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New research suggests that Internet addiction on college campuses may be a bigger problem than many are willing to admit.
"Virtual gaming, where participants take an identity, has exploded in the past 10 years, particularly among 18 to 30 year olds," Sabrina Neu, a graduate school student at the University of the Rockies wrote in her doctoral dissertation. "Online game subscriber numbers are in the millions and profits for game developers are in the billions of dollars.
"The student lifestyle, with unlimited Internet access, large blocks of unstructured time, and absence of supervision, may place students at greater risk for over-utilization."
Neu did note several potential benefits to online gaming, such as players being able to overcome shyness and/or free themselves from physical disabilities, but also noted that it's common for college kids to lose sleep, miss meals, skip class, and withdraw from social interaction because of excess online game playing.
"Despite many pro-social benefits, there is also a harmful side," Neu said. "Players can suffer consequences such as neglecting friends and family and arranging one's real world life to fully accommodate game playing."