Players can often get the opinion from their friends that they spend too much time in front of the screen. It’s hard to draw the line between addiction and playing as a hobby, but the signs here aren’t much different from their other addictions either. Let's see!
What is video game addiction?
The WHO (World Health Organization)recognizes video game addiction as an existing disorder. By its exact definition, it is a constant or recurring pattern in a player’s online or offline behavior that can be related to the control they feel over the game. Typically, the importance of playing over other values, such as interests, and daily tasks, regardless of the negative consequences.
It is most similar to gambling addiction, where no matter how much a player loses, they feel there is always somwhere to continue. The next round will be better and the money and time invested will bring success. In reality, however, it could be likened to any other passion. The symptoms of video game addiction is not very different from smoking or alcohol problems either. The addict is aware of the risks and negative effects, but is willing to accept them because of the fictitious or realistic positive consequences.
You don’t have to consider someone as a video game addict right away just because he is “playing too much”. How much is that too much? How do you tell if someone is really addicted or just playing for fun and relaxation?
According to the WHO, billions of players are out there, yet only 3-4% of them are considered addicted. And the difference between healthy and unhealthy passions is easily measurable, with negative effects. For an addict, the object of his addiction is slowly becoming more important than anything, and this will be noticed primarily by his family members and friends. Time is also an important factor here. A clear diagnosis can also be made by a doctor only after prolonged observation, which usually spans twelve months. So it is not possible to toss easily with the accusation of addiction.
How can the problem be identified?
The American Psychiatric Association has identified nine warning signs that can be observed in most video game addicts. While these help us to notice the harmful passion in time, either for ourselves or for an acquaintance, it is not possible to rely on these alone, it is better to look for a specialist.
1. Every thought of the player revolves around video gaming
It can be a warning sign if one's mind is only about what was in a previous game, what he could have done differently, what strategies he could have used, or he is already waiting for the next time to play. This is not a problem in the short term, such as when a long-awaited new game is released or in a company where you have fellow players. He becomes one when he can only talk about it and is not interested in anything else.
2. You have withdrawal symptoms
As with most addictions, video gaming can cause withdrawal symptoms if you lose the opportunity to play. These are usually similar to the symptoms of other addictions: irritability, nervousness, boredom, sadness, or stress. Anything that distracts from the lack of an object of addiction.
3. Spend more and more time playing games
Most video games are made to be hard enough so they are always challenging enough, but not too hard for players who can not give. As a result, success requires more practice, along with more time spent in a video game, which can be to the detriment of other activities.
4. Occurrence of physical symptoms
These include numbness of the limbs due to long hours of play crouching in front of the computer or crouching on the couch. As with sedentary workers, players may develop certain circulatory disorders that lead mainly to numbness of the legs.
Migraine headaches caused by intense concentration on the screen are not uncommon either, but tendonitis and inflammation of the joints of the hand can also develop. These are caused by the strong grip of the controllers or the mouse, which in the long run only leads to problems.
5. Loss of interest
For other hobbies or social activities. Gradually, video games are becoming the only fun activity. Nothing equates to the sense of success we achieve in our virtual world.
6. Know and ignore problems
As with other addictions, video game addicts may realize that the object of their passion is detrimental to their health, their social relationships. However, as can be observed in gamblers or smokers, they can continue their activities with some excuse.
The addicts often lie about how much time they spend playing video games. They know exactly what reaction they would face if they would tell the real number, so they reduced it to a fraction.
8. The game is a safe space to hide the from problems
Many of us may be familiar with a situation where we would have to make an important decision or complete a task with deadline, and suddenly everything seems more interesting that has nothing to do with it. While most people clean the apartment at this point, rearrange our closets, or watch an entire season from a series, and game addicts just starts to play.
The difference is in frequency. A game addict escapes from all his problems into his virtual world, be it guilt, helplessness, feeling sad, or doing the dishes. Put simply, he is looking for even the tiniest opportunity to indulge his passion and find peace in his mind.
9. Sooner or later he also ruins his relationships
Video gaming is the primary role in the addict’s life. Accordingly, it also takes precedence over social relationships, studies, or work assignments. This will sooner or later have a negative effect on all areas in your life, you may even be aware of it, yet you will not be able to get away from it.
The reasons for this are psychological on the one hand. The game is a shelter from the problems, because here you can experience success. On the other hand, they are physical, as withdrawal symptoms are just as difficult to deal with, simmilar when quitting smoking or alcohol.
