Gaming linked to heroin, child death in latest attacks from UK media

Tuesday, 8th July 2014 16:13 GMT By Matt Martin

The UK press is taking a couple of swings at video games again today, linking them to heroin and the death of a child.


The Sun has a double page spread on the effects of video games on the brain – as addictive as heroin, according to the paper – detailing what it claims is a national “gaming addiction” as big a risk to health as drugs and alcohol.

Dr Mark Griffiths, a researcher at the International Gaming Research Unit who contributes to The Sun’s article, played down the dramatic headlines in a statement to Eurogamer.

“There is no evidence the country is in ‘the grip of addiction’,” he said. “Yes, we have various studies showing a small minority have problematic gaming. But problematic gaming doesn’t necessarily mean gaming addiction. They’re two very separate things. Yet the media seem to put them as the same.”

Meanwhile, Brighton’s The Argus features the story “Father killed his five-week-old daughter after she distracted him from a video game“.

It begins by detailing the defendant’s games playing – Assassin’s Creed 3 on PS3 – and how he violently shook a baby while being distracted.

Later down the page it notes that the defendant suffers from a “neurological condition which causes paralysis, and functional non-epileptic attack disorder, which causes seizures.”



  1. OrbitMonkey

    Are YOU addicted to gaming? Find out by playing our multiple choice quiz!

    If thats not enough, head on over to Sun Bingo!!

    Good old tabloids :)

    #1 6 months ago
  2. fearmonkey

    Chasing the dragon game – i’ll catch that dragon one day.

    #2 6 months ago
  3. CycloneFox

    A father kills his own daughter and who is to blame? Exactly! The video games. The poor man would never have done anything aggressive, if he wasn’t influenced by evil games.

    The only psychological problem he had, was, of course, video game addictiveness.

    #3 6 months ago
  4. polygem

    The bigger problem are the zombie hordes addicted to their daily yellow press fix.

    #4 6 months ago
  5. salarta

    I’m waiting for the video game version of Reefer Madness. The industry needs a true to life, no-holds-barred accurate depiction of the evils of video games that films like Reefer Madness provide for naive young minds and scared old white men alike.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. Dragon

    Uh, ok.

    This is why I love UK media, posting the truth without any exaggeration, clickbait, double standards, misinformation etc.

    Btw, I heard a person died from heart attack after reading a horror book.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. POOhead

    coming from someone who had to sell broadband and talk to over 600 people a week i did find people once a week who were in some degree “addicted” to gaming, alot were mmo players who had valid reasons but saying its the same addiction to heroin is extremely far fetched, the same could be implied to men over 50 who watch nothing but sports all day. that to me is alot more concerning to those that play nothing but vidya

    #7 6 months ago
  8. Froseidon

    Came on here to confirm my suspicions. They were confirmed…

    Yup, its the Sun!

    #8 6 months ago
  9. Talkar

    A news tabloid taking one thing and by lying turning it into something completely else?

    Good thing that doesn’t exist in the world of gaming “journalism” right IGN, Kotaku and VG247?

    #9 6 months ago
  10. Legendaryboss

    This is a scapegoat excuse and nothing more.

    #10 6 months ago
  11. POOhead

    @10 i dunno man, from past experience and seeing others it is surprising how much time people put into gaming, it will only get worse as well

    #11 6 months ago
  12. drewbles82

    A young girl stabbed her younger brother as he cried as she was unable to hear Justin Biebers latest song, WE MUST BAN JB

    #12 6 months ago
  13. Tormenter

    Actually in all fairness, I’d like to see any of you try to go without your gaming for, say, a month. I guarantee at least a few of you will suffer some form of withdrawal. Obviously the big ‘H’ is being used as a scare tactic, but at the very least, dependence is being suffered by some of you.

    #13 6 months ago
  14. YoungZer0

    The Sun, hm? Guess that says it all.

