FCC Says Online Games A Leading Cause of College Dropouts

FCC Says Online Games A Leading Cause of College Dropouts

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Citing World of Warcraft as an example, the FCC commissioner said that online gaming addiction is one of the top reasons for college dropouts in the US.

Remarking on the increasingly hazardous nature of the Internet, Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate said that "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction - such as World of Warcraft - which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide."

Tate's remarks come on the heels of reports from the University of Minnesota Duluth that World of Warcraft habits are dramatically affecting student grades. UMD academic adviser Vince Repesh claimed that he has seen multiple students drop from straight-A's to F's after months of regular WoW play. "I tell parents during talks, I believe it's one of the hidden causes for kids to fail that nobody knows about it," Repesh said. The UMD chancellor has taken action by ramping up awareness of the risks of WoW addiction among freshmen and advisors.

Tate never backs her claim up with numbers, but most WoW players should have first-hand knowledge of how easy it is to get your priorities messed up when you're caught up in it all. Even if we take Tate's word for it, though, are the games really completely at fault here? If game addiction is the result of social problems above all else (as some would argue), isn't the problem the state of life in American colleges as much as anything else?

[Via GamePolitics]

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Basically, make crap games to help students in the future? Yeah... That is stupid...

They have a good point but at the end of the day its up to the student to show self-control.

So, if people aren't smart enough to stop playing the game and go to class, they obviously don't have more problems to deal with. Nope. It's all the games' fault. Absolutely.

/sarcasm

Yup. This is true. But people with bad self-control will play any old shit. I know I do :)

Students who let those things affect their grades are looking for an escape, so you can't really pin it on one genre of games or even games. As if a student drops grades while playing WoW, without WoW they'll just find something else they find fun/interesting to invest their time in.

I know, as it happened to me, my GCSE grades turned out pretty badly (well they weren't bad, just not good enough considering I am planning on studying medicine). Now my parents were pretty quick to blame it on my online gaming habits. But when I decided I wanted to go into medicine (after I'd got the results back) I've gotten my act together at A levels, throughout all this my online gaming habits have remained exactly the same, the only thing that has changed is my will to work and I'm now getting straight A's in Chemistry, Biology and Maths and decent results in Art.

Blaming bad grades on a hobby/interest is a scapegoat, if a student wants good results they'll work for them regardless of their other interests, and if they allow themselves to be sidetracked so easily it's usually because they want to be.

Don't blame the game, blame the addiction. It doesn't have to be WoW or any other game, it could just as easily be drugs or alcohol, but that wouldn't draw as much media attention because it's much more common and therefore not a sensational story.
This woman needs to play WoW, do drugs, and become an alcoholic for a month each, then tell us which she'd rather students have an addiction to.

Well, it is the addiction, but it's also the convenience. I know just how easy it is to get sidetracked with games, and these only being X-Box Original and Flash games.

Of COURSE!

Holy crap, it all makes sense now!

Thank you for showing me the way, Little Miss Reagan.

Maybe if people prioritized their work that wouldn't happen

Don't punish the many becuase of the transgression of the few

Skrapt:
Students who let those things affect their grades are looking for an escape, so you can't really pin it on one genre of games or even games. As if a student drops grades while playing WoW, without WoW they'll just find something else they find fun/interesting to invest their time in.

I know, as it happened to me, my GCSE grades turned out pretty badly (well they weren't bad, just not good enough considering I am planning on studying medicine). Now my parents were pretty quick to blame it on my online gaming habits. But when I decided I wanted to go into medicine (after I'd got the results back) I've gotten my act together at A levels, throughout all this my online gaming habits have remained exactly the same, the only thing that has changed is my will to work and I'm now getting straight A's in Chemistry, Biology and Maths and decent results in Art.

Blaming bad grades on a hobby/interest is a scapegoat, if a student wants good results they'll work for them regardless of their other interests, and if they allow themselves to be sidetracked so easily it's usually because they want to be.

Agreed. I think that many of the students here in America are pushed into college so they can stay on their parents health insurance. By doing so, I believe that you push a lot of kids into situations that their not quite ready for, I know I wasn't. I started college right after high school, wasn't mature or focused enough, and my grades suffered. I left halfway during my sophomore year and now, after six years of being out, I'm going back to finish up.