My personal experience with the last point
I had been dating a girl for about 3 years. We’re not together anymore just because of the video game addiction. We were together for about 3 months. I don’t want to write down her name, however I will describe my experiences. It was already said on the very first date that she was a gamer girl and she was thinking about starting a youtube channel. It seemed exciting at first, I never had a gamer girlfriend before. I was interested in starting a youtube channel too at the time. Later, more and more suspicious sentences were uttered. For example, the fact that she used to be excluded at school and was a victim of harassment, she couln't really talk to anyone else except her gamer friends. Later, it degenerated to the point that we really had no other topic. If I had talked to her about anything else, she would have just been nervous about it. Especially, she sometimes had outbursts of anger. One time I didn’t praise her scrambled eggs (it was delicious anyway) and she had a reaction as if I had committed the worst sin in the world. It is simply an inability to praise someone for everything every minute of the day and to distribute verbal achivments for it. She was constantly tense at work and therefore always blamed her environment. When we went hiking in nature she kept grumbling about which friend she was playing with on a server and how bothered she was that she wasn't informed that they were playing. Believe me this is quite annoying when one has no other interests and a complete lack of social sense occurs. When I talked to her about losing my mother she just rolled his eyes boredly. I think now you understand why we broke up. Unfortunately, she also had other mental problems. Mainly the loss of his first friend was a central problem for her and the move of his father. My assumption is that in her case, video game addiction was an escape from these thoughts into a world where she gets an instant sense of success and, shrouded in anonymity. You can shape your online character until everyone recognizes and loves it. But that’s not the reality and I don’t envy her once he wakes up from this dream.
We can also distinguish between short and long-term video game addiction
Short-term addiction can be triggered primarily by offline games that nail players to a screen with a story or task. This kind of passion usually lasts until we play that particular game. By learning the story and completing the task, we will achieve our coveted goal and be able to let go of our addiction.
From this point of view, online games are more dangerous because they usually have no end. There’s always another mission, another level, or another storyline to learn about. In both cases, however, we can control the situation. If you notice any warning signs, you may want to reduce the time spent playing. The key word could be gradation. To reduce withdrawal symptoms, we can slowly reduce the time spent in front of the screens, but different methods may be effective for each person.
Overall, therefore, video game addiction affects only a very small percentage of the gamer community, but it is an existing phenomenon. It is worth paying attention to warning signs, because if you notice them in time, you can prevent bigger problems. However, with a little healthy passion, there is nothing wrong with that yet.
My own addiction
Yes even I am addicted at some level. I’ve been playing relatively infrequently lately, but if I find a long-awaited title, I’ll be occupied with it for days. I only play offline video games. Nowadays, mostly horror games such as Resident Evil, or Days Gone and I am handcuffed to the Play Station for long days. I would have had a lot to do at home, but I felt like it was a pressure for me and I just preferred sitting down to play for just an hour before doing the tasks. Then I stayed there for another hour and I noticed it was getting dark. The day was gone. These are periodic addictions. but even for me, I have to exercise serious self-control so that the game doesn’t go to the detriment of my work and privacy. It must not be at the expense of it. You might be familiar with this situation. I was able to get rid of this by planning my day in the morning. I have to make a list of it if I have a lot to do that day and try to accomplish them by the end of the day. I play more sports and if I can do more I walk in nature. It’s really soothing and recharges a lot of energy. I feel much less stressed. This has often been a reason for me to drain the tension for the game. Luckily, my partner and I understand each other very well and can organize a lot of programs together. My friends have also been a great help in dealing with my addiction. We simply need to recognize what are really important things and who are the important people in our lives and what we can lose by closing ourselfs in. Let’s see what we can lose by living in a room for years and our friends are just virtual. What will this way of life give us later?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with playing with your friends for a few hours after work or school. Or if you just don’t have a better thing to do and you play on say your phone. This is not what addiction means. But if your withdrawal is simply accompanied by symptoms like aggression, panic, depression, anxiety. If all your thoughts revolve around this and you tend to neglect your personal relationships or responsibilities because of it. Then there is trouble. That is beyond the hobby level.
Of course, I’ve heard this from many gamers "why they need to be buged about this" And reading instead of playing wouldn’t bother people. The focus is not on what you do, but on how intensely. Reading, but even fishing, can be addictive if it’s the only positive emotional stimulus in your life thought. It’s important to get positive stimuli from multiple sources so you don’t focus on just one and the same.
