Addiction: Being a slave to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, such as narcotics. The addiction may cause mental and physical distress if one tries to stop.
Video game addiction: Video game addiction is a distinct addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer/ video games. It can interfere with a person’s everyday life.
Here are some of the symptoms of video game addiction:
- Preoccupation with video games.
- Playing video games excessively.
- Starts to become less efficient at work or school.
- Becomes less sociable and more isolated.
- Playing habits become out of control.
- Lies about time spent playing video games.
- Uses video games to escape their problems.
- Weight gain due to inactivity and bad food choices.
- Bad posture because of being in awkward positions for extended periods of time.
- Delusions may surface because their gaming world becomes blurred with their real world.
- Being depressed, anxious, or irritable when going for periods of time without playing.
Besides symptoms, some interesting statistics reveal why video game addiction is a serious concern:
- A serious gamer will average playing video games twenty hours over the course of a week.
- Video games are played in three-quarters of American households today. This can and does include kids, teenagers, young adults, parents, and grandparents.
- A study done in 2008 by John Fabry, Allison Miller, and Allison Milwid revealed almost 9% of the participants showed signs of video game addiction. About 4% of them exhibited extreme usage of video games. Some video gamers would play an average of 50 hours in a week.
- A series of studies using different parameters on video game addiction was done in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The results classified 12%, 6%, and 3% respectively from those years as video game addicts.
- Regions of the brain of video game addicts are the same areas of the brain affected when drug or alcohol addicts use their chosen substance.
- Younger males seem to be more prone to video game addiction than females.
- Some players struggle in managing relationships. Others have a strong need for intellectual validation. Also, some gamers have a “thrill-seeking” mentality. All these factors can contribute to video game addiction.
- Interesting, online role-playing games are the chief contributor to video game addictions.
Video game addiction stories:
Due to the graphic nature of the stories, I strongly warn about sharing these stories with young children. These are cases of the extreme out of control gaming.
Warning: Graphic content ahead!!!
Top 10 cases of Extreme Game Addiction by Ricky Lam, November 7, 2010 posted on LISTVERSE.
10. Skipping school: A 15-year-old from Perth, Australia, skipped school to play online games over 16 hours a day, for three weeks. How did he do this?
Every morning he put on his school uniform until his mother went to work. As soon as she left, he would change out of it and started playing. His mother would return home after he was supposed to have come home from school.
To cover for himself at school, he had informed the school he was having surgery. His parents finally caught on to his ruse when the school contacted them to check up on him.
9. Teen Burns Classmate: A boy in Beijing took a playground brawl to a dangerous level. Apparently having immersed himself in the game of World of Warcraft. He “became” a fire mage (a game character who burns his soul to burn others) in his mind and set his classmate on fire.
8. Fifty-Hour Starcraft Session: A man in South Korea almost pulled off three all-nighters in a row playing a video game. After a 50-hour Starcraft session, the South Korean man collapsed and died from heart failure. It was presumed that his death was caused by exhaustion.
There have been other cases in China where people have been playing anywhere from 3 to 15 days.
7. Suicide over a Game: On December 27, 2004, Xioyi left a suicide note saying he wanted “to join the heroes of the game he worshiped.” The thirteen-year-old then jumped off a tall building after playing World of Warcraft for 36 hours straight.
6. Girl Dies Because of Neglect: A three-year-old South Korean girl died of neglect when her parents spent more time raising a virtual girl than her. The game they had been playing was Prius Online, a game like Second Life where players work virtual jobs and live in a virtual world.
The couple had left for a 12-hour gaming session at an internet café, leaving their daughter unattended. Upon returning home, they found her dead.
5. Twins Die Because of Neglect: Like number six on this list, a man left his twins in the bathtub as he went to play on his Gameboy Advance. Gregg J. Kleinmark is facing up to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
4. Man Stabbed to Death: Qiu Chengwei stabbed Zhu Caoyuan to death after Caoyuan had sold Chenwei’s virtual sword in the game Legend of Mir 3. Caoyuan had offered the money to Chenwei, but Chenwei lost his temper and stabbed Caoyuan while he slept. Chengwei was given a suspended death sentence for his crime.
3. Teen Kills Woman for Money: In Vietnam, a thirteen-year-old boy was arrested after he killed and robbed an 81-year-old woman for $6.20. The boy confessed that he had done it because he needed money to play an online game.
He strangled the woman with a piece of rope and took the money from her, before burying her in a pile of sand in front of his house. [News article]
2. Teen Murders Mother over Halo 3: Seventeen-year-old Daniel Petric murdered his mother and injured his father after they refused to let him play Halo 3.
The previous entries and most of the entries on this list are related to massively multiplayer online games. This game involves an Xbox first-person shooter from the “Halo Series”.
