Weekly INT Boost – No Need to Hurry

Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health and gaming stories you may have missed. This week, we have thoughts on video game addiction, toxic communities and citizen science.

Psychologist says rush to pathologize ‘video game addiction’ is dangerous

“Dr. Anthony M. Bean, a licensed clinical psychologist in Texas, thinks that the idea of “video game addiction” is misguided at best, and dangerous at worst. He and his colleagues suggest that efforts to include this new category of disease in diagnostic manuals is driven not by sound science, but by a climate of moral panic and political pressure.”

Polygon talks to a psychologist leading the charge against classifying gaming disorder in the DSM. Note that this is a topic very much under debate still, and this article only shows one side.

Take responsibility for your community

“The tricky thing about the responsibility to manage your community is that it scales with your operation, but as it does so moral conviction needs logistical assistance. It’s not difficult to keep awful people from blighting a community with a few dozen people; you just need to decide you don’t want them around. As your community gets larger, it obviously requires a bit more work to manage, but there’s no point at which ‘we have too many users’ becomes a valid excuse for washing one’s hands of the responsibility, whether you’re running a video game, a forum, or a website with 1 billion users a month.”

Inspired by last week’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds banning incident, GamesIndustry.Biz’s Brendan Sinclair makes a powerful plea for developers to take better care of their community’s toxicity.

Socialising, mental health and stress relief: why Aussies play video games

“‘The fun continues through interactive games, but the research shows that games increasingly serve other uses,’ said Dr Jeff Brand, Professor at Bond University and lead author of the report. ‘Australians are playing for social connectedness, whether that be with family or friends. They’re playing to reduce stress, to be challenged, to learn, to keep the mind active, or for physical and mental health benefits.'”

We all have our own reasons to play games, but according to a report covered by Gizmodo Australia, those reasons are increasingly complex — and decreasingly about pure fun.

Level up: How video games evolved to solve significant scientific problems

“Whether these games mark the start of a trend depends in part on how scientists view gaming culture. While games have often been dismissed as trivial, the first video games were designed for academics. The scientific world’s recent re-approach to gamers may be a sign that academics have rediscovered the value of a good game.”

Interested in citizen science? Ars Technica has a great retrospective on the games helping researchers with some of science’s major problems.

And with that, we’re off! We’ll be back Monday with more, as always. Until then, take care of yourselves — and each other.

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