Gaming Addiction

I’ll be the first one to admit, I LOVE video games. I’ve literally sat for eight hours straight on the same level trying to beat a boss. I realize this is extremely sad, but anyone who is into video games understands the thrills and frustrations that come along with it. While often I get sucked into the world of on line gaming, I have found that my life has never been controlled or negatively affected by my participation (if you don’t count the three broken controllers). Discussing virtual worlds in class got me thinking, are there people who have become so utterly consumed by virtual worlds that they completely reject the real world? During my research, I came across, a site to help gamers with there addiction to the most popular mythical role playing game, World of Warcraft. the site posts tutorials from gamers who admit they were addicted, and what made them realize they in fact had a problem.

According to Dr. Kimberly Young of the center for Internet addiction Recovery, video game addiction can be defined as,

“Internet gaming addiction can be defined as a compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s school or work environment. For the gaming addict, the game becomes a compulsive habit that completely dominates the addicts life. Gaming addicts make the Internet a priority more important than family, friends, and work. The game becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior.”

On the main page of the WoWdetox site are tutorials from former addicts describing their transformations. Many of them describe losing connection with friends, mentors, and even family members to the draw of WoW. I realize the site is a little bit biased, but they make WoW sound like crack. The difference is crack has a physical addiction while WoW is solely a psychological addiction. People lose perspective and the video game becomes their actual reality. On many of the tutorials the final comments always included something like, “I realized the game didn’t mean anything and all the time I spent trying to beat the game I was actually accomplishing nothing.” I disagree with accomplishing nothing because I do plenty of things that accomplish nothing but give me personal satisfaction such as popping bubble wrap, fantasy football, and personal reading. All these activities inherently give nothing to the real world, but instead gives great personal satisfaction. With anything though, it is important to practice in moderation. For example, when I find myself checking football scores instead of writing a paper due in twenty minutes, then I might have to evaluate my priorities. People whom become addicted to video game have essentially lost the ability to prioritize their real life  responsibilities over their desire to live in a virtual worlds. Finally, I have posted below one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time. I think this clearly demonstrates an extremely unhealthy attachment to a video game. Enjoy

10 Responses

  1. One could say that, but I believe all addiction, whether it is video games, over eating, anorexia, or even heroin, all stem from the SAME problem. Yes, the SAME problem in EACH and EVERY person. The problem? A broken relationship with God. That’s it. If you have a broken relationship with God, then of course your going to have problems. Is God going to get rid of your problems for you? No. Think of a parent, are they going to just go *POOF* and there goes all your problems? Of course not! Now, there are many people who never look at the manual for their car, but it doesn’t make much sense. Likewise, the Creator has given us a book on how to live: and it’s called the Bible. If we simply do as we are told, by God’s word, as it has been preserved for us, then a lot of these problems we experience wouldn’t be problems anymore. It’s not that they would be taken care of, but we would have an entirely different perspective. Search out the truth.
    God bless,
    Michie D.

  2. I myself am a player of wow and surprisingly so. I resisted joining for a very long time, but finally caved. I do understand that some people can take their gaming a little too far (I have been broken up with because a guy needed more time with his video games).

    I also think that if gaming is something you enjoy that it is good for you. Many games require thought and are gaining a more social atmosphere. As far as accomplishing something, even if it is not something that the real world can see, I feel like I have accomplished something for myself when I beat a game or accomplish a new level (since you can’t actually “beat” WOW).

    It is important to take it in moderation though. I do not think that games should run your entire life.

  3. Hey Michie D I really appreciate the feedback! I’m having a hard time grasping that the only reason people have addictions is their broken relationship with God. Who is to say they even had a connection with God in the first place? I mean there are people in the world, probably to your horror, that do not believe in God or his words in the bible. So how can a person who in the past had no connection with God lose this connection? Religion is a fantastic thing and I support every faith and the way people practice, but I think it is a little ridiculous to place the blame solely on a loss of connection.

