Online gaming addiction is a serious problem, and is now considered a medical condition; since it can be done in the privacy of one’s own home, no one is around to watch or judge — making it easier for people to fall into its addiction.
Giving up for the game
In China, reports are surfacing that prove online gaming is devastating lives. Young adults, called “second generation farmers” (or sgf’s) who come from families of farmers and migrant workers, are dropping out of school and making their way into big cities in search of easier lives — but instead, what they’ve found is online gaming. These second generation farmers are taking it to the extreme, often resorting to prostitution in order to make enough money to spend their days playing online games, rather than getting jobs.
Like a drug
Experts in the United States are not surprised, and say addiction to online games or social networking sites is just as powerful as drug addiction. Therapists and counselors see a dramatic increase in the number of patients that need help, as a result. “The addiction we’re talking about is the same addiction in many ways as drugs,” says therapist Dr. Woog. “The withdrawal from the computer can be like the withdrawal from any addiction. It can be very difficult.” (1)
This addiction makes people depressed, unresponsive and neglectful to family and loved ones, and can result in quitting jobs or schooling in order to spend more time online.
Learning the limit
While many gamers are addicted, many more are just a step away. A recent survey asked Americans what they’d give up for one year, in exchange for the Internet. 77% said they would stop eating chocolate, 73% said alcohol, 69% said coffee, and 21% said sex! (1)
Online games and sites like Facebook are fun, and can serve a number of healthy or helpful purposes, but everyone must be aware of the dangers, and the fact it can lead to addiction. Many games and sites are designed to draw in users and keep them online by offering rewards for more time spent there.
Because of the accessibility and popularity of the Internet, experts predict the number of gaming addiction cases to increase in the near future.
Gaming addiction can be cured, and may require professional help. Just as for drug addiction, therapy and support groups are available.