Arkansas parent files lawsuit against leading video game companies

Posted on Monday, November 13th, 2023 at 2:50 pm    

(Little Rock, KATV) — A lawsuit has been filed against leading video game companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Google., accusing them of being intentionally addictive for minors.

An Arkansas mother filed the lawsuit on November 3, against gaming companies earlier this week on behalf of her son and other parents who believe their children are potential victims of internet gaming disorder.

The first lawsuit of its kind across the country suing big-name gaming companies for intentionally adding addictive features to their programs like unlocking new levels based on playing time, and more.

“They’re all designed to analyze the behavior of the child while they’re playing. So they’re using AI to track your child. More than just their name and date of birth. They’re looking at the kind of character. How do they respond when they lose? What do they do? Do they keep playing? Do they want to play? And they start tracking your child to the point that they know when to offer you another pack or skin to help you level up and stay, It’s all about staying engaged in the game and that’s what becomes addictive,” Bullock Ward Mason, CEO/Partner, Tina Bullock said.

The lawsuit cites the companies as being the cause of increased mental health, behavioral, physical, and educational issues among minors.

“There’s no warnings on that about video games that they can be addictive. Therefore parents are just trying to get their kids to just come eat, come do their homework, do these things. And like a normal household you would expect to see come down and eat with you family or come do your homework and all of a sudden you have a child that is blowing up. Punching holes in the wall, throwing objects. They’re getting upset and they don’t realize this is a gaming addiction. Most parents, Their go-to thought is ‘Hey I’ve got a behavior issue,” Bullock said.

According to psychiatric studies up to 8.5 percent of minors between the ages of 8 to 18 are being affected by internet gaming disorder which has been classified as a non-substance addiction disorder causing withdrawal, low tolerance, and mental issues when taken away.

“They’re at their wit’s end. Parents aren’t trained on the symptoms of addiction so a lot of them didn’t realize this is what was going on,” Bullock said.

Bullock who is a mother herself said the hope is that this will prompt more families across the country to come forward with their stories.

Some of the lawsuit’s intended outcomes are monetary compensation for damages, as well as ways to track and limit video game usage for minors. Just to name a few.