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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Nineteen: Internet Gaming Disorder: Considering Problematic Internet Use as an Addiction (Rebecca J. Gilbertson / Kayla M. Walton)


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Internet Gaming Disorder

Considering Problematic Internet Use as an Addiction


When video games make the news, it is usually for something controversial. Consider, for instance, the headline: “Man dies from blood clot after marathon gaming” (Carollo, 2011). A second headline reads: “Man dies in Taiwan after 3-day online gaming binge” (Hunt & Ng, 2015). Given the popularity of video gaming, and the extremity of the outcome, these cases become newsworthy. But, are these occurrences just unfortunate instances in the world of game play? Or, do they expose a larger contingency of video gamers who play excessively? In other words, can playing video games be addictive, such that it creates physical, psychological, or social/relational problems in daily life? Addiction scientists are cautiously starting to address these questions.

Scientists typically use the term “addiction” in reference to substances (i.e., drugs or alcohol) that cause tolerance, withdrawal, and craving, among other symptoms. More than perhaps any other symptom, addiction is synonymous with loss of control (Starcevic, 2013). While addiction to substances represents the largest body of work on the topic, the American Society of Addiction Medicine recently expanded the definition of addiction to also include addictive behaviors. These so-called “behavioral addictions” (i.e., gambling, food, shopping, sex) were first suggested by a British psychiatrist in the early 1990s (Marks, 1990). Following its characterization “internet abuse” was included in a well-cited...

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