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Internet Addiction (Gaming and Social Networking)

  • October 29, 2019

I work with the East Tennessee State University Department of Psychology; I’m a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor. I want to talk to you today about online addictions. Use of internet, video games, and social media has risen dramatically in the past decade or so. It is noted in a 2013 literature review by researcher Derek Cust that over one billion people worldwide played online casino free credit singapore casinos, online computer games, video games and these numbers are increasing.

With increased use, we also see an increasing number of people who have problems with too much use. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, better known as DSM-5 (DSM-V), called for more research to determine whether a diagnosis of internet gaming disorder should be added. Use of social media and games can be quite benign and even beneficial. For example, I literally met my wife on Facebook, and that was great.

However, for some, gaming or social networking can spiral out of control and cause problems. It’s only when use takes on a compulsive quality that one might need to be concerned. But what seems compulsive to one might see like avid enthusiasm to another. Role playing games seem to be the most popular genre in the online environment where thousands of people can play simultaneously on the same platform.

It gives you an incredible amount of opportunity to interact with others, and that can be very reinforcing. And reinforcers are outcomes that increase the chances of a behavior recurring. Many are built into the games explicitly to make them fun to play, and many are delivered on what’s called a variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement, and that can make them somewhat addictive. This gives liberal rewards early on and then followed by an increase in effort to obtain fewer rewards of higher quality as the skill level of the player grows. And skill growth itself can be reinforcing as gaining mastery, gain social status and it unlocks new opportunities, levels, abilities, and other rewarding consequences. Social networking can be reinforcing because we like to connect with other people and share what goes on in our world and see what goes on in theirs.

As with substance abuse, online gaming and social media consumption offer an escape from problems and stressors, and so that’s another reinforcer. As with most things in moderation, there’s usually no problem. However, these reinforcing aspects can lead one to feel a compulsive need to engage in behaviors like this, and for some that can spin out of control. So the processes and consequences of online addiction are similar to substance abuse in terms of causing problems with relationships.

They tend to be less severe in terms of physical consequences; however, overuse of gaming, social networking can negatively impact sleep, and that could lead to problems with health, problems with safety, work-life. That 2013 Cust review of internet gaming addiction literature tells us that psychological consequences include, among other things: the sacrifice of real life relationships, loss of sleep and problems with sleep, neglect of work, education and socializing, obsessions with gaming, aggression and hostility, stress, dysfunctional coping, deteriorating academic achievement, problems with verbal memory, and low levels of reported well-being with high levels of reported loneliness. The 2013 statement from the DSM author said quote, “Gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward. And the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior,” unquote. As Cust pointed out, brain imaging techniques have shown that areas of the brain are similar to those that are affected by both addictions to substances and addictions to gaming. We have similar issues with negative patterns of behavior, and these seem beyond the control of the person affected.

Another similarity to substance abuse is people don’t seem to realize they have a problem. Denial of a problem is thus a quality shared by people with various addictions. Whether substance abuse or pathologic gambling or compulsive sexual activity, pornography, consumption, klemptomania, et cetera. The same is true of gaming and social networking use. A common feature of addiction is a person experiencing the inability to control the impulse to do things or refrain from doing them which are inappropriate or damaging to themselves or others, Some games are tailored to males and a lot of the existing gaming addiction research is focused on males, but at this point, there are hundreds of scientific studies on the topic in the literature, and there are surely more to be published soon.

Yet many of the online games are equally appealing to males and females, and certainly social media appeals to people across sex, age, race, ethnicity socioeconomic status, et cetera. And social networking addiction. is also an emerging problem. It’s only begun to get scientific scrutiny. A quick search of the term “social media addiction,” “social networking addiction,” reveals only a handful of studies on the topics. Day after day, we’ll see more these as social media and other forms internet use become ever more prevalent.

