Is gaming addictive? With OMFGcata aka Jesse Cox, Dave Chaos, Dan Maher and more – Truthloader LIVE

hello and welcome to Thursday's truthloader I'm Louise filling in for things whilst fills you know bunking off on holiday whatever you'd like to call it and if you need to tooth load it and this is your first oh we are so happy to have you here and remember hit that big subscribe button hovering somewhere above the top of my head now tonight we are talking gaming and asking specifically is gaming addictive now for some it is a harmless hobby enjoyed by millions all over the world but for others it can have and has had some devastating consequences now we're joined by a host of people in our hangout tonight ready to offer their expertise opinions and experiences and it's so far we have got emily collins who is from the youth movement a movement available dicted and we've also got davechaos a youtube gamer as well as justin roberts and internet who has been very open about his own gaming addiction and gained an expert and so modestly called into this week not and dan Meyer who is the director of explosive allenford up please and intriguing a job type of like stuff finally and very importantly we've got miss bully from the state to set up the champion online gamers anonymous otherwise known as older who set up the charity after her son tragically committed suicide as a direct result of being addicted to an online game now Emily I could start with you and if we could just start by defining addiction because that flips into language all the time at least four times a day i'm addicted to some kind of brand and busy dream or chocolate bar how's it I think that's one of the problems is that although we have fun idea of addiction in general how it relates the video games is kind of unknown but generally the way it's identified is by and whether or not it if people meet the criteria for addiction out laid out in the diagnostic Statistical Manual so these are criteria such as whether you have withdrawal so if you don't get to play games as much as you like to read kind of experience at negative side effects somehow whether you need to increase the amount that you play games whether it's causing conflicts like with family or friends and things like that and yeah i mean that's that tend to be is the tenseness around the idea of like losing control of your gaming and that seems to be that main criteria that people look at it does vary quite a lot well if we're going from very passionate enthusiast of something to actual being an addict well that's another thing that's also quite controversial I think the idea is is if you're just enjoying games a lot then it would be kind of contributing something positive to your life whereas if you're addicted to it then that would be it will be very detrimental so although that maybe isn't quite as clear cut as that ideally would be that seems to be kind of the way people are looking at it at the moment and blizz if I could chat to you briefly now obviously you know we don't want to make this any more distressing than it already is for you but if he could just give us a brief background to what happened and we've lost I'm sure well he had played games for 10 years before he started playing everquest and he didn't start playing that till he was 20 years old and within three months he was showing signs of addictions and stress of his life in his life because of the gaming because of that game and I watched him he quit his job he got evicted from his apartment I tried to get him help from professionals this was in two thousand so at that time they just said well there's no such thing as gaming addiction and I watched him change he became a different person he became withdrawn he became depressed he no longer wanted to associate with us all he wanted to do was to be on the games he said he no longer trusted anybody except the other people on the games and it was just so devastating to me because he became a person that I did not know and you know I struggled and I did try to get him help and in the end um he had something happen in the game where he quit that game and never went on within two weeks he had shot himself and so that was just and when he did shoot himself he was sitting in front of the computer with the game on it so was really distressing to me I knew it had something to do with that game and Liz if I could briefly as well when you when they said to you that gaming addiction isn't an issue isn't a defined problem how did that make you feel well I have been in a since 1980 and I know how addicts act and he was acting like any other addict that I knew and you know so I was like 11 of the therapist said right in front of them that I should be glad he wasn't addicted to drugs and alcohol and I'm like it gave him the green light that there was nothing wrong with his gaming and that he can just keep doing it and he even told me he says well I just want to play games the rest of my life and I want you to support me he was serious I mean just dating once he started playing his total outlook to the future was gone he didn't even care about his real life anymore he just wanted to keep playing the games will come back to you shortly if I could just go to Justin and Justin does this sound familiar to you you've been very open about your problem with gaming does this ring any bells was it a very similar situation for you oh absolutely it if I could describe it in a way other than addiction it would certainly be an impulse control disorder it wasn't so much that I wanted to just be sedentary it was more i would rather be playing the game than anything else and i think that the difference is very subtle but it's very important and I just I don't know I the change didn't come from me wanting to quit the game cold turkey it came more with wanting to change my real life and being more confident being more outgoing and in doing so I gained enough real life confidence so to speak to the game and feel okay about it my plan if I could professional in the industry or is it something more complex something designed to actually make you addicted to them I don't think I think it would be suggesting that I mean as cynical as certain corporations are I think it would be a stretch to suggest that games are being developed specifically to have addictive properties I think it's very important to draw a line between addiction and compulsion and making a compelling experience that you know there are tricks that many developers use to make their game compelling and it's usually by drip-feeding certain content server to the player now in the case of MMOs