Parents across the United Kingdom are slowly coming to the realization that their children are increasingly susceptible to an ever growing number of habit-forming activities, such as Internet use and playing video games, which may not have been a concern just a decade ago. Due to the fact that such activities were developed relatively recently in human history, many people have not yet come to understand that they can actually be addictive. But, due to the interactive nature of modern multi-player games, and other online gaming options, teens and young adults are finding it more difficult than ever to disconnect. Slowly but surely, parents and young adults are coming to see that video games can actually be addictive.
SYMPTOMS OF VIDEO GAME ADDICTION
The symptoms of videogame addiction include:
• Playing video games for extended periods of time, up to 18 or more hours per day
• Jeopardizing societal bonds as a result of playing video games
• Jeopardizing work and career in preference of playing video games
• Becoming irritable or depressed when playing video games is not possible
• Feelings of guilt or loss of control relating to video game playing or purchases
• Continuing to play even after physical injury (as in characteristic injury to the hands and fingers due to excessive play)
• Continuing to play even when playing has ceased being enjoyable
WHO IS LIKELY TO BECOME ADDICTED?
The characteristic videogame addict is a teenage boy or young adult. But the increasing sophistication of video games has led to a growing number of female and older addicts. Additionally, games on popular social sites such as Facebook, and games available on smart phones, have expanded the reach of video games among the population, and the incidence of video game addiction has likely risen as a result.
CAUSES OF VIDEO GAME ADDICTION
Those who suffer from video game addictions often do not play for enjoyment, but for the following reasons:
• Need to interact with others
• Need to escape reality
• Need to express fantasies, such as being the hero, the villain, or having superpowers
• Need to feel important and useful
• Attempt avoid life's responsibilities
Though video game addiction existed before the Internet age, the popularization of the Internet and multiplayer video game platforms has facilitated an explosion in the number of people who have become addicted to gaming. The social aspect of online play has helped to fill a vital role in the lives of many gaming addicts, and often serves to keep them firmly entrenched in the cycle of addiction.
Those who suffer from gaming addictions often have deeper psychological issues which must be resolved in order to break free of the habit for good. For this reason it is recommended that those addicted to video games seek a qualified professional to help them resolve any deeper mental issues they may have, and permanently put themselves on the path to freedom from video game addiction.