Video game addiction is a growing problem with an estimated 10-15% of gamers engaging in compulsive gaming behavior. As a result, people may see a decline in their physical, social health, and educational performance. Many also struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, which can be further exacerbated by the addiction.
In this article, we will explore the actionable steps and strategies for treating this condition:
Definition of video game addiction
Video game addiction, also commonly known as Internet gaming disorder (IGD), is a growing problem among adolescents and young adults. It can be defined as a compulsive need to play video games, which is typically characterized by an excessive commitment to gaming at the expense of other activities, such as family, friends, education and work. Video game addicts often feel the need to constantly game in order to satisfy their urge to play. This type of behavior can lead to physical, social and mental health issues.
Further characteristics of video game addiction include but are not limited to:
- Preoccupation with gaming activities
- Increases in playing time despite adverse consequences
- Neglecting real-world responsibilities
- Recurring attempts to reduce or control gaming activity
- Withdrawing from other activities due to gaming
- Deception about the amount of time spent playing games
- Feeling irritable when trying to cut back on gaming time
- Lying about or hiding the extent of involvement in gaming activities
- Using video games as an escape from problems or reality
Prevalence of video game addiction
Video game addiction is a growing concern, with an estimated 8.5% of adolescents in the United States meeting the criteria for video game addiction or video game overuse. This figure is significantly higher in countries such as South Korea, where almost 25% of gamers can be considered to be at risk of some degree of video game addiction (1).
Video game addiction occurs when individuals are unable to control their gaming pattern and spend excessive amounts of time playing on their devices. This can lead to a decline in academic and social functioning as well as increase symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress (2). The severity of extreme video game addiction has been compared to other behavioural addictions such as gambling disorders (3).
Though it estimates that only a small percentage of players have a diagnosable gaming disorder, the World Health Organisation recommends assessment for any person who exhibits signs related to problematic gaming behaviour including:
- Neglecting basic daily necessities
- Not participating in other forms of leisure activities
- Having multiple unsuccessful attempts at cutting down or stopping their gaming activities
It must also be noted that not all long hours spent playing video games may constitute an addiction. As with any activity in life, it is how it affects your mental health and overall life balance which should be considered before formally classifying someone’s behaviour as an addictive problem.
Actionable Steps to Treat Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction is a real issue that can significantly impact an individual’s life by reducing their productivity and even causing negative health effects. Fortunately, there are actionable steps and strategies that can be taken to help treat video game addiction.
In this article, we’ll explore the actionable steps and strategies that can be taken to treat video game addiction:
- Monitoring the amount of time spent gaming.
- Setting gaming boundaries.
- Seeking help from a mental health professional.
- Seeking out alternative activities to replace gaming.
Establishing rules and limits
Video game addiction can be addressed by establishing rules and limits. Set specific boundaries for how much time is devoted to gaming. For example, limit playing computer/video games to a certain amount of hours per day or week, and set rules around when gaming is permitted (after school/work, during breaks etc.). Start with small goals such as no gaming during meal times or bedtimes and allow additional time as the results show positive behavior.
Make the rules clear and consistent so that it’s easy to keep track of the progress. In addition, schedule activities outside of gaming such as sport or social activities in order to take advantage of game-free times. By scheduling rewards after completing tasks helps build motivation for sticking to the new healthy habits; this could be financial rewards or time spent with friends and family doing something enjoyable.
Establishing firm but reasonable constraints helps break addictive patterns in video game playing and reduces potential physical, emotional and mental stressors associated with them.
Developing healthy alternatives
Developing healthy alternatives is one of the most important steps to successfully treat video game addiction. It involves helping the individual identify activities and interests that positively engage them without resorting to video gaming as a form of escape or entertainment.
Examples of such activities include:
- Spending time with family members, friends, and/or other people in general
- Engaging in physical activities such as sports, biking, walking, or swimming
- Exploring hobbies and interests such as music, art, photography, writing and baking
- Volunteering with community organizations
- Attending local workshops and educational programs
- Seeking professional help from social workers and counselors
These alternatives provide individuals with the opportunity to expand their life experiences in meaningful and safe ways. They also can work to develop healthier social skills by facilitating interactions with others. Additionally, these activities can be geared towards improving mental health issues that may contribute to addictive behavior including anxiety or low self-esteem. Finally, therapy can be used to explore how underlying trauma may play a role in maintaining video game addiction.
Seeking professional help
Seeking professional help is not always easy, especially if someone suffering from video game addiction masks the behavior with other issues or conditions. Keeping that in mind, one of the most important steps in treating video game addiction is recognizing that it is a legitimate problem – one that needs to be addressed.
Once a person suffering from video game addiction acknowledges the signs and symptoms, it is important to speak to a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible. A doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and suggest medically-approved treatment plans for addressing video game addiction. There are also specialized therapists who specialize in treating this type of behavior, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or motivational interviewing (MI).
When seeking help for computer and video game addiction, it is best to choose the right person who has experience treating this type of condition. If you have difficulty discussing your issue directly with your doctor, consider reaching out to organizations such as GameQuitters.com which offers resources and support forums specifically geared towards helping those affected by gaming disorder find personal success in recovery. Additionally, online support groups like Stop Gaming Today offer helpful talks with peers and counselors that have experience dealing with similar addictions.
