Common questions about boys and video gaming addiction
  • What is it about gaming addiction and boys?
  • Why are more likely for boys to be addicted to video games?
  • Why is my boy suffering from a video gaming addiction?  
  • Why is my son addicted to video games?
  • What makes it more likely for boys to get addicted to games than girls?


We have received gaming addiction stories about gamers playing for over 20 hours at a time and in almost every case it is a boy.  A study at Stanford showed that men tend to have more brain activity while playing video games.  But does this really mean that it should lead to a gaming addiction?

We have several answers for these questions.  The first is that it is a social issue in that most gamers online are men and people tend to spend most of their recreational time (when they are single especially) with their same sex peers.  Thus, boys are more likely to have friends that game online, more likely to game online themselves since the gamers are aimed at men, and more likely to suffer from a gaming addiction as a result.

Second, men tend to biologically be of a warrior ethos characterized by being macho or fighting with others.  Video games provide the perfect place to "be a man" which is particularly attractive to young men and single men.  While at work and at home, these men are not likely to be the boss and have respect, online they can feel like a giant with a high level character that dominates "casual" players online.  For many men, playing video games and using the Internet is the best way to feel important and powerful (which they likely do not in their personal life) and to escape reality for many reasons.  Many parents have tried everything from physically cutting the cable to canceling accounts and treatment but the child continues to still want to play the video games like it is their job. First, understanding that excessive gaming is usually the physical manifestation of other emotional problems can help a parent or partner to understand that rather than fight the gaming itself.  The best approach may be to try to understand what is being avoided, suppressed, or enabled by a gaming addiction. This is similar to other addictions but the main difference is the second possibility: playing games is simply fun and there is nothing else as fun as getting online and playing. The key difference is that, like introducing any new technology from television to the printing press and wider availability of novels to read (some kids no doubt had "reading addictions" that prevented them from doing well in school or playing outside), people take a while to adapt and use exciting new parts of life.

The moral of the story is that THERE IS NO MAGIC RECIPE ANYWHERE for getting your boy or your man to stop gaming but there are ways you can understand why they do it and work with it. With young women surging forward in motivation, men more often than ever are withdrawing into video games as a way to feel like they are contributing to the world. Some of the most comprehensive self-help resources for helping boys with gaming addiction are found on our books page.