These days it seems like every time we turn around, there is a new flashy gadget, or a new way to connect online. Online gaming is becoming the new addiction. It’s unusual that in the case of online gaming, its purely a mental issue too, not physical like drugs.
So how can you tell whether you or someone you know has a problem with online gaming?
Well, do you find that you want to play online more and more? Do you see your name and rank on the leaderboards and want to get them as high as you can? Is this gaming taking over parts of your life? Are you eating, sleeping, showering, or are you playing games online?
If your hobby is starting to affect other aspects of your life, then you may be addicted. Ask yourself what the appeal to online gaming is and then try to rationalize that with yourself. Do you need an outside stimulus? Do you crave attention from other gamers? Do you like the feeling of power you get while playing games? Figure it out and then deal with it.
Unlike with drugs, its okay to go “cold turkey” and stop playing games entirely, even if it’s just for a short period of time to prove that you can do it. You may find that you have withdrawal symptoms though, just like with drug addicts. You may become moody or depressed and even withdraw from loved ones. You may find yourself restless and unable to sleep because you havent gotten your online gaming fix.
Dont worry, with a little behavioural direction, in time, things will change. Occupy yourself with other things. Watch your name slide off the high score tables, so that you are anonymous online again. Its okay, it wont ruin or end your life. If you have to, get rid of your outlets to game online. Consider deleting your gaming apps or downloads, and start fresh.
Look up what a good healthy amount of time spent playing fun online games is, and follow that guideline as a rule. If you find you are going over the limit, maybe you are relapsing. Keep yourself in check with that guideline, and dont let online gaming take over your life. Life is outside, not inside your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Leaderboards and high scores dont determine your status in life there are many more important things to worry aboout.
If all else fails, seek out others with the same problems, or just talk to the ones you love. You arent the only one with this addiction. It is becoming more and more prevalent, so dont be embarrassed. Just find a network that will support you and let it all out. Pick up a book and read for a change, find some other way to use your time so that you are busy and happy. This may be a chance for you to find your best new hobby. Online gaming addiction shouldnt control your life.