Roughly 1 in 10 children who play video games are at risk of becoming pathologically addicted to them, found a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
That means for every classroom of 30 kids, three of them could develop a hardcore digital addiction that boosts the risk of depression, social phobia and poor school performance, the study found.
Over a two-year span, researchers from the U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore studied the video game habits of 3,000 Singaporean children from grades 3, 4, 7 and 8.
Kids who averaged 31 or more hours of gameplay a week were classified as pathological or "obsessive" gamers and were determined more likely to develop serious mental health issues.
Inclined to believe video game addiction is just a passing phase? WebMD reports that 84 percent of students who were considered addicts when the study began were still addicted two years later.
Still, such findings are preliminary. U.S. News reports:
Although pathological video gaming appears to share a number of characteristics with other addictive behaviors, such as pathological gambling, the researchers noted that "pathological gaming" is not yet an established psychological disorder.