are some of the harmful effects of video game addiction:
- Video games can lead to depression and social isolation.People resort to playing video games to ease their minds when they are stressed and lonely, but what if the game makes them miserable every time they lose or get killed? Children and teenagers get easily frustrated, disappointed, and dismayed when they fail their goals. Suppression of these constant negative emotions might cause depression.Social skills are obtained through interacting and playing with friends, neighbors, and schoolmates. However, due to the advancement of technology, teens prefer to get locked inside their rooms playing video games. They do it to withdraw from social situations, especially those who are timid and unsocial. However, getting addicted to video games makes them even more isolated from the rest of the world.
- There is a link between video game addiction and sleep disorders.Gaming addicts often sacrifice sleep to complete quests, gain rewards, level up, and do other virtual activities. They spend the whole day and night absorbed in their virtual worlds, where they find delight, peace, and excitement. Short sleep cycles, especially in children and teenagers, might cause high insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.Those who are highly addicted to video games are at risk of sleep disorders. Studies show that over 67% of gamers suffer from sleep deprivation due to playing video games. Moreover, gamers delay going to bed on 36% of the evenings they play video games. The average number of evenings per week spent playing video games is 4.6. On nights spent gaming, the average bedtime delay is 101 minutes.The decrease in total sleep time, increase in sleep onset latency, and changes in sleep cycles are clear indicators of poor sleep quality on video gamers. This results in increased tiredness and fatigue, which might impact cognitive and behavioral activities.
- Video games might contribute to obesity and other health problems because of the sedentary lifestyle they encourage.The sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activities of gaming addicts might result in obesity. Some children refuse to practice physical recreations so they can sit and play video games all day, and that’s where the link between a rise in BMI and time spent playing games appears. Gaming addicts spend less time doing exercises or completely ignoring them, and are more likely to gain more weight. Although eating chips or other junk foods while playing video games contributes to obesity, the sedentary lifestyle is its main factor.
- Violent video games can encourage real-world violence in some players, particularly children.Video games that contain violence and destructive activities can affect the players’ minds, especially the young ones. They might think that it is normal and might become numb to violence. There is also a high tendency that children will show aggressive behavior towards the people around them. Children might also struggle to differentiate the real world from the virtual world. They might think that they are still in the game and lash out without considering the consequences.
Video Game Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders
A growing body of research reveals that video gaming addiction co-occurs with other disorders. The occurrence of different disorders can make the life of a teen even more difficult. Here are some conditions that might co-occur with gaming addiction:
- Chronic Depression
New research has shown a link between depression and video game addiction based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or brain scans, of young teens diagnosed with compulsive gaming. Gaming addiction was shown to activate certain brain regions associated with symptoms of depression.
- Substance Abuse
It is known that many teens play video games and become addicted while they are under the influence of drugs or substance abuse. However, further study is needed to prove the relevance of game addiction and substance abuse.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to get addicted to video games, especially if they play games with rewarding features. In addition, about 23% of people who play video games report symptoms of addiction.
How to prevent video game addiction in your child
If your teen is playing video games for long hours, you are probably wondering if they are addicted to them. Video games are played by about 2 billion people globally. Teen game addiction in Los Angeles has been on the rise in recent years. Video games have the same effect on the brain as addictive substances, since they cause the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes someone feel pleasure. Below are some of the things you can do to prevent addiction in your child:
- Inpatient and Outpatient Video Game Addiction Treatment.
Finding a competent rehabilitation centers perfect for your child is essential to prevent and address video game addiction. Professionals can help you determine which treatment is best for your child. Inpatient and Outpatient video game addiction treatment work effectively if given to the right patient. If you believe that your teen might be struggling with video games, seek immediate professional help.
- Know the signs and symptoms of video game addiction in your child.
It is essential to be able to recognize video game addiction signs. By determining the warning signs, you can take proper measures, seek help, and treat your child appropriately before things get worse.
- Set limits on the time spent playing video games.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting video game use to two hours each day for older children. For children under the age of two, screen usage should be avoided. Limiting the gaming time of your teen can help avoid addiction. The less time they invest in playing video games, the higher the chance they will not get addicted. While it might be tempting to ban video games from your home, it is best not to do it, since it might worsen the issue and lead to relationship problems with your child.
- Prioritize family time over video games.
Spending time with your teen is important, especially in their adolescent phase, where changes are happening all the time. Go to a picnic, have a family dinner, watch a movie, go to the beach, do some simple things that strengthen your relationship with your child, and teach them other ways to spend their time instead of playing video games.
- Get your child involved in other activities to prevent video game addiction.
Find something that sparks the interest of your child. It could be a sport, music, dancing, or any other recreational activity. Let your child see the beauty of physical activity and socialization. Tell them that there is a lot more to explore more than the four sides of their room.
- Know where to seek help for a child affected by video game addiction.
Just like any other addiction, video game addiction is a complex disorder that sometimes needs professional help. If you suspect that your child is dealing with video game addiction, or you just want to be sure that they are okay, contact us for a free and confidential consultation.
Video games nowadays are an essential part of young people’s lives, so it’s critical to start guiding a healthy and balanced approach as early as possible.
Addiction to video games is an issue that impacts more than just the person who plays them, and it may have serious implications for the addict and their family. People who are struggling with this issue must get assistance, but it is also critical that parents make efforts to prevent their children from becoming addicted.
There are numerous ways to assist your teen if it is time to conquer video game addiction. At Key Transitions, we provide comprehensive dual diagnosis therapy for people suffering from mental health problems, treat addictions and drug use disorders. Our treatments are personalized and evidence-based to ensure a full recovery.
No video game should be the focal point of anyone’s life, but if it is, there is hope for breaking free from the confines of a screen. There is a beautiful world waiting for your child. Do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced treatment provider if you have any questions regarding video game addiction therapy. Know that you can message us at any time. We are ready to help.