A similar search for Internet addiction yields over a thousand scientific works. And looking to science helps us to understand that which is difficult to grasp on a personal level. You may or may not have wondered whether you’ve engaged in excessive versus normative use of gaming or social networking, and anecdotally, I had a student come up to me the other day and say she was going to start weaning herself off social media altogether. She had analyzed her own behavior and had to admit to herself she spent days, hours of the day scrolling through posts and feeds which she thought was getting in the way of getting important things done in her life. And I work with people clinically who have had serious problems with stopping gaming, literally spending most of their days and nights playing and that caused great difficulties for their significant others.

In one case, unemployment was an issue. The person I’m thinking of spent most of his time playing games where a significant other felt helpless because he wouldn’t look for work, and she had to take on all the family’s financial burdens. In psychology, we don’t say things like, “Well, she should just dump him.” That’s the kind of thing you hear from people who lack sophisticated knowledge of addictions, complicated relationship issues, and consequently, they give a lot of advice without a lot of wisdom.

We recognize that people don’t have the desire or sometimes the ability to dump someone they love just because they developed a problem. Signs of addiction may be obvious to others but again not necessarily the person in question. A major hallmark of a problem is that the amount of time one engages is is not normative compared others a similar to them. Someone who’s got a professional marketing job may have to use social media all time as part of their job and that would be normal, if not only normal but necessary. Video game developers would have to spend a lot of time gaming. Yet for the average user, what’s normal varies relative to peers and family members.

And so how do you determine if you have a problem? Well, we might modify some classic substance abuse screener questions and applying these issues, and I’ve got some for you now. These haven’t been scientifically validated, and that’s an important thing to have done, but addition average starting point if you’re a person who is just wondering. If you answer “yes” to any of the following, you might have a problem which might be addressed either on your own or with the help of professional. Have you ever felt that you should cut down on your gaming or social media use? Have you ever tried to cut down on your gaming or social media but failed to do so?

Have you ever r neglected friends or family because your gaming social media use? Do ever neglect important tasks at work or school because of your gaming social media use? Have your felt guilty or felt bad about the amount of time you spent doing these activities? In my opinion, any time something becomes a major problem in a valued relationship, therapy would likely be indicated assuming the person in question wants help. However, as we well know, many people who need help don’t seem to want it.

In those cases, the one negatively affected by the others addiction might benefit from therapy themselves to help support them as they figure out what to do in a difficult situation. Treating any addiction is hard to do. Professional help is often warranted. A few treatment centers dedicated to internet gaming additions have actually been established in Singapore, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. However, any competent therapist who is a licensed practitioner, such as licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, should be able to help with these kinds of problems. And great source to find a therapist is psychologytoday.com.

Building the Ultimate Sleeper Gaming PC

  • April 1, 2019

– Hey guys, this is Austin. And today, we’re building the ultimate sleeper gaming PC, and it’s all thanks to our friends at Intel for sponsoring this madness. The rules are very simple.

We have today, which right now it is 10:40 a.m., to build an entire sleeper gaming PC. And what does that mean? Well first of all, we want to find the oldest, the most beige retro-looking chassis we can, and load it up with some properly high-end stuff.

We’re talking a ninth gen core i7, high-end graphics, Optane memory, the entire deal. The main idea here is that we have to have an overkill gaming PC that looks like it’s something from 1999, right? I don’t want from the outside– There’s no RGB, there’s no huge exhausts, or anything like that. This should look like some old Windows XP system, but inside it can handle all the latest games, editing, whatever we want to actually throw at it. We may want to go for an ITX supply, but until we find the case I don’t wanna commit to that, because ITX supplies are more expensive than generally not. Yeah, well actually this one’s not so bad.

So we’ve got– Oh, it’s got wifi built-in, as well as we can– Oh, does it have Optane though? It does support Optane, okay, excellent. Let’s go ITX. I’ve got the smallest cooler I can find. Lets get our core i7 and lets get our Optane.

