Video Game Addiction Essay
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Video Game Addiction Essay
Video Game Addiction: Introduction
Video games are long-time phenomenons, and recently, they gradually became people's hobbies and favorite ways to spend time. Even though there is a common prejudice against gaming and gamers formed particularly by older generations, studies show that gaming is usually a harmless recreational activity, depending on how much time a person spends playing (Egli & Meyers, 2013). However, it is not uncommon for this hobby to transform into behavioral addiction, especially in children and adolescents. To detect video game addiction, parents should be vigilant and look into common behavioral patterns that are displayed during gaming addiction.
Video game addiction, also described as Gaming Disorder by World Health Organization, is a behavioral addiction. Although its symptoms can vary by gender and age, some signs can be seen in most people. Although not as dangerous, behavioral addiction shares some standard features with substance abuse in aspects of behavioral patterns and response to treatment (Grant, Potenza, Weinstein, & Gorelick, 2010). For the last two decades, with the advancement in technology, parents have begun to struggle with protecting their children from video game addiction at an accelerating rate. In order to conserve their children, parents should be well informed regarding the symptoms of this disorder. First and foremost, every parent should pay close attention to the dialogues they have with their children, even if it is just idle chat.
The time a person spends talking about gaming in their personal life determines how much it occupies their mind. In addition to this, children who unknowingly suffer from Gaming Disorder usually show signs of social dysfunction, such as often choosing to stay in to play video games instead of socializing with family and friends or not actively engaging in social gatherings. However, this must not be confused with a child’s inherent need to have alone time and unleash their imagination. Parents should distinguish between the inane needs of a child from social dysfunction. If a child continuously denies participating in social activities, they usually like engaging in and choose to play video games; instead, they might be at the beginning of addiction towards video games. Another precise symptom of Gaming Disorder is the sudden mood swings a child displays. When parents deprive a child of the freedom to play video games, the child who has an addiction to video games tends to throw extreme temper tantrums, which can lead to severe emotional conflicts between parents and children.
Furthermore, being confronted about their gaming habits can even push children into lying or manipulating a particular narrative, such as diminishing the time and money they spend on video games (Grant, Potenza, Weinstein, & Gorelick, 2010). In this case, parents should not force their children into admitting their addiction by exposing their behavior. The healthier route to take might be monitoring their behavioral patterns more attentively. One of the most subtle yet dangerous symptoms of gaming addiction is the emotional dependency on video games. Children tend to turn to video games whenever they are going through a mentally rough path, which can lead to adopting video games as their support system instead of talking to parents or peers, which can cause emotional distancing and mental isolation. The helplessness a parent can feel in the face of dealing with their child's gaming addiction is entirely reasonable, and they should take action immediately and seek professional help.
Each child and adolescent has their mindsets, habits, and routines. This difference makes it complicated to set a specific time limit on how a person should play video games daily before it becomes too much. However, Jean Twenge, a psychology professor from San Diego State University, states that the time spent playing video games should not exceed two hours a day (Rossman, 2017). Although no research has determined how much a person thinks about video games in a day, some behavioral patterns indicate how much space video games occupy in a person's mind. For example, suppose an individual is distracted continuously and diverts all subjects to video games, and seems uninterested in any other topic. In that case, that can be a sign that video games are the main focus. There is no particular study that shows how much an average person spends on video games per year. Still, according to the Entertainment Software Association’s 2018 report, 43.4 billion dollars were spent on video games in 2019 (Entertainment Software Association, 2019).
A gamer's personality can change varying by the genre of video games they are playing, such as continually being exposed to violent games can make a person more nervous and create some anger management issues. Of course, there is no such thing as a person who must be violent because they are playing violent games. However, as teenagers and children are more prone to being influenced, the effects of these games can result in different ways. It is shown that most game addicts display signs of emotional distress and mental distance when they are not able to play (Braun, Stopfer, Müller, Beutel, & Egloff, 2016). Psychological isolation is one of the many unhealthy results of addiction to video games. Even in cases of children and adolescents who are generally more social and attentive to family, it is not uncommon to have mental isolation caused by gaming disorder.
Video game's unlimited world that nourishes children's imagination lures them into playing instead of spending time with their family. Most of the children and adolescents have little to no self-control; that is why they are more prone to fall into mental isolation. As a result, spending an excessive amount of time in front of computers causes gamers to skip meals for the sake of continuing the game and even deliberately missing sleep and disrupt their schedule. According to the 2020 report that came out by LimeLight, Germany is in the lead with the most missed meals, while Singapore comes first in missing sleep (Limelight Networks, 2020). There are some significant psychological reasons for why people continue to play video games despite its harmful effects. The most important one among these is the sense of immediate accomplishment. When playing video games, one gets abrupt results and rewards, which gives them the satisfaction of accomplishing something.
The second is elements of escapism that allows gamers to quickly migrate of monotonousness of daily life into creatively put imagination world where they can be as relevant and useful as they like. In addition to these factors, there is a sense of competency. Video games do not have the variable factors that life carries; you can sharpen your talents and be recognized for it, whereas in life, progressing in one's goals takes more than just hard work. The following reason is relatedness, which is an essential psychological need that applies especially to multiple player games. Every individual has the need to feel like they are a valuable part of society, and gamers help and change their community by playing video games, which makes them feel like part of something important. This feeling of satisfaction is the hardest element of gaming to let go of because some people want to project their own dissatisfaction in life by playing video games, which is the most natural thing to do (Bavelier, 2019).
Video Game Addiction: Conclusion
To sum up, video games have become an inevitable part of our lives and even though it has its merits it should be every parent’s duty to preserve their children from falling into video game addiction and ensure that this otherwise nontoxic habit of transitioning into an obsession of gaming, which can affect their child's health, psychology, and social life. In order to do that, parents should be up to date and informed about the dangers and symptoms of this disorder.
Bavelier, D. (2019). Your Brain on Video Games.
Braun, B., Stopfer, M., Müller, W. K., Beutel, E. B., & Egloff, B. (2016). Personality and video gaming: Comparing regular gamers, non-gamers, and gaming addicts and differentiating between game genres. Computer in Human Behaviour, 406-412.
Egli, A., & Meyers, L. S. (2013). The role of video game playing in adolescent life: Is there reason to be concerned? Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 309-312.
Entertainment Software Association. (2019). 2019 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry.
Grant, J. E., Potenza, M. N., Weinstein, A., & Gorelick, D. A. (2010). Introduction to Behavioral Addictions. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse, 233-241.
Limelight Networks. (2020). Market Research: The State of Online Gaming-2020.
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