This (troubledteenhelp.com) came in this morning in my google alert mailbox and when I read the contents, well the above image is the best descriptor. The website reports on a study that found 10% of teens (wrong!) being addicted to online and video games, the study has already been discussed more than five months ago (See Gentile, 2009).
I don’t mind the late reports since I see them quite often, but this particular report has so many faults and biases. It’s so bad that’s both funny and depressing, I have to take it apart so everyone can mock them for their apparent ignorance.
The following is written in the form of an essay in response to argument topic section of the GRE:
The press release states that teen addiction to online and video games is on the rise, thus underlining the need to recognize the dangers video games posed to children. However, upon closer examination of the arguments presented in the website, there are several unsubstantiated assumptions that weakened their conclusion.
The website presented a study whose research has found that 10 percent of children surveyed were found to be addicted to video games. The authors have misconstrued the study’s results. The study’s original percent is 8.5% and not 10%, rounding the percent to simplify for the readers’ sake is quite insulting to their intelligence as if they can’t handle a decimal point or two. More importantly, the thought that one in ten children are addicted would create frightening, yet misguided, thoughts among parents. This would create unnecessary worries among parents and more harm than good to children’s social development.
The website claimed that video game addiction is on the rise in North America and demonstrated the addiction is universal in other countries, such as South Korea. However, the study’s original intent is an investigation of video game addiction and is not intended as definitive source for the prevalence rate and diagnosis of video game addiction. The website did not clarify how much video game addiction has risen over a period of time, one could argue that the rise in addiction might be neglible. If previous data (which there’s none) were used, then their argument would have been strenghthened. The authors insufficiently demonstrated how North America is similar to South Korea, many factors unique in South Korea could have an impact on video game addiction, such as the high prevalence of broadband internet connection or a more developed internet community might have contributed to the rise of video game addiction. Their arguement would have been strenghthened if the authors were able to present some data demonstrating that similiarities between the two countries.
The websits listed organizations raising awareness of video game addictions, such as Online Gaming Addiction Anonymous. Their credibility has weakened when they listed Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence as a legitimate organization, MAVAV is in fact a satire blog raising the awareness of the misconceptions and stereotypes about video games and how misinformation propagated through the internet can be accept as fact. Had they researched more into the topic, they would have listed relevant organizations and more studies to support their assertions.
In brief, it is clear that the website has several problems in their report that undermines its credibility. I suggest that they should spend more time and thought into video game addiction getting their facts straight.
Damn! Time’s up! How would you score this essay on a scale of 6 (in terms of fluency, organization, and handling of the mechanics of standard English)?
Something I couldn’t add in the essay due to time constraints:
- They also wrote that children “are” addicted, when the study reports “signs” of addiction. There’s a difference and the nuances seems to have been lost to the writers.
- Many of the quotes lack specificity giving the impression (mine’s) the report is cut-and-pasted together.
- Some of the listed warning signs are not in the original report: eating meals on the computer, loss of appetite, defiant, and being defensive about game playing habits.