Video game addiction can kill. In some cases, at the very least.
On September 13, 2019, Casey Viner, a 19-year-old teen from North College-Hill, Ohio, was sentenced to 15 months in prison after his Call of Duty obsession led to a series of events that concluded with the shooting of Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old man in Kansas.
While playing Call of Duty online, Viner got in an argument over a $1.50 bet involving the video game with Shane Gaskill, a 19-year-old from Wichita, Kansas. In an act of rage, Viner connected with a 25-year-old man named Tyler Barriss to swat Gaskill. Swatting is an action where a prank call is made to emergency services to bring authorities (usually the SWAT team) to a specific address.
Barriss called authorities falsely notifying them of a shooting at Gaskill’s address. However, Gaskill was no longer located at the particular address, and so instead Finch (the current resident) opened the door only to be shot down by the SWAT team.
In this case, Viner’s video game addiction quite literally led to the death of an innocent man, even if by accident.
What do you think of Video Game Addiction?
Many people may not fully comprehend the severity of video game addiction. Most behavioral addictions (such as gambling disorder and vide game addiction) tend to seem less severe than addictions caused by substances. They appear to be harmless, to begin with until it’s too late. After all, substance addiction has a greater negative stigma attached to it.
To see this, take the following example. If I were to ask you to whether cocaine addiction was more or less severe than video game addiction, I am almost certain that you would be inclined to argue the former is worse.
And to an extent, I would be compelled to agree—cocaine addiction has various physical effects on the body and organs that it can be considered lethal. This is because the drug alone is responsible for all of the harmful effects that follow after its use. In stark opposition, however, behavioral addictions seem to not have as drastic consequences. Unlike taking copious levels of cocaine or heroin, video game addiction will not cause organ failure (n most cases at least).
However, we should judge the severity of any addictive behavior (or any psychological phenomena) by comparing it as better or worse to other behaviors.
Throughout the years there has been an increasing awareness for video game addiction and the consequences that follow from it. For this reason, several diagnostic criteria for video game addiction have been introduced and across the world, many rehab centers have opened to alleviate people from this emerging disorder.
Video game addiction has become a serious threat to the way many people, both children, and adults, live their day to day lives. It not only affects them but also the people around them. We must put an end to video game addiction.