Let’s talk about Video Game Addiction
With the evolution of technology gradually over the years, many of us seek instant gratification of not just our needs but also our desires. Some Video games, gadgets and social media have really caught the fancy of the teenagers of this generation and is quite a rage among them. They too find gaming more engaging and visually stimulating as opposed to going outside and playing. One of the primary reasons that makes video games addictive is the designing and concept that “they are designed to be that way” so that which develop a hunger in people to keep coming back for more. It triggers the brain’s reward system and affects a child’s behavior. The games are so addictive as that sometimes there is no end to it and the players build relationships and a community in a virtual world where they feel more comfortable and accepted.
The consequences of gaming addiction
Like any other addiction, video game addiction too has adverse short-term and long-term consequences. Sleep and diet related disorders are common. Adolescents tend to isolate themselves from others; they miss out on family gatherings, outings with friends, become aggressive and violent, stop playing outdoor games and socializing by and large. Sometimes, they also tend to overeat and become obese. If this pattern continues, it can impact their attendance in school, academic performance, physical, emotional health, and overall well-being.
Other than the above symptoms, one of the most significant signs of figuring out if one is actually hooked to video games is when significant people, particularly family members, start complaining about the time spent on such games.
Though many children appear to be aware of the adverse effects of playing too much video games, it appears to be quite a rage among a certain age group, particularly boys. Some of them have been determined and focused enough to progressively bring it down or stop it altogether while some continue to struggle.
According to the World Health Organization, digital games are addictive and those addicted to them need help. In WHO’s latest edition of International Classification of Diseases released last year, it says that people whose education, family or social life and jobs have upended by playing video games probably meet the criteria for a new form of addiction called “gaming disorder.”
How to overcome this addiction?
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, it works out best when parents set time limit and express it candidly to their children to play the game judiciously with checks and balances in place. Certain terms of game usage need to be set right at the onset with both the parent and the child agreeing on it. The deviation from those terms can give the parent the authority to take away the gadget.
Internal motivation and self-observation are extremely vital to remain balanced while playing video games. Children too need to learn to play video games and use any technology judiciously right from the beginning by setting a time limit. It is always important to be aware that all other activities should constitute a child’s routine and playing video games should just be a small part of it. In other words, maintaining a balance between academics, indoor and outdoor sports, and socializing is the key to not fall prey to this form of addiction.
How CHIREC is helping in spreading awareness?
In CHIREC, frequent Group sessions are organized taken by the counselor on the different facets issues including mental health, addiction, etc., to create dialogues among the students and spread awareness of gaming addiction from time to time. Many parents have also approached the school and requested us to intervene by taking individual and group sessions.
In a recent session on Gaming Addiction, students were explained about the term, withdrawal symptoms, and how gaming is gradually becoming an addiction. The counselor talked about various harmful effects of gaming and discussed a few case studies of extreme cases of adolescent’s addiction to video games and the ways to curb and reduce gaming time.
Just like most technology, video games too have some positive effects like it improves one’s problem solving skills, decision making abilities, critical thinking abilities, sharpened eye hand coordination, enhances multitasking skills, etc. However, we all know anything in excess can be detrimental and staying in control is vital to not only enjoy the game and derive its benefits but also not allowing let it to overpower our lives.
“It doesn’t matter what you have but what you are” is my innate belief in life. Having completed my post-graduation in human development and post graduate diploma in psychological counselling, I worked extensively in the development sector in the fields on gender, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and mental health. This is when I felt a deep need to connect with people on an emotional level and hence, I made a deeper foray into the world of counselling. Books, music, travelling and friends are my elixir! At CHIREC, working with the adolescent age group has been an extremely dynamic and exhilarating experience as there are new challenges each day!