'Social games are designed to be addictive,' says internet rehab founder

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Mafia Wars addicted mothers speak out
Millions of Americans play social games daily because, according to Dr. Hilarie Cash, "these games are designed to be extremely addictive." Cash, founder of Fall City, Wash.-based Internet addiction program reSTART, spoke with The Daily Beast about the dangers of social gaming addiction and how studios like Zynga intentionally design social games with addictive elements like points, levels and gifts.

"That's absolutely consciously built into the games," Cash said, "I've talked to video-games developers who acknowledge this."

Ya don't say? When a game that's free to play relies on players' PayPal accounts attention span to stay afloat, that seems like a no-brainer. However, when certain studios appear to enable the behavior, it becomes much tougher to sympathize.

According to the Daily Beast, unlike addictions to drugs and alcohol that can tear families apart, some Mafia Wars-addicted mothers have brought the whole family into the gang busting glee. This is much unlike last month's case of the game-addled mother of three who shut her children out of her Internet life. It's all in the approach, I guess.

[Image Credit: The Daily Beast]

Do you think blame can be placed on social game designers for addiction issues? Are social games themselves enablers for those prone to addiction? Speak your mind in the comments. Add Comment.
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