IN THE NEWS: When Gaming Becomes Too Much

A recent IGN.com article on how gaming gone wrong is costly.
(Courtesy: IGN.com)

THIS IS THE FIRST POST OF A NEW CURRENT EVENT RELATED SERIES FOR THE SITE CALLED “IN THE NEWS.” THE BASIC PREMISE IS THAT IF I HAPPEN TO COME ACROSS VIDEO GAME RELATED NEWS THAT SEEMS INTERESTING AND RELEVANT ENOUGH TO ADDRESS HERE, THEN I WILL WRITE A POST ON IT. THANK YOU FOR READING.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to view an article on IGN.com about a teenage boy who wiped out years of his mother’s savings by giving donations to Twitch game streamers whose videos he enjoyed. According to the story, the amount the teen gave over a 17-day span totaled nearly $20,000. When reading this article, I came to understand why so many parents and adults are against their children and youth in general being video gamers. Take some time and Google “video game addiction” and there will be an endless supply of search results.

Let me get out of the way that this post is not about trying to dissuade anyone from playing video games or for those who currently do to feel the need to stop. What I do want to address is when video gaming becomes a problem and/or an addiction. There are people out there that are going financially broke over buying video games and that are willing (like the teen from the article above) to clean out a parent’s savings account in order to feed their interest. Others have been so consumed by gaming to the point of being extremely antisocial and ceasing physical activity. These are significant issues to look out for whether it describes someone you know or even yourself because these aren’t healthy characteristics. It shows that video games have become too important in a dangerous way.

At least the mother took some sort of action in the situation rather than letting it continue.
(Courtesy: IGN.com)

What I was pleased to see in the article is that the mother of the teenager is acting on the situation, has her son in counseling and is now taking a more proactive approach in monitoring how much time he spends playing video games. It can be very easy to criticize the mother in this situation but let’s be honest. Nobody is perfect and parents are not going to always notice everything going on with their children. Sometimes it will take a major event to happen in order to expose parents to what is truly going on.

We can use this story as an example in order to prevent similar things from occurring in our own households. I truly believe the best way to learn is from other’s mistakes. It is far less painful than experiencing something ourselves. So here are some tips for parents to keep their children’s gaming habits in check:

  • Be aware of what they are playing and how much time they are playing.
  • Set limits on the amount of time they can play while enforcing mandatory breaks and time away from gaming.
  • Pay attention to the ratio between gaming versus social and physical activity.
  • Make sure to check to see if they may be using gaming as a means to cope with a bigger problem.
  • Never give them access to your card/account information or leave it saved on the gaming device.
  • Purchase gift cards they can use for purchases that has a set amount (spending limit) and is separate from your bank/credit account information.
  • Lastly, if you notice anything that doesn’t seem right, act on it.

Gaming is fun and so many good times can be had through the activity. It is one of my favorite hobbies. But we as gamers must also keep video gaming in its proper perspective. First, it is a privilege and not a necessity. Feeling that gaming is a necessity like food, shelter and loving relationships is dangerous ground to tread. Yes we can glean hours of entertainment and enjoyment from gaming but it should not be our very life. It provides a great virtual world to experience but we must remember that we actually dwell in and live out our lives in the real world.

If you feel that gaming has taken over your life in an unhealthy way, do something about it. Make the changes that you need to in order to get it under control and if you need help, please seek it out. Don’t feel embarrassed about seeking out help because doing so actually proves you are courageous enough to admit you have a problem and are willing to do something about it rather than allow it to destroy your life. That is actually admirable.

Anyways, just some thoughts I wanted to share coming off the weekend and reading that article. What do you all think?

-TVGA

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