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Video Game Addiction — what does it mean?

Recently I’ve come across some great material on video game addiction, and it’s something to make all parents, and some gamers, wonder if the term applies to their situation. I’ve been hearing about video game addiction for quite some time. Most of the families that I’ve worked with have experienced this as a peripheral problem, and we’ve resolved it fairly easily.

But in reading some of this material, I now realize that I haven’t really understood how bad the situation can get when there is true addiction involved. This is something I intend to follow up on in my ongoing professional training. In the meantime, I want to share some links with you.

First, from an objective point of view, some material from the National Institute on Media and the Family including quizzes for gamers, parents and/or spouses.

For some firsthand writings from gamers, themselves, take a look at:

Someone who writes about quitting gaming for a month, and what he learned about himself. There’s some f-bomb type language in it, so proceed at your own discretion.

There’s a very interesting exchange between a World of Warcraft (WoW) player who decided it was taking over his life, and a reply from his gaming and real-life friend who apparently could keep the game in a better balance in his life.

There’s a therapist in San Luis Obispo, Shavaun Scott, who specializes in this area, and she has some great material on her website . She also writes a blog on gaming and addiction, http://shavaunscott.blogspot.com/. It makes for some very interesting reading.

What made me realize that I have to get more training in this area, though, is my final link. I’ll warn, it’s very heart-wrenching. It’s a recording that got made when a boy who sounds about 12 or 14 to me was online gaming with an open microphone, and his parents came in to ask him to stop playing. The recording was posted online by his gaming buddies, complete with captions. They seem to have thought it was funny, and it’s not, but that’s not the point.

The parents are obviously frustrated, and I sympathize with them. It’s not long ago that I was in similar struggles with my own sons (although not over gaming). In fact, the boy’s voice sounded like the younger voice of one son. And that’s it …. the pain in that boy’s voice is what got me, the frustration and the pain. We don’t always recognize it when we’re in the middle of it, but it definitely comes across listening to it. It brought tears to my eyes and sadness to my chest. Shavaun Scott had some interesting commentary about what she heard as a specialist in this area, and it was eye-opening to me. So I’m sharing it with you, but be ready … it’s upsetting. Sometimes we need to be upset to learn.


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