Almost 1 in 10 Young Video Game Users 'Addicted'

However, she questioned the appropriateness of adapting questions used to assess problem gambling in adults.

"It's one thing for a child to fib to his mom about how long he's played a video game," Olson said. "It's another thing to lie to your wife about gambling."

She also questioned whether kids as young as 8 can accurately complete a self-administered questionnaire.

If parents think their kid has a problem, they're probably right and should trust their instincts, according to Gentile, who also serves as director of research for the National Institute on Media and the Family in Minneapolis.

Experts say that when playing video games becomes compulsive and results in kids skipping school or not playing with friends, that could signal other mental health problems.

"What you usually find with these kids is this [video game compulsion] is just the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Michael Brody, a psychiatrist in private practice in Potomac, Md., and chairman of the media committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "Underneath you usually find a lot of depression and anxiety."

"To put a label like 'video game addiction' is too superficial," Brody said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has tips for healthy TV, video game and Internet use.

SOURCES: Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and director, research, National Institute on Media and the Family, Minneapolis; Cheryl K. Olson, Sc.D., M.P.H., co-director and co-founder, Center for Mental Health and Media, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Michael Brody, M.D., psychiatrist, Potomac, Md.; American Psychiatric Association, news release, June 21, 2007; May 2009 Psychological Science

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