According to a University of the Rockies research study, it’s commonplace for college students to lose sleep, miss meals, fail to attend classes, and experience social withdrawal due to excess online game playing. While males are more prone to excessive playing, there is no difference between the effects on males or females.
For her doctoral dissertation at the graduate school specializing in psychology, Sabrina Neu examined the relationship between demographic factors, social anxiety, proneness to boredom, grade point average and Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game playing.
"Virtual gaming, where participants take on an identity, has exploded in the past 10 years, particularly among 18 to 30 year olds. Online game subscriber numbers are in the millions and profits for game developers are in the billions of dollars," Neu said.
"The student lifestyle, with unlimited Internet access, large blocks of unstructured time and absence of supervision, may place students at greater risk for over-utilization."
Neu's research also identifies potential benefits of online gaming. "Players cite social opportunities as a primary reason for play. Players can overcome shyness, actualize previously untapped talents, mentor other players, free themselves from physical disabilities, develop a sense of purpose and achievement and engage in altruistic, heroic and generous acts," she said.
"Despite many pro-social benefits, there is also a harmful side. Players can suffer consequences such as neglecting friends and family and arranging one's real world life to fully accommodate game playing."
Forty-two percent of college student respondents to the study reported their online gaming had interfered with work or academics.