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Video game hub Japan confronts problem of addiction

49 Comments
By Kyoko HASEGAWA

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49 Comments
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Addiction can be good or bad. It all depends to what one is addicted to.

Tobacco = bad. Meat = bad. Vegetables = good. Fruit = good. Gambling=bad. Alcohol = bad. Etc. = good. Etc. =bad.

However, addiction to too much good can also be bad because, it then becomes greed.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

If there were publicly funded places to go to play sports,do hobbies etc then this problem would not be an issue.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

The correlation between the adult obsession with games and the declining population can’t be ignored.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Gaming addiction is not even as serious as social media addiction and people being obsess by the internet and their phones. Clearly they are being bias for blaming it on gaming. You cannot take gaming away anyway as long they still have their phones. You don't see anyone saying: stop buying the newest phone or tablet for your kids.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

However, addiction to too much good can also be bad because, it then becomes greed.

Takes a huge leap of the imagination to assume that food choices become an addiction on par with gaming.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

My wife and I used to play Famicon games when our kids were little, they got interested, and we let them go, as long as their chores were done, and their school work completed.

Now, my eldest son is a game-programmer, has a great job working in VR, marketing, and gaming, my youngest builds his own computers and has a great job working in marketing and web design, and my daughter does video editing.

It ALL depends upon how one raises their children in respect to "games" and everything else in life.

No regrets!

12 ( +16 / -4 )

It's best not to be addicted to anything!

How can one be free when addicted to anything?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

After more than 30 years and 2-3 generations of addicted gamers they are going to attempt to address the issue? Gaming addiction has become a deeply rooted part of Japanese culture. Many other countries are suffering with gaming addictions as well. It's no different to a gambling addiction and needs to be treated as such. Awareness campaigns and limits need to be initiated. The thing I saw in Japan was, parents use games as babysitters for their kids. This is where the addiction starts. Changing the culture of a whole country is impossible!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

The next time we read some fringe research saying video games can help with peripheral vision, communication or some other wonderful thing, the news outlets should also post not only who did the research, but also who funded it. This is one of the most important things so the reader, can make an informed judgement. Addiction is a problem for a minority, because of the way the games are designed compared to the 1980s. Games can 100s of hours, or some parts of the games last 15 minutes, to only restart the match again knowing the kids want to “do better”. Or when you died in a 80s game, the game was over, now, you can respawn very quickly, tapping into that mental buzz, reducing the natural short cut to put the controller down. Loot boxes, skins, and that never ending new content. Remember when you bought a game, and when you finished it, it was finished. There never is an end!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Don't forget....

With video games, even when you win ..you are a loser!

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Trying to solve a disorder by restrictions is not going to go very far, a much more efficient way to deal with these kind of problems is to focus on education and mental/social health support, if most of the victims can solve their underlying problems then addiction is much easier to solve as well.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

""China in November announced it had "solved" youth gaming addiction by limiting the time children can play online games to just three specified hours a week, enforced through facial recognition software and ID registration.""

There are several ways to limit and slow down this addiction,

First workout a schedule with your kid, have them decide and hold them to that schedule.

Second keep your kid busy with other activities such as club , sports, sharing house chores, playing games with them card & board games are fun.

The government can only provide some support but the rest is on us.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think addiction to tobacco and alcohol are much worse, but the govt gets tax money for those so no action...

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I'd rather my child be addicted to games than pachinko, tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

a lack of action by the government and the gaming industry

This is simply not true when it comes to the gaming industry. Many online games have features that increase items/experience or provide other benefits if you go offline for 24 hours. Nintendo has a parental control app that allows you to set up schedules. Even if there is no app a parent can just go to their router and make some settings to disable their kid's phone/PC during certain times.

It's not the games that are at faults, it's simply a lack of knowledge or lazy parenting.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

As long as there are limits placed, leave them alone.

Friends playing games together is a great reliever of stress, and strong bonds are formed...

Kids have stress and worries too.

When it replaces life; work, school, sleep, eating properly, etc., then it’s time to dial it back a bit, but otherwise, let them enjoy their time with friends, playing games! A lot of creativity and inspiration also comes from this, not just negatives!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Takahisa Masuda, now a 46-year-old social worker, plunged into gaming as a bullied middle school student, and he believes the escape mechanism saved his life.

I bet he's not the only one. Dressing as a goth and listening to Marilyn Manson all day isn't a good way to get parental approval either but will have got some young people through difficult times.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There has always been something blamed for whatever problems youth are facing; Victorians blamed bicycles, in the 50’s it was comic books and rock n’ roll.

The solution is always the same, leave it to the parents. You can’t control your kids 24 hours a day but ultimately the responsibility is yours, not the government or industry.

As has been said above and in the article, games have a positive effect on many people.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's not the impression watching the TBS drama "Atomu No Ko" gave me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Devices and consoles can be physically removed. Mobile data plans can be terminated. WiFi access can be restricted at the router level.

If you don't know how to do that, everyone knows at least one technical professional in their social circle who can help with the last one.

And stop this habit of immediately handing over phones/ipads to toddlers when you meet up with all the other mums for coffee and cake. When we go out to a family restaurant, 9 times out of 10 the whole family on the table next to us are all on their phones for the entire meal, pausing only to take a picture of the food when it arrives.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Addiction can be good or bad. It all depends to what one is addicted to.

Tobacco = bad. Meat = bad. Vegetables = good. Fruit = good. Gambling=bad. Alcohol = bad. Etc. = good. Etc. =bad.

However, addiction to too much good can also be bad because, it then becomes greed.