I’m just afraid that 1050’s not gonna be enough power. We need this to be awesome, but it’s so hard to pick. Unless we were able to find a properly big, old case. If we do, I don’t think it’ll be a problem, but I’m just so nervous. I don’t wanna commit to something. I want it as small as possible.

What if we get a low-profile card, and that’s our backup, but we try to put the RTX 2080 TI in. – [Ken] Yeah. – So, that was mostly successful. The main thing I’m worried about right now is that we still don’t have a case.

There were a couple in there that looked okay, but for the most part, they all looked way too modern. The star of the show here though is definitely the i7 9700K. It’s a ninth generation Intel processor. It is a full eight core chip, and on top of that, it is over clockable. Now, depending on the case and everything else we choose, I’m not so sure how much we can actually over clock it.

But the whole idea here is that I wanna have a system which looks old and retro and lame on the outside, but can handle the latest games, video editing, streaming, whatever. Now we just have to find the case, and actually build it. Hey how’s it going? I’ve got a little bit of a weird one.

I’m looking for an older system, preferably one of the old beige towers. I’m mostly just needing it for the case, it doesn’t actually have to be working. Would you happen to have anything like that? Is this gonna be a problem?

Do you think we’re actually gonna have a real hard time finding these old systems? ‘Cause he’s right, most people just recycle them at this point. – Yeah, I mean, no one really wants them. – You wouldn’t happen to have any older desktop towers, preferably something beige?

Dude, its one o’clock. We need to have time to get back to the office, and build this. If we don’t get something in the next hour, we’re screwed. There’s no way. – We’ll be right over then.

Alright, talk to you later. No problem. – Okay, that sounded promising. – So, I told him what we needed.

He’s just gonna give us the case. It might have some parts in it, but I think he might just give us one with just the case, nothing else. – Oh, that’s perfect.

– Yeah. – Success. So Ken pulled this one out. We were able to find a computer shop, with what I think is the perfect case. So it’s nicely beige. Up front you can see it’s got originally an Intel Celeron, got the old school power button, even got a CD drive.

Now we just have to actually build this thing. But this, I mean look at this. Imagine walking up, seeing this system, and inside you’ve got a full 2080 TI, a core i7.

Ah, man, I really did not think we were gonna pull this one out. I really thought that we had bitten off more than we could chew. And so with that we have everything we need to build the ultimate over kill sleeper gaming PC, which is a little bit of a mouth full.

But now that I have a super cool wardrobe change, I think I’m ready. Come on, how can I not wear this? It literally just showed up. Microsoft sent over a windows, ugly sweater. So I really don’t know how old the system is.

If I was to take a guess, I would say probably early 2000’s, but the important thing is, is that it has essentially everything we need, or at least I hope so. As sad as it is to say, I think it’s time to pull the motherboard out and upgrade it with something just a little bit more modern. The first thing we can remove is our modem, which I don’t think we’ll be needing any dial-up anytime soon.

So with that, we have our motherboard. Damn, things have come a long way. Oh, front panel. This is gonna look hilarious with a 2080 TI. This old system, and our i7 on this tiny little motherboard.

That looks a little interesting, but we will make it work. The important thing is that it does mount up to our current spots. Look at that. Is this actually going to work? Did I decide not to do a terrible idea?

So, with our processor installed, our cooler on here, our Intel Optane memory, as well as our RAM. We’re ready to see if this actually fits, although it should be fine. So with that, a big chunk of our build is actually already ready. We have the motherboard, the core i7, pretty much everything we need for the main components.

Now we need to figure out how to put in our graphics card, our hard drive, our power supply. This is not a crazy, high-end unit or anything, but it should give us enough power, and importantly, it is semi-modular, which should be helpful because cables might be a little tricky in this case. All right, three power supply screws should be enough to keep that in place.

I do see a problem in that the back doesn’t quite match the front, but as soon as we put the side panel on, I don’t think anyone will be able to notice. Excellent, all right. Now, we’ve made some progress.

