Episode 248 - Stephanie Diez: Internet Gaming Disorder Among Youth: Research, Policy, and Practice Considerations

Monday, September 24, 2018, 8:19:26 AM

Image of Stephanie Diez, MSW, MCAP

In this episode, our guest Stephanie Diez discusses the relationship between Internet gaming disorder and other addictive behaviors, and how Internet gaming is categorized within the DSM-5. National and international social policy initiatives designed to address this public health issue are described, and resources and suggestions on how social workers can more effectively identify and address this disorder are provided.

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Average Rating: 4.3 stars (7 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  a quick response to a rapidly emerging issue, Tuesday, February 09, 2021

By Tyler Bielanin :

The primary talking point from the podcast that I really enjoyed was just how much alike being addicted to internet gaming is toward being addicted to gambling. Stephanie Diez made an excellent point by referencing data and research that showed that the same reward centers in the brain that are manipulated from gambling, are the same regions affected by gaming. She also did a fantastic job of mentioning data that showed it is younger males in elementary school who are developing this disorder, rather than the stereotypical high school male. Diez made her findings and other relevant information she shared easy to understand for those uninitiated in internet gaming culture, as well as intuitive enough for those who are. She did a fantastic job by mentioning how this issue is an international issue worth concern by relaying information on how other countries are addressing this issue outside of North America. What I personally like about this discussion from Diez was that she merely presented the facts and findings that prove that this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed, all the while, not appearing to insinuate that an extreme action needs to be taken by parents or the government. I felt that she sufficiently convinced me that, as a burgeoning social worker, this has the potential to be one of the more important issues to look out for in the younger populations in the years to come. Diez accomplishes this by mentioning that other nations are investing capital to address this issue. This is especially concerning in East Asian countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. Young adult males in those nations are more susceptible to this, which in turn, would impact those nations economies as those individuals would not be in the workforce as much contributing to their respective nations economy. I love how Diez mentions this, as it brings in an intersectionality that I could never realize. 5/5. Would listen to again.

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Average Rating: 5stars  are loot boxes gambling?, Sunday, February 09, 2020

By Liz :

Stephanie Diez podcast was a great introduction to internet gaming. I found her comparison of gambling and substance abuse addiction to internet gaming addiction intriguing. In recent years the use of microtransactions in games has come under scrutiny. This past year EA Sports faced lawsuits over their use of microtransactions, EA Sports VP of legal affairs defended EA’s use of microtransactions claiming “People like surprises.” In-game microtransactions are commonly seen via loot boxes, loot boxes allow a player to use real money, or earned credits, to make in-game purchases of surprise items or abilities. Different states have proposed legislation on games that include microtransactions that would ban the sale of games to people under 21 and require a warning label on packaging to warn people (parents) before purchase. I suspect it would be revealing to learn if individuals who play games with microtransactions face higher rates of internet gaming disorder than those who do not.

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Average Rating: 5stars  episode 248 - stephanie diez: internet gaming disorder, Monday, April 22, 2019

By Michelle Lange :

I felt that the comparison of Internet Gaming Disorder to other, more well-known addictions, such as gambling and substance addictions. I feel this is important because people in general understand the severity of these addictions, but may not see how life altering this new-age addiction can be. In reality, it looks very much like a substance addiction, including similar withdrawal symptoms. Diez outlines the diagnostic criteria for the disorder, as well as the most recent research that shows that the most effected group is elementary school males. This was startling that such young children are effected during some of the most formative years, which can impact school performance due to the emotional and cognitive effects that continuous video game usage has. Lastly, I enjoyed hearing about not only professional clinical methods of help, but also non-clinical programs like the 12 step support group, modeled after alcoholics anonymous. Overall, this podcast was highly educational and informative on a topic that is still not highly publicized. It showed that while the internet does have a positive role in our society, it can have a negative impact, especially when overused.

