Full Report

1. Statement of problem (framing our research topic):

The emergence of online gaming addiction is raising concerns in many parts of the world such as China (BBC, 2007), Korea (Hur, 2006), and Taiwan (Lee, 2007).   Singapore is not spared either, with her massive users of Internet particularly the adolescents who look to the Internet for sources of entertainment and leisure. A longitudinal study conducted in Singapore between 2007 and 2009 found that students were spending as much as 22.5 hours per week gaming (Media Literacy Council, 2013).  

Research suggests that excessive online gaming may lead to symptoms commonly experienced by substance addicts. Since games are particularly appealing to children and adolescents, these individuals may be more at risk than other groups of developing detrimental gaming addiction.

2. Research Objectives

The aim of this research is to investigate:

  • if there is an increasing amount of teen gaming addicts in Singapore
  • the characteristics of teenagers prone to getting addicted to gaming
  • common traits of gaming addicts
  • the different genres/types of games teens are commonly addicted to
  • how rehabilitation helps with gaming addictions
  • the success rate of rehabilitation among teens in Singapore

3. Literature Review
(Brief summary of at least 3 sources that you have consulted with reference to your research topic)

Online gaming addiction can be defined as ‘a compulsive behaviour which interferes with normal living as the game becomes a compulsive habit that completely dominates the addict’s life.’  Gaming addicts make Internet a priority more than family, friends, school or work. Video game addiction, may manifest as; social isolation; mood swings; diminished imagination; and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other life events.

For most adolescents, playing games on a PC, PlayStation, mobile device or the Internet is just a regular part of the day. Most of them are able to juggle the multiple requirements of school, like ace-ing for exams or maintaining punctuality in homework submission, important activities such as sports, household or non-household chores, and family life. Gaming becomes an addiction when it starts to interfere with a person's relationships or their pursuit of other goals, such as good grades or being a contributing member of a sports team.

A recent study by Singapore’s Ministry of Education and the Media Development Authority found that nearly 9% of young people in Singapore are “pathological gamers” who play around 37.5 hours each week. While playing an occasional game is harmless, in these extreme cases, it can interfere with day-to-day routines such as working or eating. Addicts’ social skills are likely to be weaker and they can also suffer from hand and wrist pain, insufficient sleep and problems at school.

Another research conducted by Singapore General Hospital (The Straits Times, 2010) found that an approximate 9% of young people in Singapore are "pathological gamers" also known as addicts who spend hours playing video games, and whose schoolwork and social skills suffer as a result.
According to an addiction therapy service provider, Wilderness Programme, online games, especially the massive multi-online role-playing games also known as MMORPGs, allow players to behave very differently from their normal persona. A shy child can suddenly became gregarious; a passive child can become aggressive.  Young people, who often feel powerless in their daily lives, suddenly have the ability to command armies, drive (and crash) cars, and wreak havoc on a virtual world with no real-life consequences. This is found to be seductive.

Some reaction symptoms from excessive gaming include falling asleep in school, falling behind with assignments, worsening grades, lying about the use computer or video game or maybe even dropping out of other social groups (clubs or sports). In addition, there are also physical symptoms which include carpal tunnel syndrome, sleep disturbances, backaches, neck aches or headaches and dry eyes.
[Conclusion]  By understanding the characteristics of adolescents that make them susceptible to gaming and the reasons hindering them from taking control of their online gaming habits, we can formulate solutions that best tackles the problem from its roots.

4. Proposed Hypothesis

Adolescents with excessive gaming may not be aware of their addiction, may even deny their problem or may not possess the willpower to end their addiction.Gaming addictions can affect ways of thinking, kill brain cells, deterioration of health due to long hours of sitting behind a desk. People game due to their social awkwardness so they use games to escape from the real world but later on the game becomes their life.

Learning point:

“We think that addiction to gaming is harmful to teens and will affect their learning in school because they might have restless nights because they think too much about their game even at night.”

5. Research Plan
(Describe how you intend to design your research i.e. who/what you are going to research on, how many respondents, your study area/location etc)

We will ask around a hundred students who are in secondary school as they are teens. We will send out about a few hundred surveys since we predict at least half would not respond. These teens are spread across Singapore as we do not want to just focus on one neighbourhood so as to be more generalized.

