Ask any kid in the past ten years what their favorite pastime is and it is guaranteed that video games will be one of the most common responses. Video games have become a staple in the lives of most children, teens and even adults in our modern, technology-driven time. While it is not yet in the DSM-5 as an addictive disorder, there’s no denying that the over-playing of video games is a problem. Despite not being considered a formal addiction, addiction to video games can be seen in multiple forms. These forms being addiction to the online personas that can be created and altered, addiction to single player games and addiction to multiplayer games (“Video Game Addiction Symptoms, Causes and Effects,” n.d.).
An addiction consists of having two simple aspects; dependence and negative attitude and/or behavior (“Video Game Addiction No Fun,” n.d.). The addict acquires a dependence, wanting more to get the same pleasure of the thing being desired from the addiction. If or when denied, an addict typically exhibits negative changes in attitude and behavior. This can include arguments with family and friends, strained relationships, financial decline, decline in health, etc. While addictions normally are expected to require substances, this is a non-substance addiction disorder: like gambling addictions where addicts compulsively seek to acquire the action being sought.
Many may wonder what the harm in video games could really be, not knowing the full extent of trouble that can accompany a simple recreational technology. The social growth and development of children and teens can be impacted. Extreme seclusion often leads to a struggle to maintain interpersonal relationships with family and friends. Finances are also affected when the games become so expensive and multiple games are being bought frequently. For teen and adult addicts, academic and career problems can be found when video games become the main priority. Numerous medical problems for gaming addicts can also become a common occurrence due to the sedentary lifestyle that accompanies excessive gaming (“What is a Video Game Addiction?” n.d.).
Like most good things in life, the “moderation is key” rule can also be applied to video games, especially with children and teens, to develop healthy gaming habits. Video games provide a great sense of relief for many children and teens struggling with bullying, depression, anxiety, school troubles, family troubles, and other problems. In this case, video games in moderation could provide that sense of relief and escape, and allow a break from the everyday struggles players may be facing. In addition to emotional relief, video games also help to “expand imagination, give children the opportunity to work collaboratively, and sharpen cognitive skills,” (“Video Game Addiction Symptoms and Treatment,” n.d.). These skills can help throughout academic and professional endeavors.
Video games are a common pastime worldwide. This makes it virtually impossible to completely avoid them when almost everyone has a phone, computer or console game in their home. It is important to get help for those who are addicted to these games before their addiction grabs a hold of their lives and makes their struggle more difficult. For future gamers, it is of the utmost importance to learn that moderation is key to living a healthy lifestyle.
American Addiction Centers. Video Game Addiction Symptoms and Treatment. Retrieved from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/video-gaming-addiction/
Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery. What is a Video Game Addiction? Retrieved from http://www.addictionrecov.org/Addictions/?AID=45
Psych Guides. Video Game Addiction Symptoms, Causes and Effects. Retrieved from http://www.psychguides.com/guides/video-game-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/
Ruah, S. Video Game Addiction No Fun. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/video-game-addiction-no-fun#1