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Average Rating: 4stars  an excellent introduction to internet gaming disorder, Sunday, February 10, 2019

By Sara Egan :

In this podcast, Diez provides an overview of internet gaming disorder (IGD), something that has been included in the most recent DSM-5. Diez makes comparisons between IGD and substance addiction, as well as to other behavioral addictions such as gambling. She also notes the overlap between IGD and internet addiction, using the two terms interchangeably at times. Diez notes that there has been more research done on IGD internationally, than in the United States, but I question whether China’s approach of increased regulation, and “bootcamps” for children suffering from this disorder, is really the answer, particularly if we are unclear about underlying causes, or if excessive game playing is a symptom or attempt to cope with something else (i.e. past trauma, grief, or depression). She did mention that South Korea has been focusing on prevention, which would seem to indicate a need for some understanding of the underlying causes. When discussing her research with children in Florida, a key finding was that elementary school males were at a higher risk of being diagnosed with internet gaming disorder than older males. As a SW intern in an elementary school, I have recognized that obsession with video games can be problematic for some children, as young as 5-6 yrs of age, and this does raise questions as to why young children may be more vulnerable. Diez acknowledges the need for further research and identifies some specific areas, that I agree we need to learn more about to support children and families. I appreciate the information and resources Diez provides for those interested in learning more about IGD, and I am looking forward to learning more about this!

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Average Rating: 4stars  great overview in a relatively new topic of research, Thursday, February 07, 2019

By Margaret Simkins :

Diez outlines the criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder (a confirmed category for the next DSM edition). She compares this disorder to other behavioral addictions, such as gambling, which stimulate the pleasure center of the brain, increase tolerance and demonstrate withdrawal symptoms. Diez describes common behaviors associated with this disorder, which include prioritizing gaming over other critical activities in one's life even when there are consequences to the individual for doing so. I appreciated her overview of the research around this topic (as it is a very new subject). It occurs to me that as we continue to look at data and outcomes, it will be important to do so within an individual’s context, and being careful to distinguish the differences between internet gaming as an addiction, compulsion, coping mechanism, and leisure activity.

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Average Rating: 5stars  dont pay attention to first review, Sunday, November 11, 2018

By rob :

First review is just a troll trying to discredit what they perceive as an attack on gamers. Their argument doesn't match the content of the podcast, demonstrating they don't actually understand what is being said.

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Average Rating: 2stars  a gamer-affirmative perspective, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

By Mike Langlois :

As a clinician who has worked with children, adolescents, & adults who game I found the podcast concerning for several reasons that I would like other clinicians to keep in mind:

1. The term internet gaming disorder has not been adopted by the APA for DSM V. It was listed in the appendix as a condition warranting more clinical research & experience before it can be determined to be useful as a formal diagnosis. In earlier editions of DSM, some of those proposed went on to become diagnosis, & others were dropped altogether.

2. Diagnoses are often constructed on the bedrock of cultural bias, especially those with behavioral presentations. In the 2nd edition of the DSM, homosexuality was listed as a paraphilia disorder. In DSM 3 it was reclassified as "ego-dystonic homosexuality," a bizarre concept in light of how dystonic homophobic & heterosexist culture is toward homosexuality. It was finally removed as a classification in its own right in DSM III-R

3. The research comes predominantly from one journal & a limited number of peer reviewed articles. In the past 5 years, only 1,214 articles were published, & 16% of them came from just one journal. Contrast schizophrenia & you will find a research cohort of nearly 94,000 articles.

Though the speaker clearly wants to help youth, & should be appreciated for that, her review of the research should be taken with many grains of salt. Her story of informally polling friends about their game use is neither rigorous nor vaild, any more than if she had stated "I noticed many of my gay friends wore green on Thursdays," so I started to research the role of green in causing homosexuality."

I use the LGBT analogies deliberately: Many colleagues will remember a time when LGBT identities were framed as mental health pathologies that shamed & hurt untold numbers of LGBT people. I fear we will look back on how we treated gamers with a similar sense of sadness & remorse if this line of pathologizing them continues.

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