The WHO says that gaming addiction is now a mental health disorder.
Experts estimate that 6 to 15% of all Gamers, could be suffering from video game dependency and medical authorities are finally noticing. Certain neural pathways are triggered just like a drug addicts’ would be when ingesting their substance of choice.
Playing the odd game here and there can be fun. I know, as I have had many game platforms in my time and it all started with pinball. These days technology has taken everything to a new level of immersion.
One of the main reasons that video games can become so addictive, however, is they are designed to be that way. Video game designers, like anyone else trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up. In other words, success for a gamer often feels just out of reach. It is very similar to a gambling addiction.
There are two major types of video games and therefore two major types of video game addictions. Standard video games are generally designed to be played by a single player and involve a clear goal or mission, such as rescuing a princess. The addiction in these games is often related to completing that mission or beating a high score or preset standard.
The other type of video game addiction is associated with online multiplayer games. These games are played online with other people and are especially addictive because they generally have no ending. Gamers with this type of addiction enjoy creating and temporarily becoming an online character. They often build relationships with other online players as an escape from reality. For some, this community may be the place where they feel they’re the most accepted.
Lots of countries are grappling with the issue and in South Korea the government has introduced a law banning access for children under 16 from online games between midnight and 06:00.
In Japan, players are alerted if they spend more than a certain amount of time each month playing games and in China, internet giant Tencent has limited the hours that children can play its most popular games.
Here in Canada there has been an increase in help centers for family’s that are dealing with addicted Gamers. What it comes down to (and you might disagree) is moderation…… but that means you have to enforce your parental skills and maintain a balanced level of diplomacy and engagement with your child. Just so your aware…..there are many adults that fall into the gaming addiction syndrome as well.
The only question is when will they also recognize addiction to cell phone usage & social media?
Oh the joys of living in a technologically advanced civilization.