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Video Games, ADHD and Time Management

You have no doubt heard of Internet addiction and its related cousin, video game addiction. These are noxious labels that have little basis in solid research.

What is appropriate is to label some people’s specific activities online as problematic, whether it’s viewing porn, updating your Facebook profile, or playing video games. Professionals and researchers label this kind of behavior based upon the specific issue, for instance, “problematic video game play” (or PVGP). This is often not a time-based determinant (since time spent online doing X activity is completely relative to one’s environment, peer group, work needs, year in which measured, etc.).

Is problematic video game playing something related to poor time management skills (“Oops, I just lost track of time. I thought doing Y task in this game would take 10 minutes and it took 2 hours!”). Or does it have something to do with a person having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or characteristics of ADHD, as prior research has suggested?

Researchers (Tolchinsky & Jefferson, 2011) from Eastern Michigan University recently set to find out.

3 Comments to
Video Games, ADHD and Time Management

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  1. this study seems to think that ppl are getting what they want out of a healthy western detatched from reality lifestyle. perhaps if you go about looking at why ppl look to escape into video games, you’ll find out why ppl begin to try and exist within a dream world rather than the reality of the situation. much like most ppl in today’s society, even tho they are considered clinicly healthy most are in connection with reality on a very very, very rare basis if ever at all.

  2. There is a lot of name-calling when it comes to Internet use, overuse, abuse, and addiction. How can one label a young person who spends 18 hours on an online game as ADHD? As the article I co-author with my digital native daughter at states, we need to shy away from name calling to more compassionate and scientific approaches, as advocate correctly by Dr. Grohol.

  3. Gathering a group of 216 college students would not be a well thought out representative group, especially since those people who are likely deeply addicted to gaming would not even be in college due to their poor time management.

  4. The study makes no mention of a major factor in computer use and that would change any outcome related to Internet or computer addiction, Subliminal Distraction.

    Both visual and acoustic Subliminal Distraction are normal features in our physiology. But visual SD was discovered to cause mental breaks for office workers forty years ago. The cubicle was designed to deal with the vision startle reflex to stop it by 1968.

    If the studies did not control for Subliminal Distraction the results are tainted. The outcomes could be from addiction to the subliminal stimulation of the subconscious.

    In eight years searching I found only one doctor who said he knew of the problem and had seen one or two cases of temporary psychosis from it while in residency. The searches included emails and letters to the Mayo Clinics, Johns Hopkins, Universities, and large mental health treatment centers.

    Visual Subliminal Distraction is explained in first semester psychology under the physiology of sight, subliminal sight, and peripheral vision reflexes. It arises from the fact that there are no off switches for sensor cells on the rods and cones of your eyes. They send neural impulses to your brain over the normal channels if stimulus strikes them no matter what you are doing. You can’t ‘stop seeing’ anything in your vision field. If you are engaging full mental investment to perform some activity such as reading a book or using a computer the stimulus becomes become a subliminal distraction.

    When the stimulus is from threat-movement in peripheral vision your brain MUST react by attempting a vision startle reflex. When you learn to ignore the detected movement to stop the startle that does not turn off the primitive subliminally functioning brain system that begins or starts the attempt to startle. Named Subliminal Distraction from the normal feature of physiology it is known to cause a temporary episode. Never investigated in these situations it also can cause addiction to the stimulus. That addiction is perceived by the subject as addiction to the activity where the stimulus occurs.

    • hello, I love what you write here and I currently have a brother who is 21 and admittedly” addicted to videogames” He also was diagnosed with Adhd at 9 years old, though no longer receiving any treatment. I would love it if could give me a more thorough explanation as to how subliminal distraction may play a role in his problem. I have never heard if this myself, although it seems to me you know very much what you are taking about.thank you!

  5. I find it interesting that your study finds that women need to address their ADD issues with games more than men. As someone (female) who has ADD issues, I find that I have an especially difficult time tearing myself away from electronic devices and games. I don’t feel the need to start playing them, but once I’m involved, it’s difficult to leave because I feel compelled to complete the task of the game…which then leads to a new task. I have a difficult time moving from one task to another anyway, so once involved in a game, my time totally slips away. I tend to play word games…especially Words With Friends. I have to limit the number of games I play and cannot start playing after 8:30 at night, because I am so determined to find the right word to play that I will spend hours trying to do it and not let up until I can make the “right” play, and then I want to go to the next game.



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