The Risks and Realities of Video Game Addiction

October 2016

Regardless of whether they are played on a mobile device, gaming console, or computer, video games have become somewhat of a daily ritual for many people. And while playing these games has been proven to have psychological and (sometimes) intellectual benefits, a compulsive use of video games can lead to what is known as video game addiction.

This article will teach you how to cope with the new trends emerging in the gaming industry, including online games, MMO, and DLCs, as well as how to better understand the risks associated with an uncontrolled video game habit.

What Are the Risks Associated to Videos Games

What Are the Symptoms of Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction happens more frequently than people would imagine and it should be treated with the same consideration as any other type of addiction (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or gambling).

Video games addiction can have huge impact on personality, health, and social relationships. A prolonged and uncontrolled use of video games may cause gamers to experience serious psychological and physical effects including irritability, insomnia, sadness, anxiety, aggressiveness, depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, and discomfort.

Most video game addicts are unable control their urge for games and will spend most of their free time playing games - often at the expense of other activities (sport, social relations, work…). As a result, video game addicts are prone to experience major health issues resulting from their unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits.

If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, then it is time to question yourself about your gaming habits and try to adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you are unable to break from your addiction, it may be time to consult an addiction specialist or psychiatrist.

Why is Online Gaming Addictive

Online games tend to be more addictive than offline video games as they generally have no "true" ending (the games are updated with new content on a regular basis). Furthermore, they often include a host of features designed to keep the users connected to the virtual world.

What Are the Financial Risks Incurred by Video Game Addiction

While this topic is rarely discussed, the financial risks related to video games are real. Video games can be a budget-buster — you should think twice before purchasing new games. An indie game can cost around $10-30, while a Triple-A game can cost between $40-60.

In addition to the base cost, DLCs, expansion packs, monthly subscription for online gaming, and in-game content also add to the cost of a video game. In addition, thanks to the resurgence of Pay-To-Win games, users are more keen to spend money in order to progress more rapidly in the games.

How To Keep Your Gaming Habits Healthy

Here are a couple of simple tips and good advice to prevent against or cure video game addiction:

Reduce time spent playing games: Try to spend more time with your friends and family, find a new hobby, or participate in outdoor activities.

Don’t play games for consecutive hours: It is recommended that you take a 15 minute break from your screen every hour. In doing so, you'll also help to prolong the life of your console (reduce overheating).

Make a budget and stick to it: You can keep your expenses to a minimum by opting for pre-owned games (often cheaper), or trading your old games with your friends. Don't spend all your money on games.

Follow the PEGI recommendations: Some games can affect the thinking and behavior of younger gamers. To prevent this from happening, one should adhere to the PEGI ratings, which indicate the suitability of games for specific audiences.

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