By: Meghan Mathias
Playing video games is one of the easiest ways to wind down and have a fun time by just sitting at home on your couch. You can tend to a farm, fight zombies, drive fast cars, and transport yourself virtually anywhere in this world and any imaginary world you could think of. Video games are also integral parts of our society now. You can make a career out of gaming as a Twitch streamer, you can watch live Travis Scott concerts while playing Fortnite at home, and there are even movies being made from video game premises, like Mortal Kombat.
Why Are We So Addicted to Video Games?
Although gaming has been around long before COVID-19, the pandemic caused a crazy surge in video game obsession and screen time in general. According to the Newport Academy, in 2020, nearly half of children and teens were spending more than 6 hours a day online. Although this statistic includes all online media, video games are a huge percentage of that. The same source claims that video game addiction has been connected to signs of depression and anxiety. Additionally, a study by Geneus showed that 41% of people who play online videogames admit that they use it as an escape from the real world. It seems that escaping into a virtual world of rewarding tasks and easy social situations has become a coping mechanism for real life. Video game addiction also follows the loose outline of all other addictions, where one begins to require longer periods of gaming time as the brain gets used to the reward systems and levels of happiness provided by a game.
Signs Your Child May be Addicted to Video Games
Enjoying video games is one of the most common pastimes today and it can serve so many amazing purposes, such as connecting us with people all around the world playing the same games as us or teaching kids teamwork and problem solving skills. However, everything in moderation. Keep an eye out for these signs of a video game addiction that may require some pulling back on the Xbox controller.
- Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability when not able to game
- Loss of interest in other activities
- The ability and also need to spend large amounts of time gaming
- Using gaming as a coping mechanism regularly
- Deceiving parents about amount of time spent gaming
- Do you spend more time playing video games than doing anything else in your free time? What are your other favorite pastimes?
- Do you prefer to play video games alone or with friends? What do you think a multiplayer aspect adds to the gaming experience?
- What are some positive interactions you have had while playing multiplayer games online?
- Have you ever had a negative or scary experience playing multiplayer games online? If so, how did that experience affect your enjoyment of the game?
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