    #14 6 months ago
  15. salarta

    @Tormenter It’s an interest and a form of entertainment, and this is a site specifically devoted to video games, a place people will only go to regularly if they really love games. Of course most people here would find it hard or impossible to quit games for a month. It’d be like asking a huge film fan to not watch a single film for a month.

    That said, yes, addiction with video games is a potential problem. Some companies actually bank on making their games addictive in order to rake in tons of money, it’s where the majority of microtransaction schemes come from. That’s the real addiction risk: games deliberately designed in such a way to induce addiction. “Just do one more round and you’ll get that thing you’re after, you’ve only been at it for 8 hours!”

    But the basic concept of a game? No, that’s not an addiction any more than a film, a TV show, food, exercise, etc can be an addiction.

    #15 6 months ago
  16. Game Hunter

    Did I ever tell you the definition of Addiction?

    #16 6 months ago
  17. fearmonkey

    @Tormenter – I do that all the time. I would imagine most people get bored of playing games heavily and then go do other things for awhile and come back.

    #17 6 months ago
  18. TheWulf

    Except, you know, this one actually isn’t unfounded. :I

    I like how, with gaming, a few bad studies mean that all of them are bad. Hubris and arrogance at its finest. Though if you actually pay attention to what’s being said, it isn’t without merit. I’ve pointed out the perils of dopamine and its relation to gambling-like addictions in extroverted brains before. Why? It isn’t new.

    We’ve known about it for decades. Just not the lay-person. How do you think they make these games so addictive in the first place? Especially the aforementioned gambling games, along with MMOs, and games that make you feel you want to pay a bit to go further (which can be attributed to Candy Crush Saga and Diablo III).

    Where it gets even more interesting is that introverts don’t really use dopamine as their primary motivator, this has been proven countless times as well. Instead, for those like myself, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is invoked. This means that we’re less likely to become addicted.

    I remember one study where they did the following:

    - Showed a bunch of exceedingly boring videos to extroverts.
    - Noted how exaggeratedly bored they all were.
    - Gave them a non-trivial shot of dopamine and had them watch the videos again.
    - Noted that suddenly the extroverts were very interested.
    - Noted that, after hours, even days, the videos remained compelling to them.

    Due to their reliance on dopamine to function, extroverts end up addicted to lots of things, and there are people (in the social engineering biz) who know precisely which buttons to press to encourage that addiction. So, yeah, games can be addictive, that’s a thing. That’s undeniably a thing.

    Of course, there’s exaggeration in everything when it comes to the media, but the underlying science is true.

    #18 6 months ago
  19. Bomba Luigi

    Oh Great, then I can take some Heroin! Its seems its not all that bad.

    #19 6 months ago
  20. Digital Bamboo

    They forgot to warn us that gaming leads to chronic masturbation, terrorist recruitment, and vegetable fetishes.

    @TheWulf Do you really believe that if you were the one being drugged, you wouldn’t exhibit any changes in interest levels too?

    #20 6 months ago
  21. ommidiam

    Stupid people do stupid things. Mentally deranged people do disturbing things. Sane people are sane for a reason. End of story.

    #21 6 months ago
  22. Kane Seere

    @Tormenter There’s a difference in mind blowing boredom and addiction.

    #22 6 months ago
  23. RefuseBunny

    Why doesn’t someone run a piece on how people are addicted to tabloids and how tabloid addiction can lead to violence and murder and stuff?
    There’s probably a stronger link between newspapers and acts of violence than video games.

    Has this ever been done?

    #23 6 months ago
  24. Tormenter

    @Kane Seere

    “I can quit anytime”, said the addict.

    Yeah, yeah, I’m perfectly willing to take some flak on this, but I’m not wrong.

    The constant peaks and troughs of your addrenalin levels, the euphoria that comes with it, I GUARANTEE that gaming addiction DOES exist and it’s no so uncommon.

    But I can hardly expect support in my claims of addiction from a room full of addicts (exceptions excepted.)

    #24 6 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.