Gaming addiction can affect anyone, from young children to retirees. It’s not just about how much time someone spends playing video games, it’s about how gaming impacts their life. If you or someone you know is struggling with gaming addiction, it’s vital to get help from gaming rehab and to seek out treatment options as soon as possible. Here’s everything you need to know about what gaming addiction is and how parents can help protect their children from the dangers.
A brief history of video games
Video games have been around for decades, with early arcade games appearing in the 1970s. Home consoles became popular in the 1980s, followed by handheld devices in the 1990s. Today, gaming is a multi-billion industry with games available on a variety of platforms. Gaming addiction can be defined as the continued use of video games despite clear negative consequences related to mental health or physical well-being (World Health Organisation).
The majority of gamers spend between 3 and 4 hours per day playing video games, but many spend much more time playing than this. As their activity levels are decreasing due to their addiction, they are also developing bad habits such as slouching or tilting their head while they play.
Understanding Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction, or gaming disorder, is defined by the World Health Organisation as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour that becomes so extensive that it takes over one’s life. Gaming disorder is characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
Key symptoms to look out for
- Preoccupation with gaming to the point where it interferes with daily activities.
- Withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away.
- Tolerance, which leads to the need to spend more time gaming in order to get the same satisfaction.
- Gaming in order to escape from real-world problems or negative emotions.
- Losing interest in other hobbies and activities.
Treatments available in the UK
The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. If you or your child are struggling with gaming addiction, there are a number of treatments available in the UK at rehab clinics. These include cognitive behavioural therapy, which can help change the way you think about gaming, and group therapy, which can provide support and guidance from others who understand what you’re going through. There are also medication options available for those who need them.
Preventative Measures Parents Can Take
As the WHO has now recognised gaming addiction as a mental health condition, parents should be aware of the risks associated with excessive gaming. Here are some preventative measures parents can take to protect their children:
- Limit the amount of time your child spends playing video games. Just like with anything else, moderation is key. Too much of anything can be harmful, and that includes video games.
2.Encourage your child to play a variety of different types of games.