  4. WoW! (pun intended)

    I have often found myself caught up trying to beat friends’ scores on rather simple looking facebook games, that basically threaten to lower your self-esteem if you don’t play them more! Things like “Who has the biggest brain?” where you can TAUNT your friends who have lower scores, make social network-based gaming very addictive. I was hooked on that stuff until I told myself – NO MORE FACEBOOK! and now I am fine…

  5. Second Life: Land of the WEAK home of the BROKEN

    First of all, I have been there, have done that. Had clubs, owned land, made friends, money, and fell in love. Second life on the surface, especially for the newbie and Entrepreneur/artist is a fun and cool place to make some friends, and make some money. It is looked at as a supercharged chat room, a video game. But the nature of its name is where the insidiousness is. As much of a second life (SL) as it might be, in order to operate you still have to use your Real Life (RL) abilities. You do not follow a different thought and emotional pattern when in SL. You can only use what you know in RL. But kidding yourself is one of the appeals of SL. You eventually get lost in it.
    At first it is new and exciting. Like a new video game. Learning the functions that move your avatar around, visiting places and socializing with the natives. You are perfect, and you can fly. No sickness, no need for money (well not as much) and people don’t have bad breath and, as a “normal”, “intelligent” person, it is an interesting place to explore and learn. But it eventually becomes one of three things. 1. Boring, like a video game you have played over and over. 2. An environment to explore your creative ability to design and sell things. Or, 3 it consumes your psyche.
    The first two are what they are; the third is the meat and potatoes of SL. This is the one that is more consistent. Do you really think the folks at Linden Labs are spending their free time on SL.? No, they are spending the money they are making in RL (SL is a business so it is RL for them) on RL things.
    There comes a saturation point where you walk away or get sucked in. I will say this for the last time and it does not apply to you newbie’s, or the smart ones that are making money off the lonely. It is a place to hide from reality. It is a place where weak, lost souls go to escape from the depth and breadth of life. I will allow some latitude for you shut-ins. Some people have nothing else but the four walls of the room they are in. SL can provide a form of “human” entertainment that they otherwise would not be able to get. But, that just causes the shut-in to let go of their emotional self being even more. This is a hard pill to swallow, no one wants to take a good look at them selves and most do not. But the covert nature of SL allows you to cut loose. Sort of the absolute power corrupts absolutely theory. People that stay too long get lost in it. And yes, justifying all the way, that it is just a game. For the predator, and a predator is weak by nature, it is a place to be free of thought and persecution. To dominate the weak that makes SL their home. And, it is a place for the weak to not be judged, a place that they can feel and accept that who they are is ok, even if it is with the few. Some people can handle the trials and tribulations of life, some can’t and they end up in SL. You start to see a symbiotic circle of relationships in SL. For the people designing objects to sell, they may not interact totally and directly with the person/s and, their sales may come from across the board. The newbie that is playing the “game” to the obsessed, but, the obsessed is a long term customer. Theses business individuals usually get in, add new product, convert their lindens to dollars or pounds and get out.

    The tragedy is the weak and broken. Don’t roll your eyes, In the Real World we are always conned with flashy marketing to get us to buy something or believe something in order to be more acceptable. Magic creams or potions. Don’t kid yourself; Second Life is about making money. Making money off of what? Our loneliness and our lack of self worth in the real world. HELLO, McFly!! It is called Second Life.

    It might be simple, you build a club, people come and visit or create a group, and you solicit for members. People get together and boom, you feel wanted and needed. Building your dream home in the clouds and littering your lawn with cool things like jets and swimming pools. That can make you popular. Walking in a park with your perfect Avatar girlfriend/boyfriend, no RL issues so it is a perfect relationship. That leads to good puppet sex. Mmmm nice. All this is accomplished by tugging on your weakness, your emotional frailty. Either you are not getting it in RL or are too afraid to face the truth of how to exist in RL. You can’t handle the truth and if you are a long term SL puppet, you just can’t handle life, Real Life. Don’t get me wrong, we all like to escape from time to time.

