As someone who gets time-blindness playing a game, watching a film, reading a book or manga, these kids are escaping reality and I don’t think that’s quite the same as addiction.
Games, especially those with micro-transactions, are built to keep the player playing and paying. Anybody been to Las Vegas? Though I can spend hours and hours playing a video game, I got bored after five minutes playing the slots. Casinos are set up to keep you playing. They are logistically set up to keep you inside, but it never felt like a place where I wanted to stay.
It’s immersion, that’s the draw. Why do we want to be distracted from the rest of the world? What is it (the world) offering these kids right now?
I agree these kids are dealing with something; I don’t know if the video game is problem or just a distraction from the real problem.
Obviously, no account of someone under 18 should have any kind of credit card attached to it. If a player can’t be in a legal contract with a bank, they shouldn’t be in a financial contract with a gaming company.