It seems like the mass media is always telling us about the dangers of playing games and just how addictive they can be. This side effect is actually pretty scary and can manifest in a number of different ways.
About Gaming Addiction
The act of becoming addicted to anything enjoyable can be an easy trap to fall into. Games are specifically designed to appeal to our sense of enjoyment and the pleasure centers of our brain. This releases endorphins, which can potentially become addictive.
If you think about level based systems and achievements, it’s easy to see how these can become addictive. These are created specifically to appeal to this sense of achievement in our brains, which is linked to our basic survival instinct. This psychological rewards system was created to reward us for activities that help us to stay alive, which can also be manipulated by these games.
Adrenaline also plays a role in gaming, as we can become addicted to this too. This can be linked to fast-paced action games, which can trigger an adrenaline rush. First person shooters, in particular, can give players an adrenaline rush. Even horror games can trigger this reaction, which is one of the reasons players are drawn to them.
These experiences are manufactured within the game and they can be very difficult to replicate in real life. Therefore, players have to go back to these games in order to get the same experience again. This can cause some discord within a player’s life, as they look to get that rush elsewhere.
Effects of Gaming Addiction
The effects of gaming addiction can be severe, with issues around anti-social behavior. This can impact the person with the addiction and cause them to become withdrawn. This, in turn, can cause the addiction to become a much bigger problem, as they remove themselves from their support networks.
Where the game requires a monetary contribution, the dangers can become even more pronounced. Micro-transactions can prey on those that become addicted to the game, as they’re enticed to spend more and more to win. This can then have a knock-on effect on the rest of their lives, as they find that they spend more time and money on the game than they have.
Gambling based games can have a similar effect, as users have to pay in order to be able to experience the games. Again, this can be difficult for players that struggle to get this thrill elsewhere. The thrill of gambling and winning can be hard to replicate and pose a real risk of addiction. This can prove to have more real-life effects than a straight gaming addiction.
For many people that fall into this kind of gaming, debt can prove crippling. By placing funds on credit cards and racking up debt, these players can find themselves in trouble before they know it. This then translates into real-world consequences far beyond the addictive gameplay.
It is possible to practice responsible gaming while still finding these games to be enjoyable. There are limits that every player can put in place in order to mitigate the ill effects of playing these games. This is mostly about limitation and playing in moderation.
When it comes to games with a monetary obligation, like gambling or those with micro-transactions, sticking to a budget is key. This obviously requires a degree of self-control that not every gamer will have. That’s why many of these sites and games allow their players to set limits.
Taking breaks can also be useful to combat this kind of addiction. This can come in the form of daily breaks to stop overplaying or breaks over a longer period of time. For parents with kids that show signs of gaming addiction, it can be difficult to put these limits in place. Most people with a gaming addiction find that unless they’re fully on board with these kinds of limits, they won’t be effective.
This can in turn cause more social issues too. This kind of conflict within a family is pretty common due to gaming addiction. This is becoming a part of our modern society and it’s something that we will need to deal with in the future. For most families, one person becoming isolated with a gaming addiction can have massive effects on the rest of the family. Working to break this addiction can be a stressful time for all concerned.
While moderate gaming use can be achievable, this can be a difficult demon for some. Gaming addiction should be treated as seriously as any other, as it can potentially have the same impact. Moderation is key for gamers, as is the support of a wider network of help.