Spending too much time playing video games?
Video games can be a great past time, whether you prefer to play single player games, online games with people from all over the world, or with a group of friends after school. But some people take it to the extreme.
While video game addiction isn’t quite considered a real disorder, it is close. There are kids who would rather play videos games than hang out with friends, play sports, or even watch TV, and who spend every moment they’re not at school playing games. They shut themselves in their rooms for hours instead of interacting with the outside world. Sure, some kids just like to play every once in a while or for an hour or so everyday, but here are some ways to tell if you or a friend are addicted:
- Most non-school hours are spent on computer or video games
- falling asleep in school
- falling behind with assignments/dropping grades
- lying about video game use
- choosing to play games over seeing friends
- dropping out of sports and other social groups
- being irritable when not playing video games
Video game addictions can cause all kinds of problems. For one, it’ll affect your body physically. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the main nerve between the forearm and the wrist is squeezed, can be caused by playing too many video games. Addicts can also experience sleep disturbances, migraines, and backaches. They might even not make enough time to shower or eat, resulting in poor personal hygiene and eating irregularities.
Obviously, addicts will also face social consequences if they don’t make time for friends and family. They are faced with the option of choosing between the real world and the virtual world, and sadly, the real world doesn’t usually win. Video games become a priority above all else. Even if kids do still hang out with friends, oftentimes they’ll talk about video games so much that their friends won’t want to hang out with them anymore.
Kids who play video games instead of building real relationships have a hard time developing social skills. Since they’re never around people, and don’t even have the desire hang out with friends, date, or spend time with family, they become so socially awkward that they don’t even know how to make friends, talk to girls (or boys), or just hang out and be able to enjoy other people’s company.
If you or a friend might be addicted to video games, here are some things you can do:
- Take a look at the symptoms listed on video-game-addiction.org. Try to determine whether or not you or your friend fit into this category.
- If you’re confronting a friend about his/her addiction, they WILL get upset and defensive about it. Be patient and understanding, and let them know that you’re worried.
- If they refuse to talk about it, talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or another adult you trust.
- Invite your friend to hang out with you and a couple other friends. Organize a movie night or something else low-key so they’ll feel comfortable.
- If you’re the one with the addiction, try to cut down your playing time to one hour a night. After a while, try to go a few whole days without playing. Ask your parents and friends to hold you accountable. Try to re-connect with friends again, or get involved in a sport or club to reach out and make new friends.
Video games aren’t bad… in fact, they can be an awesome activity to do with a group of friends! Just remember to limit how much you play, and don’t let the virtual world take priority over your real friends and family.