Videogame Addiction! How Serious Is It?

Videogames is one of the greatest form of entertainment ever created. It allows the user to experience a world unlike their own. Its a great way to pass the time and get lost into a new world, new characters and new experiences. However for some users they never want to leave the world. For some users, they make that world their reality. How serious is videogame addiction? Is it becoming a huge problem? Not yet, but with technology rising it could be a major problem.

"If You Play Videogames Everyday You're An Addict": This is one of my favorite stereotypes that gamers hear from people. Let me clarify this right now. Just because you play videogames everyday doesn't make you an addict. If that is the case than a person who watches T.V. everyday is an addict. That means a person who reads a book daily has a problem. Constantly gamers who play videogames everyday hear something like this. "You're back on that thing again. My goodness do you have a life outside games?" "Halo again dude you have issues." If the roles were reverse how would this sound to you? "Oh my goodness another book?" "You're watching that television again?" "My God get a life." Let's not confuse an individual's passion for an addiction. Now that the stereotype is cleared let us get examine videogame addiction.

How To Classify Addiction: How would you define an addiction? The dictionary defines addiction as,"A compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful." The videogame addict might have something psychological bothering them. It can be anything and nothing major. Stress from work, school, home life or just plain bored creatively and they need an outlet to channel that energy. Videogame addiction is on the rise. The question is how is it becoming a problem for most gamers? What does this mean for parents? How can we help combat this small problem, before it turns into the major one? Here are some reasons one might be addicted to videogames.

1. Lack Of Creativity (I'm Bored Syndrome): If a person doesn't have any type of mental stimulation, for some videogames will offer that mental stimulation or missing creative link. Boredom is usually a fast way to addiction. When you have nothing to do, your mind will wander to find something or anything to pass the time. Other outlets will get ignored because this outlet is giving that person the best stimulation.

2. Only Form Of Socialization: I will elaborate on this on another article. However I just want to touch on some key points. As much as some people will hate to admit it, videogames sometimes is the only form of socialization a person might have. Not everyone is social outside the realm of social networks, gaming etc. This can be the only form of communication that a person might have to someone outside they home. I know that might be hard to believe but in some cases it's a reality. We all heard the stories of the Warcraft addiction. Players not being able to socialize or do anything but Warcraft. However that is not Warcraft's fault. A game does not make you addicted. You make yourself addicted to a game, your psyche makes you addicted to a game. People who become addicted to Warcraft, Online Gaming, Facebook Games etc... something rooted inside them is causing them to play so much. It's an escape or a release from something. It could be no social life outside the network, could be home life, whatever factor it may be it will have to be address eventually.

3. A World That's Not My Own: This is similar to the second one. Videogames offer worlds that we never seen before. It's an escape from reality. Everyone likes to leave their reality once in a while, for some they would love to just live in another world, videogames could be that offer to them.

There are tons of factors or reasons why someone might get addicted to videogames. Is it becoming a serious problem? Right now I don't think so, but the recent PSN outage are showing signs that it might. I was shocked when I talk with gamers who brought an XBOX 360 just so they can play online, while the PSN is out. Is that going extreme? I would say yes. The only way to combat addiction is to find out why the person got addicted in the first place. Only the person knows that and it will be up to them to face it. Parents I encourage you to make sure your child spend more time outside, doing recreational stuff, put them in after school programs. Get more involved and monitor your child's playing hours. Maybe 1 to 2 hours a day. Or do like my mother use to do, no videogames until the weekends. You'll be surprise how much that help me when I was hooked back in the 16 bit era. It's our responsibility as technology grows, to learn how to use it. Videogame addiction is not a serious problem just yet. In fact only a small handful of gamers are addicted to it. However you can see the numbers rising as the parks become empty, and the online rate rises. Finally I just want to say this one more time. Just because someone plays games everyday doesn't mean they're an addict. Don't confuse passion and addiction.