In recent years, online gaming has become a major part of our lives. The same can be said of video game addiction.
It’s no secret that the use of video games and other online gaming systems has become increasingly popular over the past decade. From teenagers to young adults, gaming has become deeply embedded in our culture and day-to-day activities.
According to Statista, over two billion people play video games worldwide, and the number is likely to surpass three billion by 2023.
Whether it’s a casual game of solitaire or a more intense session of Call of Duty, gaming has become something we’re all familiar with. It has become a way for people to relax, have fun, and even compete against each other.
But as it becomes more commonplace, it’s important to recognize the signs of video game addiction and know what to do if you or a loved one experiences it, before it leads to a full-blown addiction.
What is Video Game Addiction?
Video game addiction is a serious disorder that is characterized by an obsession with video gaming – playing video games excessively, to the point where it begins to interfere with daily life. People with video game addiction may spend hours every day playing games, neglecting important responsibilities, and feeling unable to stop playing.
A recent study showed that between 0.3% and 1% of the general population have symptoms associated with gaming disorder. Also, the study confirmed 8.5% of youths aged between 8-18 sampled suffer from gaming disorder.
Video game addiction is a serious issue that can have serious consequences on someone’s life. It can cause issues with social relationships, school, work, and even mental health. It is important to recognize the signs of video game addiction and take steps to prevent it.
Signs of Video Game Addiction
There are a few key signs that can indicate video game addiction. Someone who is addicted to video games will typically exhibit certain behaviours.
They may be unwilling to stop playing, even when asked to do so. They may even become irritable and hostile when not playing. Additionally, they may become obsessed with winning or achieving certain goals in the game.
Someone who is addicted to video games may also develop physical and mental health problems. They may have difficulty sleeping or concentrating for long periods of time. They may also suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. These problems can have a serious impact on someone’s life.
Why Video Games Can Be Addictive
Video games can be addictive for a variety of reasons.
One of the most common reasons is that they can be incredibly rewarding. Video games provide an escape from reality, allowing the player to be in control and live in a fantasy world.
Additionally, video games can be incredibly immersive. They can transport the player to a different world, with engaging visuals and sound, and an immersive storyline. They can also be incredibly competitive, with players striving to achieve a certain goal.
The combination of all of these factors can make it easy to be caught up in video game addiction, as players can become lost in a virtual world for hours.
So, what is the thin line between online gaming and addiction?
In most cases, it comes down to how much time someone spends playing the games.
If someone is spending the majority of their free time playing video games at the expense of other activities, then it may be time to take action.
Recognizing the signs of video game addiction is the first step to preventing it. If you or someone you know is displaying these signs, it’s important to talk to a mental health professional about the issue.
There are professional counsellors and therapists who specialize in helping people with video game addiction. Treatment plans can vary depending on the individual, but they can include cognitive-behavioural therapy, medications, and other treatment options.
Parents should also be conscious of the amount of time their children are spending playing video games. They should monitor the types of games they are playing and ensure they are age-appropriate. They should also be aware of the potential risks of video games and make sure that they are playing responsibly.
Tips for Managing Video Game Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with video game addiction, there are a few steps you can take to help manage the issue:
Monitor the amount of time spent playing video games and make sure it doesn’t become excessive. A great way to achieve this is to set time limits on gaming. Try to limit gaming to no more than an hour or two per day.
If the game is on your phone, use Applatch, a Mobile app that allows you to lock addictive apps for a desired period of time. It can only be unlocked through an accountability partner if you want to break the elapsed time.
If you or someone you know is displaying signs of video game addiction, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.
Most importantly, make sure to take regular breaks from gaming and engage in other activities and keep learning more about video game addiction and how to spot the signs.
Video game addiction is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on your life. And if not addressed, can be incredibly damaging.
While it’s essential to enjoy your gaming, it’s equally vital to be aware of the risks associated with it and take steps to ensure you don’t become addicted. It’s important to know what to look for and take action if you or someone you know is struggling.
By setting time limits, seeking professional help, and being aware of warning signs, you can stay in control of your gaming habits and enjoy gaming in a healthy way. Remember, you can seek help if needed.
Understanding the thin line between online gaming and addiction can help you stay safe and healthy.