Video game companies intentionally getting kids addicted to gaming: Lawsuit

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2023 at 2:33 pm    

An Arkansas mother is making headlines after, according to Good Morning America, she filed a major lawsuit against video game manufacturers for intentionally designing games to be as addictive as possible.

Elizabeth Jones opened up to the morning show, describing how she spent many nights crying, calling herself a bad parent because of her son’s video game addiction. She said she wants to tell other parents they are not alone. According to the article, Jones’s now 21-year-old son, Preston Johnson, started playing video games when he was 12, and by age 16, had dropped out of high school because of his addiction.

The lawsuit alleges that the games Johnson plays, Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox are specifically developed and designed to cause addiction. As a result, he’s experienced withdrawal symptoms, rage, and anger, as well as emotional distress, depression, and loss of friends.

According to Tina Bullock, Jones’ attorney, Johnson has still not graduated and cannot work a 40-hour workweek. GMA says that Jones once took away the modem, and Johnson screamed so loud that the neighbors called Child Protective Services in fear that he was being abused.

Bullock told GMA the lawsuit’s purpose is “to make the video game industry accountable for what they’ve done to the youth in our country.” Both the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders call the addictive condition Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). According to GMA, experts say that a diagnosis depends on the level of impairment or distress caused by gaming.

The Entertainment Software Association told ABC News that the gaming industry creates easy-to-use tools for players to “manage numerous aspects of gameplay.” The Association goes on to say that billions of people are able to “enjoy playing video games as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.”