Can children become clinically addicted to video games? Even professor Douglas Gentile thought that claim sounded a little far-fetched. That is, until he began working on his psychology research project — and he came to see results that were startling.

In a national survey of American youth, he found that nearly one in 10 gamers were “pathological players,” according to standards established for gambling addiction. These gamers spend almost twice as much time playing as the average gamer (24 hours per week), and they damage their family, social, school and psychological lives.

He also found that after youth become pathological gamers, they became more depressed, more anxious, and receive poorer grades in school. “This convinced me that the video game play was a problem in its own right for some gamers,” Gentile said. “The gaming is not simply a symptom of other problems youth experience but may actually increase other mental health problems.”

Students at Iowa State learn from professors like Douglas Gentile who are creating new knowledge through their research. These professors not only look to solve real-world problems, they also challenge their students to do the same. Leaving no stone unturned: whether it’s developing a method to have plants produce hydrocarbons, creating more efficient polymer solar cells, or discovering new at-risk behavior solutions for our youth. Because they know their research inspires future greatness.

As for professor Gentile, he is determined to keep studying this issue to help people cut the cord of their addiction.