So that looks pretty close, we still need to install the hard drive, but I actually think it’s safe to say now, this is going to work. Now, where are we going to put this? I believe that’s a 3.5″ drive bay.

Oh, yeah. No problem, right like that. So with this, the ultimate sleeper PC, hopefully is ready to go.

Fingers crossed. Oh, oh. ‘kay, I see fans spinning, graphics card spinning, it’s making noises. ‘kay.

Not a great sign. We’ll be right back after a quick BIOS update of our motherboard. (mellow house music) So, after a little bit of updating, and downloading, and installing, the ultimate sleeper PC lives. And I can’t tell you how happy I am with this build.

I mean, just look at it. I will admit, I may have slightly misplaced the core i7 sticker. So to run you guys through the build, inside we’ve got proper components. We’ve got that core i7 9700k, full eight cores over clockable, the whole deal. We also have an Nvidia RTX 2080 TI, and that’s all inside this chassis, which will be a little bit of a surprise for most people, I expect.

Oh, yeah. So we even got the case speaker to work. So, it’s wired up to the motherboard here, so if you ever have a problem with your super cool PC, you’ll get some helpful beeps, just like 2001 intended. The crazy part of this build is that everything works exactly like you would expect. The power button works, that speaker works, the LEDs work for the hard drive.

I mean the only thing that we don’t have fully up and running is the CD drive, because I don’t have an adapter to make it work. But I mean, I’m really surprised what we were able to find in just a few hours, and actually make it work. The fact that we’re getting this kind of performance out of a PC that looks like this, is awesome. I mean, look, we’re maxing out our 1080P monitor at 185 frames per second, and that’s full ultra settings and everything.

It’s so smooth. I love the idea that we were able to build something that from the outside looks so old-school, and so retro but on the inside, has all the power to game, all the power to stream. We can video edit, I mean, there’s literally almost nothing we can’t do with this PC. It has the power for pretty much anything we throw at it, but the looks from straight out of 2001 (laughs) Ah! No. So that my friends, is the ultimate sleeper gaming PC.

We’ve got all the performance and all the nice conveniences of a modern system, but as soon as we slide the side panel on from the outside, no one needs to know this is not a windows XP 2001 gaming box that has been sitting in someone’s grandma’s basement for 20 years. Anyway, huge shout-out to Intel for sponsoring this crazy project. If you guys want, check out the core i7, or some of the other parts I included in this build. The links will be in the description.

– [Ken] Hey Austin, will you put that 92 millimeter fan that you didn’t add in in the description? – Cooling’s important, kids.

Misheard Video Games

  • March 26, 2019

Throughout my life, I’ve always sort of been hard of hearing, in a sense that I often ask people to repeat themselves. It’s not that they were too quiet, it’s just sometimes I can’t grasp what they are saying. Now that may sound odd, but on a grander scale, this concept is something that happens every day to a lot of people. Sometimes people even mishear spoken the word as something else, and it can usually be both frustrating, and funny. This concept was actually coined as a term called a mondegreen by Sylvia Wright since it was derived from someone misunderstanding the phrase “laid him on the green” as Lady Mondegreen.

Phonetically they are both pretty similar, and I’ve experienced this same phenomenon several times myself. All my life I always misheard the song by the group Til Tuesday, as “this is scary, or even, Misses Carey.” Obviously, the song is called Voices Carry, but if you never looked it up or knew who sang it, you really had no way to check. But, music wasn’t the only thing that this occurred in… And for me, games were way more prolific. Where to start? Well, since Nintendo 64 had quite a lot of them, we might as well tackle that first.

Mario 64 probably has some of the most memorable mishearings that I can recall. But, that’s an issue in itself. Remembering them is the hard part because they don’t really stick out like sore thumbs when you try to comb through your thoughts.

