I love video games. Every once in awhile it’s great to sit down and zone out while I try to keep whatever kind of character I’m playing alive. I used to play a lot more, and to be honest, I’m glad I don’t play as much as I used to.
If you asked me 10 years ago about video game addiction I would have told you that it was a largely overblown topic. After all, if you live a distance from people your age interacting with people online is the next best thing. They are just different relationships not worse or better than those in “real life.”
Over the years I have seen videogame addicts and how playing video games does have the ability to distort all your relationships. Between academic papers and personal observation I have taken note of the following downsides to over-indulging in games:
- There are two base reasons for people to become addicted to video games. The first being called “promotion players” and the second being called “prevention players.” Promotion players are looking for achievements and a sense of fulfillment where prevention players are looking for a safe escape from day-today life.
- Prevention players are the most commonly thought of video game addicts but that is in part because promotion players have a slightly better ability to control their addition when confronted with the negative side effects.
- Internet gaming addiction does correlate with a negative mood and a desire to escape. It isn’t always “violence” as sensational journalists would have many believe, and in fact can just be overall grumpiness or irritability.
- Findings suggest that negative self-evaluations are a key indicator that you are at risk for videogame addiction. This is because people attempt to use video games to solve inner conflict they cannot otherwise deal with.
- One study suggested that online gaming caused participants to delay or even put relationships on hold. Even when they did have relationships, the quality of their relationships was lower due to impaired trust and communication.
So why is this all an issue? I think in today’s society we prepare a lot of people for high-level thought provoking jobs. The problem is, not everyone starts out in those roles, and some give up trying to get there. It’s my personal opinion that this phenomenon makes video gaming so attractive to that early to mid 20’s demographic.
It’s around that time that people have the energy and ambition to make great strides, but then they feel restrained by various barriers in their career or financial situation. These are the promotion players. They don’t feel like addicts, because they can show some restraint when they remember to. The video games provide them with a cheap alternative to real-life success and achievement.
I’m not saying video games are bad. They have their place, but it’s not a replacement for sharing time with people in person.
If you know a video game addict or are unsure if you yourself are one, please call 1-800-928-9139. It’s free, and it doesn’t hurt to talk about it.
Ho, Shu-Hsun, Chutinon Putthiwanit, and Lin Chia-Ying. “May I Continue Or should I Stop? the Effects of Regulatory Focus and Message Framings on Video Game Players’ Self-Control.” International Journal of Business and Social Science 2.12 (2011)ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Kwon, Jung-hye, Chung-suk Chung, and Jung Lee. “The Effects of Escape from Self and Interpersonal Relationship on the Pathological use of Internet Games.” Community mental health journal 47.1 (2011): 113-21. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Blais, Julie J., et al. “Adolescents Online: The Importance of Internet Activity Choices to Salient Relationships.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 37.5 (2008): 522-36. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.