Keynote presentation at multi.player 11 by Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University). Full title: "Online gaming addiction: Does it really exist?".
Mark Griffiths started the presentation by warning us that he had three speeds: fast, very fast, and amphetamine speed. This one was amphetamine. I think a lot of us in the audience felt a bit pounded actually.
He was looking at what is addiction, does gaming addiction exist, and what are people addicted to. This particular talk focussed mostly on the first two. He had a set of criteria used to indicate addiction, and had a correlation between drug addiction and activity addiction.
There was a big point made that excessive time does not mean addiction. It could indicate a healthy obsession. His difference between addiction and healthy obsession was that a healthy obsession adds to life, whereas an addiction detracts.
Another interesting point is that since the cost of spending lots of time online has dropped, so to has the number of people who worry about internet addiction. That came up as a question on one of the panels too - someone was asking about a boy who was being treated for addiction to a game because he'd spent a large amount of money on it.
He was also quite prepared to admit that his opinions have changed over what length of time is excessive, particularly for children. Since becoming a parent he has realised how much free time they have and how easy it is for them to rack up a large number of hours playing computer games, without it detracting from anything else they have to do.