Isn't Blizzard rich enough now to buy the US government? I'm pretty sure they could have bought Wall Street by now, then instituted some common goddamn sense in them. I doubt an appointed body will have them quaking in their boots when they have huge underground vaults, filled with cash.

Everyone likes to blame video games for everything. Now it's people dropping out of college. It is really just the fault of the addictive personality of the person. If it weren't for WoW or other video games, these people would just be addicted to something else and then that thing would get blamed for dropouts.

Dectilon:
Yup. This is true. But people with bad self-control will play any old shit. I know I do :)

Nevermind that, what if the course you are doing is fine, but the people you live with are amorral twats and you spend all night playing games just drown out their drunken swearing?

My intelligent and well thought out response: Fuck you FCC, you overly controlling pricks.

Ya know I almost became part of that statistic and it is true that gaming is NOT an addiction but the misplacement of student priorities. For American colleges expect students to go out and become more involved than ever before in their life forcing students to choose their priorities.

I made the personal mistake for choosing WoW over my education and becoming involved locally(although I did make a lot of friends across the country due to WoW) but overall it is a negative because the demand for students at American colleges takes more time than the standard full-time job to not only complete classwork but also to be involved at the college, have an internship, and socialize. Schedule conflicts is the LEAST of a student's worries when at college compared to the expectations in order to even have a CHANCE to land a decent paying job or passing the requirements to enter graduate school.

The FCC says a lot of things. They make a good point but some teachers, schools and companies expect students to be entirely focused on the work available and devote most of their time to it. When it comes down to it though, most students just want to have fun.

Dommyboy:
The FCC says a lot of things. They make a good point but some teachers, schools and companies expect students to be entirely focused on the work available and devote most of their time to it. When it comes down to it though, most students just want to have fun.

I agree completely. I do expect more time to be taken up but for today's standard in college and in the workforce time consumption is insane. If you are not at the top or have control of your own work hours and stuck at a physical location AND forced to use a blackberry or other PDA device(like an Iphone) you can expect to work about 14 hours a day out of the 8 hour shift.

I only get paid 12 dollars an hour working at a retail store for AT&T and I work about 14 hours a day for doing the following while at home via text message, or call: answering customer's concerns and complaints, troubleshooting both in-store equipment and customer phones, sending store sales records, correcting e-mail contacts. Also these hours can vary as well from being a straight 14 hours or getting 25 calls at 3 a.m. at night. Also it is not easy as refusing to answer the phone because the manager or regional manager always holds the person who does not answer their phone accountable.

For personal time I probably get about 90 minutes a night to myself and that is it. That 90 minutes is used for the following.
Job hunting
Video game playing
Learning audio and video editing
Balancing my budget/taxes
cooking and eating dinner(I only eat about 1 and a half meals a day because of how much time I spend working)
Working on content for our group's website

I know others have it MUCH worse than I but it does tell that Americans are at their limit working their hands to the bone for their jobs for so very little. This leaves the personal life to be non-existant not allowing people to go out and enjoy life. This is why I do envy other countries, America may be the land of the free but it will work you beyond the BONE into a vicious cycle not really letting you enjoy the one thing you have, LIFE!

I hate how they take two events and draw these connections. a)Student drops out. b)Student plays games. Therefore, student drops out because he plays games. Did these people ever stop to think about why they were playing? Is it possible that they were looking for something fun to do/kill time with/escape with? Wouldn't they just pick up something else if games were unavailable?

Is it wrong to think "Too bad" for these kids? If they don't care enough about their education to stop playing then would it not be fair to say that if they didn't play and continued through their careers, they'd do a crappy job?

Isn't there a Doctor in Canada treating gaming addiction as a social disorder, not a substance addiction? Therefore the issue is SOCIAL and not games? The Escapist had a story on this.

You know, I'm still holding out for the day where video games are seen the same as movies and literature, where it won't be singled out because people believe it's a defenceless scapegoat.

stompy:
You know, I'm still holding out for the day where video games are seen the same as movies and literature, where it won't be singled out because people believe it's a defenceless scapegoat.

I shall wait with you, my friend.

These same assholes who are dropping out of school for games are the same assholes who would quit a job, or simply not show up for work for a video game.

