Online gaming addiction is a very real problem.  Although diagnosis is tricky and there is no professional medical definition, for sufferers it can potentially ruin ones life.   According to gamer Karsten Aichholz, 2018 “Addiction is a compulsive, repetitive behaviour that negatively impacts your life”.   Gaming at volumes similar to  Karsten, some players will spend more than 40 hours per week online.  Research suggests that while not everyone involved in online gaming is addicted, according to PsychGuides, 2018 “recent studies suggest that 6 to 15 percent of all gamers exhibit signs that could be categorized as addiction”.   While the percent of sufferers is not striking, the potential for increasing numbers of addicts is a cause for concern.  The dynamic nature of online gaming is what allows various gamers to get addicted.  While addicts generally are younger, various age demographics are at RISK.

Online gamers may find single player games addicting, while others may find the interaction with various other players irresistible.

According to PsychGuides, 2018, “There are two major types of video games and therefore two major types of video game addictions.”

Single Player Addiction

Some online gamers get addicted to single player gaming.  Addiction to single player games typically involves an individual who spends too much time trying to complete the challenge of a single player game.  The game consumes the player,  leading to  reclusiveness and disregard for some or all of previous lifestyle dynamics such as work, school, family and/or friends.  Although single player games can cause addiction the bright side is they typically do not cause long term addiction.  Addiction tends to wane as a player completes the game challenge, meets the goals of a preset score, or meets the game’s standard (PsychGuide, 2018).

 

Multi-player Addiction

Typically much more addictive both in the long and short term are the multi-player online games.  The variable nature of multi-player games along with their design-which is continuous play with oftentimes no end keeps players active indefinitely.  Equally addictive in the dynamics of online multi-player games is the fact that players pretend to be a video game character and can interact with friends and fellow gamers, making the game both an escape from reality and a social event.  The game for some becomes an outlet and form of expression, sometime hard to give up when the world is otherwise not listening- PyschGuide, 2018 “They often build relationships with other online players as an escape from reality. ”

Online Gaming Addiction- Signs and Symptoms

Although the American Medical Association has yet to identify and define online gaming addiction there are evident signs and symptoms of addicts (PsychGuide, 2018).  Manifestations of gaming addiction can be both physical and mental, and one form of addiction and exacerbate the same or other addictive effects.  Physical signs to look out for include poor hygiene, fatigue, migraines, and physical pain in the wrists and/or hands from continued play (PsychGuide, 2018).  Emotional symptoms include reclusiveness, dishonesty with others about gaming involvement, isolation from outside world, and lack of attentiveness to work, school, etc. -being preoccupied with thought of the game.  Research supports associations between online gaming and the adverse physical and emotional effects that can lead to addiction.

 

 

 

Reference(s):

Aichholz, K. (2018). That time I played a single video game for 3,600 hours. Retrieved from https://www.karsten.me/life/video-game-addiction/

Game Quitters. (2016). TNVZ sunday: Silent addiction-segment on video game addiction. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4vl0s_l9MY

Hyun, G. J., Han, D. H., Lee, Y. S., Kang, K. D., Yoo, S. K., Chung, U., & Renshaw, P. F. (2015). Risk factors associated with online gaming addiction: A hierarchal model.48, 1. Retrieved from https://ac-els-cdn-com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/S0747563215001065/1-s2.0-S0747563215001065-main.pdf?_tid=9974354e-c56c-4263-b8b5-d7441e055fbb&acdnat=1522551292_ad86855f3c2bb48e270cfb246afced4f

PsychGuides.com. (2018). Video game addiction symptoms, causes, and effects. Retrieved from https://www.psychguides.com/guides/video-game-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/

Statista. (2017). Age breakdown of video game players in the united states in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/189582/age-of-us-video-game-players-since-2010/

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