The Rise Of Computer Game Addiction
In this day and age, with hardcore chemicals being the scourge of civilized life, heroin, cocaine, vicodin, all the classes of drugs that are man-made and not naturally produced or even those that are natural, it seems silly to talk of addiction to a computer game. But it is neither silly nor trivial. Take heed!
The sheer popularity of these games, played on home computers, Xbox?s, Playstations, Gamecubes and other consoles, shows that this addiction does not affect everyone equally. Some people can play a game for an hour, then go back to work, or watch TV and not give a second thought to the game. Others play it 8 hours a day or more, forgoing meals, family, work, and daily chores.
The corporations that produce these games do not help with the problem, in fact they stoke the fires into roaring blazes. Clearly, they understand that there are millions of people who will forgo simple things in life to pay $10 a month to play on a game for objects and things that are intangible. So they feed the addiction, releasing new objects obtainable only in the online world, or releasing new add-on upgrades and expansion sets for another $50. The bottom line is money of course, they are corporations who are responsible to their shareholders, and no-one wants to blame them for the ruinous addiction they are causing. With ever larger online worlds entering the gaming fray (World of Warcraft, Everquest 2 ?), it seems that this is a problem that will only increase.
Psychologists have labelled this as Computer Addiction or Internet Addictive Disorder, a problem very similar to Pathological Gambling or Compulsive Shopping, and sadly it does not just affect one person, but seeps into family life affecting those around the addicted. This is a real disorder, not imagined, and those afflicted need to seek professional help and more significantly, need the love, comfort and support of friends and family. Perhaps a little tough love is in order too, regulate the computer time, turn off your child?s playstation after they have played for an hour, get them involved in real world activities that have nothing to do with a computer.
This is not an American phenomena, or European, this is world-wide, and only getting worse. The Chinese have started camps for adolescents addicted to computers, in a land where nearly 15% of adolescents suffer from Internet Addiction Disorder according to the China Internet Information Center.
About the Author: Richard Dows can be found blogging on his site (http://www.thex.com/rd/), freelancing web design or working on new online business models. This author has experienced a mild form of this disorder, playing Diablo and Diablo 2 for hours on end and falling prey to the eBay auction bug for Diablo 2 items. Thankfully I had an experience that changed me, a friend of mine got affected by the Everquest bug, playing all hours of the day, not paying bills, skipping work; it eventually led to her divorce, her being fired, and losing everything. So be warned - addiction need not be drug-based and it can ruin your life.