Games aren't making stupid people, they're just revealing the stupid for who they are; irresponsible assholes.

That's making it a little simple. People may scoff at the idea of "different people having different needs", but I have friends that went from complete dropout losers to doing pretty dang good for themselves after getting some great support from their school.

Lacking willpower isn't a permanent personality trait, but it's rarely something you can get out of on your own. Games with something akin to a social life (like WoW) is rewarding to people who may not have that many friends; are bullied etc. It's not an easy thing to let go of if it doesn't seem like you have to.

Keane Ng:
Even if we take Tate's word for it, though, are the games really completely at fault here? If game addiction is the result of social problems above all else (as some would argue)...

Video games can be a healthy hobby or a destructive addiction; it depends on the person. In that line of thought, marijuana or alcohol can be healthy or destructive as well. The important thing to note here is that video game addiction is very real (whether it's a social or psychological thing -- though I don't know how social dysfunction isn't psychological on some important level).

Keane Ng:
...isn't the problem the state of life in American colleges as much as anything else?

Or you could argue that it's with society in general. Honestly, it doesn't really matter though (or was that what you were suggesting?). What does matter is raising the awareness of the addiction over the demonizing of video games. I think Tate's statement...

"one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction - such as World of Warcraft - which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide."

...is accurate and does raise the awareness of the addiction. The big question is, what are we going to do about it?

...and yet gaming is what inspired me to go to college....to take a game development course

I know a couple people first-hand who failed by the direct result of addiction to warcraft. Once that eyeopener happened, they returned after a year and quit WoW. I myself am a rampid procrastinator, and even at this moment, when i could be studying for my hard ass organic chemistry final, i opted to play DotA and CoD:world at war all morning instead. Gaming online is a great way to lose track of the hours in a day, and has caused my grads to slip, but it is my own damn fault for not applying myself to my studies, and having gaming as a side thing for when i have extra time. It all comes down to control, and will power, and not gaming per se.

Hmm, blaming an online game as the reason for failure isnt all that intelligent. I would say its more of a symptom than an actual reason why.

Most of the other posters here are right though, if it wasnt WoW they got sidetracked by it would have been something else.

Echolocating:

Or you could argue that it's with society in general. Honestly, it doesn't really matter though (or was that what you were suggesting?). What does matter is raising the awareness of the addiction over the demonizing of video games.

I was suggesting the issue was with college specifically, since that's the specific range of the discussion here. Being a fresh college grad, I've seen how college life can be less than idyllic, and how easy it is to slip into bad habits, WoW addiction or otherwise.

Keane Ng:

Echolocating:

Keane Ng:
...isn't the problem the state of life in American colleges as much as anything else?

Or you could argue that it's with society in general. Honestly, it doesn't really matter though (or was that what you were suggesting?). What does matter is raising the awareness of the addiction over the demonizing of video games.

I was suggesting the issue was with college specifically, since that's the specific range of the discussion here. Being a fresh college grad, I've seen how college life can be less than idyllic, and how easy it is to slip into bad habits, WoW addiction or otherwise.

Hmmm... I got confused when you suggested that college life was to blame as much as anything else.

I do agree with your sentiment that video game addiction is merely a symptom of a more important problem though. I'm just trying to downplay the importance of defending video games and bring focus to the acceptance that there are some dangerous downsides to our beloved hobby.

Again, this is the FCC under Obama. This is after they just warned about the dangers of youth getting involved in virtual worlds this past January.

He's not your boy, people.

He's not your boy.

Thing is, I'd only buy the fact that game developers are free of blame if there was more than one game that actually produced this kind of reaction in the mass media. As it is, I have to assign at least SOME blame to developers who create gameplay that is purposefully designed to hook people and keep them playing, sometimes for hours upon hours on end. MMOs by nature do this, but Blizzard has honed it to a sheen so bright that many players can't help but play.

So while gamers need to take responsibility for their life choices, developers need to also create gameplay that doesn't put their players into a tailspin. ANyone remember the 18-hour Final Fantasy XI raid? That was partially the players but the designed encounter was at fault too.

Well, since I happen to hate the FCC, and with their lack of numbers, I don't belive them, if you really want to succeed in life, then you probably will, the same goes for college.

 

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