The Growing Problem of Video Game Addiction
A constantly developing world means constantly developing new medications, sciences, and technologies. Unfortunately, as new inventions are discovered, built, and sold to the public, that leaves a gap of what they could do to people in the long term. Today, men and women are addicted to new drugs that didn’t exist twenty years ago, and experimental medical procedures are creating more problems than they are treating. The advances, however, don’t just have to deal with advances in health, there is also new issues in consumer technology. We, as a people, are constantly having new smartphones, computers, and gadgets thrown at us. While the potential downfall of this new technology is often debated, it is another disorder that has been hooking children and adults for the past 20 years — video game addiction.
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What Is Video Game Addiction?
Video game addiction is a debated idea. In fact, it is still argued that people can’t be addicted to a non-substance, like gambling or porn, despite numerous reports and cases of it. However, there have been more and more cases of people suffering from video game addiction, but what is it?
Video game addiction is a compulsion to play a specific game or kind of game. Within our modern world, we are seeing more and more people suffering from new technologies and entertainment, unable to consume or focus on much else. Video games are no exception. People who suffer from video game addiction will spend multiple hours everyday on their chosen game, typically ignoring friends, family, work, and even their own needs.
Why Are Video Games Addictive?
Video games can be abused in a similar way to how people abuse drugs and alcohol. People want an escape. Massively Multiplayer Online games, (MMOs), are one of the more common instances for people to abuse. The reason being that, for many, they can attain a level of interaction that would have made them nervous in real life. Putting a computer between them and another person can help the conceal a part of them that they may not feel comfortable with and give them greater confidence.
Role-playing games, (RPGs) are about more than the game mechanics, they are about allowing people who play them to role-play another life entirely. They can be the person that they want to be without the fear of rejection or failure, with few real consequences. People, however, are typically addicted to a specific game based off their need and what they are feeling.
The Five Most Common Games People Are Addicted To
1. Fortnite Addiction (or Solo-Competitive Online Games)
It seems that the popularity of Fortnite made it a sensation overnight. People raved over the new game, the gameplay, and its loot boxes. It has quickly amassed over 125 million players since its launch in 2017, and even has people streaming and making money off of playing the game competitively. One player claims to make $500,000 a month. So where is the downside? First off, 200 divorce cases across the UK from January to September of 2018 cited Fortnite as a cause. It is a sad fact, but when people become involved in competitive games like these, they are more likely to become absorbed in that game. Many people see this as a problem that only effects children, but even married people can suffer from the effects of video game addiction and lose their partner as a result.
As the environmental complexity, variety of opponents, and difficulty increased, the players’ faces registered greater positive emotion while their skin indicated increased arousal.
2. League of Legends Addiction (or Team-Based Competitive Online Games)
Similar to Fortnite, League of Legends has a similar competitive element that can get players hooked. The difference being that the game is played as a team. This means, that people who form teams are basically forming their own community that reinforces their addiction. Now, they aren’t just putting themselves in the game, but they are practicing with a team who is also pressuring them into performing better and playing longer. The other issue this creates is that it gives to user more potential triggers. They don’t only have other players to blame, but their own teammates. If they lose a match, keep getting killed, or even fail at something in the real world from spending too much time online, there are now at least four other people who can be given blame.
3. World of Warcraft Addiction (or MMO/RPGs)
World of Warcraft is possibly the most famous MMO in the world. It is one of the most commonly played and an excellent example of what an online gaming community can be. However, in the same way people can feel the draw of a competitive experience, people can feel the draw of new friends. When people play RPGs, it is typically for a form of escapism. To live in a fantasy world where magic and dragons are real, but also where they can be anyone they want. They can be younger, older, stronger, and more attractive. Anything they want to believe. The issues they’ve had talking to people in person don’t exist over the computer. They can be exactly who they say they are, and no one else will ever know.
RPGs also allow them to experience greater control over their environment. People who become addicted to games like World of Warcraft may do so due to a lot of stress in their real world that they can’t control. Living life through a game can make them feel powerful and keep their mind off their other problems.
4. Call of Duty Addiction (or First-Person Shooters)
Much has been said about the violence of first-person shooters, like Call of Duty, and how they are making people violent. While that hasn’t been proven, there have been studies of the level of engagement these games invoke. So much, in fact, that they actually are able to indulge some of our inherent traits that we still have from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Studies that have monitored gamers playing first-person shooters shows increased adrenaline. This alone is enough for many people to feel the addictive draw, however, the stimulation that comes with can also make people more erratic when things happen in game.
5. Candy Crush Addiction (or Mobile Games)
Thanks to the evolution of technology, we are now able to have all of our entertainment with use all of the time. TV, news, and books are now easily accessible for us all whenever we want. The unfortunate downside is that people now have access to video games where ever they are. Popular games like Candy Crush, Farmville, and even Fortnite, are available to people 24/7. They don’t need to interact or speak with people when they’re out because they have their game. What makes these games even more dangerous to one’s health, however, are microtransactions. On man, reportedly spent $10,000 from 2015 to 2016 on microtransactions.
Talking to a Loved One About Video Game Addiction
Thankfully, video game addiction is easy to spot. Given that video games are not illegal, people are very open about their use of them. Checking for symptoms of video game addiction can help you or a loved one turn their life around. Signs of video game addiction include:
- Playing video games for more than three hours a day
- Prioritizing video games over other commitments
- Forgoing sleep to play video games
- Being unable to talk to a friend or family member without video games
- Spending more money in games despite financial hardship
- Falling into trouble at work or with a partner due to playing video games
If this describes you or a loved one, consider talking to someone about it. While a person can’t die as a direct result of a video game addiction, they can permanently damage their social life, finances, and their relationship.