Apr 22, 2010

Gaming Addiction Getting Out Of Hand

"If teenagers can't play games late at night, they will find other ways to have fun by drinking and smoking," - Shin Tae-kyun, a 17-year-old gamer.

According to Time, South Korea is getting a little tired of those addicted to video games. Their internet cafes are overloaded and you can't pry the kids off of the PC's with a crowbar. The kids aren't studying and doing chores! So they're putting a ban on internet between midnight and 8 a.m. Doesn't matter if you're just about to beat a quest in WOW or beating a big boss in another popular game, internet goes night-night when the clock hits twelve.

Sounds like tyrants, right! Not really. I totally see where Korea's going with this. They're not really cracking down on today's disobedient youth because they're short-changing their responsibilities and what mommy and daddy tell them to do. It's a problem of the extremes. Because Korea doesn't have internet access like America does - they have to go to internet cafes and such, they revere those with high scores like big name celebrities and everyone throws caution to the wind to try to make it as such a champion. So Korea's been seeing cases of gamers starving themselves to death, or even not taking care of their children.


Yeah, that actually seems like legitimate addiction then, rather than what American media spews out. So let's just go over some ground rules so you know if you're really addicted or not, or, just some guidelines to avoid this kind of extreme addiction.

  • Tolerance - Everyone starts something as a newb. And it's only natural that with experience comes tolerance. You'll be able to play for longer periods of time, for example. But when you find it not challenging at all to go on multiple consecutive all-night benders, this is a warning.
  • Withdrawal - when you're away from your games and start going through physical or mental instability. The shakes, the itch, the teeth-grinding, the foot tapping. Whatever your vice.
  • Social/Occupational/Recreational activities get pushed further and further back. "Sorry dude, I don't want to go see a movie, my character's almost level 34!". "Sorry, I can't come into work today, I'm really sick. Sick of being pwned by this darn three headed demon!"
  • Spending all time planning/engaging or recovering from - You're sitting at work or at school and you're paying attention to anything you're doing. You're only train of thought is what you're going to do on the game when you get your hands onto it.
  • Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc. Seriously, it's just a game. It's only meant to make you happy.
  • Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of day or night. There's no true-blue gamer that hasn't stayed up all night playing a brand new game, but again, everything in moderation.
  • Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
  • Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times
  • Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual
  • Secretiveness/Lying/Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency - if you have to lie or keep it a secret that you're too busy playing a game to do something else, that should raise some flags with you.
  • Stealing - This is the kind of warning sign that you read about when people murder others to obtain their games.
  • Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amounts of cash at times but no money at all at other times - We all have expenses other than video games. Don't bankrupt yourself searching out entertainment. The world will still turn and the sun will still rise tomorrow if you don't own EVERY game ever produced.
  • Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends - X-Box Live/PSN/MMO friends are great things to have and can help you out. But they'll come and go. Friends in the real world can be much more profitable.

All of these symptoms are straight from about.com, which I found doing just a simple google search.

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