when you're talking about the likes of EverQuest and warcraft it's a case of that game never really come comes never really comes to an end and so with those with those with those certain types of games people aren't really playing towards any sort of defined goal there's no end game to what they're doing so that the reason for why they're doing it becomes it becomes more vague it's when you're when talking about compulsion and someone become addicted something it's where song that started out for reasons of enjoyment has suddenly developed into something where they're not enjoying it anymore they're doing it because they feel they have to because they need to I don't think anyone working on a game ever want to create that sensation person nobody nobody wants to make something where someone is dependent on what they've created okay Dave chaos and would you agree with that cough so you're a professional gamer so and how do how have you made a career of gaming without actually becoming addicted to it well some would probably say that i am dick city games because i've made a career out of it and what ah i don't know i mean i've played World of Warcraft and a few other animals like guild wars and things like that and and I've never felt that it was an addiction I've put away quite a lot of hours over the years and I don't play World of Warcraft anymore simply because I bored of it I feel that it is a compulsion and then I also think that people who who classify themselves as addicted to these games I've probably got something else missing in their lives in real life and it's in it's an escapism for them and when the playing these games are you know to no end you know okay Jesse what about you because obviously a new host a show that is centered around gaming what kind of people have you come across in your profession and do you think there's a problem can get can gaming just be fun well I think we need to establish right off the bat that there are two types of addiction their psychological and physical and so we need to establish what this is and what type of addiction this is because I feel horrible for Liz and I you know that's something you can never really say how bad you feel for someone about but at the same time on the other end um uh online games MMOs having played wow for many years I understand what it's like it's an online world there are people thousands millions of people you develop friendships you develop a sort of a bond over the course of adventuring and as Dan said it's not the same way you play an offline game and then Dave went into this words people play because they sort of create another alternative life and maybe that's where that addiction comes from because you become something that you in real life are not and so I am a warrior who slays dragons in this fake world I have lots of lots of friends in my guild we have a great bond together something that I'm missing from my real life and I think that's where the addiction spawns from because it gives you something you are lacking in the life that you lead in reality and that I find that so interesting Emily if I could go back to you did this back up the sort of thing that you've done in research in your research and yeah well i think the addiction is some really some individual things i think for one person develop addiction it's not necessarily going to be the same as frightened other person to develop addiction but there are definitely some issues surrounding like addictions video games that seem to be relatively calm and so the idea of using video games as a way of escapism as well as kind of having deficient self-regulation so people can not necessary have anything wrong with their life that just be very bad self regulating what they're doing and and knowing when's enough I think also there are some kind of you know personality traits as well that might might be indicates they like people who are less kind of outgoing people who are less or socially competent as well and that's not to say that that's the case for gamers because generally there's a huge difference between people who are so addicted games and people who aren't so the people who kind of are addicted maybe and have like your social skills and but the problem is tell you these video games mean that they end up not having opportunities to develop a social skills because they write line so have the unkind of online / offline interactions and Liz if I could return to you because obviously you know you've experienced the tragedy of this issue firsthand and are you agreeing in agreement with what Emily and Jesse have studies that something you can relate to with your own with your son Sean hi Lily you still there can you hear us oh it looks like with losses will try and get a back because obviously she's got a lot to contribute to this debate Justin then maybe if I could go to you and would you agree with what would watch emily and jesse was saying is it a personality thing more than a gaming thing oh absolutely i think it has to do with a sort of dependent personality and an obsessive personality and but both of those attributes are very dark elements of your personality that a lot of people don't like to even admit to themselves and once they start playing they are finding fulfillment in a virtual world that they don't find in the real world and like emily said they're getting more fulfillment in the virtual world which actually takes away from their ability to find any fulfillment in the real world and it's just a spiral out of control okay Dave I'm gonna ask you a question out and because I know that you're well I say will pro fun gaming than any of the problems that it potentially could bring and it's how bad an issue is this we've established that it's far more personality it seems in the problem with gaming yes the gaming industry in the government still have a response to investigate this and put money behind it like we've seen them do with the more other potentially to perceive negative side of gaming like you know but the violence debate that we've had time and time again yes and I think you know people should be doing axis things like Liz does with this charity I totally agree with that and I think putting gaming in a box of it's an addiction is it's probably not the right thing I think we should be looking into what's happening these people's lives to make them feel like they're addicted to games and why they're not socializing more or doing what you know that everybody else is doing and why the feeling that they need to replace their lives with a game so yeah I do think this should be researching to it and