When we examine addiction, we often times are looking far beyond use, and rather noting on key behaviors exhibited by the individual. With this frame of mind, we allow ourselves a new perspective on addiction in general. We do not limit our scope to just substance abuse, but rather on harmful behaviors, which prove to debilitate a person’s ability to lead a happy and helpful life. One such behavior under recent focus is internet gaming.
The main focus of concern around internet gaming is the negative consequences the individual suffers as a result of their addiction. Such consequences include sacrificing meaningful relationships for more time for internet gaming, as well as sacrificing professional obligations such as work and school. Early signs that these consequences might occur include gaming taking up a lot of the individual’s time, as well as signs of loneliness, anger, or depression. This is when a clear picture of internet gaming addiction becomes apparent and how it deprives a person of a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Studies on video game addiction have been conducted since the early 1980’s, initially focusing on gaming in correlation with violent or unruly behavior primarily in adolescents. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the research around internet gaming. These studies have been conducted worldwide, and as a result, subsequent action from different governing bodies have been taken to combat the issue. (Much like the US has procured government assistance with combating substance abuse.) For instance, in South Korea, internet gaming addiction has been officially considered a public health risk. In Japan, where the problem of internet gaming addiction is also considered prevalent, they have resorted to sending those who suffer from internet gaming addiction to “fasting camps,” where individuals are completely cut off from technology. These studies show us that Internet gaming addiction is proving to be similar to that of drug and alcohol addiction.
Internet gaming has been proven to be an addictive behavior much like substances. It is something to fill a void a person may not really understand is there. Keeping the behavior in mind, it is important for us to understand that the key to combating these issues lies in these behaviors. In turn, it is from an examination of these behaviors can we find what the individual feel as if they are missing in their life, be it a key family dynamic or any other underlining issues.
This is where treatment can prove to be helpful, particularly around examining old behaviors as well as adapting new ones when it concerns internet gaming.
-J. Dalton Williams, BA