Research firm Harris Interactive conducted a survey of 1,178 US children and concluded that "gaming addiction is real and on the rise". The research reveals that 8.5% of 8-18 year-olds quested were deemed to be "pathologically or clinically addicted to playing video games".

23% of the males questioned claim to feel addicted to games, while only 13% of females questioned claim to have the gaming bug.

Other figures to emerge from the study reveal that the average 8-12 year-old plays 13 hours of video games per week, with this increasing to 14 hours for 13-18 year-olds.

Dr. Douglas Gentile, director for research for the National Institute on Media and Family said: "It is important that people realise that playing a lot is not the same thing as pathological play. For something to be an addiction, it has to mean more to you do it a lot. It has to mean that you do it in such a way that it damages your life."

Dr. Gentile is concerned that video game addiction is having a detrimental effect on children's lives, noting: "Almost one out of every ten youth gamers show enough symptoms of damage to their school, family, and psychological functioning to merit serious concern."