My Worthy Opponent is Wrong
Gaming has gotten massive over the last few decades. Video games, as a result of their increasing popularity have transformed from a hobby into a career, with all kinds of people being self employed to where they make content for their audience. Gamers of all kinds can play against others like them in different lobbies and work their way to the top of the leaderboard. Or they can take part in a tournament to show off their skills. Video games have come a long way since they have first come into fruition.
As gamers immerse themselves in the world of video games, some other people may be concerned about their behavior. Friends and family members of those gamers will sit and ponder on the behavior of their loved one, and whether or not they will put themselves before a virtual world on a screen.
As previously discussed, there are different components of the video games’ nature that is at question. One of those components can be the pure pleasure that someone can get from playing the games. Another component is the positive reinforcement that the game offers to it’s players for completing a quest, a task, or from ranking high in a game. There are a plethora of different reasons as to why a player is compelled to come back and play the game even more, but that isn’t the topic at hand.
There are people that will argue with the fact the video game addiction exists and the different causes of it. Regardless of if they don’t understand the concept or if they just don’t believe it, whatever the case may be, there are people that will disregard the idea of video game addiction.
Take the authors, Christopher J. Ferguson and Patrick Markey, authors of the New York Times article Video Games Aren’t Addictive for example. In their article, Ferguson and Markey address the different parts of the claim that “Video games cause addiction,” while saying that playing video games “is a normal behavior that, while perhaps in many cases a waste of time, is not damaging or disruptive of lives.” They go one step further and address a study done by the American Journal of Psychiatry, which is a credible source, and go in a direction that most people don’t go into detail with when talking about the status of gamers that play video games excessively.
While Ferguson and Markey give a compelling argument, there are a few different holes in their argument. The first part that needs to be mentioned is in the third paragraph. They say
“[alcohol addiction] is terribly misguided. Playing video games is not addictive in any meaningful sense. It is normal behavior that, while perhaps in many cases a waste of time, is not damaging or disruptive of lives in the way drug or alcohol use can be.”
While no one argued that playing video games is a normal behavior isn’t the issue at hand here. Throughout the course of the article, the author’s don’t acknowledge that video games can even lead to any type of behavior that is out of the ordinary. In fact, they seem to double down and say the risk of the “immoderate playing of video games” is unethical and “we are pathologizing relatively normal behavior.” Playing moderate video games is not the problem at hand. Again the problem is if someone plays video games to the point of them putting the games before themselves. If they devote more time to playing video games then they do socializing or getting exercise, then it becomes a problem.
Another hole in their argument is that Ferguson and Markey is that the people that were considered addicts in the study that they’ve referenced. They go on to say that the study done by the American Journal of Psychiatric Association only says that “at most 1 percent of video game players might exhibit characteristics of an addiction.” Using the results of the study is fine, but the study should apply to everyone. Saying that the one percent of people that participated in the study might have some characteristics of an addiction isn’t really enough to say that people don’t have it.
The authors say that video people who are concerned for those who play video games to relieve stress or come home and relax shouldn’t be worried about their use of video games. Again, the authors making this point insinuates that they haven’t taken into account the fact that there are people who don’t do anything else, but play video games. Those people that only play video games and don’t exercise or have a social life can be considered addicts because they let their virtual worlds consume them.
If they feel like everyone playing video games is “moderate,’’ then how do they address those that don’t take care of themselves. The authors of this article completely disregard that question and the groups of people that could fit in that category.
Markey, P., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017, April 1). Opinion | Video Games Aren’t Addictive. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/opinion/sunday/video-games-arent-addictive.html
I know that I need to add more sources to this to make my argument stronger. Right now I would really like if you can give me some pointers on where to go with this. I feel like I was aimed in the right direction, but I wasn’t clear with what I wanted to day. Anything would be a big help 🙂
Well, yes, obviously one newspaper article is not the strongest collection of References, Mercy, but let’s look at the argument and see if I can help.
