Tag Archives: gaming-addiction

Is Internet Addiction Real?

A few hours ago, Duodave posted an an interesting discussion on our LockerGnome Q&A site. He wonders if online addictions are real or something made up by professionals. I’m here to tell you that Internet addiction is very real. It can cause your health, relationships and work performance to deteriorate if you don’t realize you have a problem and work to overcome it.

An Internet (or Facebook!) addiction becomes evident when you begin to neglect the people and things in life which demand your attention. You spend much less time with your family. Work project may go undone or be turned in late. Sleep deprivation becomes the norm. Activities which used to give you pleasure are dumped in favor of staring at the computer screen longer.

For some people, losing themselves in online forums, blogs and social networks is a way to escape harsh circumstances in life. Does this sound familiar? It’s the same reason that many turn to drugs and alcohol. Life can be difficult to deal with sometimes, eh? Unfortunately, there are those who cannot find a way to cope. Instead, they find ways to mask the pain or anger. Internet addictions are much cheaper than using illegal substances or drinking yourself into a stupor. The worst part is that these people don’t realize that an addiction of this sort is just as destructive.

Just like substance abuse, addiction to the computer can be difficult to overcome. Users don’t want to leave the “safety” of their online identity. They may be reluctant to even admit they have a problem or not know what to do to fix it. These people don’t have to throw their computers out of a window, they simply need to learn how to balance their Internet usage with their physical life.

The first thing they will need to do is to figure out the underlying cause. What is going on around them that drove them to bury themselves in the virtual world? There needs to be a solid support network – don’t criticize or blame them. Offer to help… figure out other outlets for their stress, sadness or anger. Assist them in finding alternative solutions. Give them guidelines to use while cutting back on time spent online – even if they are an adult. They will need some type of structured plan in order to be successful without having to give up their social life on the web completely.

I am by no means a doctor or therapist. I am just some dude who happens to work and play online. However, I am very careful to balance all of that with other activities. I know all too well how easy it is to become caught up in what’s going on behind my computer screen. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve lost track of time when I’ve come across something interesting and then had to pull myself away. The key is balance, my friends. Moderate yourself just as you would with anything that could be harmful to your health and well-being.

How Do You Overcome a Gaming Addiction?

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I saw a question on Lockergnome the other day where Luke admitted he has a gaming addiction. He reached out to the community for help in overcoming it. He managed to stop playing all day long, but finds himself not caring about other activities. He feels a strong pull towards his game(s), and doesn’t know how to get past that. The first thing to remember that it IS an addiction, just like with a gambler or drug addict. An addiction is in your mind, and it’s not an easy thing to overcome. It takes a lot of strength and willpower just to admit you need help in that area, and I commend Luke for reaching out for advice.

Thankfully, I was never addicted to gaming. A gaming addiction can be quite a tremendous hurdle to overcome. Telltale signs of addiction are things like not showering, not participating in other activities, forgetting your friend and family and allowing your plants to die even.

You could quit cold turkey – but that honestly isn’t recommended. It’s very difficult to do, much as it is for a smoker to do. Take your knowledge of the game(s) you understand well, and translate that into wisdom. Share it with others online. Do screencasts and videos full of tips and tricks. Use your passion in other ways that are related to the game but don’t actually involve playing it. Heck, sketch some art.

I am not a doctor or counselor. I am more of a Geek coach. I am simply trying to give some suggestions to Luke. If you have any, be sure to leave him some comments and give him the support he needs.

Remember, if you or someone you know is a gaming addict, you should seek help to overcome it if you feel you cannot do it on your own. There are many documented cases of people losing jobs, relationships and families due to becoming so addicted to a game that they forget the rest of their life. Don’t let this happen to you.

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Gaming Addiction Vs Gaming Obsession – Where do You Draw the Line?

Last night, I published a post discussing the unfortunate death of an infant, due to its parents’ inability – or desire – to properly care for it. The reason? They were busy feeding their video game addiction. This isn’t the first case like this that I’ve come across online, and I’m afraid it won’t be the last.

During a discussion via Google Buzz about this article, Peter had some excellent insight regarding addiction to things like games vs. an obsession.

For one thing, people throw the word “addiction” around like they know what it means. If gaming kills someone, then it’s likely safe so say that they had an addiction. For the most part, however, when people are obsessed with games, they aren’t necessarily addicted. Addiction isn’t mere obsession. Addiction isn’t the mere compulsion to participate in something.

When ANYTHING reaches the level of “addiction”… then, yes, it has the capability of killing someone. Asking the question is like asking, “If someone is so obsessed with gaming that they stop eating, can it kill them?” The correct answer is, “Yes, if someone stops eating, it can eventually kill them.” It has nothing to do with the “gaming”… it has everything to do with the “not eating”. When something becomes so compulsive that you stop eating, then it is safe to say that it is an addiction.

An addiction, for the most part, is when something negatively affects your life and even when you actively weigh the pros and cons and recognize that the cons outweigh the pros and you decide you would rather no longer participate in the activity, that you find you are unable to stop and know that you need help.

Most hard-core gamers are not reaching out for help. They weigh the pros and cons and the pros win. They enjoy playing. Very few gamers would truly make the decision to continue playing if they knew, for instance, that they were seconds away from death. When someone who isn’t necessarily addicted to gaming (but is obsessed by it) ends up dying or ending up extremely ill, the problem isn’t necessarily an “addiction”… it’s a lack of responsibility.

An irresponsible person can die while doing any kind of activity. It’s the irresponsibility that kills, not the distraction. If you WANT to stop gaming, however, but find that you simply cannot pull away… THAT’S an addiction, and you should seek help.

Very sage advice in that last sentence. If you cannot pull yourself away from your game(s) to attend to your “real” life, it’s time to get some kind of help. Ask a friend, parent, teacher, pastor or any other trusted person in your life to help you, and get you pointed in the right direction.

What are your thoughts on this matter? There’s no debate that the couple in the original article had some type of problem. Let’s discuss the differences between addictions and obsessions, as well as how a person (especially teens) can tell that they may, indeed, have a problem.

Can a Gaming Addiction Kill Someone?

The answer, tragically, is yes. NextWeb reports that a couple in Korea has been arrested for allowing their premature infant baby starve to death while they were busy nurturing their online child in the game Prius Online.

The couple reportedly fed their baby only once a day between 12-hour stretches of play-time with with their game. The autopsy report of their baby showed the death was a result of a long period of malnutrition. “The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life, because they didn’t have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby,” said South Korean police officer Chung Jin-won. “They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby.”

This goes to show how very real and horrific that gaming addiction can be. It may not always lead to such dire consequences, but it can. Is even that slight risk really worth it? If you know someone who may addicted to video games – either machine-based or online – I urge you to get help for them. I pray to never read another story such as this. Do you know the difference between addiction and obsession?

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