We would like to thank Professor Maurer for his correspondence about our study on the prevalence of internet gaming disorder (IGD) in 12– to 25-year-olds in Germany (1), which addresses some interesting aspects. We agree that the implications of the clinical questions mentioned in his correspondence are relevant and discuss them in more detail below.
A better definition of the target group for prevention programs: Our study revealed that IGD is associated with being male and of younger age. In other words, adolescents are more likely than adults, and boys more likely than girls, to be affected by IGD. In our opinion, future preventive measures for IGD should be designed to be age-appropriate and gender-specific (as males and females prefer different types of computer games).
Raising awareness in the environment: Many people affected by IGD are likely to still be living together with their parents when IGD first appears, so that sensitizing their parents to IGD seems to be a promising approach. Parents are therefore also a relevant target group for preventive measures, particularly since they are often also the ones who make the first contact for receiving help.
Sufficient treatment of possible comorbidities: In our examined sample, IGD correlated with higher levels of emotional distress; in a clinical population of affected adolescents, the most common comorbidities were anxiety, depression, and antisocial behavior (2). Therefore, comorbidities should be considered when treating IGD. With respect to future research activities, a better differentiation between problematic Internet use in general („Internet addiction“) or for specific purposes (such as playing computer games or using social media) appears to be useful. Indeed, initial empirical indications show differences in the etiology of IGD and Internet addiction (3), and of IGD and a problematic use of social media (4).
On behalf of the authors
Dr. phil. Dipl.-Psych. Lutz Wartberg
Deutsches Zentrum für Suchtfragen des Kindes- und Jugendalters (DZSKJ)
Conflict of interest statement
The authors of all contributions declare that no conflict of interest exists.
|1.||Wartberg L, Kriston L, Thomasius R: The prevalence and psychosocial correlates of Internet gaming disorder—analysis in a nationally representative sample of 12- to 25-year-olds. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2017; 114: 419–24 VOLLTEXT|
|2.||Wartberg L, Moll B, Baldus C, Thomsen M, Thomasius R: Unterschiede zwischen Jugendlichen mit pathologischem Internetgebrauch in ambulanter und stationärer kinder- und jugendpsychiatrischer Behandlung. Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother 2017; 45: 313–22 CrossRef MEDLINE|
|3.||Király O, Griffiths MD, Urbán R, et al.: Problematic internet use and problematic online gaming are not the same: findings from a large nationally representative adolescent sample. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw 2014; 17: 749–54 CrossRef MEDLINE PubMed Central|
|4.||Schou Andreassen C, Billieux J, Griffiths MD, et al.: The relationship between addictive use of social media and video games and symptoms of psychiatric disorders: A large-scale cross-sectional study. Psychol Addict Behav 2016; 30: 252–62 CrossRef MEDLINE|