Too much fruit is bad for you. It contains a lot of sugar. It can lead to diseases like diabetes. Too much of a vegetable such as a spinach can lead to adverse health effects. It's all about balance. Addiction to being healthy isn't so bad but can lead to emotional issues. All in all everything in moderation is the best way to live.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How about ending the addiction to long school days, cram schools, and homework? 8am to 4pm at the latest for all schooling. 4pm and after should be play and family time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

School clubs should also be held within that 8am-4pm window.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The school where I work as had several problems with video game addiction. The strange thing is that many of parents don’t seem very concerned about it. Some care, but so many don’t.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'd rather my child be addicted to games than pachinko, tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

Yes! This is an issue they should be addressing.

Nowadays its very hard to find a "game center" that isn't +80% filled with gambling/medal/prize games, even those places inside malls that are intended for very small children, which is a shame.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is hardly new. Video/Computer gaming has been around for more than four decades now and isn't as bad as some of the addictions on offer out there. Once puberty kicks in, many of these kids will find other ways to worry their parents. You may wish they were still gaming.

Idiot government schemes are rarely a good solution to parenting issues. Leave work on time and talk to your kids more. Not at them. And listen to them.

And of course, e-sports may be a more lucrative future for your kids than your job is for you.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The TBS drama "Atomu No Ko" changed the way I feel about gaming.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As an avid gaming adult, with a gaming focused YouTube channel, and kids! There need to be boundaries. It’s easy to simply let the kid sit and vege out on games/tablets/tv but at the end of the day, moderation and ACTUAL PARENTING needs to be done.

there is a lot of attention on “gaming addiction “ as a catch all this is happening to my kid because they play games for 5 hours after school. There are underlying reasons for putting themselves in a fantasy world for so long and thankfully the article touches on that, but the straight and narrow is, kids need balance and if parents see it’s not happening they need to pull the plug and remove them from the kids life for hours, days, weeks, or permanently.

Its worse these days because games are consistently updated to keep players attention, especially free ones that kids tend to gravitate towards since you know they are free. But these are the ones that consistently ask for player commitment through small payments for new items and more.

It’s super important to stay up to date on what kids are playing and how long. It’s not so different than knowing who your kids are friends with in real life.

TLDR: be a part of your kids lives. From a gamer parent to non gamer parents, be a parent

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Values evolve. Addiction to societies ideas of a normal life is more harmful than playing video games.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd be happier if they were engaging in conversation.

Have you ever been to a Mc Donalds on a sunday morning?

You can barely hear your own voice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I would rather have youth staying at home playing games than wandering round the street in gangs with knives and guns.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Friend of mine was hooked badly but he got away by having the support of friends and family.

Nos he can enjoy games, just not those that promote online competition because the ghost of addiction is still there.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

With video games, even when you win ..you are a loser!

How ignorant a statement! Mid-level e-sports professional players make between $50,000 to $75,000 a year!

Making money playing games and winning! Seems like someone else here is the "loser"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If your a child who is addicted to 'Video games'....its your parents fault. If your an adult addicted to 'video games'.....you need to grow up and ....... 'Get a life' !!!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Japan confronts problem of addiction

which one?

meaningless tests?

pencil pushing nepotistic workers taking up space?

cigarettes?

useless LDP?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What do they expect the government to do? It sounds more a parental problem than legislative.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Most of the posters above don't have any clue what is it to be a parent of an addict. Or what is to be an addict for that matter.

Japan has a huge problem with this and it's good to see it becomes more public. Until now parents were trying to deal on their own and there are very few places to find help if any!

The mentioned hospital is the only one in Kanto - a region bigger than many countries in Europe or elsewhere!

And finally - we are all addicted to soicial media, internet, smoking, etc., etc. but we go about our daily lives and do our tasks better or worse.

Addict doesn't have a life. He can't do anything for days and months no matter if it is drugs, games or alcohol. Think on that next time you make senseless comments!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This article’s comment section is the perfect place to recommend two episodes from one of the best tv shows in the history of television; South Park’s Make Love, Not Warcraft (s10e08) and Freemium Isn’t Free (s18e06); I highly recommend it; brilliant messages(!); if you think you’re spending too much time playing video games, please, watch those episodes (just a few minutes, your schedule won’t be affected); who knows, you might even start looking at life in a different way… and life’s short. (back to Japan;) Japan isn’t China or SK; this is the land of video games ( (it’s part of Japanese culture, part of Japanese society, part of Japan) so unfortunately, they still have a long way to go) ).

China in November announced it had "solved" youth gaming addiction by limiting the time children can play online games to just three specified hours a week, enforced through facial recognition software and ID registration.

Meanwhile, South Korea last year removed a decade-long ban on PC-based online gaming for children under 16 between midnight and 6 a.m., which local media had branded outdated and ineffective.

Japan has had no similar rules, and even a much-debated 2020 local ordinance that banned under-18s from playing more than an hour on weekdays had no enforcement mechanism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Think this is bad, wait until Meta gets a hold of you! And then it will not be called "addiction" since EVERYBODY will be in the "game." 24/7.

Your new reality is just around the corner.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nothing wrong with games. It should be treated as a hobby, the same as TV, books, and sports. Some might say that books offer mental development, but so do some games. Players often do a lot of research and have to make quick decisions based on the environment. Some might say that sports offer physical development. And while that's true, a gamer can get physical exercise in other ways. They don't have to spend three hours every day after school with mandatory club practice.

As long as children are taught priorities and to focus on getting studies and chores done and spending time with family and friends, then there is nothing wrong with enjoying gaming. A long time ago, we spent family nights playing Parcheesi. You can do the same now with video games if you so choose.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My family and I do video calls with my sister-in-law's family in Japan. My teenage nephews can't even stop playing games when we're on the call.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My family and I do video calls with my sister-in-law's family in Japan. My teenage nephews can't even stop playing games when we're on the call.

Your sister hasn't raised them very well then.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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