Strategies to Prevent Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction is becoming an increasingly common problem among people of all ages. While there are steps you can take to prevent video game addiction from occurring in the first place, there are also proven strategies you can take to assist those who already may be struggling with addiction. This article will cover actionable steps and strategies that can be used to prevent and treat video game addiction.
Educating yourself and your children
Educating yourself, your children and family members about the risks associated with excessive video gaming is an important first step in addressing and preventing video game addiction. It is important to understand that playing video games can be both a positive and a negative experience, which may indicate why so many people become addicted.
With respect to children, parents should talk openly about their concerns and not attempt to censor video games as this may lead to feelings of shame or resentment. Instead, open dialogue between parent(s) and child should focus on setting realistic goals for video gaming, fostering strong communication skills through rules and limits (including those related to time use), offering support with respect to problem solving the situations they encounter while playing. Parents can also choose to monitor the types of games their children are playing (including filters surrounding mature content) as well as ensuring parental guidance ratings are adhered to when selecting appropriate games for a given age group.
When engaging in discussions about excessive gaming behaviour it is also important for family members to discuss other activities that could provide similar levels of pleasure such as exploring new hobbies or engaging in physical activities outside the home. One strategy aimed at curbing hours spent on electronic devices comes from modern day rules like the ‘4 day no device weekends’ where all devices are turned off during 4 days of each week so that families can reconnect without technology interference or addiction! Lastly, it might be useful for parents remind their children that “progress achieved by neglecting other activities will eventually disappear” – suggesting sustainable approaches toward striking balance in gaming and lifestyle pursuits.
Monitoring the time spent on video games
Monitoring the time spent playing video games is an important first step in preventing and managing video game addiction. Parents and guardians need to be aware of the amount of time children and adolescents are playing games, as well their levels of engagement. If parents notice that their children are spending an excessive amount of time playing games or not engaging in other activities such as exercise, they should take action.
Parents can take various steps to ensure their child’s gaming activity is monitored properly. They can use parental controls or set limits on how much time a child is allowed to spend playing video games each day or week. Additionally, parents should create a designated area within the home where gamers can play in order to keep better track of their activity. It’s also a good idea for parents to join in gaming activities with their children so that they are aware of what type of game content they are being exposed to.
Parents should also talk with their children about the risks associated with video game addiction and discuss strategies that may help prevent it from happening, such as:
- Avoiding online purchases
- Setting limits on weekly or monthly spending
- Encouraging participation in real-world activities during down-time between gaming sessions.
Talking openly with their children will help build trust relationships and make them more willing to follow rules related to gaming usage safety and habits that reduce excessive engagement with digital media devices.
Setting gaming limits
Setting gaming limits is one of the most important strategies to prevent video game addiction. Setting boundaries for gaming can help gamers remain in control and keep it from becoming harmful. Parents, in particular, should enforce reasonable limits on their children’s gaming habits by monitoring their online activities and discussing the potential dangers of playing too much.
Parents can also use blocks or filters to limit or control access to certain types of content or services, such as limiting how many hours a day their child can spend playing games. Additionally, parents should provide guidance by balancing “screen” time with outdoor activities and engaging them in meaningful conversation while they are not playing their games.
Limiting exposure to mature content is also beneficial, as exposing young people to excessive violence or physical aggression can lead to increased levels of aggression and risk-taking behavior. It is important that parents pay attention to the content ratings associated with various games so they are sure what their children are exposed to is age-appropriate. Parents should also create a safe environment at home where children feel comfortable talking about any concerns related to video games and express any feelings of anxiety or frustration resulting from excessive gameplay.
In conclusion, video game addiction can be very damaging if it is not managed and treated effectively. Thankfully, there are many actionable steps and strategies that we can employ to address this issue. This includes:
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Seeking professional help
- Adapting healthy habits that can help to reduce the urge to compulsively play video games.
With these strategies, we can help people with video game addiction to manage their compulsions and live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Summary of the key points
The key points discussed in this article about video game addiction treatment actionable steps and strategies include the following:
- Recognizing the signs and symptoms of video game addiction – these can include withdrawing from social activities, playing games obsessively, decreasing physical activity and having an extreme focus on gaming.
- Developing a supportive environment – this includes ensuring appropriate levels of gaming time, setting boundaries, monitoring media usage and providing encouragement for other activities.
- Seeking professional help – talking to a medical doctor or mental health professional can help you create an actionable plan for addressing video game addiction.
- Utilizing tools for account restriction – some tools allow users to limit their playtime or access certain games or services online; these can be used to foster more managed gaming habits.
- Consulting with an experienced counselor – working with a counselor can help individuals develop insight into underlying issues related to their gaming behavior and lead to positive changes in their communication skills, self-image and moods.
By taking the above steps and strategies seriously, individuals struggling with video game addictions have greater potentials at successfully breaking these vicious cycles while building healthier lifestyles.
Implications for future research
In order to move toward better strategies and interventions for the treatment of video game addiction, future research has a few important implications:
- More research into the potential influence of individual characteristics on video game addiction, including looking into the role of gender and its effects on video game addiction.
- More longitudinal studies that allow for a better understanding of the development and maintenance of video game addiction over time.
- Qualitative studies examining the subjective experiences associated with video game addiction in order to capture the nuances specific to this behavior.
- More attention needs to be paid to how certain factors – such as access to technology or peer influence – may facilitate or hinder attempts at managing or changing gaming-related behaviors.
By scaling up research efforts in these areas, we can identify new actionable steps and strategies for treating individuals suffering from video game addiction.