—I’m not sure what this paragraph is supposed to prepare us for, but it doesn’t sound like a Rebuttal Argument to anything important is about to occur. Does anyone dispute that video games have become more popular, or become a large industry?
—If you mean “family members worry that their loved ones are literally addicted to video gaming,” you should say that. Otherwise, this doesn’t sound like an actual problem. What does “put themselves before a virtual world on a screen” mean?
—The process you’re displaying in these three paragraphs is known as “Throat-clearing,” Mercy. You haven’t said anything of much value yet, and you even admit in your last sentence here that you haven’t raised “the topic at hand” in about 300 words.
—You’re hinting that several causes might lead to video game addiction, and that family members worry about it, but you’re playing out the string first. It sounds like filler trying to get to a word count.
—What this essay needs is a very clear statement from a “Worthy Opponent” who directly contradicts your primary contention that video games are addictive.
—That should happen in the first paragraph, because we’re halfway through here and you haven’t gotten to the point.
—I welcome hearing from them.
—You can use that, although it doesn’t seem to be based in anything other than their personal opinions.
—It’s pretty much You Said/They Said at this point.
—What did the JoP study reveal?
—What “other direction” did Ferguson and Markey go?
—I’m sorry, I must have missed it. What was Ferguson and Markey’s compelling argument?
—You’ve already used this quote. Where’s the flaw in the argument? Are they using a bad analogy?
—Not so. Unless I’m missing something, they argue that playing video games is normal behavior.
—I’ll have to read the article to be sure, but I’ll bet they don’t say this.
—They might say “CHARACTERIZING the immoderate playing of video games AS AN ADDICTION” is unethical.
—I think this is the third time you’re identified what IS NOT the problem at hand instead of emphasizing WHAT IS the problem at hand, Mercy.
—It’s hard to tell who said what here, but I’m guessing Ferguson and Markey admit that the AJPA identifies addiction in 1% of players. I’m guessing again that they object to critics of the games who claim the addiction rate is much higher. Is that about it?
—Did you read the study?
—If F&M are mischaracterizing the results of the study, that should be your refutation of them.
—Surely both are true.
—Moderate gamers use games to relieve stress and don’t need interventions.
—Addicts are addicted.
—F&M say, according to you, “We shouldn’t worry about moderate gamers.”
—If F&M say, “We shouldn’t worry about addicts because there aren’t any,” then you have a serious disagreement.
—I’ll have to read the article. But for now, I don’t see there’s much disagreement here.
I’ve read it.
Their strongest objection to the theory that video games ARE addictive is how weak the evidence is. They cite the JoP study’s own conclusion about whether they’ve discovered a psychiatric disorder:
“the study’s researchers found that at most 1 percent of video game players might exhibit characteristics of an addiction and that the games were significantly less addictive than, say, gambling.
—That gives them adequate reason to be skeptical.
You probably should have consulted, or should consult, the source named at the bottom of the article:
Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University, and Patrick Markey, a professor of psychology at Villanova, are the authors of “Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Games Is Wrong.”
Preliminarily graded. This post is always eligible for a Regrade following significant Revision.
F&M aren’t wrong to minimize the “prevalence” of addiction, but they should be more wary of dismissing it altogether. The numbers are potentially staggering. From the “study,”:
Internet-based games are currently one of the most popular forms of leisure, and researchers studying their potential “darker sides” must be cautious. If one extrapolates from our data, upwards of 160 million American adults play Internet-based games, and as many as one million of these individuals might meet the proposed DSM-5 criteria for addiction to online games (40). This represents a large cohort of people struggling with what could be clinically dysregulated behavior. However, because we did not find evidence supporting a clear link to clinical outcomes, more evidence for clinical and behavioral effects is needed before concluding that this is a legitimate candidate for inclusion in future revisions of the DSM. If adopted, Internet gaming disorder would vie for limited therapeutic resources with a range of serious psychiatric disorders.
Even 1% means a million potential addicts. Right?