Gaming Addiction (and overuse of the term addiction)

Gaming Addiction (and overuse of the term addiction)

I’ve been a gamer since as long as i’ve been able to hold a controller, and I’ve had my fair share of games that i didn’t want to put down. My parents TO THIS DAY say i am addicted to games. Every time I’m in their presence and i glance at a clock, or pull out my phone to see what times it happens to be, there will be a remark like ” ooh, he’s been disconnected for at least an hour now, he’s probably got the shakes.” or “ooh he’s been off his nintendo for a while now, are you feeling okay.” (I haven’t owned a working nintendo in over five years, but parents right? ) It drives me crazy.

I’ll be the first to admit that i play video games A LOT! Don’t believe me? the picture above is a screenshot of my Runescape Adventurer’s log where i was nearing six-thousand hours of play – time. That’s the time spent in one game, and it’d by no means the only one i play. I don’t consider myself addicted though, and if anyone’s reading this I want you to really think before you call someone “addicted to video games”. It may not seem like that harmful a thing to say, but I’m betting you never had to try and convince someone you’re NOT addicted to something, it’s pretty hard, you know why? Because the first thing a person actually addicted to something does is deny that they’re addicted to that thing. It’s kind of a manic little circle to be pushed into. It’s really impossible to fight yourself out of being accused of an addiction.

Game Addiction CAN be real, however, and to an onlooker being someone who really enjoys games can be easily mistaken for someone with an uncontrollable addiction, especially in children. Parents you need to face it, children would much rather play on than stop and go to the store with you, or clean up their room. That’s called childhood, it’s not mis-aligned priorities, or gaming addiction, or A.D.D. like you so often like to diagnose them with, it’s kids wanting to do what they consider fun.

The fact is that in adults, Video game addiction is really only applicable, when that is the ONLY thing they do, and they do it to the point that it has negative effects, such as not fulfilling their other responsibilities.

I want to list some reasons here to explain my reasoning that i am NOT a video game addict, at least not to an extent that it should be considered a “problem”.

Point A
I fulfill my responsibilities- As a home owner, who lives alone, I have many responsibilities that are taken care of and prioritized ABOVE game time.
Such as going to work, paying my bills, maintaining my home and lawn, working out, personal hygiene, and of course eating.

So really if all my other responsibilities are taken care of, wouldn’t the time i spend gaming be considered “free time?” If you consider the actual definition of “free time” to be – Time not occupied by items of prior importance, then yes, you must.

So in this instance the ability to differentiate between free time, and time in which other responsibilities should be taking precedent.

Point B

An addiction is only really considered an addiction if it has negative implications, for example, if someone who was addicted to eating celery for instance, if this person just couldn’t get enough celery, and they just kept eating celery day in and day out breakfast lunch and dinner, unless this is causing some sort of health issue, i wouldn’t really consider this an addiction. Heck i wish i could be satisfied just munching on celery day in and day out. An addiction to something harmful, like alcohol, junk food, candy, or some other harmful substance, where all you want to do is stuff yourself with chocolate every day, until you get diabetes and lose a leg, that’s a problem, and could be considered an addiction. If you drink in excess because you are physically unhappy if you are sober, if you only live to be drunk and can’t find happiness outside alcohol, so you spend all your time drunk, lose your job because of it, and reach a point where you are unable to support yourself, you again have a problem.

The main Negative outcome of a gaming addiction are viewed as bad health( usually accompanied by bad diet and lack of exercise solely playing video games), and a detachment from society and real life. There are cases of individuals that grew so used to either no interaction, or online only interaction, that they lose the ability to function in society. These are usually shut-ins who go years without leaving their homes, and some even forget how to speak.

I can pretty safely attest that neither of these issues, on the grounds that my job as a Systems Administrator involves a great deal of collaboration with others on both one on one and group scenarios. I also regularly meet with friends outside the internet, and don’t usually get thoughts of ” i’d much rather be home playing games right now.” Lastly I’m in fairly good shape, I work out 2-3 times a week and am fairly trim 190 pounds.

With all that said. I will admit that there are times when i just want to go home, fire up the desktop and play until my eyes are too heavy to continue, and this does occasionally cut into my sleeping time, but can any of you honestly say that you haven’t done the same? maybe not with a game, but with something you’ve gotten? Maybe you found a new TV show you like and marathon it on netflix. Perhaps you just come home and want to chill on the couch ant watch tv. Or you know a sporting event is on and you want to watch that.

So If you read this far, thank you, and maybe when you hear someone talk about their latest raid on WoW, or their crazy CoD match alst night, stop to consider that maybe they’ve got it all together, and are enjoying what they love to do, rather than getting out your ” you’ve got a problem” stamp.


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