charities like like we seen what about you Jessie what-what do you think of some kind of research or government backing towards this kind of research well I think because we've established it's a personal thing that it gives a lot of governments and easy out to say like well it's personal so we can't really regulate it and I think that might be a major problem in actually studying it which is why I'm glad that their studies like emily is doing where things we're slowly discovering what it is and how it works is it is a thing there is video game addiction not everyone suffers from it and we need to know what triggers it and what kind of personalities and things like that that's the key it okay dan and i kind of want to ask you something similar and if we've done all this research into drug addiction and alcohol addiction and even food addiction and obesity what is it that's making people so reticent about investigating gaming addiction i think this is the thing i read today that it's it's actually still not being recognized as a genuine form of addiction whereas as you say eating disorders even people that exercise too much you know people would say people being reckless being sex addicts things like this you know but but the medical industry that the are still failing to recognize that it is it is it is an issue so I mean that's it if if they're not acknowledging that it's an issue then it's it's going to be difficult to justify putting money behind any research into it I think I'm interested to know to what extent Emily's research taking Swift I think what the one point we're kind of with what kind of skating over this discussion so far is we're going is gaining addictive and gaming is such a far-reaching medium there are so many difficult you don't hear stories of people being addicted to super mario brothers you know here people have been addicted to certain types of games it's it's it's it's more a case of should be would be investing and investigating specific genres of games and seeing what problems and it is just Chris or jump to Mac next question oh sorry I'm gonna ask if that no it's fine and yet no I was actually gonna speak to Justin about this if you can still they was just in then when you were talking about your addiction with gaming you mentioned specifically world of warcraft and when we have done and when you talk to other people who've had similar problems if you haven't deed done that is it is it gaming in particular or is it particular genres is it particularly games even like you specifically said it was world of warcraft thought that was your trigger early oh it's definitely uh i think a very specific game mechanic of it's a it's a digital reward system where the older games like super like the original super mario that didn't exist it was just get to the end whereas now you see it's been maybe ten years or so maybe more where this giant achievement explosion has come up that's clearly a move in the direction for this digital rewards mechanic that keeps people playing for whatever reason why do people want to play to get achievements it's it's it's literally nothing but people still play and it's a mechanic that marketing has discovered really trips people's impulse okay I think we're gonna hear from lower now who's been gathering comments and from our page all right over to you hi everyone so oh well we've just been having millions and millions of comments on our YouTube page and more than we can keep up with but we've got three here for you so we've got one from alternative c95 he says gaming is as addictive as film or dancing or anything and we've also got one black man dragon it is an interesting name who said I think there is a question of where the game's addiction should be treated as a single thing we can speak of a drug addiction but cocaine addiction and heroin addiction and not identical things and then we've got another comment from George as she says I completely agree that the diction begins when you have nothing else to do outside of the online worlds a couple of sorry outside of the online world a couple of years ago I had social anxiety to the point where I couldn't leave the house ok Thank You Laura and thank you to everyone for your comments Emily if I could just go back to you briefly and we've established that obviously for some people gaming can be addictive and and that there's no kind of official recognition of gaming addiction so how difficult therefore is it for doctors and medics to diagnose addiction and how do we help people that have it I think that's one of the tricky thing because at the moment no one is diagnosing video game addiction just because it is not recognized and because it's not recognized it means that we don't have any standardized way of measuring it so each study just uses its own individual way of doing it and so it saw this weird cyclical thing where he doesn't get recognized so we can't make decent enough research to so you know offer support for it to be recognized which means it can't be recognized and so as far as far as I'm aware at the moment it's just it's not being diagnosed I mean in terms of what we can do to help people with it that's another thing that's also quite uncertain I mean it's been a few studies that looked at kind of therapies it being effective well together it depends on on whether their way of classifying video game addicts is the same as another study and but using kind of cognitive behavioral treat fo fees it's the one thing that's been fine for health there's also been a few that have used things like antidepressants and which has been effective vote as I say the moment is all very tenuous just because we don't quite know exactly what it would be for people to be it is in kind of like objective a testable way me I interesting oh yes of course I didn't realize your back please Liz combined donors whatever would you like to say um well a lot of people do recognize gaming addiction especially the gamers who get addicted to it and we have many professional professionals in the United States who do recognizing it recognize it they are treating people for gaming addiction and a lot of the professionals who've never played games don't recognize it because they don't even know what it is they have no idea what what's involved in it but the younger generation the younger people who played it they know that there is such a thing and because a lot of them have experienced it themselves so I I really know that that there is some recognition to it and we need more absolutely more because we need to get help for these people who are just crying and their parents are you know