Online gaming has surged in popularity in recent years, in part from stunning graphics, appealing story lines, and the ability to interact with other players — and also because it’s just plain fun. But for some people, gaming becomes more than just fun: it becomes an addiction.
Gaming addictions can interfere with work, family, social life, and other responsibilities, and they’re more common than you may think. Here are a few ways to tell if you or someone you know may have a gaming addiction:
- You’re constantly thinking of gaming. Whether it’s planning new strategies or beating a new level, your mind is almost always on gaming. When you’re not playing, it’s difficult for you to focus on other things or think about other things.
- You skip work to play. Same goes for skipping work because you’re too tired as a result of staying up all night gaming. When your gaming begins to interfere with your ability to make a living, you may have a problem.
- You prefer gaming over social interactions with friends and family. Sure, it’s fine to skip going out with friends once in a while so you can just relax at home and game. It’s when your gaming takes priority over your personal relationships all the time that it becomes a problem.
- Other people have mentioned your “addiction.” If other people, especially those who are closest to you, have brought up the amount of time you spend gaming (even jokingly), then you may way to seriously consider scaling back on your time spent in-game.
- You can’t stop. If you have repeatedly tried to cut back on the amount of time you spend gaming or find that you are only happy when you’re playing games, it’s a good indication that you have a problem.
As with any hobby, gaming can be entertaining and a great stress reliever, but it’s important to maintain a healthy balance.