Dr Le was interviewed by ABC Radio Adelaide Drive to discuss the addictive nature of the popular online game Fortnite.
Although a “free-to-play” game, Fortnite made $300million in micro-transactions in March 2018. Most of these transactions are used to buy “Battle-Passes”. These passes unlock “Seasons” which activate players to complete tasks which for some players can become addictive. For example, a child may feel compelled to play longer in order to “complete” the next task. Virtual currency can also be used to buy skins, intangible ways to customise your avatar, which do not affect the game, but may have status or financial attached to this. For example, skins bought cheaply in earlier seasons may be rare and can be sold for real life money for up to $600 each.
Even if your child does not use your credit card to make purchases of virtual currency, then we must then consider that your child has now “become the product”. By allowing players to play for free, players become part of the game, which is a complex ecosystem. This will in turn keep new games spawning to attract and maintain the ecosystem for others that do spend money. In addition, if your child does not spend money now, if they play for long enough, the game might become boring enough for them to want to buy something in order to make the game exciting again.
Servers do not close down and there are unlimited games. This game design strategy is similar to casino game design, in order to make players lose track of time and to keep playing longer. If players play long enough in the end, the house always wins.
Finally, parents who play with their children need to be mindful that they are not enabling the unwanted side effect of addictive gaming. Parents who play online games, have a key role in role-modeling healthy game play and show their children when to turn off. It is also not OK for a parent to allow their child to play in order to enable the parent’s own addictive gaming (adults can also have a gaming disorder/addiction).
Tune into Triple J Hack this afternoon as Dr Le will discuss the inclusion of Gaming Disorder into the WHO ICD-11 announcement, today 1730pm AEST.
What does this recognition mean for those seeking help for gaming disorder?
This will increase public awareness and recognition of gaming disorder as a serious modern day health issue. The potential flow-on effect is that gaming disorder can no longer be ignored by the computer games industry, local governments and most of all the consumer of internet games. This will hopefully lead to better access to effective prevention, assessment and management programs.
Congratulations to Dr Huu Kim Le, who won the South Australian Toastmasters Division Speech Contest (International Category), with his speech “Ditch your Digital Device”.
Dr Le competed against 5 other finalists from 27 clubs in South Australia. The quality of speeches that day were amazing and Dr Le will now proceed to compete at the District level in Hobart, Tasmania at the Toastmasters Convention in May.
Dr Le has been working on his 7 minute speech for the past 12 months to communicate his message on smartphone addiction in a compelling, entertaining and engaging performance.
Did you know?
“We’re consuming everywhere, at any time. Thirty-five percent of us check our phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning, with 70 percent using phones during mealtimes with family and friends.”
Dr Le was recently invited to participate as a panelist for the Mental Health Professionals Network live webinar on Internet Gaming Addiction.
Perspectives on IGD from a GP, psychologist, psychiatrist and MH nurse suitable and directed at clinicians
Full 60 minute Youtube link and case study notes available FREE at MHPN.org.au here:
Through an exploration of online gaming addiction, the webinar will provide participants with the opportunity to:
recognise clinical effects and harms to mental health related to internet gaming addiction
increase skills and understanding of managing internet gaming addiction and improve awareness of evidence based interventions
identify strategies to engage specialist services when treating someone with internet gaming addiction.links: