Occasional Use - Problematic Use

When does video game or Internet use become a problem?

For a large number of people, video games and the Internet are used mainly for entertainment or work purposes. For a small minority, however, this practice can become excessive, leading to significant negative consequences. You will find below a description of different types of video game and Internet use (Hayez, 2006). This description should be considered as an attempt to categorise types of use and not as an absolute classification system. In reality, there are as many ways to play as there are players...

We speak occasional or recreational use when an individual occasionally uses video games or the Internet. In this circumstance, the individual does not usually play every day. They can easily stop their game or Internet activity and they spend relatively little time in front of the screen. Video games or the Internet are considered to be simply a form of entertainment. Furthermore, playing does not lead to unpleasant consequences for the individual, their family or friends.

We speak of "intensive" or "disproportionate" use when the practice becomes an everyday event. The player spends more and more time in front of the screen and starts to exceed certain pre-established time limits. However, they are able to stop their use relatively easily by choosing alternative activities (holidays, outings with friends etc). There are no significant consequences, although mild school, work or relationship difficulties can arise. At this point the player sometimes spontaneously reduces the amount of time spent playing or using the Internet.

Pathological use of video games or the Internet is characterised by intensive use, which is pervasive and problematic. The video game or Internet site becomes the main interest and source of pleasure. Significant negative consequences arise. These may be social (school or professional difficulties etc.), familial (disputes with parents, marital tensions, social isolation etc.) and personal (irritability, depression, anxiety etc.). Such difficulties affect everyday life for the individual and those close to them.

bandeau bottom CJE - Centre du jeu excessif UNIGE - Université de Genève IMSP - Institut de Médecine Sociale et Préventive CHUV - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

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