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Video Game Addiction: A Genuine Concern, or Just Shit Parenting?

Video games have been around since October of 1958 and have continued to grow and improve since. We’ve gone from a simple tennis game to playing games in VR in just sixty (60) years!

Video games itself, and the ability to record, edit, and create content has allowed and successfully opened up a new career opportunity for people dedicated and passionate enough to go for it.
While we’re not all Markiplier’s or Jacksepticeye’s with nineteen (19) Million+ subscribers, it is possible to make a living – or at least a passive income – with this.

So why the recent uproar with video games being called an addiction? And even being compared to addictions such as cocaine and alcohol?

It’s probably no surprise to you when I say internet games are currently one of the most popular leisure activities. What with video games having twelve (12) main genres, and individual games could fit under multiple genres at once, there’s plenty of options for anyone in the world.

Whether it be Sims, Chess, Assassin’s Creed, Soduko, or even Fortnite, there’ll be at least one (1) version you can play, be it on your phone, console, computer, or tablet.

Now, if you’re someone who reads the news, or knows someone else who does, you’ll have no doubt heard about how games such as Fortnite (more specifically, their free Battle Royale game)  have been getting mentioned in the news, alongside addiction claims, and how children and teenagers are choosing the game over anything else.

 

Daily Mail Article Title
Title taken from the Daily Mail

 

These claims have lead people to believe that video games are an addiction, and even making crazy comparisons to drugs and alcohol.
So let’s sit on the fence, and bring arguments and points from both sides of the debate.

Addiction
“The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity.”

Behavioural Addiction
“A compulsive activity that a person is unable to control or stop despite consequences to themselves and others”

A video game “addiction” would be classed under Behavioural Addiction, compared to an actual Addiction.

As a parent, it is part of your job to set boundaries and teach responsibility. If you are someone who lets children (by no mean is this comment directed to everyone/anyone in particular) play games to allow yourself a break or to keep them easily entertained, then when they come away from the screen they are far less likely to have a screen-free activity stimulating enough. Meaning they will quickly become bored and left feeling like they have nothing to do.

Games such as Fortnite has a PEGI rating of 12. Meaning it is not suitable for children ages 11 and below.
Which leaves the question: Why are nine (9) year olds addicted, when they shouldn’t be allowed on the game in the first place?

 

Daily Mail Article
Title taken from the Daily Mail

While I am a game enthusiast and not a parent, I am very well aware that I do not understand what it is like to be a parent, and I’m doing my best to be as biased possible because I don’t want to leave this as a one-sided argument. But there are two things which have been annoying me the most about this whole situation.

1. How parents are handling the situation.
As stated in the first title, “and hit her father in the face when he tried to take away her Xbox”

If I had done that, or if I had a child who had done that? I’d have cut the internet. It doesn’t matter who else in the household needed the internet. It’d be off.
No internet? No online game to play.
Second of all, the child would be grounded. For a long time. Abuse in the household would not be tolerated. They would be taught responsibility, and learn about appropriate actions and why they’re in as much trouble as they are.
Technology use would be monitored until they were trusted enough to be responsible with it.

As a child, I loved playing the Sims 2. I adored it. But I was limited to two (2) hours a day. I’ll be honest, it sucked. Especially considering it was a game where you didn’t realise how long you were playing for, so two hours felt more like a half hour.
But looking back? I’m glad my parents gave me that time limit. I knew to do any homework before games. I knew it was a fun activity but I also had to be responsible and make sure everything else I needed to do was sorted.

Even today, this applies.
Despite wanting to play some games I’ve been loving recently, I know not to touch it until I’ve done my tasks for the day. I am responsible for what I need to do, hell, my organising is better because I’ll make sure I know all of my tasks for the day or week.

2. The second thing, and most stupid thing which annoys me: Comparing the “addiction” to drugs and alcohol.

In each of our brains, we all have what is best known as “pleasure channels”, which is where the dopamine travels through.

Dopamine is the chemical in your brain which makes you happy.

These channels are affected by everything which makes you feel happy.

Taking drugs such as cocaine and heroin raises your dopamine levels by ten (10) times the amount.

Video games? They raise your dopamine levels just double the amount of what they are.

Video games raise your dopamine levels the same amount as eating your favourite pizza, or a bowl of ice cream would.

Comparing video games to drugs not only wrong but are completely false claims. We need to be better than this, not scaring people into thinking something is bad.

A psychologist named Emma Kenny has said before on live television, “It’s all about creating opportunities to explore different activities.”
Ensuring children have alternative options which aren’t screens can help with preventing any addicted-like behaviour as time goes on.

To try and class video games under an addiction is absurd to me. Especially when it seems like not everybody knows all of the information, let alone the correct information.

Don’t forget all the benefits video games have.
•Communication skills
•Teamwork
•Quick thinking
•Strategy
•Reaction time
To name a few.

How do you see this situation? Before this, how informed were you?

Originally written and published on survivingmillennial.com

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A lifestyle blog covering life, beauty, adventure, technology, and reviews. Surviving Millennial posts three times a week, every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

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