What is Online Gaming Addiction?

Online games have changed the way we enjoy life and experience interactions with other people. Whether than spending time playing outside or meeting people in person, many relationships in children and adults alike are now formed completely online. What does this mean for the world? gaming addiction may someday overtake substance addictions in terms of problems in society.  In countries like South Korea and China, the government has already attempted to formally regulate online gaming addiction with rules about play time and more.

Many have debated whether gaming is a healthy part of life, better than TV, or something that needs to be more regulated. Clearly, there is no problem with playing online games a few hours per day but missing work, school, and social commitments in life to play online games has a lot in common with other types of addictions. 

An article published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence connects young people's relationships with friends and family to the amount of games they play and shows that those with higher levels of gaming addiction have lower quality relationships. 

The researchers noted that negative energy appeared to be centered around online games. However, as we have noted in our interactions with the gaming addiction community, many of the perceptions of what constitutes a gaming addiction vary significantly between households. For example, a mother contacted us concerned that her son was suffering from an online gaming addiction and stated he was playing one or two hours per day. This is a hobby not an addiction. At the same time, other parents are just becoming concerned at the point when their entire child’s life falls apart. 

Clearly, there is a need to have standards across the board and create a consensus about what exactly an online gaming addiction is. Similar to our findings, this study also noted that gamers were more likely to show other signs of problems in their life. This aligns well with researchers that have suggested gaming addiction is comorbid or in plain language is likely to occur alongside other mental health problems. Here are some basic suggestions for online gaming addiction based on this study that should help: 

· Make online gaming a one or two hour per day or a weekend activity 

· Continue engaging in the hobbies you have enjoyed thus far in your life. 

· Real life relationships should be priority. Online games are fun but when the server goes down, the power goes out, your Xbox subscription expires, or the people you play with log off, you should have someone there in your life you care about 

· If you like playing for long periods of time, keep it out of your own house. Go to a friend’s house and play on the weekends one or twice a month. This way, you can game like you want to without having it negatively impact your daily life. 

· Prevent a gaming addiction from happening to begin with by connecting those you love and care about with other activities to participate in. 

· Most gaming addictions take care of themselves and involve emotional habits in dealing with life. Approaching someone’s online gaming addiction in a negative way is not likely to be helpful. 

In short, treat others as you want to be treated, focus on real life, and remember that gaming should be a healthy part of life!