Video gaming addiction, also known as gaming disorder, video game addiction (VGA), and computer game addiction, might seem like a buzzword. Sadly, this issue is genuine, and it hurts those affected by it and their loved ones.
Read this article to find out what is at the root of gaming addiction and how to deal with it.
What is video game addiction?
For a considerable percentage of people in general, and teens in particular, gaming is a fun pastime with no ill side effects.
However, a six-year-long study has demonstrated that a small but significant percentage of (young) people become addicted to it.
It is safe to label gaming as an obsession if such behavior causes physical and mental harm, or other detrimental effects, to the gamer.
In most cases, teens will skip school or classes, neglect sports or outdoor activities, avoid social engagements, and not do their house chores.
Sometimes, the addiction becomes so severe that those who suffer from it can endanger their health by prioritizing playing over any other activity and neglecting their basic needs. If this happens, it’s best to seek professional help immediately.
Types of gaming addiction
There are two basic kinds of gaming addiction, each with different motives and addictive elements.
Single-player games involve a clear goal or mission, such as rescuing a princess. The addiction in these games is often related to completing that mission or beating a high score or preset standard.
Multiplayer games, particularly those played online, cause another type of addiction. They are exceptionally addictive because they generally have no clear ending.
People with this type of addiction enjoy creating and temporarily becoming an online character. They often build relationships with other online players as an escape from reality.
For some, this community may be the place where they feel they’re the most accepted.
What causes addiction?
Keep in mind that becoming addicted to gaming isn’t entirely the affected individual’s fault. Video games are a massive industry, and games are purposefully being made to be exciting, interactive, all-inclusive, and addictive.
Games are created to be just challenging enough to keep you returning for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up.
In other words, success for a gamer often feels just out of reach. In this respect, video game addiction is similar to another more widely recognized disorder: gambling addiction.
The cause behind gaming addiction is the way in which the brain is wired for reward-seeking. The brain’s reward system is triggered so that a person compulsively strives to get the reward of ‘winning’ or reaching a ‘milestone.’
What are the symptoms?
The opinions on whether or not gaming addiction is a real disease are still divided. While the World Health Organisation recognizes it as a real issue, the American Psychiatry Association still doesn’t.
However, both authorities agree that compulsory gaming is a thing to look out for. According to APA, you need to demonstrate five of those symptoms during one year to be considered as someone that has a problem:
- Thinking about gaming all or a lot of the time
- Feeling bad when you can’t play
- Needing to spend more and more time playing to feel good
- Not being able to quit or even play less
- Not wanting to do other things that you used to like
- Having problems at work, school, or home because of your gaming
- Playing despite these problems
- Lying to people close to you about how much time you spend playing
- Using gaming to ease bad moods and feelings
Should you worry?
While all the things listed here might seem a bit too scary, keep in mind that the problem is estimated to be harming between 1% and 9% of all gamers, adults and kids alike. However, it is estimated that addiction affects males of any age far more than it does women.
Besides, video games can be beneficial to those playing. They improve attention and concentration, as well as memory and problem-solving skills. Video games also have a beneficial effect on social skills and the ability to multitask.
How to prevent gaming addiction
If you have seen the symptoms listed above and are afraid that you or someone close to you might be heading down the slippery slope towards gaming addiction, there are some things you can do to try and prevent it.
- Set time limits for play and stick to them.
- Keep phones and other gadgets out of the bedroom so you (or them) won’t play during the night.
- Do other activities every day, including exercise.
If you are a parent, make sure that your child is playing only titles that are age-appropriate for them, as scientists are still trying to figure out if there is a correlation between a certain type of games and the likelihood that they would cause addiction.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.