The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Gaming Addiction is like all Addictions
My generation knows of our secret addiction – from Atari and all the games and gaming systems. It is no secret of what we all have gone through, are going through, or currently refuse to accept: We are, were, or have been addicted to video games for most of our lives, whether it was on the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, XBOX, GameCube, Wii, or any of the many other gaming systems that we played for our own entertainment, pleasure, and enjoyment. We were the first generation that stopped playing outside and started playing inside.
There was something satisfying about video games coming out, waiting for them to arrive, or scanning the game aisle of the now mostly-extinct Blockbuster, bringing them home, and playing them. Games had a beginning and an end and were meant to be challenging enough to stretch out hours of our time on end. While early video games did not have a save feature and all games had to be started from the beginning, later gaming systems came with memory systems that allowed the game to be resumed right where one left off.
The Final Fantasy genre was one of those video games where one could play for hours and days at a time with no results of ever seeing or reaching an end. I did personally play Final Fantasy and became addicted to it for a while, though I cannot recall ever playing it until the end. It was just too much time and never happened. I did complete many other games, however, and always was looking for the next best thing when it came to games, to keep me entertained, to bring me into other worlds, and just take me away from a life I thought was boring.
Games offered a fantasy world where I was the captain, the superhero, the leader, the hero of my world, and nothing could stop me. I could have superpowers or go into lands I had never seen before. I could meet many different people whom had different personalities and respected me for all that I had achieved in my game world. I eventually entered the realm of computer games, and my life was forever changed, where my addiction increased to the point where I would play hooky, fake sickness, or just skip middle-school and high-school days in order to continue playing a game through the next day, as I had even skipped sleep in order to accomplish what I believed was the most important thing in my life.
Eventually, I grew tired of gaming, and realized there were more important things to do in my life: meet new people, travel, make money, work, and even go to college. Although I am still a gamer at heart, I can never trust myself to start a game, because the addictive trait wants to continue playing and feed the hormone that brings on the pleasure of gaming, as if it were the greatest drug I have ever had in my life.
I did make the personal choice to finally give up gaming and live a life of hiking, traveling, swimming, and generally being more outdoors rather than in front of a television or computer screen. My job, however, does require that I am in front of a computer screen, and running this website also requires some computer time. While I would love to download a computer game and start playing, I keep myself busy with other things on the computer and the Internet including researching new trends and technology and the betterment of my health, writing new articles, and keeping in touch with friends and family.
There are children who become addicted to gaming and most parents accept it because they enjoy the lazy parenting, while gaming gives their child something to do. Gaming is a great tool for entertainment and it does teach the child about hand-eye coordination, certain critical thinking skills, and some logical reasoning, as the majority of children see it as fun and entertaining.
Unfortunately, most gaming addicts who never go to college, who never took time to learn real (or any) skills or even bothered to get a minimum wage job in their teenage years, who never took an interest in anything besides “the game”, are bound to work low-wage minimum wage jobs for most of their young adult lives or longer and depend on their parents, while living in their parents basement, or being forced to move out and living with a bunch of other people who are basically in the same position.
For those parent who are dealing with their adult-child gamers who are still living at home in your basement and you cannot get them to move out, or even motivate them or help them to help themselves get a job and make money, you already know your child is an idiot and is probably not going to make anything of themselves. This is a harsh reality and many of you may disagree with me, but the truth hurts: If your child is an adult and is still living at home with no intentions of actually growing up, going to college, getting a job, and living a normal life, than it is probably truthful to say: You messed up somewhere and you allowed it to happen and now you probably need to do something about it.
Gaming addiction is as real and as similar as a drug, food, or gambling addiction. If you do not help your child when they are young, it will become a normal lifestyle that will never change as they get older. They will become so accustomed to the gaming lifestyle that they will figure out ways to incorporate it into their working adult life.
They may not be able to form or maintain real life relationships or they may not be able to fully function without your help and support. The reality of getting a job, working, making money, and living life will not be a thought in your child’s brain, and you, the parents, will end up fitting their bill for them to live at home, leech off of you, until you die, or they decide to finally grow up.
Gaming in moderation is certainly recommended, but allowing your child to always play video games, buying them video games, and feeding their addiction is like giving them drugs. Once you allow this to happen throughout their childhood, it is not going to change throughout their adulthood unless they finally make the decision themselves, which is probably not going to happen.
Call for them to do something more productive and guide their future for something better. Gaming should be limited entertainment. Teach them about the outside world, about playing in the park, going for a walk, enjoying outdoor activities. Always being in front of a television or computer screen is not living life and life was certainly not meant to be lived that way. Teach your children while they are young and limit their time when it comes to gaming.
If you are a gaming addict and looking for help, you can start with these steps:
- Admit you have a gaming addiction
- Seek help at 1-866-953-3974
- Search the Internet for help with your gaming addiction
- Break the addiction
- Learn to live your life again without gaming
- The world can be just as interesting as a game
- Your time on this Earth is limited, so spend your time wisely
- Enjoy life