trying to find help and when they go into the doctor and the doctor says well just go home and keep playing you know it's so devastating these people need health and there's just not enough help out there is what would you like to see happen how would you like to see this help implemented who's responsible for making this helps it a gaming community or doctors well I believe the gaming community is already where but many of the games have been designed to specifically be addictive in it they specifically um that's how they get people on the games and that's how the gut gaming companies make money and that's also a form of advertising that the more addicting the game is the better it is so the gaming companies and all that they're addictive the gamers know that they're addictive and the people who don't know what are the people who have never played them and who never seen it happen but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen and my thing is that we really do need to get the professionals on board and educated we need to have more research done and you know just too because they're already has been some research done and of course the research shows that there is such a thing because the gaming addiction triggers dopamine in the brain which is the same chemical that any other addiction triggers including gambling or drugs or alcohol and that is actually what keeps the gamers on the game it rewires the brain and the brain is saying I want more dopamine if they quit playing uh it just is like the group their brain is screaming you got to get back on there because when they're playing the game there's in there so intense and playing that that dopamine is there and it's giving them that fix that they need place you actually bring me quite nicely back to the question that I wanted to ask you before and we lost Ewing and many people have been saying that actually it's not the games that redic tip it's the combination of very compulsive games with people who perhaps have something missing in their life and it's the combination of personality and the game would you agree with that you really just said that you know is the games that are addictive how does that fit into your experience um I believe that it's it's true in both cases I mean we have people who definitely go into the games to escape but we also have people who were flying until they started playing the games so we've seen it from both sides I'm Jessie what's your response to that place uh I think the idea that video game companies are actively trying to lure people in and get them to keep playing is an allegation that could be alleged against any company companies want you to buy their product and play their product or eat their product or drink their product and they will focus all their marketing efforts and money on getting you to do that so it's not just the video game thing but I understand that it's very visible in that and especially in her life where she's seen it but to say like take world of warcraft for example in a game that has been around for a long time has millions and millions of players and if you look at it from there's two different ways to look at it one you can see it as a very addicting thing where you have to get on every day and do all your dailies and level up and do this and this and this or the other way that I look at it now words you're doing the exact same thing every day like that is utterly boring sometimes and so you're just like I'm done with this and so there are two ways to look at it and it comes back again to personality and maybe the question is what is going on when they're targeting certain types of people and those with people who are then become addicted and maybe that's where we should focus our efforts on because i'm not saying addiction isn't a thing in gaming but it's not something that an evil corporate Overlord is like excellent that'll be addicted now wha I don't think that's actually a thing that's happening yeah we're not talking cigarettes in the 1950s then actually compared to that and John Smedley the the CEO of sony online says that they want to push internet gaming to new heights of creating and maintaining highly addictive immersive and persistent gaming environments so they do have and they hire people with degrees in psychology to help them make them addictive but I also agree that there are definitely people who are more susceptible to getting addicted to the games and not everybody does we're not saying everybody does but we're really here for the people who really need the help and and to say there's no gate there's no such thing it's gaming addiction all these people are just you know who need help and who are addicted they can get help and and I mean it's like we're not trying to you know crucify the games but for the people who need the help and who are addicted and who can't get off it's like why what is the big problem here why can't we offer them the help so that they can leave well is that they just need to interject that obviously we've got no representative from that company available to back up what you've just said and so we won't discuss that particular point any photos that's ok but just any fuckers go to you and I do need to ask you when a more personal question what at what point did you think hang on I actually got a problem here and how did you take the steps to to change things really well like i mentioned earlier it it was more of a real-life realization it wasn't a realization that hey i'm playing too much honestly I I knew that I I knew that for as long as I had been playing as playing too much but that's kind of the idea of excuse me addiction or impulse is you know that what you're doing is going to have a negative effect but you're doing it anyway but I just I had decided finally I'm like there's I'm missing out on so much in my life I'm I'm young and I'm in school and I've missed out on enough so I just started going places I went places with my friends like I before when I was invited to parties and things like that i just wouldn't go i rather stay home in my comfort zone and a big part of it is realizing that you're going to be uncomfortable and looking at square in the face and and going through with it anyway and knowing that it's going to work out for you in the long run because if you just stay home and you keep playing you just you just have this mionix myopic sort of you and you're helping yourself feel good for that moment and then you're going to regret it later can i interject something that yes okay that remember you must like to go up leno is hong kong well I i I'd that is is actually