Gender and Video Game Addiction

# Why boys get hooked on video games

For my first year thesis, I decided to take a look at gaming addiction. Whilst there has been much written about video game violence, the issue of compulsive video game play has received less attention. However, games like Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft has made this a mainstream topic.

What I learned was that the differences in problematic gameplay between boys and girls can provide a useful lens through which to approach this topic. As boys have been a larger market than girls traditionally, it is not surprising that games have been optimised to meet boys needs. There are clear factors that make games more addictive, the largest of which is competitive online play. The latest research also highlights that loot boxes are a form of gambling that are also a significant part of this puzzle.

One of the more compelling studies I found showed how a medication given to alleviate cocaine craving has also been found to be effective for compulsive video gameplay. Parallels to gambling addiction seem fair and both parents and policymakers need to better informed to protect children for this significant threat to adolescent wellbeing.

I hope you enjoy this literature review, it was awarded 9.5.


Although Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was only included in the DSM-5 as an area for further research, there is growing concern about compulsive online video game playing amongst parents. This literature review investigates the neuropsychosocial risk factors in IGD through the lens of gender. Prevalence of IGD is higher amongst boys than girls, but the reasons for this have not been established. Explanatory evidence is presented regarding gender differences in goal-orientation, cognitive control and developmental needs that contribute to the current gender bias. Evidence suggests that if games companies start to target female gamers explicitly, then the gender gap in IGD could become narrower. Recommendations are made for future policy direction and further research.