It is awful and sad how he murdered his mother and wounded his father. Petric walked into his parents’ room and said “Would you close your eyes? I have a surprise for you.” Then he killed his mother and shot his father between the eyes. `
1. Shawn Woolley: This is the most controversial entry on the list, and it is the subject of numerous debates.
On Thanksgiving, Shawn Woolley committed suicide, and his mother claimed it was over Everquest, a popular MMORPG (Massive multiplayer online role-playing game).
Sony Online, the game’s developer, says that Everquest had nothing to do with the death. Liz Woolley, however, disagrees. She suspects that something in the game had pushed him over the edge, either a rejection or a betrayal.
Please forgive me for using these extreme stories to show how video gaming can ruin a gamer’s life and the people around them.
Any addiction, not just video games is a reason for concern and seriousness. Addiction can steal your money, your time, your hopes and dreams. It can separate you from your family and friends, but most importantly it can take your life or huge chunks of time out of your life.
I was an addict for 35 years of my life, I am now 62 years old.
My problem was not video games, but drugs. I would do anything I could get my hands on. If you told me licking a “possum butt” would get you high, I would have been out in the woods with a sack trying to catch possums.
I know the pain, the suffering, the brokenness, the emptiness, the shame, the guilt, and the heartache addiction can bring into a person’s life.
I admit the bad decisions I made in my life were because of me. I chose to do drugs. Nobody forced me. After a time my addiction had a stranglehold on me.
I witnessed the devastation my addiction caused my family. I inflicted wounds to people I loved that still affects them today, especially my daughter Natasha.
I wanted to add one of my own story to help people understand the awful truth of addictions. It can be anything, drugs, alcohol, work, sex, your family, and even religion.
It is only by the grace of God that I am now writing this post.
I wanted this website to include the extremes, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I want this website to be somewhere you can get information about all aspects of video gaming.
I hope I have not offended anyone, if I have, I am so sorry.
If you do have someone in your life or if it is yourself, please don’t take video gaming addiction lightly. There is help.
Next, if I am going to write about the problems of video gaming, then I need to offer some practically helpful solutions as well.
1. Counseling and Psychotherapy:
There exist several types of counseling options to help video game addicts.
- Individual one-on-one counseling
- family counseling
- even parent-only counseling
2. Controlled use or abstinence:
Most addiction treatments require lifetime abstinence from all addictive substances. Video game addictions, however, do not fit the same total-abstinence model.
People diagnosed with addictions related to video game use are not necessarily expected to exclude gaming from their lives.
The idea is to find a healthy balance between time spent playing games, life responsibilities and quality of life definitions
3. Medication for video game addicts:
Although medications may not appeal to some, they can help change the brain chemistry to help decrease cravings for video game play.
One medication, Bupropion, is used to inhibit dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake in the brain. The drug affects the “pleasure center” of the brain that is rewarded after repetitive gaming. More information about clinical trials using Bupropion here.
4. What about 12 step programs for video games?
The truth is that few 12 programs for computer addicts exist. If you are looking for principles and guidelines of twelve-step groups related to gaming, check out Online Gamers Anonymous website.
5. Some steps you can take to prevent gameplay addiction in your child or teen include:
- Limiting time to one hour or less per day.
- Keep track of game playing time.
- Pay attention to problems that result from the gaming.
- Tantrums (shows signs of anger or depression)
after time limits.
6. Wilderness retreats:
It helps gamers get away from video games, computers and other forms of technology.
7. Educational Books:
There are many educational resources such as books and online reading that can help those who are addicted to video games to find ways of coping without turning to the gaming unit for help. finding help in treating video gaming addiction.
Talk to your kid’s teachers, your doctors, your friends, your family, your church, but most of all, talk to your kids.
Unlike drug or alcohol addiction, video games are tied to computers, which are a key part of life for most people. In that way, the addiction is like a food addiction.
Food can deteriorate our health, or it can enhance it. It is our choice. We can apply the same principle to video gaming.
Like other positive activities, video games can have a place in a healthy, well-rounded life, but when gaming begins to take precedence over school, work, or relationships, then it is a problem.
My final thoughts:
Please forgive me for the length of this post. When I started creating this website, I didn’t want it to be just about having fun playing video games.
I wanted to address and discuss with others the darker side of video gaming. Let’s be honest, it’s there.
Please understand, I know and understand the heartache, the pain, the suffering addictions can cause in one’s life. I have the scars to prove it.
This post was very hard for me to write. In fact, it took me weeks to finish it. I didn’t want to think about the dark places of my past. But sometimes shining the light on our wounds is the only way we can heal.
I hope this post has been helpful. I would appreciate any feedback or thoughts from my readers.
You all know my motto “Let’s game”, but let me add another, “Let’s heal” as well.
Gamingwithgrandpa.com. The Grey Wolf, johnny.