December 11, 2007

Why are we 'addicted', and not just enthusiastic?

Joi Ito at LeWeb3 talks about gaming in interesting terms. Isn't it funny how we never say that someone is 'addicted to church' or 'addicted to books' but we seem quite happy to say that it's 'awful that young people are addicted to gaming'?

See some of the cool work we are doing to raise attainment and student perception of self using games in the classroom, or share in some of the ideas I've been sharing this past few months.


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Ewan, let me know when you want to get sucked into Joi's online world. :) We've shared a considerable amount of that /played 150 days together.

I agree. If it were chess, bridge or Scrabble people would be less likely to use the "A" word.

Um - I play Scrabble online :-)
But is it not just a matter of terms? We talk about "bookworms" instead (are there any left?) and "religious maniacs" - which is surely equally pejorative?
Just a thought....

Wikipedia says "An addiction or dependence is a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life."

It's about harm. Is a child harming him/herself if they play computer games for 2 hours a day? They might be.

I just spent 20 minutes skimming through the abstracts of research papers in this field, and there seems to be no consensus. Some find no connection between heavy use of electronic media and overall inactivity or other ill-health factors, whilst some do.

I get sore fingers from mice, xbox controllers and touch pads on my beloved laptop. does that count as an addiction?

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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