Between 3 – 10% of video gamers become video game addicts. And while gaming might not yet be as big as it is in the US or Korea, video game addiction is becoming more of a problem. If you’re not sure if your child just really likes playing video games or is addicted to playing them, then here are 11 video game addiction symptoms to look out for.
As gaming becomes more and more popular, parents need to question whether their kids are enjoying normal and healthy play or whether they’re battling a potential gaming addiction.
Typical symptoms include:
1. Preoccupation. A gaming addict will usually demonstrate preoccupied behaviour when away from their gaming console. They may seem disinterested, distracted or irritable.
2. Isolating behaviour. Spending a few hours a weekend on video games is all well and good, but going more than 20 hours without sleep, food or social interaction away from the screen is cause for concern.
3. Downplaying computer use. It’s common for a gaming addict to downplay their usage time and gaming time to detract attention from their actions.
4. Lack of control. A gaming addict is unable to control the amount of time they spend online or playing games.
5. Impulsive habits. Always needing the latest game right away. People with a gaming addition spend a disproportionate amount on games and accessories for their gaming activities.
6. Loss of time. A gaming addict will lose track of time completely. They may sit down with the intention of only spending 15 minutes playing, and will get up eight hours later not realising how much time has passed.
7. Escaping into fantasy realms. Gamers who spend an unusual amount of time visiting their fantasy game realms could have a problem.
8. Negative effect on other areas of life. Other areas of their lives are often negatively affected. They may grow distant to friends and family members. Homework may go unfinished.
9. Hiding from negative or uncomfortable feelings and situations. Gaming is often used to self-medicate. Children may use gaming to avoid difficult situations.
10. Defensiveness. When confronted, a person can become defensive and denial can be seen as a warning sign that something is wrong.
11. Misuse of money. Gaming addicts will spend unnecessary amounts of money on new games, devices and accessories they believe they cannot do without.
While the infographic below may have US statistics, South Africa is following a similar pattern and some of these stats will shock you.