10 November 2016

Experts Are Concerned about Youngsters Addicted to Gaming

Gaming addiction can totally consume the life of the affected individual without this person even realising there is an issue until it is too late. This kind of addiction can have a massive impact on relationships with loved ones as the individual often becomes hostile and aggressive; this abusive behaviour can consequently result in the deterioration of these relationships.

Gaming addictions are common in males, more so children and teens. Many parents are noticing that their youngsters are becoming addicted to online games, which is becoming a widespread concern.

‘Enormous and Growing Problem’

Children are spending more and more time playing online video games, which is resulting in their parents, along with medical and addiction experts and charities, becoming increasingly concerned. Figures have emerged that show UK expenditure on games such as Grand Theft Auto, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft are expected to be as much as £3 billion in 2016 alone.

A freelance lecturer in child health, Dr Aric Sigman, said that numerous doctors’ surgeries had informed him that many parents were requesting sleeping pills for their children. He added, “Whether you call it an addiction or not, this is an enormous and growing problem.”

Action for Children is a charity that has recently said that a quarter of parents worry that their children’s gaming time, and how to actually manage this, is their biggest challenge; even greater than the stereotypical issues such as healthy eating and homework. Carol Iddon, the charity’s managing director, noted, “We were surprised it came top. We hadn’t picked up that it was such a big issue. With gaming, children get a lot of satisfaction and positive reinforcement; it can build their confidence. But that can make it become addictive.”

Gaming Epidemic

One gamer, known by his online persona Onibobo, is part of the gaming epidemic that is particularly noticeable in males. He said, “League of Legends is my poison. I play until pretty late.” At twenty-seven-years-old, his gaming sessions typically last anywhere up to nine hours and would go on during the night. He has been a heavy gamer since he was fifteen. He would spend his time at college gaming and finds it challenging to keep a job because of his addiction. “When I’m playing, I know every hour I could be doing something else with my life, but it gives you a weird sense of fulfilment, like you’re achieving something.”

His gaming addiction resulted in a relationship break up earlier this year, but he feels as though he could give up gaming if he truly wanted to. He said, “It’s like smoking or drinking. It’s a very bad habit.”

Limited Options

Data group Euromonitor has estimated that UK spending on games will reach £3 billion in 2016; this is ten times more than the average household spends on board games such as Scrabble or Monopoly. The gaming industry will not accept responsibility for this epidemic and the addictions that are being caused by it, though. Peter Smith, an addiction treatment centre director, said “The games are designed to keep you playing. If you’re a parent with a 15-year-old who’s playing endlessly, staying up late, not eating properly and then missing school because of it, where would you go for help? There isn’t anywhere.”

He added that parents have limited options when they think their child may have a gaming addiction. There are no telephone helplines and, as well as this, schools and GPs do not have a lot of experience with the problem, despite being aware of it.

Vicious and Nasty

Onibobo spoke of how the gaming world can be a very vicious and nasty place. He said, “If you’re playing and make a mistake, you can have four people on your own team screaming at you, wishing you had cancer or your mother and father were dead. People take it so seriously; they lose touch. You can lose a lot of cash, let alone time. And it’s not really a transferable skill. It’s a strange world to be in.”

The thought of these children losing touch with reality is a huge worry for parents. A gaming addiction is not formally recognised as an addiction yet, and there is limited funding for research into this topic. Smith added, “We’re under-aware of it, and we’re therefore minimising what the potential problems are.”

Overcoming a Gaming Addiction

It can be challenging to overcome any addiction, especially a gaming addiction which, as previously mentioned, has very little funding for research and only a handful of clinics that can treat it. At UKAT, we will ensure that you or your loved one can get the help required to overcome the gaming addiction. Our dedicated staff will work tirelessly to make sure you ultimately get the results you want. For further information on the current treatments available to you, contact us today.

Source: Fears grow for children addicted to online games (The Guardian)

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