6. Overall assessment on feasibility and manageability of the research
(justify why your research can be managed and results be achieved within the time-frame)

This research is manageable and feasible as we have access to people who have expertise in this region such as the school counsellor and many other teachers.

We are planning to go to the school counsellor for advice as she most probably is the local expert in such cases and she is accessible most of the time.

7. Methodology
(Describe what methods you are using to collect data, where and how the data can be collected and analysed)

We will interview a few SST students and have audio recordings. We will also find experts on gaming addictions and email them about whatever queries we have on the topic by calling them to find out their opinions and feedback on the ways to prevent these addiction or help get over this addiction. We will send out surveys to a group of  teenagers from SST and get their feedback. Because they can give an anonymous data, they can be truthful to their words and wouldn’t be afraid to get exposed from their identity.

Then we will collate the results, put it in pie charts from all the different methods of surveys, we then we finally our data in easy to read form.

8.Results and Findings

Quantitative Data

91% Addicted to gaming
9% Not addicted to gaming

From the survey, it was found that 9% of the respondents are not addicted the gaming. Poon Chian Hui, (2010) 9% of the young people in Singapore are addicted to gaming. Showing that 9% of gamers are addicted is frightening as slowly, after a few years, the percentage of gaming addicts would increase and increase without stopping.

Based on the responses 24% do not have friends who are addicted to gaming but the other 76% do.

76% Have friends addicted
to gaming
24% Do not have friends
addicted to gaming.

As we did not specifically get to know the specific friends the respondents were referring to, some respondents may have referred to other respondents or people who did not take the survey.

Theme 1 - Games the respondents are commonly addicted to.

The Games teenagers are commonly addicted to have mainly 3 categories, First Person Shooter(FPS), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), Tower Defence.

World of Warcraft
League Of Legends
Age of Empires
Clash Of Clans

Kingdom Rush

The findings of the data shows that there is a wide range of games that people are addicted to,
these games are addictive as it makes the gamers feel excited, pumped.

“First person shooters like battlefield 4 and minecraft”
“grand theft auto V and LoL”
“flappy bird, MMORPG, MMOFPS , Bloons tower defense 5”

These are just some of the games that were suggested, it has also been stated by  Sara Prot, MA*, Katelyn A. McDonald, Craig A. Anderson, PhD,Douglas A. Gentile, PhD (2012) that for example, Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a game that can affect gamers who are addicted. With all these, we know most gamers play these few listed games most.Kenneth M. Woog, Psy. D (2009) also stated that World of Warcraft is one of the games that is most commonly addicted to. Thus, the stated games will have the most impact on the population of gamers.

Different kind of games have different effects on the gamer. Some gamers who play Minecraft canbe more adventurous in reality, while gamers who play Shooting FPS games might be more aggressive and violent in reality.

Theme 2 - Signs that show a person is addicted to gaming
According to the respondents, some of the signs of a person addicted to gaming are sudden bursts of anger, not getting enough sleep, gets bored easily, not sociable, constantly stressed by work, has no as it is taken up by gaming.

Here are examples from the survey responses:

“Rebellious ,Short tempered.”

“They can't stop telling people and introducing people to the game ”

“red eyes, temperamental, skipping schools, not doing well in academics, not responding when people call them to and much more”

The signs mentioned by the respondents are similar to the signs mentioned by Dr Brent Conrad (2012). He had talked about how some of the symptoms and signs of gaming addiction are feelings of anger and frustration when not allowed access to the video game, thinking about the game when not online and dreaming about the game. The addicted gamers can also get carpal tunnel syndrome, dry or red eyes & headaches.  They may also act aggressive to those who attempt to limit access to the game, spend less time on school work and studies & discusses about the game when not playing. Lastly, the addicted gamers would spend less time on social interaction. Sara Prot, MA*, Katelyn A. McDonald, Craig A. Anderson, PhD,Douglas A. Gentile, PhD (2012) also stated some of these gaming addiction symptoms. So, as can be seen, gaming can affect and cause effects to the gamer, if the gamers are addicted and play the games for countless hours without stopping, the negative effects there are is something that is most undesirable.

Theme 3 - How regular do people game

Some said a few hours a week, everyday, and that they game whenever possible and some even said all day.

