Video games are a fun way to pass time and compete with friends. But for some people, it can become an unhealthy obsession. Video game addiction is real, and if left unchecked, it can have serious consequences in your life.
Gaming addiction isn’t the same as playing a lot of video games in one session. Rather, it’s when video games become the primary activity in someone’s life; to the point where they interfere with other important activities such as work or school and might even lead to negative effects like isolation from friends and family, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
If you or someone you know has a gaming problem, read on for advice on how to prevent video game addiction and use the games for good instead of evil.
Know the Signs of Video Game Addiction
The first step in preventing video game addiction is to understand what it looks like. Video game addiction can manifest in all different forms and degrees of severity. Some common signs of video game addiction include:
- Using video games as an option to escape reality or avoid negative feelings like anxiety or depression
- Spending a lot of time playing video games, even when you don’t want to
- Experiencing health issues because of excessive gaming, like weight gain, hand cramps, and eye strain.
- An urge to play video games, even when you really don’t want to
- Isolation and minimal contact with friends and family members over video games
- Putting work and school at risk because of video games
You can check many other signs of video games at WebMD’s report on video game addiction.
Set Clear Boundaries and Stick to Them
Some players think that if they don’t play video games, their life is nothing. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that, like any activity or hobby, video games shouldn’t take over your life. If you think your life is all about gaming, you should set some rules and stick to them:
- Limit the time you spend playing video games: Always keep in mind that video games are a fun hobby, not a job. They shouldn’t take up so much of your time that they interfere with your work or school or your relationships with friends and family members.
- Limit the number of hours you play per week: As with time, some people will play more than others, but it’s important to keep an eye on it for your sake and your relationships. Even if you play real money games like roulette and have learned the touch & go roulette system, you shouldn’t play them for countless hours. Set a limit and strictly follow it.
- Make sure gaming isn’t getting in the way of other important activities: If you find that playing is impacting your work or school (by taking up a lot of your time), or is jeopardizing your mental or physical health, it may be time to reevaluate your gaming habits.
Find Other Activities That Fill the Time
Gaming consoles like the PS5 is enjoying huge success among players. And, if you’re worried you might develop an unhealthy addiction to gaming, it’s important to keep your hands busy with other activities that can help you stay balanced. Here are a few ideas:
- Play sports games: If you find exercising boring, playing some sports games can be a good option. You will meet your friends or meet new people and get fit as well.
- Be creative: It’s a great way to channel your mental energy and engage in some creative activity. For instance, if you are into painting, writing poems or stories, or making some music, you can involve yourself in such activities.
- Get involved in a hobby or passion like gardening, cooking, knitting, or another activity that’s important to you. Not only will this help you stay active, it will also give you something to look forward to and be passionate about.
Take Breaks Frequently
You should take frequent breaks from gaming just like you would from any other activity to give your body and mind a chance to relax. Taking breaks from gaming can help you avoid burnout and keep your priorities straight.
Playing games for hours can be stressful, so it’s a good idea to give yourself some free time afterward in case you need it. Make rule of taking breaks often while playing. This should be decided when you set boundaries and particular rules for gaming.
Make note of the games you’ve been playing, how long you’ve been playing them, and what you’ll do when you’re done. This can help you see when you’re getting too wrapped up in gaming, and may give you an idea of what you’d like to do after you put the controller down.
Turn Gaming into a Tool for Good
It is not that video games are totally evil and you should stay away from them. Even now, there are esports tournaments that encourage people to pursue gaming as a career. However, there is a definite difference between playing video games in tournaments and playing them for hours as an addiction.
So, why not use gaming as a way to make a positive impact on the world? There are plenty of ways to do that, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
Use Games as A Way to Make Connections with Others
It is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, make some friends, and find others who share the same interests and hobbies. Even if you play with your friends, you will develop deep relationships with them.
Make It a Profession
As stated, gaming is a profession, and you can be a professional gamer now. There are many esports tournaments where you can play as a team and win prize money. However, this doesn’t mean you should invest all of your time in practicing. Just like you don’t practice for sports games the whole day, the same goes for video games.
Play to Raise Money
There are a number of charities that host gaming marathons and tournaments to raise money for their causes. So, you can play for fun and also help make the world a little better in the process.
Nearly 3 billion people play video games in 2022, and not all of them will be addictive. Like any hobby, a healthy amount of gaming is great. But when it starts to take over your life, it can become an unhealthy obsession. Video game addiction is real, and it’s something that can have serious consequences on your life if left unchecked.
So, go over everything we’ve mentioned here to avoid gaming addiction. If you find someone or yourself in this situation, talk to someone or find professional help.