Importance of Stopping Video Game Addiction Early

Video game addiction is a unique phenomenon of the new millennium in part because of how new computer and internet technology still is. It’s changed how we work and even how we play – whether an adult or child.

Video games as we know them were introduced in the 1970s and ‘80s and were initially in arcades. They were relatively simple for a while, and any other players were sitting right next to you – even if you eventually got Pong at home. Obviously much has advanced. Game concepts are much more involved. With the aid of the internet, a person can be playing alone in his room yet be interacting with multiple other people across the world taking part in the same game with a common goal. Yes, children still play outside, but it’s important to be aware of the effects of too much time with technology.

The Draw of Video Games, the Drawback of Addiction

World of Warcraft (WoW) is one of the most enduring and involved video games. Players create online personas – or character – then join with others across the globe to accomplish various quests in WoW’s virtual world. The more they play the more they can develop their characters, gain skills, and are rewarded. Accomplishing quests with other players makes one feel connected and important. Thus, it’s easy to see how quickly one can become absorbed into these virtual worlds trading real-life relationships and experiences for online ones.

In a 2012 NBC news story, a 28-year-old man described the hold WoW had on his life. He first got involved at age 11 and began logging in 16 hours a day by the time he reached his twenties. “Whenever I was on the computer I would feel great,” he described. “I was in this whole other world. I was excited. I was happy for that brief moment, but whenever I’m lying in bed at night, I would always … just think about how that day I hadn’t accomplished anything, about how I wasn’t what I wanted to be in life and that I was really, you know, miserable.”

It’s that type of scenario that differentiates over-use or a casual interest from addiction-like behavior. Personal relationships suffer; other hobbies, responsibilities, and commitments are neglected; players experience emotional highs when they play and lows when logged off. Also studies are showing that technology does have biological effects on us –from changing the ways our brains work to basic health implications. Children caught in this cycle may have more difficulty quitting than adults who face similar issues because they are still in the midst of developing mentally, emotionally, and physically when they begin playing.

Providing Hope for Those with Video Game & Internet Addiction

Getting therapy for a personal struggle that has you feeling down doesn’t necessarily meanthumbs_Excursions - Vista boy you’re depressed, but you realize you need outside help to get you back on track. The same is true of those who overuse technology: getting back on track means learning to balance real life with time online as well as addressing the emotional aspects of their attachment, which could include depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem.

Of course, not every child will develop a video game or internet addiction. But should it be a problem, wilderness therapy like Pacific Quest can be a great resource for adolescents and young adults who need to learn to live without the game and their online friends and need to build new habits. Wilderness therapy gets them away from the source of their issue and in an environment that supports change and growth. They develop real connections with people directly in their lives and reconnect with family and friends back home. The virtual world should never replace the real because one shouldn’t wake up one day to realize life has passed by.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

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