“All day everyday”
“When I have free time”
“A few hours everyday”

What we can make out of this claims is that firstly all of them games. But the timing varies, for those who play a few hours a week, they are still not yet addicted to the game. For those who say they play everyday, they are somewhat addicted with the need or the urge to play every single day. For the ones who say they play whenever possible, it would be quite subjective as one may have a many free hours to play. But the most dangerous ones are those that game ‘all day’, these are the people who are heavily addicted. They use up all their days gaming, and probably have no time left to do other work e.g. homework.

Gaming these days is definitely a trend but it really depends on how much time the person spends it on. There is always 2 extreme sides to it but from our research, most of the respondents are still to the not addicted side however those that are on the other end should really seek help unless they are professional gamers, as even professional gamers control themselves and restrict the amount of hours they game for.

Theme 4 - Stopping addiction to gaming is hard

33% of the respondents think that it is not hard to stop being addicted to gaming. However, the other 67%  do not agree.

67% of the respondents agree that to stop being addicted to gaming is hard.

Easy as people said that games are not addictive and all the gamer needs is self-control and discipline.

Quote “Its like drugs, The companies who make games designed it so it hooks you.”(respondent 1)

Quote “Because it is hard to stop what you like to do. Example like drugs , if you are addicted to drugs, you feel uneasy when you do not have drugs.”(respondent 2)

Quote “Hard as gaming becomes essential to the gamer’s life, gaming is a habit and gives a sense of happiness to the gamer.”

http://www.video-game-addiction.org/note2.html (2013), said that “Kicking the habit is hard,too. Video game and computer addicts can't just avoid computers. They need to use them for homework and communication with friends. It's like putting an alcoholic in a bar and saying, "Just have one drink.” With all these few sets of datas, we can see that gaming addictions are hard as it becomes the gamer’s life and it is like how people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. This shows us that to stop being addicted is hard as parents do not restrict their children a lot which tests the child’s ability to control their self and limit their own game time.

Theme 5-  Ways of reducing and decreasing the amount of gaming addicts.
A few methods on how to stop gaming addictions are parents having control of the computer,do not start gaming, find other activities to distract themselves but most importantly self control.

This small-scale research on Gaming Addiction was done so as to know what are the causes of gaming addictions, what aspects of games make them so addicting, how gaming addictions affect people and the symptoms of gaming addictions. Gaming addictions is a worldwide problem as more and more people are getting addicted to games and spending less time having face-to-face interaction, gaming is also another reason to why more people are becoming aggressive in real life, grades lower as compared to their usual ones. Gaming also causes a lot of effects like carpal tunnel syndrome, eye problems which is unhealthy. As new technologies are made for gaming, there are more problems gaming addictions can cause and sooner or later, gaming addictions will start to cause more deaths than it already does. We should help those who are addicted to gaming as some are talented but are wasting their skills on games which do not help society or help us humans evolve. In conclusion, gaming is okay as long as it is done once in a while but addiction to gaming is bad and can destroy lives.

The limitations we had were the amount of responses we had gotten, time constraint, usefulness of the responses. If we were to have a longer time period to conduct the surveys, a larger amount of respondees, our study would be more  precise, more reliable and a better reference for others in who want to research on gaming addictions in the future. There was also the chance where our respondents could have lied to us would not get our true feedback.


Video Game Addiction (~n.d~) What is computer internet addiction?

Media Development Authority (2013) Keeping gaming addiction at bay, Dealing with the underlying issues of the obsession is key to recovery.

Department of Psychiatry of SGH (2013) 9 percent of kids are gaming addicts

[Kenneth M. Woog, Psy. D] (2009) Computer Gaming Addiction in Adolescents and Young Adults solutions for Moderating and Motivating for Success

[Sara Prot, MA*, Katelyn A. McDonald, Craig A. Anderson, PhD, Douglas A. Gentile, PhD]
Pediatics Clinics of North America (June 2012) Video Games: Good, Bad, or Other?

[Dr. Brent Conrad] techaddiction (2012) Video Game Addiction Symptoms and Signs

[JOHN M. GROHOL, PSY.D.] Psychcentral (2007) Coping with Video Game Addiction

Special thanks: Mdm Arfah

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