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WoW player more ashamed than porn addict

Image via Boston GlobeIt's not the first time WoW addiction has been addressed, and it won't be the last. This one, however, is a nice change from some more sensational pieces. In an interview with The Boston Globe, well-known psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block discusses what he calls "pathological computer use." His clients, he says, can be "more ashamed of playing World of Warcraft than looking at porn."

These kind of interviews aren't uncommon, like the CNN editorial from a few months ago. However, a few things about Dr. Block's interview struck me as pretty well-balanced. First, Dr. Block has quibbles about the phrase addiction. He feels that word addresses the wrong issues and nuances. Dr. Block prefers "pathological computer use." In my opinion, that word indicates the game itself isn't the problem, but instead the manner in which the person uses the game.

Dr. Block also discusses a patient who was very successful at EVE Online. After a fairly disastrous event, he felt betrayed by everyone he knew in the game. Dr. Block spells out the problem isn't only how subject deals with that issue, but that the subject's (out-of-game) friends can't understand. What might be a legitimate, troublesome event is being related-to by people who don't have context to an individual issue. Of course, while it probably ended the player's addiction -- I don't know if I'd list this kind of disaster as a way to quit playing WoW.

It's a refreshing view on WoW addiction, and worth a bit more look at Dr. Block's web site.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items, Interviews

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