The word addiction is commonly associated with substance abuse. According to doctors, abuse is categorized mainly by: 1.A behavior or substance that is repeated to keep a person going, usually on an increased rate 2.The person experiencing addiction on a substance or behavior will show symptoms of irrationality, irritability and is miserable.
But do you know that there is now a term for video game addiction? Compulsive Video Gaming is now a modern day disorder that is becoming more and more popular and apparent, especially among teens and young adult. It is characterized as a clinical impulse control disorder and as the name suggest, people who experience the disorder will experience uncontrollable urge to play video games over a long period of time. Unlike other addiction, the effect on the brain has yet to be concluded. In terms of gambling addiction for example, an increase in dopamine is apparent.
In the case of video game addiction, they use the game to escape, the same principle that an ecstasy addict will feel about addicted to ecstasy to escape the harsh world of reality. One good example is a bullied kid at school. Video games may provide an escape and a better reality by enabling the child to take on a dominant role on the game he is playing. In other words, video games can provide us with an alternate reality, a reality that is a far cry from what is being presented to the point that gamers will usually prefer the digital world than a face to face interaction.
Many parents do not see any harm with this scenario. After all, the children will be within the confines of their home, safe from any physical threat and harm. However, experts say that though it may seem relatively without harm, too much exposure with video games may expose the child to several developmental problems. A child may be less developed socially, and may not learn to be friendly among his or her peers.
The Center for On-line Addiction has provided warning signs for Video Game addiction:
- Feeling irritable when not playing
- Keeping excessive gaming secret from peers and family
- Looking at video games to escape from real life problems
- Constantly thinking about video games
- Steady increase of playing video games
What can parents do?
Researchers advised that the most common video addicts are male under the age of 30, usually with people who have been experiencing depression and low self esteem to begin with. It is advisable that parents monitor their child if they suspect that he or she is becoming addicted to video games. Ask if there are any previous hobbies that have been given up in favor of playing video games? Did John used to love football but has given it up and is noticeably spends more time at home playing games instead? How is their performance at school? Do you notice any steady decline? It is highly recommended that parents gets involved and if video game addiction is suspected; do not delay talking to a professional about it.