Video game addiction is very real and very detrimental to one’s health. People addicted to playing video games spend between 20 and 40 hours a week (some even more) in front of a console, neglecting their life outside of the virtual world.
Video game addiction happens because games, especially MMO’s (Massive Multiplayer Online games) offer an escape from the harsh reality. They provide an easy way of socializing and a positive feedback since it’s easy to quickly become better at playing.
Now that we know why video game addiction happens, let’s learn how to prevent it. Look at these steps, study them, and give it your best to follow them.
Accept that you have an addiction. This is the first step that you need to make. There are numerous ways in which you can objectively check whether you suffer from video game addiction. One of these are online tests and questionnaires, so don’t hesitate to take one. If you get positive results, accept that you have a problem that you need to address and proceed to take steps to remedy it.
Identify how severe it is. How many hours a day do you play video games? Do you go out with friends from time to time? Have you ever called in sick for work or school just to be able to stay in and play video games? Do you do anything else apart from playing video games when you have free time? Answer these questions, put the facts on a piece of paper, and assess how big your problem is.
Accept responsibility. One mistake many people with addictions make is to blame others for their wrong ways. It is very easy to put the responsibility on another person, but at the end of the day, you’re most likely to make all of the choices in your life yourself. By accepting responsibility, you will accept the fact that only you can stop the addiction and cease to expect it from others.
Don’t nurture a negative mindset. Even if you realize that you have an addiction and that it has a huge impact on your life, stay positive about it. The fact that you came to that realization is one of the hardest parts of battling an addiction. Being honest to oneself takes a lot of courage, so be proud of yourself for managing to do it.
Don’t quit cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey works for some people but, unfortunately, not for everyone. If you have an addiction that took years to develop and evolve, it’s reasonable to expect that you will need months or even years to get rid of it. Start by limiting the amount of time you spend playing video games every day. Lower your playing time by 30 minutes or an hour and gradually increase the limit.
Add up your total weekly hours. At the end of each week, add up the total hours you have spent playing video games. You can even use a time-tracking app (such as Toggl) to keep track of how much time exactly you’re spending in the virtual world. This will allow you to always be mindful whether you’re meeting your time limits or not.
Ask for help from family and friends. If you live with your parents or friends, ask them to help you out. Just talking to someone about a problem and sharing it with others helps by unloading the burden from your back. If you are a teenager, you can ask your parents to help you out with your daily limitations by reminding you about them or even enforcing them when you’re not able to do it yourself.