Gaming Addiction: Lost in the Virtual World
Gaming—online or offline, first-person or multi-players, console, PC, tablet, or mobile phone—provides lighthearted fun, entertainment, and is such a great way to keep boredom at bay.
For an increasing number of adults, teenagers, young children, even toddlers, video games have become an indispensable part of their lives.
Whether it’s waiting in line, on public transport, in the toilet, or any situation where you find yourself idling, with spare time on your hands, out comes the handphone and let the gaming begins.
Surprising Benefits of Gaming
Some studies found evidence that gaming:
- reduces stress,
- overcomes dyslexia,
- promotes teamwork, and
- enhance your decision-making speed.
It can even help improve your hand-eye coordination. This is excellent news if you are a fighter pilot, race car driver, or surgeon (or patient of such gaming surgeons.)
Gaming…The Dark Side
The pull of video games and all the digital world is not without its dark side though.
In March 2010, a South Korean couple was charged and convicted of child abuse and neglect following their baby daughter’s suspicious death.
Spending an average of ten hours every day playing an online video game, this couple fed their daughter only once a day—leading to dehydration and malnourishment—while they immersed themselves in the upbringing of a virtual child. Such was the irony.
When Virtual Killing Becomes a Reality
Children and young adults are impressionable. They are not known for having much self-control. When online violence—from kicking and punching to stabbing and hacking to shooting and bombing—is added to the mix, the outcome a disaster waiting to happen.
Case in point, CNN reported on August 26, 2013, that an “8-year-old shoots, kills elderly caregiver after playing video game”.
The Huffington Post published the story of Nathon Brooks, a 14-year-old boy who allegedly shot his sleeping parents over video games and of the ‘Killer Teens’: Boy Shoots Both Of His Parents Over Video Games.
Warning Signs That You May Be a Gaming or Internet Addiction
You spend 1% of your toileting time doing your “business” and the rest of the time gaming.
Worsening performance at school, work, or household responsibilities due to preoccupation with gaming.
You wake up early or sleep later…to play video games.
You neglect your social life, other hobbies, or personal hygiene or grooming.
You say: “I’ll stop. Just one more level.” more times than you can remember.
“There is no pause button in real life.”
You have great difficulty or are unable to limit the time spent on gaming.
Gaming became an escape from stressful situations.
You show signs of irritability, restlessness, or emotional disturbance when gaming is restricted.
You suffer from symptoms of physical or psychological withdrawal like sleeplessness, agitation, loss of appetite, or fit of anger if access to gaming is prevented.
“You went outside once, but the sound quality and graphics just weren’t all that good.”
– Ryan G. Van Cleave, author of ‘You Know You’re a Video Game Addict If…’