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 Questions about video game addiction

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Brent
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PostSubject: Questions about video game addiction   Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:29 pm

A few possible questions / discussion topics for the video game support message board:


- How long have you been playing video games?

- When did you start?

- Is this a genuine addiction or should it be called something else?

- Which games are the most addictive?

- What is it about certain games that makes them potentially more addictive than others?

- How have your gaming habits affected your life (school, work, relationships)?

- Have you ever tried to cut back on your game time?

- What advice do you have for others who are trying to spend less time gaming?


Brent

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WOWwife



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PostSubject: Re: Questions about video game addiction   Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:09 pm

I know it's been a long time since anyone has posted on this, but thought I'd try and get it going --- these are answered for my step-son, Jay, who is 9 and addicted to World of Warcraft.

- How long have you been playing video games?

Jay has been playing WOW since he was about five or six years old. He is nine now, so, about three full years. He also plays PlayStation games, Nintendo DS, Wii. But he has given up pretty much every other game except WOW.

- When did you start?

Jay started about three or four years ago.

- Is this a genuine addiction or should it be called something else?


This is an interesting question. I think it IS some sort of addiction, BUT I think the term "addiction" scares people off, who might otherwise be able to admit they've got some sort of problem. "Addiction" sounds so bad...

Maybe it should be called "compulsion" or "overuse," or something that doesn't make the person feel that they have done something wrong. I don't know -- I think my husband is addicted, but we can't even have that discussion, because he balks at the term addiction.

I think it is certainly psychologically addictive -- especially when you take a little boy who has lots of negative concerns that he tries to push out of his mind by escaping into the game. Jay, my step-son, is dealing with a lot of crap in his life -- his mom has a life-threatening disease, his mom is kind of manipulative and unstable, she just left his step-dad, who he loved a lot, and he has been told he can no longer talk about him or think about him or be in contact with him, and I think he's just a lonely little boy. I think WOW gives him a place to escape. It makes him feel better about his life -- or it helps him avoid thinking about his life.


- Which games are the most addictive?

I don't know about others, but I know from experience that World of Warcraft -- an online role-playing game -- is crazy addictive. I myself have played before and woken up in the middle of the night to check on my character.

- What is it about certain games that makes them potentially more addictive than others?

I think the online, interactive, role-playing games are escapist. They are incredibly well-designed games -- the worlds are massive and there is seemingly no end to the combinations of characters, skill sets, quests, group fights, etc. I personally get addicted to improving my "professions" on the game -- like herbalism or blacksmithing -- finding resources, making my items, and selling them, and trying to get more and more gold. It's somehow very exciting to open your account and find that you've sold a bunch of items and earned a bunch of gold, which then can be used to upgrade your armor or weapon. I don't know why it seems so cool -- but there is also the problem of not being able to really pause the game.

I didn't understand until I started playing, but to log off, you have to actually end what you're doing, get your character to a "safe spot," and sometimes that takes awhile. If you are in the middle of a fight in a dangerous area, you have to finish killing your enemies before you can get yourself safe. I often have to tell Jay to get to a safe spot so he can log off -- sometimes that can take five or ten minutes. And I understand it, because I've played the game.

- How have your gaming habits affected your life (school, work, relationships)?

I wrote this in another post, but Jay has actually considered quitting Boy Scouts, something he loves, to devote more time to the game. That's just one example of him trying to find ways to avoid "real" life to spend more time with his WOW characters. He doesn't play any sports, which is fine with his dad. His dad, who is also addicted to the game, thinks sports for boys are stupid and unfulfilling. We tried to interest Jay in joining a swimming group at the local Y with some other homeschool kids, including one of his friends, and he begged off, saying he wanted more time to play WOW.

- Have you ever tried to cut back on your game time?

Jay never has -- his dad won't let me limit him, because he doesn't think it's a problem.

- What advice do you have for others who are trying to spend less time gaming?

Start slowly -- if you currently play four hours a day, try to set a timer and cut back to three hours. Start reconnecting with some activities you used to enjoy, like music, or movies, or getting together with friends. If you need to, plan activities that get you out of the house. If you can get yourself back to three hours, try to get back to two hours, then stick to that, no matter what. Try to keep a normal bedtime routine, and set timers to take breaks for meals. Don't let yourself just snack in front of the computer while you play. Try to find opportunities to get together with people you like, whether that's friends or family. If you start to realize that you're depressed, get some professional help.

Good luck. Hope someone else wants to chat about this.

WOWwife
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livingLife



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PostSubject: Re: Questions about video game addiction   Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:56 pm

- How long have you been playing video games?

5 years

- When did you start?

Played as a kid but not obsessively until I was 33.

- Is this a genuine addiction or should it be called something else?

I have genuine addiction. In my 20s, it was focused on alcohol. In my 30s, it was focused on gaming.

- Which games are the most addictive?
- What is it about certain games that makes them potentially more addictive than others?

Different people hook into different aspects. I would guess that the games that cover the most aspects are the most addictive ones.

- How have your gaming habits affected your life (school, work, relationships)?

Once I started gaming compulsively and obsessively, my game time grew & grew until it sucked up every possible second. I effectively severed ties with old friends and with family. I isolated from friends. My relationship suffered. Mentally, I was distant from my kids and other people. Gaming cut into my work hours, lost me money, and jeopardized my job. I was sleep deprived and spent most days in a zombie-like state. I was irritable and impatient and moody. All my hobbies fell to the wayside. I put on weight and hardly got any exercise.

- Have you ever tried to cut back on your game time?

I tried many times, using several different methods. But we addicts cannot moderate... that's the crux of addiction. Most times I tried moderating, I would end up soon playing just as much as usual or more.

- What advice do you have for others who are trying to spend less time gaming?

I have no advice for non-addicts. For addicts, I advise what worked for me. I contacted other people in recovery from gaming addiction in Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous at http://cgaa.info and attended their meetings. By supporting and encouraging each other and attending regular meetings, we stay off games. I've been completely off games for over two years now.
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