With the enormous rise in the popularity – and affordability – of computer games and equipment, computer games addiction is becoming increasingly more widespread. Added to the aforementioned facts, high speed internet connections and the reliability of these connections mean that internet gaming can be played continuously without loss of connection and this can also contribute significantly to the addiction.
It is increasingly more common that online games players are spending more time in front of their computer, building their virtual characters and environments to higher levels thus competing with other online players. This addiction is a way for the person to escape from their regular life in the real world. Often, fantasy overcomes reality.
We, as parents of these teens, or even young children, often find it a struggle to find methods that will return our child to a normal life. This is because treating this is not like treating other addictions because you cannot, usually, completely remove the computer from their lives. Schools, internet cafes and their friends are all areas where the source of their addiction can be found – the computer. In extreme cases, this can work with young children, however, with teens or adults, it is not really an option because they can usually acquire a computer themselves.
There are several ways to determine if the person is suffering from computer games addiction. The first, and most significant warning sign, is if they are spending upwards of 6 hours a day in front of their computer playing games. Any changes in personality, for instance, irritability, bursts of anger, social withdrawal. These are usually good indicators that addiction is taking hold. The treatment of this addiction must begin immediately as soon as the warning signs are noticed.
It may simply be that the computer game addict loses all track of time when playing his or her games. You can combat this sign of this by placing a simple timer close to their computer. Have it set for a set amount of time (usually, two hours is a good start). Suggest to the addict that once the timer goes off they should take a breather and do something else. Suggest that a walk in the sunshine and fresh air will clear their head and thoughts.
Think on this!! Computer game addiction could be fatal. I have read a report where a young man was obsessed with playing a game on the computer. He lost his job because he took time off work to play his game. His girlfriend, who was also addicted to playing the game, finished with him because he was spending too much time at the game. He spent 50 hours playing non-stop in an internet cafe. He collapsed with exhaustion and dehydration and suffered a cardiac arrest. He died before he got to hospital.
This is just one way in an attempt to cut down the amount of time spent by the addict at playing games on their computer. There are others and a bit of ingenuity will work wonders. While there is no quick, overnight cure for computer games addiction it must be realized that it is a long-term project which needs to be worked at on a day-to-day basis without fail.