I’ve always tried to keep any curse words down to a minimum when writing my articles, but sometimes I’ve got no other choice than to vent my anger of the ridiculous statements that tabloids can publish and brainwash half of its readers. In case you weren’t aware, UK tabloid The Sun happened to release an article today with a ludicrous headline stating “Gaming as addictive as heroin”. Of course, any journalist has the right to state their opinion, but the corruption of readers minds with inaccurate research data makes it all the more ridiculous! The Sun happens to be the most circulated newspaper of the UK, so let’s just imagine how many people would have actually taken that statement to heart before you even hear what else the article had to say!
Accordingly, “Britain is in the grip of a gaming addiction which poses as big a health risk as alcohol and drug abuse.” – that alone was enough to make me burst out laughing. Of course there is no way that gaming can be AS big of a health risk as these toxic substances. Just no. First of all, you must ask yourself – how much gaming qualifies as an addiction? Sure, gaming may be a common thing just as smoking and drinking; but not all people who smoke and drink are addicts on the substances. I love playing games, I’d consider myself an addict, but there is no way I’d begin to start having withdrawal effects if I were to ever take a weeks break or such.
That’s exactly where Dr Mark Griffiths (the director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University) who was used as factual evidence for the article even went on to question the same thing I’ve just asked: “It depends how you define addiction in the first place” claiming that the “number of genuine video game addicts is few”. People can actually get withdrawal symptoms, people can become addicted to where they constantly prioritise their virtual worlds opposed to the real worlds, but the truth is that it’s for a very limited amount of people. So then why does The Sun word their opening sentence as though that genuine gaming addictions which are harmful is rapidly rising? The comparative to being as big as alcohol or drug abuse really is just their way of attention grabbing, luring any reader they can (without provocative statements all the time, is there really any chance that The Sun would remain the most circulated newspaper in the UK?!)
Dr Mark Griffiths says it himself, “Bad news stories sell”. Which is absolutely true, had The Sun said “Gaming is addictive, very few people suffer harmful symptoms from it”, no one would have purchased it!
So that was a quick reminder incase any of you were reading The Sun and happened to have read that article, the researcher himself completely opposes the way The Sun interpreted his research findings, all is good in the world. (Oh and next time, try to refrain from purchasing a tabloid paper!)