After the recent Sandy Hook shootings, thereâ??s been a lot of talk in the media about the effects of gaming. Gaming addiction, a condition some peopleÂ aren’tÂ even sure technically exists, seems to be being displayed as some sort of equivalent to devil worshipping and bear baiting. The facts â?? if the mainstream media bothered to do a little research â?? are far less shocking.
Fanning the Flames
Gaming is a relatively new medium and is still finding its place in modern society. In 100 years, itâ??ll be fully accepted like reading, listening to music or watching films. Things are better than they were fifteen years ago, and theyâ??ll be better again in another fifteen. The problem is that itâ??s such a new medium that weâ??re not entirely sure the effects prolonged exposure might have on the brain. For the vast majority I think we can safely say that there will be no negative side effects, but the occasional anomaly might find themselves playing to excess.
Is it really necessary to say that doing anything to excess is a bad idea? The very meaning of the word excess implies that it involves too much of something, and yet this is something that the mainstream media often overlook. They intentionally spread misinformation to people hungry to be misinformed. Theyâ??re fanning the flames and manage to make things look far worse than they are.
Gaming addiction is a symptom, not a problem in and of itself. Addiction to online games especially is a sign that thingsÂ aren’tÂ as they should be in an individualâ??s real life. Beautiful locations, the chance to prove themselves, simpler, fairer laws and a distinct line between good and evil; is there any wonder that somebody disillusioned with their life would turn to a game like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 to avoid their problems?
Itâ??s also important to actually define addiction. Somebody who watches a TV talent show, watches the additional expose shows, watches the repeats and â??view againâ? versions of the show and then hits YouTube for the best bits is unlikely to be labelled as an addict. They might do that for two or three shows, maybe more, but thatâ??s still seen as socially acceptable and, actually, is probably pretty normal amongst people of a certain age. Somebody who spends the same amount of time playing a video game, regardless of whether their responsibilities and social life are affected, would probably become a source of worry.
The biggest suggestion I can give to somebody worried about somebody they know being addicted to online gaming is for them to ask themselves if the person theyâ??re worried about is actually playing to excess, if they refuse to get a job or live up to other responsibilities. If the answer to any of those questions is yes, try to find out why. Itâ??s not because the lure of the digital world is so strong, but because the real worldÂ doesn’tÂ offer anything worth doing. It could be a sign of deep depression or much, much worse, and not that your loved one is geeking themselves to death.
The words â??gaming addictionâ? are thrown around far too often and the people that use the phrase make no effort to understand it. In their simple, double digit IQ world, removing the problem will solve the problem. They fail to see that by banning video games or increasing government control on them, those who suffer will just move onto something else.
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Mat Growcott is a freelance writer from the UK. He’s had articles published across the web on a variety of subjects, although he’s best known for his console, handhels and PC game reviews.