Possible causes of addiction
- Spiritual trauma caused by a loss and we are unable to process
- Continuous failure experiences in our private lives or careers
- The need for childhood exclusion and belonging to an inclusive community
- Lack of building social relationships with parents or friends
This topic is not new. It has been dealt with for years by professionals, TV shows, Podcasts and even our favorite cartoon series like South Park or The Simpson Family. Among the sarcastic jokes, we can often know ourselves.
What does a video game give children?
The fact that video games are so popular among children is covered by the psychological needs. According to the theory of Ryan, RM and Deci, EL, our intrinsic motivation to act is determined by three factors:
- a sense of competence (that we can be effective, successful in what we do)
- autonomy (to be free to decide, to control events)
- and belonging somewhere (that we are important, we matter to others)
If these requirements are met, the action will be rewarding for us and we will be happy to do so, helping to maintain our well-being. Many times, however, school difficulties, integration, or family problems miss the opportunity to make these three conditions a reality. This makes it easy to understand where video games enter the picture and why they can be so appealing to kids. If the child plays too much, then the ban may not be the solution, but it should be helped to get what he sees as attractive in the game in real life:
Have success experiences in your studies or in your special lessons, find what you are talented about, don’t make family decisions over your head, and experience in your relationships that you are important, belong somewhere. At Fortnite, a child can also get this, but there is no feedback and thus the opportunity for development, which is the reality: in the case of 10-12-year-old adolescents, the recognition and praise of parents and teachers in building self-confidence still matters. Later, more and more friends take over this role, but they will most likely not love or value someone based on their performance in a computer game, but on the basis of their behavior in the community, in their personal relationships. Love and acceptance from parents and friends can never be offset by the number of points scored in the game or the number of followers earned on social media. Lack of these can cause problems even in adulthood and will be accompanied by a constant search for self-justification.
Why are Fortnite and other Battle Royale games so successful?
These thoughts come from Orsolya Király, one of the Addiction Research Group at the Institute of Psychology at Eötvös Loránd University, who studies the psychological aspects of video games, especially players motivations and problematic use (or "addiction").
One of Fortnite’s greatest accomplishments is that it can not only reach huge crowds, it can keep them going. The friendly look that makes the game accessible to the younger age group who plays a role in this, and the positive first impression it can provide for beginners. This is achieved by using chance as a game mechanics element in a surprisingly specific way. Compared to other skill-based shooting games, Fortnite builds on chance much more powerfully. The weapons in the chests are occasionally generated, so it is easy for lucky beginners to find the really powerful weapons. On the other hand, guns are quite inaccurate, by as much as 30 percent. Critical hits are also completely random. The game mechanics solutions allow beginners to defeat more experienced opponents if they are lucky. And while veteran players hate it all (since hundreds of hours of training aren’t a guarantee that they’ll beat the rookies who have been trying the game for a couple of hours in a firefight), overall, everyone seems to benefit from it. Beginners because, unlike many other games, they don’t have to practice a lot to have a sense of success at times, and veterans because the game is so full of beginners, who in most cases are still easy prey.
Candy Crush was the game that could really successfully apply the "lose small, win big" principle. It manifested itself in the following form: the game was deliberately programmed in such a way that when one loses, in most cases it is appreciably close, approx. Be 1-5 steps away from victory. And when he wins, let the point fall on him, which makes him feel like he was a born talent. This manipulation procedure is actually a technique borrowed from gambling. Consider, for example, half-armed robbers when two of the three cherries are spun out of the machine. Two cherries and one banana do not win in the same way as a cherry, a banana and an apple, yet our brains interpret what we see as almost winning. And the machines are deliberately programmed to make "near-won" situations more common. Or think about lottery numbers. If we made the number 11 and pulled out the number 12, we feel like we were a hair’s breadth away from victory. Yet the numbers 11 and 12 are just as different from each other as numbers 11 and 43 are. It is true that they follow one another in a series of numbers, but the number sequence has no significance in lottery drawing.
The same principle applies to Fortnite, but perhaps even more perfectly than other games. When two players get involved in a firefight, it is very common for the winner to win by only "almost" and this is rubbed by the game right under the loser's nose, allowing him to continue to follow events from the winner's perspective after his death. That is, it is programmed to survive a firefight with preferably 1-5 health points if someone is hit but survives. This is no longer a problem for the survivor because the field is big enough to recharge his life with different drinks and bandages before running into another player, but the loser clearly feels like he was almsot victorious, and next time luck will be on his side. In addition, since winning a duel usually advances ten to twenty positions in the hundreds, defeating a single opponent can be a serious success.
