Scholars Challenge CSTAN Letter Accusing APA Of Getting Kids Hooked On Video Games
Video Game Addiction

The Children’s Screen Time Action Network put together an open letter to the American Psychological Association accusing the organization of supporting video game addiction and the proliferation of degrading school performance from male gamers. The letter was censured by a group of scholars who wrote a rebuttal, stating that the Children’s Screen Time Action Network (CSTAN) was irresponsible in accusing psychologists from the APA of supporting and pushing for kids to get hooked on smart devices and video games.

The original open letter, posted over on the Screen Time Network website, prefaces the more critical elements of the APA by stating…

“We acknowledge that psychologists can and do work to make screen media products that are developmentally appropriate and even help advance academic and socio-emotional skills of children. This letter is primarily concerned with the use of persuasive design practices that encourage children’s excessive use of social media, video games, and smartphones for entertainment.”

The report states that kids are spending up to eight hours a day on digital screens and electronic devices, and that said tendencies can lead to a greater risk for depression and suicide-related behaviors.

The letter also states…

“[…] psychologists working for the video game industry take advantage of the inherent developmental drive in preteen and teen boys to gain competencies, or abilities that have helped them throughout history become evolutionarily successful. Psychologists and other UX researchers create video games with powerful rewards doled out on intermittent schedules that convince kids, especially adolescent boys, that they are mastering important competencies through game play. This is contributing to a generation of boys and young men who are overusing video games at the expense of obtaining real-world competencies, including a college education or job.”


“[…] Similarly, since boys game more than girls, and gaming is associated with lower academic performance, it’s no surprise to see this generation of boys struggling to make it to college: 56% of college admissions are granted to young women compared with only 44% to young men. Moreover, as boys transition to adulthood, they can’t shake their gaming habits. Economists working with the National Bureau of Economic Research recently demonstrated how many young U.S. young men are choosing to play video games rather than join the workforce. “

Actually, a lot of these problems stem more from Left’s agenda to diminish the role males have in current day society than video games.

For instance, feminists and Leftists have been using Affirmative Action and other means to limit the attendance of straight, white males at some colleges, as noted by Amren. Universities have also attempted to ban white students from lounges, limiting their access to university facilities, as noted by Zero Hedge. And you have outlets like Social Matter calling for the ban of straight, white males on college campuses.

This is all coupled with the fact that Affirmative Action has now become so far out of hand that not only are straight, white males being restricted from entering college ahead of POCs, but now Asian males are also being targeted just like white males, thus preventing them from entering into certain schools even when they more-than-qualify to do so, as reported by outlets such as The New Yorker and the New York Post.

And none of that is to mention that more women are receiving more grants to attend college on scholarships due to the Left’s insistence on forcing women into STEM fields, as reported by outlets like the Courier Times, Science Mag, and Biz Times. This is all coupled with reports stating that pushing more women into STEM means more women will graduate with a STEM degree, as reported by Science Daily.

We’ve seen multiple organizations attempting to bar men or restrict men’s access to resources in order to cater to women, which recently occurred when Riot Games barred straight men from attending a game design workshop at PAX West.

This isn’t a video game issue, this is a sociopolitical issue.

The scholars who rebuffed the open letter from CSTAN also tend to agree that the letter is misguided in blaming video games for males not entering into college as often as females. The rebuttal posted on OSF Home states…

“CSTAN letter suggests that video game playing is related to reduced academic performance in boys, and insinuates, without any supporting evidence, that this might explain why fewer boys attend university than girls. However, a recent meta-analysis found little evidence to support the contention that video game playing is associated with reduced academic performance (Ferguson, 2015). Other research (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2017) suggests an inverted U-shaped effect curve, with the best outcomes seen among moderate users. However, even here the effect size for the most extreme users appears to be both very small and correlational in nature. In other words, many of the claims put forward in the CSTAN letter are at best overstated, and at worst the result of cherry-picked findings from the research literature.”

This all ties into the rebuttal letter’s condemnation of CSTAN accusing members of the APA in supporting certain consumer market technology companies in attempting to push screen time on kids and video games onto young males in an attempt to get them hooked.

In the rebuttal they point out that CSTAN’s letter makes the accusation that some psychologists have been working in cahoots with the tech industry, but there was no evidence provided, stating…

“Regarding the ethics of psychologists working with technology companies, we are scepticalof claims in the CSTAN letter that psychologists are (a) deliberately working to “manipulate” or “exploit” children’s “vulnerabilities”, and (b) that this is happening as standard practice throughout the industry. This is a serious accusation and, as such, should be supported by evidence, yet the letter provides none. Making such unsubstantiated claims is likely to do more harm than good.”

None of this is likely to affect anything worthwhile or substantial that’s front-facing the consumers, but it is interesting to note how even in the scholarly field and the non-government organization field, we still see agendas being pushed to blame video games for society’s ills.

(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)

(Main image courtesy of YoshiTails13)


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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