    In some places it is much darker, like I said before, predators hunting the weak. The Gorean Master and the slaves that he takes control of. This one is unusual, in that the Master has total control over the slave. The “slave” giving not only total control of their Avatar, and who can communicate to them, but also, control as to when they will or will not talk to what they can wear. Believe me this does carry over to real life. Imagine the fun of kneeling next to your Avatar Master and saying nothing. Second life being nothing more then a place to be told what to do, serving fake food and ale. You want to call it guided, or taught? Hey, what ever floats your boat? I know just a video game, right? This setup just allows the predator to get in that persons head and develop a false sense of security. Tell that to your husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Why you are glued to the PC instead of enjoying life, REAL LIFE. And, couples also get on there too, as couples, this is a nutty one. Worked hard all week, beautiful weekend, and, you both are on a computer, every free moment, building and designing that special home, having that child you never could have. (Yes, people do play the part of the child.) I find it unhealthy when instead of developing a better real life and real relationship in RL. You take that precious time and waste it. Yes, ok… You are free to do what you want. But there are plenty of damaged people on SL. And your fantasy could be causing them to loose sense of reality, along with your lost sense of reality. Their marriages, get funky, destroyed, their children get neglected. And you get a ridiculous God complex that makes you anti social in the Real World, which just plummets yourself deeper in to SL. Cha Ching! Sweet business you got Linden People.
    You have the 50+ couple that spends every “free” moment in SL being the King and Queen. Oh, and so good to their obedient subjects. At their beckons call, at their total command. Or, the sexual perverts. Ok, my opinion….. That can now live out the fantasy of doing it with a farm animal. Or, kneeling down and being the public toilet. Sex is rampant in SL. The anonymous nature of your avatar is something too. You really do not know if the man is a woman or the woman is a man, plenty of men that are living out their desire to be a Transsexual, or a woman. Plenty of women that want to love another woman, so she hides in the body of a man. I guess what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Hey, no one is getting hurt, no aids. Nicey nice. The soul is willing but the flesh is weak. So, the wall that SL provides, allows for an easier transition to experiment. Sad part is as your getting deeper and deeper; you are getting more lost in fantasy then reality and they start to blend. Actually, you probably were lost between the two to begin with. Now you go out into the real world. Take a break; meet one of your SL friends. Break the rule, cross that line; remember SL and RL are supposed to be two different places. People meet up, some get married, the rare few. But mostly it is a letdown, disappointment, and harm to others. It is a dirty little secret. Who wants to tell people that you got into that trouble because you decided to meet your “make believe” friend?
    Lips stay sealed, people get hurt. And in the end, the only place they feel right, the only place that people understand is right back on Second Life. CHA CHING!

  6. Good point Nadir. I think its funny when people tell me I am a loser for playing WoW when they spent their time playing games that are just as silly (the anybody?).

  7. I have nothing to say after watching that video but Oh My God, and I feel bad for that poor boys parents. The only video game I have every played is Super Nintendo, and while I enjoyed it, I can’t imagine ever having becoming crazy addicted. I am wondering what people, similar to this boy, would become addicted to if they did not have access to video games. Would the boy get addicted to something else, say car racing? I certainly would rather that boy at home smashing his keyboard up then out on the street driving. Do video games allow people to focus their general addiction problems at home in a safe way? This is probably a crazy question.

  8. I’m with you, Kelly…that video is shocking. It reminds me of the rage you seen in sports. I’ll admit that I’ve broken windows out of anger and frustration while playing badminton with my brother. (parents did not find a badminton racquet through the dinning room window too funny) I’ve kicked things over and thrown things around on the soccer field or tennis court. Maybe this is a similar–although more extreme–form of release of rage.

  9. Ross I’m going to have to go ahead and agree with you that I don’t full understand the broken relationship with God issue. I agree that addiction does stem from some disconnect with something, but I’m more inclined to believe it has to do with things like family, a distorted perception of reality, general anti-social behavior (and I mean that referring to the actual definition of the word…as in, behavior that is not deemed socially acceptable.) I just think there are an array of problems that can lead to any addiction but the God argument is a but of a stretch for me. Regardless of my own personal beliefs, I am definitely a believer that we have control over our own destinies, which is why I am hesitant to agree that a falling out with God can lead to addictions that can essentially ruin our lives.

  10. […] laws govern…Best of March 30 to … on What happens when you die…Holly Boyle on Gaming Addictionbucknelldave on Gaming Addictionbucknelldave on Technology and the […]

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