It pretty much means that you have had to hear the phrase again to remember what was so odd about it. Anyways, back on the topic of Mario 64, the final fight with Bowser held probably one of the most recognized mishearings in any game. And that is when you’re tossing Bowser around like a rag doll. (Audio Clip) Uhhhh…..

So long gay bowser? Or was that so long king bowser?

Maybe? Well, the truth is, as a kid I somehow heard So Long Gay Mountain! Don’t ask me how, but I did. And honestly, I still can’t understand what he is saying. The same goes for when you jump into a painting. (Audio Clip) You have some people who hear Let’s pickle!

Let’s tickle? Or even just him flat out saying “Meeeexxxxico!” Now, to my understanding, he is supposed to be saying “Let’s -a – go” but it’s pretty comical to see what other people believed he was saying when they were younger. Now Mario 64, of course, is not the only case of this. There’s the Jawans in Super Star Wars who sound like they’re saying Houdini every time you shoot them, and then there’s also Jill in Marvel vs Capcom 2 – who I always thought was saying that she had SARS, the virus-like, it was some kind of exclusive club.

I hadn’t played any resident evil games at this point, so I really had nothing to go off of, nor did I know anything about SARS except that it was a virus. On the topic of fighters though, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters for the SNES had quite a lot of mishearings too. Starting off, I always thought the Menu said Turtle Wombat or Total Wombat. On top of that, many player attacks just didn’t make sense. I realize some may have still been in Japanese, but for example, when Leonardo would use his projectile attack it sounds like he is saying hyyyying tung, but I think it’s supposed to be Shinning Cutter?

Chrome Dome’s moves were really echoey too, and I never had any idea what they were saying, especially in combination with the background music. Overall though, there were just a lot of games that had plenty of mondegreens for me when I was younger. With that said, I’m going to jump through a couple quickly to see if anyone else had similar experiences. Ready? Here we go!

In Diddy Kong Racing during the character selection, I always heard the mouse say “I’m tipsy” as if they were drunk. Drumsticks audio was beyond the scope of what my mind could handle, and I’ll just leave it at that. In Star Fox 64, there was plenty of awkward dialogue, but I think most people got hung up on the following sound clip: (Audio Clip) Was that gridlock, report, or good luck? Anyone who has played Guilty Gear probably can’t get over the fact that Ky Kiske just says coconut over and over again.

(Audio Clip) I always laughed at this, even though I knew it was just a different language. In Mario Kart 64, I had one of my friends tell me that they often heard Peach saying “bean dip” – which is absolutely fantastic, especially since she was supposed to be saying bingo. With the in-game sounds and music playing, I can see how this could happen. On a separate note, could Peach sound any more unenthused? I feel like she about falls asleep at the wheel.

In Vigilante 8, I swear I pretty much misheard this entire game. (Audio Clip) Ready to warm without a sprew? Something about a silver spoon?

I have no idea. Then there’s these two: (Audio Clips) Obviously I can look up what they are saying now, but that ruins the fun! In Super Smash Bros Melee, I swear that I hear Captain Falcon say “Jerks” when he does his UP B recovery. My younger brother does as well, and this one is simply baffling to me since everyone else clearly hears “Yes!” and… I really have no idea why either. But the thing is, all of these examples in this video are only the tip of the iceberg. I honestly just can’t remember how many times I misheard things in games because to me, the memory isn’t odd and it doesn’t stick out.

It was just a normal experience and I simply kept on playing. Keep in mind that TV quality, video game background music, and the general muffled sound was what made most of this happen. Obviously, if the sound was isolated and played back repeatedly over time, I may have figured it out. But because I didn’t have that luxury, I just pressed on through whatever nonsense I thought I was hearing. Looking back at it now though, it still brings a smile to my face as I remember all these voice clips. I’m sure I’ll remember more as time goes on too, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your own stories about things you simply misheard in games.

It’s quite an interesting topic and typically leads to some funny stories, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.