What is Online Games Addiction?
Online games addiction can be defined as the excessive use and dependence upon Internet games that interferes with an individual's ability to function in everyday life. At present, research to more clearly define and treat this condition is underway. While official journals such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders have yet to formally recognize gaming addiction as a disorder, the addictive behaviors and destructive results of excessive gaming have already gained extensive attention from the media and from the friends and families of affected online gamers.
Concerns for Parents
Spending too much time playing games like MMORPGs can have the following detrimental effects on a person:
- Preoccupation with a specific game that prevents one carrying out fundamental activities such as eating, sleeping, and going to school or work
- Social withdrawal from friends and family
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Inability to face and deal with real-life problems; the virtual world is used as a retreat while even the most serious of real-life problems are put off rather than resolved
Because there is little concrete research for experts to draw on, professional help and empathy for this real and serious condition isn't always easy to come by. This can be very frustrating for the friends and family of a game addict who needs help.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Be firm in setting time limits for your child.
- In addition to letting your child know that you have set time limits, use a timer or monitoring software that shuts your child's computer or Internet off once a specified amount of time is up.
- Remember that gaming is ok--in moderation. Allow your child to play fun and appropriate games, but also encourage other healthy interests in friends, sports, and extracurricular activities to help your child maintain balance.
- If you think your child is already addicted, seek help from local professionals in your school or community. finding the appropriate resources may be difficult, but the links posted in the section below are a good place to begin.
Am I Addicted?
Although there is no specific test for addiction to online gaming, the following are factors that may indicate an unhealthy involvement or addictive tendency.
- Do you play compulsively?
- Do you play for long periods of time (often longer than you had planned)?
- Once online, do you have difficulty stopping?
- Do you play as often as you can?
- Do you sneak or violate family rules in order to play?
- Do you sacrifice real-world things for your online world?
- Is your school or work suffering because of the time and energy you spend gaming?
- Have your sleep patterns changed since you became involved with online gaming?
- Are you staying up extremely late or getting up in the middle of the night to play?
Where Can I Learn More?
Level Treadmill explains in detail how MMORPGs and Social Games encourage large time investments in their games.
Read our Newswire Report,Gaming Widows.
Read our Newswire Report, Mother shakes son to death after baby interrupts FarmVille game.
This article discusses some of the most extreme consequences of online gaming addiction.