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WoW Is Major Cause Of College Dropouts - FCC

Illustration for article titled WoW Is Major Cause Of College Dropouts - FCC

People drop out of college for all kinds of reasons - relationships, drugs, joining a band, deciding to follow The Dead around in a camper van.. the list is long and varied.

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The main reason, though? World of Warcraft, obviously. At least, that's the opinion of Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate. In a speech to the Practicing Law Institute last week she cited a recent FCC survey,

"You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction - such as World of Warcraft - which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide"

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FCC Commissioner Terms WoW a Leading Cause of College Dropouts [Game Politics]

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DISCUSSION

The article was spot-on. And as much as I hate to stereotype gamers, the shoe fits that many of us are anti-social.

World of Warcraft isn't some inherently evil hamster wheel that lures unsuspecting nerds into its van with promises of candy or a puppy. It's just a game.

But with the social networking that is an essential part of the MMO experience, it can become a crutch or a safety net for getting out there and experiencing life — the good and the bad — firsthand.

The sense of progress and accomplishment can be damn tempting. I remember it firsthand, and as a guy who's also exercised to extremes in times of duress, I can say that the feelings aren't dissimilar. When it feels like life is falling apart at the seems, you find yourself seeking some semblance of control in even the most menial of things. Maybe it's losing five pounds, reaching a new best time for a run or increasing your bench press (there's no way to talk about lifting without sounding like a meathead, I'm sorry in advance).

Or maybe it's gaining that next level, downing a raid boss, scoring that next piece of epic lewt that you "need" for your virtual character. Either way, I'm not judging.

First year of college can be rough for kids. Homesickness sets in, you're in an unfamiliar land, and kids inevitably slip through the cracks. The WoW phenomenon is just a modern iteration of an old story. Stephen King wrote a semi-fictional account of getting savagely addicted to bridge back in his day, and my frat brothers and I rarely spent a day without at least a few hours of Smash Bros or Halo 2.

All in all, it's a sad situation. College was the best time of my life, and I can't imagine spending the bulk of it behind a keyboard crunching probability numbers on Ventrilo. Some day, those kids will realize that too, but by then it's too late to turn back the clock.