Gambling Addiction Decreases, Game Addiction Increases

In the recent NOVA report "Innocent fun? Gambling and computer games among Norwegian youth", a total of 8300 students at 89 schools across the country were included to study young people's use of video games and gambling.

The machines disappeared

– There is a decline in gambling (1 per cent in 2010 to 3.2 per 2002) and this can probably be explained by the slot machines having disappeared from the Norwegian market in 2007, says researcher Tilmann von Soest, who led the project.

In 2002, provided 78.5 percent said they played chance games in the course of a year – in 2010 this applies to 64.3 per cent of Norwegian adolescents. Most common are scratch cards, followed by table poker, slot machines abroad and games like Lotto, Keno, Extra, Joker and betting games.

3800 young people are problematic gamblers

– Although the number has gone down, there are still young people who meet the criteria for gambling addiction, "says von Soest. – It is about approx. 3800 youths nationwide. In addition, a further 3.5 percent is at risk for developing gambling problems.

Playing via the Internet is more common among adolescents with gambling problems than among youth in general. Friends' and parents' use of gambling is clearly related to adolescents' own gaming habits, according to the report.

Many play much video games

The NOVA report also revealed that over half of the youths have a video game in their room and 81 percent of them have a PC in the room. 63 percent of girls and 96 percent of boys report that they play video games at least once a month. Boys, however, clearly over-represented among those who play daily – 41 percent of boys compared with 6 percent of the girls. 15-year-old boys in the sample group play most.

There are slight changes from 2002 in the proportion who play video games. Additionally, there are 3450 young peoplewho are addicted to video games. The survey also shows that a relatively large group of young people are major consumers of video games.

– 5.2 percent of the youngsters play video games four hours, "says von Soest, and major players are almost exclusively boys.

The most popular game among boys is the first-person shooters, sports games, action or interactional and small games via the Internet. For girls, however, the most popular games are small games via the Internet especially on Facebook. Role Playing Games via the Internet with many participants (so-called MMORPG) and first-person shooters are the most popular games among the big players.

About the Survey

The researchers collected data through a questionnaire applied at 89 schools across the country. Young people who have participated are aged between 12 and 17 years and include students from the last stage of primary school, every step of the school and the first two steps in high school. The sample is representative of the Norwegian youth population. The questionnaire included questions about gambling, computer games and on many other aspects of adolescents' lives. A total of 8356 students responded to the survey.

The study is one of the few studies – even at international level- which has examined the scope of computer games and video games’ problematic sides in a representative sample of the youth population.

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