It is possible to responsibly enjoy all kinds of video and internet gaming, from PA online gambling to the likes of League of Legends, Call of Duty and Minecraft, all of which can be psychologically addictive if played too much. The World Health Authority officially declared gaming addiction to be a mental disorder in 2019, but this doesn’t mean that gaming as such is always bad for you. Indeed, playing video games in moderation has been shown to have many positive benefits.
Why are Games Addictive?
Video gaming can become addictive simply because it is fun. Gaming is a way for us to escape the worries and stresses of our everyday lives for an hour or two. It’s relaxing and it reduces stress, while occupying our minds and bodies and giving us a sense of achievement as we conquer levels, unlock treasure and kill baddies. It’s no secret that many games are deliberately designed to be at least mildly addictive, so that we want to keep on playing them. Single-player games feel rewarding because you are constantly given challenges to overcome and rewards that induce a warm glow of pleasure.
Multiplayer games can also provide a sense of escapism but are addictive in a different way, as they are often open-ended experiences that can be shared with friends – possibly with a competitive element if the game involves pitting two teams up against each other. Winning a close game online with your friends can provide a similar rush of excitement and sense of satisfaction as finally beating a difficult level of a single-player game.
With gaming being increasingly online, we now have the opportunity to make genuine friendships, and achieve things we never could in real life, in a fantastic universe that’s so much more exciting and interesting than our everyday existence could possibly hope to be. It’s little wonder than many of us wish we could live in these game worlds all the time.
Games Can Become a Compulsion
For some people though, video gaming can become a psychological addiction. This can have a detrimental effect on their lives, both for the amount of time they spend gaming and for their mental state when not playing. If you’re playing video games for 15-hours a day, then you’ll inevitably end up neglecting your work, your family, your friends and any other outside interests you might have had. You’ll also likely be tired and exhausted from not enough sleep, or broken sleep patterns.
While video games can be an excellent tool for coping with stress due to the fact that, as highlighted above, they allow us to zone out of the real world for a while, there is a danger that doing this for too long can have the opposite effect. The longer you spend in a virtual world means less time spent trying to deal with whatever real-world problems are causing you stress in the first place. Get the balance right and gaming should put you in the right mindset to tackle these problems.
Enjoy Gaming in Moderation
The best way to enjoy gaming is simply to limit the amount of time you spend on this activity in a day or week. One or two hours every day is generally okay. You might also want to limit “game time” to certain hours in your schedule, for instance evenings and/or weekends. How you arrange this depends on your lifestyle but try to enjoy gaming as just one of several hobbies and social interests.
If you feel you may be gaming too much, ask yourself what you might be missing out on by playing games all the time. Could you advance further in your career? Could you learn new skills and therefore improve your job prospects? Could you be spending more time with your family, or traveling more?
Setting yourself a daily routine can also help. Go to bed at a fixed time each night and try to get eight hours of solid uninterrupted sleep. If you can’t resist temptation, consider deleting all of your games on Sunday night and only reinstalling them after you finish work on a Friday. Try to only play those games with the option to “save and quit.”
Moderate gaming can have many benefits for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It can lead to improved motor skills, better visual attention, greater confidence and boosted cognitive skills. It can also be a harmless way to relax and have fun. Just remember to play the game and not to let the game play you.