Addictions to gadgets and certain hobbies is certainly not a new phenomenon. In the culture that we live today, it is easy to become fanatical about several things. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, we spend a great amount of time on computers interacting with colleagues and peers all over the world. When we are connected to the World Wide Web constantly, it is natural that we feel more comfortable in a virtual space rather than the real one.
Games as a whole are addictive in nature. There is always the anticipation of what is going to happen next, how far we can go, and the ‘just one more game’ syndrome. It then increases to such a level that it interferes with normal life.
The addiction is often psychological and is comparable to addiction to gambling and is compulsive in temperament. The symptoms are frequently similar to that of drug abuse. If the gamer tries to leave the habit, he/she experiences withdrawal symptoms the same way.
Professional in the field of mental health claim that these fantasy worlds give people a place to hide in if they cannot cope with the real world and its demands. It the game gets too difficult, you can always restart it or turn it off. We can only wish for these options in real life. Also, the complexity compels them and makes a play on their problem solving ability, drawing them further inside.
This disorder is monitored mainly in teenagers and young adults and the gender it affects the most is male. Many of these growing boys can identify with the virtual characters be because of their macho display and hope to model themselves over them. They are everything they hope to be: strong, powerful, and able to make their own path. Also, discussing the latest games and secret moves is the topic of discussion in many teens and open an avenue for children to become ‘cool’ and accepted into their peer group. Many friendships begin with the borrowing of the latest part of a popular game. But, if one becomes too engaged in gaming, the same friends might slip away.
The hardest part of this addiction is acknowledging it. You know there is a problem if the child or adult feels happier in a virtual world. There is a great gap that exists in his/her life that the individual is trying to fill. Real society may be confronting them with issues that they are incapable of solving and for this they need therapy.
While gaming can be an acceptable past time for many children, timely parental intervention can help in developing this syndrome. Also, parents can easily identify early signs of addiction and wean children away. This becomes a difficult when it is an adult whose has the problem and he/she lives alone. In this case, friends must come to rescue and be there for them.
Experts do admit that games offer unique puzzles that can strengthen solving abilities, but like all things, they need to be used within limits.