Finally, I would like to highlight a third important element. The developers are paying attention to the feedback from the players, they have already fulfilled several of their requests. One of the most notable cases is Mr. Hillman's. After the game arrived on iOS, the news was that the Wi-Fi network could no longer be used in some schools because Fortnite students were overwhelmed by it. But of course the biggest challenge was that where they could, the students played even while teaching. One teacher asked developers on Reddit that to make joke with their students if possible. Epic Games agreed, and made this pre-game message: "Mr. Hillman says not to play in class."
Another famous case is the guy in the orange t-shirt. In March, Epic Games announced a dance competition whose prize was to get the winning choreography into the game. Of course, countless videos were submitted to the competition, and in addition to the winner, the company also published other choreographies. That's when the unusual thing happened. The players were not thrilled with the winner, the more they enjoyed the embarrassingly ridiculous and vigorous dance of the boy in the orange T-shirt, who was ranked twenty-third. The video was seen and shared by far more people than the winning choreography, and the community cried out for justice. And Epic Games listened to the players again and made the dance available for purchase as "Orange Justice" in an update. The description was also taken from the boy, who said this sequence of movements was "great for gymnastics as well."
Basically, all of these things ensure that Fortnite’s popularity has skyrocketed, the game has become part of pop culture, popping up in places we wouldn’t expect and still don’t stop.
Esport and Streamer career
And yes, we got here. This was to be expected somewhere after millions of views and even millions of dollars in revenue from the upscale Youtube and Twitch streamers. An entire industry was built on gamers. From computer parts and accessories to complete gamer room design. Hobby video uploads have been replaced by sponsored studios, or even gamer villas, and the coordinated work of professional video editors and editors to upload as many professional videos as possible to your favorite channel. The hobby activity, which was cringe a few years ago, now provides an opportunity for more serious sports events. It even plays a major role in sports betting. More and more serious sponsors are behind the sporting events broadcast mainly on Twitch, which are bringing more and more serious cash prizes to the winning teams. In some countries, these young people are considered super athletes like the famous baseball players or basketball players. No wonder it can be another pulling force for many young people to spend as much time as possible with their favorite game, confident that they will be able to complete a more serious sport or streamer career with it. Of course, as in any sport, we need to have the right capabilities to fully unfold, but we don’t need as much physical strength and endurance as we do in a box or running race. Primarily, quick reflexes and quick judgment are needed. And in the case of video, to a charismatic personality.
Gamer girls everywhere
The popularity around the games is also exploited by insta "model" girls. Since gamer guys also have their dating habits mostly limited to the internet, the appearance of a gamer girl can be a really exciting phenomenon for them. Today, this thing isn’t so surprising, but in previous years, many Twitch streamers started playing in lingerie and then uploading erotic images to their instagram site to get even more followers. They were sucessfull. Perhaps the most successful representative of these girls is Belle Delphine, whose very provocative pictures and video clips have already traveled the world. Her Youtube channel currently has 1.69M followers and her erotic clips have been seen by millions. Instagram’s profile also has plenty of followers and a bunch of fan repost insta profiles have been born already. With such a large following camp, it’s no wonder you can sell gamer girl bath water, gamer condoms and the new craze in a water-cooled pc configuration filled with gamer girl bath water. (Yes this happaned…) Of course, this kind of success has attracted business opportunities in many girls as well. The like-hunting girls native on facebook have switched to gamer themes specializing on Twitch and on instagram. Moreover, the relationships of celebrities are serious clickbait in this community too. It would be up to everyone to decide for themselves whether they are worthy of being so reputable, but in my opinion, it is quite irresponsible for 15-16 year olds to post erotic pictures on the internet.
I wrote about a lot of things in this post. There are some that are a little different from the subject, but I felt it was important to mention. Perhaps the most important final thought I would suggest is to do a more serious self-assessment and look at what your real reason is if you might spend too much time playing games. It fits 1-2 hours a day. You would spend that much even before a TV show. This is not a problem. But if you’re obsessed only with games all day and only feel this is the source of your happiness, then maybe it’s time to explore other hobby options as well. I am sure that not everyone will agree with this post and I will not save the world with it, as this topic has been described and discussed by a lot of people over the last 2-3 years. But I would be happy for them if I could contribute a little to social development.