a really Justin's right on the money I think that what we need to be looking at is not the actual game itself because what we're talking about is online gaming a lot here it's the social aspect of that game a lot of people get their addiction from the fact that this is where all my friends are at and I need to log in to check in on them and that's where I get my social interaction with people more than I do in real life so it might not even be the game it might be the social aspect of that game that he or she is playing absolutely but if I can completely understand that I think that I can often addictions do cover up wallpaper as wallpaper and other issues in people's lives and Justin to go back to what you were saying if if there is no such official thing as gaming addiction and therefore the help isn't available I take it then you've got yourself out of this on your road or was there some help that you could get uh I mean I don't want to sound pretentious or anything it was it was a struggle but yeah I didn't I did it myself I was I had just moved in with some roommates but I mean the key actually was telling them and telling my guildmates on World of Warcraft that I was stopping because once you do that if you go back you kind of feel like embarrassed if you just go back on it it's very clear like oh he wasn't strong enough to stop and it it helped and then the second key was get rid of your ability to play it you can't just make the decision to stop you have to actually remove the problem game in question out of your life I mean I still gained quite a bit you know I help out at twin fin it done Nets I mean I blog about games all the time I record let's plays all kinds of stuff gaming but I'm not neglecting my real life obligations I have a lot of friends I'm engaged now it's just my life has improved so much thank you but it it's the key is yeah make the decision be very public with it because you also have to be aware that when you get motivated just for that one day or one hour however long it is you have to follow through as fast as possible because that moment of motivation can disappear as fast as it appeared I'm okay and I just want to go around finally and ask everybody how can we obviously we can't answer specifically the question is gaming addictive we know it's far more complicated than that but if I can ask each of you to let me know what you think needs to be done to explore this issue further and get help get people to help that they need and we have to start with you I think I mean the sort of thing I do I think the most important thing would be to have a standardized measure and proper diagnostic criteria because as soon as we have that then we can start making a case for the fact that there are people that need help and we can start having kind of a unified research base because at the moment it's all over place and even knowing how many people are affected it think it's incredibly difficult brilliant and we thank you about you Justin I agree completely i think there needs to be more of a scientific focus on it and right now there isn't because compared to things like drunk driving substance abuse unfortunately other smaller types of addiction may get swept under the rug in terms of funding and if there was more funding in the area and we had more science to back up video game addiction then it would be have a lot more attention okay Jesse Europe I agree I they're both right on the money so someone send Emily some money so she can get this thing funded thing is really good yeah I got it if we're giving out money out of Halla first dibs and and say what about you yeah again I agree you know recognizing that you've got a problem is always going to be a thing and more research should be done to this for sure and if you do have a problem then need to talk to somebody if you think you've got a problem then yeah that's the thing to do thank you Dave what about you Dan um yeah echoing all the sentiment is so far but really not going so far as not just as far as saying that the government should recognize it and help back this research especially as we're seeing that it's actually the younger end of the spectrum that's actually recognizing this as a problem but it's also ensuring that the the publishers and developers also do their part to and actually contribute some of their profits into helping this research as well because it's as much their responsibility as the government's a holistic community issue then really sorry Elise finally what would you like to see change what do we need to do I would like to see more awareness being bought brought into the schools and the parents um because in the schools they have these addiction days and they don't have any mention of gaming and the parents need to watch how much their child is gaming and make sure that the child has a balanced life as if anybody is doing one thing too much and nothing else they're they're not healthy and so I always just promote a real easy solution for everybody is is your life balanced or are you you know are you just gaming I mean that is not healthy for anyone but i think you know getting the awareness into the the schools and the younger people so that they can they understand that this could possibly you know be harmful to them they need to be aware of that thank you so much everybody for taking part especially and Liz I'm just in for sharing your stories because I know it probably wasn't that easy for you and that's it from us today thank you so much for joining a special you newbies and also thank you for all your comments as well I'm really so you can get through all of them but we were jammed sao paulo geez for that and tomorrow Sam stay with to flow to investigate and believe it or not is about to prove the existence of zombies and we're not just talking about em people here at truthloader and thanks so much for watching remember hit subscribe do tomorrow you


  1. an addictive person like myself can get addicted to anything if it is compelling enough, id rather play games than do class a drugs constantly. (i know its an exstream example)

  2. At 7:45 Dan makes an amazing point, I often wonder why do I keep playing games, because a lot of the time they are no longer enjoyable, and a lot of Games seem to have no end point, you just keep playing and playing and playing. Eventually forgetting what made you want to play the game in the first place, but still feeling the urge to keep playing and wasting days of your life doing so. From the sound of it, yes games can be addictive, depending on the individual.

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