If you ever ask a teen in 19th century about their pass time they would probably reply helping their parents or having a chat with friends around. If the same question is asked to a teen from 20th century their reply would be going out and playing cricket, hide and seek, etc but the kids and teens today have mostly one thing to do in their pass time – play videogames. Video game addiction or obsession of games is continuous use of games, isolating oneself from other much broader life events and focusing on achieving the gaming targets. Every person who plays games is not an addict of course; they balance gaming with other social interactions and also the other forms of entertainment gratification. Just like other addictions, teens that are addicted to games tend to become so engrossed in the fantasy gaming world that they neglect their school, work, family and friends. The people who are addicted to such games may fulfill their dreams of winning by completing the game quests or by winning a mission.
Forty-one percent of people who play online video games admitted that they played computer games as an escape from the real world. The researchers classified seven percent of these gamers as “dependent”. The authors claim that the addicted gamers used video games to modify their moods, demonstrated tolerance, and showed signs of relapse.
..Zaheer Hussain (2009)
Similar to other addiction, gaming also is a slow process where one learns about a game from peers or elders and starts to play it and gradually the duration for its play starts increasing when the person gets engrossed and plays till he is satisfied with the outcome of it. If a person is addicted to a game he may start thinking of it and discussing about it while performing any other activities too and his whole mind is captured by the thought of that game. It is a platform for draining out the emotions of a person. When there is an emotional situation which a person can’t fight back, video games helps to forget those feelings by inviting the person into their world of fantasy and fun where if they lose their life once they have 2 more lives to start the game which is impossible in real life.
Signs of Gaming Addiction
- Anger and irritation are common signs of an addict.
- The teen will throw tantrum if they are not allowed to play the games or if they are disturbed while playing because they do not wish to come out of the fantasy into the real world and are contented to be the character portrayed in the games.
Also the violence and terror in some games affect the thinking of a kid as they often follow the observational learning technique wherein they do what they see and they get a complicated way of behavior, change in the belief about the world and moral values are lost in the long run.
Gaming on the computer or videogame can be the best form of entertainment and a good way to spend leisure time but it is good when it is done in a controlled manner and if you have a proper watch on your activities.
Having self control while gaming is the best way to stop you from getting addicted. Answer the following questions to get tested to know how much is your addiction…
If you have “YES” as an answer for more than 5 questions from above it is time that you keep your gaming aside and start concentrating on wider aspects of your life and you may suffer from its consequences.
Some Negative Outcomes of Gaming
- Gaming addiction can result in family, social, educational, academics, relations and occupational problems.
- Health Problems arises due to gaming addiction: Being addicted to games can also create physical problems and health problems such as low metabolism, poor eye sight, no sleep leading to insomnia, stiff shoulder & backache due to continuous bad postures, depression due to isolation and other health problems due to unhealthy eating habits.
Recovery from this obsession is also a long procedure but its effects can be seen within a few weeks of being without the game. It requires continuous trial of not playing the game until they fully quit it and understand how much control the game has over them and how much damage it is causing in their life.
Why are video games addictive?
People are so much addicted to games because of its special qualities.
1. A player feels rewarded and satisfied when he/ she complete a quest or level.
2. The never ending games have more quests and bonus levels are given to keep the player interested.
3. They feel they are socially active after interacting with the other players in the game.
4. Such games take people away from reality and to a world where the player leads.
5. The interesting graphics pull in attention of the players towards the game.
Some advantages of Gaming
There is always another side to any issue. These machines also help us to develop some abilities. Gaming can facilitate the following abilities:
1. Helps in problem solving.
2. Develops team work.
3. Perfecting hand and eye coordination.
4. Increases visual memory.
5. Control over speed an time.
Compared to females, males are more likely to play online video games. Male video game addicts are more likely to be older, have lower self-esteem, and be less satisfied with their lives compared to those who are not addicted.
Chih-Hung Ko (2005)
Whether gaming is an addiction or just a behavior is a point of debate but it can still cause trouble in a person’s life. Game designers produce games in such an attractive way that it creates a lot of demand for their product and such games does not have an end, they are made with second life too. The children are the building block of future and they should have a watch on their activities. Fun should be limited and it should not cause any harm to oneself or the society.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Cover image of the article)