What to do When Video Games Become a Problem

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In a time where streaming video games has become a legitimate career path, video games can become a serious problem for some. Although games may be difficult to avoid, it’s still important to know what to do when they’ve become a problem. You may be thinking about a full ban on games, but if that’s too extreme, here’s what to do.

Setting limits on the time you spend gaming is a must. You also want to consider other hobbies that will get you out of your home and away from your electronic devices. You can also use online resources to reach out to experts who help with gaming addictions.

There are plenty of options to consider when trying to break a gaming addiction. You’ll also want to know the signs that show gaming may be a problem as well. In this article, we’ll go into detail on what to do when video games become a problem, how to tell they’re becoming a problem and some gaming alternatives.

How to Break the Habit

There are many ways to combat video game addiction, but some options will work better for some than others. Let’s discuss a few ways to break the habit.

Setting Limits

Setting limits is the best way to get the best of both worlds as a gamer. Scheduling play periods throughout the week will help you know when you’ve been playing too long and it’s time to get off. The time limits are dependent on each situation, but the more you feel gaming is a problem for you, the less time you should give yourself to play.

If you’re a parent, you’d be happy to hear about a new tool that allows you to monitor and limit your child’s online gaming called Limit Launcher. With the Limit Launcher app, you will no longer need to take away your child’s gaming device or shut down your internet because you can set time limits that will automatically turn their games off.

Incentivizing 

Whether you’re an adult or a parent concerned about their child, incentivizing video game playtime is key. Only allow yourself or your child to play once they’ve completed their tasks for the day. Work, homework, workouts, cooking, cleaning, reading, and time outdoors are all priorities that should take precedent over gaming. 

One of the biggest signs that video games are becoming a problem is a lack of productivity in other facets of your life. If you prioritize gaming because you use it as a way to destress and relax, just make sure to set daily goals and accomplish them before playing so that you’ll have a clear mind.

Find New Hobbies

Having a lack of things to do can lead to extensive hours playing video games. During a year like 2020 where the Covid19 pandemic shut down so much, we all spent a lot of time indoors, and gamers may have played more hours than they’ve ever been accustomed to solely due to a lack of alternatives. 

Although video games may be fun and can make a boring day go by quicker, they can be a very unproductive hobby. When considering a new hobby, consider things that will bring you long-term positives.

  • Working out
  • Learning a new language
  • Learning an instrument
  • Reading and writing
  • Owning a pet

These are all alternatives to video games that will help you fill the void of all the hours you’d usually spend gaming. Not only will these alternatives help keep you distracted in the short-term, but they’ll also give you something productive and meaningful to do and be proud of in the long-term.

Reach Out For Help

If all else fails, there are online resources to seek help when you believe your gaming has become a problem. These resources will offer a step-by-step course of action to help break your habit. Talking to others who have dealt with the same issues will also shed more light on the long-term ramifications of excessive gaming.

What Causes Video Game Addiction?

The scientific answer to this question is that video games can trigger the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that reinforces a person’s behavior. The same chemical is released among active drug users and it is why something can become so addicting.

The release of dopamine, however, is not always the case. Video game addiction can come form through a lack of alternatives or motivation to do anything else. For others, it is used as an escape from reality and a way for someone who feels alone to immerse themselves in a new community.

Social media has also played a big factor in video game addiction because of all the access to video game clips across the internet. For children, addiction can be attributed to a way for kids to continue to hang out and talk to their friends after school. While this seems harmless, it can also lead to a lack of productivity if not monitored correctly. 

A new factor for today’s generation is the rapid growth of online video game streaming. Channels like Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook give gamers a platform to stream games and create an online community for other gamers. Now with online streaming, you no longer have to play an actual game to be immersed in it. 

Signs That Video Games Have Become a Problem

Signs that gaming is becoming a problem will vary depending on the person. For some, it is as simple as saying “one more game” but proceeding to play for three more hours. For others, it’s as obvious as seeing a steady decline in your schoolwork, work, and health. Here are some signs to look out for as a parent or a gamer. 

Decline In Productivity

The time goes by quickly when you’re gaming. You’ll start at 6 pm and before you know 4 hours have gone by and you’ve skipped over everything you had planned for the evening. 

You’ll begin to notice that you’ll continuously put off assignments and day-to-day activities because you’re so enamored with your game. If you’re a student, you may begin to see it in your grades and in the hours of the night, you’re scrambling to finish your schoolwork.

Health Concerns

Along with long-term effects on your vision, excessive gaming can also cause you headaches and in some cases, anger and stress. Rather than shutting the game off after a stressful encounter, many choose to play it off, leading to an even more stressful experience.

Excessive playing may also affect your drive and motivation to cook and workout. If you start to become lazy and choose to only play games rather than prioritize your health, you will begin to see the negative ramifications that too much gaming will have on your body and health.

If you are experiencing some of these health issues, but continue to play long hours daily, you may have reached a point where gaming has become a detriment to your long-term health.

Social Settings

One of the issues with excessive gaming is the ramifications it can have on your real-life persona. If you struggle in social settings and only feel comfortable while playing video games, you may have reached a point where gaming is the only place you feel comfortable.

If you begin to see a negative change in attitude and personality in social settings, you should consider limiting your gaming time and getting back to the person you are offline. 

Conclusion

Gaming has become more prominent in today’s generation than perhaps ever before. It has its pros and has even become a livelihood for many. The issue is that there is a burnout phase and many are not capable of comprehending when they’ve reached or what to do when they’re there.

Watch for signs that are attributing to a decline in health as well as in overall personality and productivity. If you can correlate some of these warning signs early, you may be able to stop a gaming addiction before it gets worse. 

If you feel as though gaming has become a problem for you, consider limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to play. You should also find other hobbies that will bring satisfaction and fulfillment into your life. If all else fails, seek help or attempt to take a long break from gaming.

Video games have brought a lot of people together over the years, but they can also slow you down. Make sure to stay conscious of your health and productivity if you feel as though gaming is becoming a problem for you.

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/video-game-addiction#1

https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/video-game-addiction/#:~:text=Moreover%2C%20video%20games%20affect%20the,video%20games%20may%20be%20possible.

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-video-game-addiction-22333

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