Video Game Addiction

Addiction to video games is a topic of interest and controversy due to its impacts on the young, school-going generation. Even though playing video games is a good form of entertainment, it could lead to negative effects of addiction. Thus, there is a need to ensure balance and moderation in playing video games to ensure that playing is a part of a holistic and well-rounded lifestyle that incorporates schoolwork, reading, and playing outside. The effects associated with video game addiction lead to emotional problems, aggressive behavior, family problems, and social problems, making it necessary to consider the thoughts of video game creators regarding the users and subsequent addiction problems.

Dangers of Video Games

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Video games enable the players to interact and connect, acquire feelings of freedom and achievement and learn. However, long-term use and dependence on video games for whatever reason poses several dangers on the users and translates to addiction (Saquib 113). Even though video game addiction is not recognized as a diagnosable condition, the addiction affects many people. Video game addiction occurs in two types resulting from the two major types of games, single player and online multiplayer games. Addiction to single player games relates to mission completion while online multiplayer games hook players by enabling them to escape from reality.  Also, these games are unending and increase a user’s desire to achieve more levels and challenges. Video game addiction originates from the design of video games whereby they are specially designed to cause addiction.

Impacts of Video Game Addiction

Emotional Problems

Addicts of video games end up with emotional problems such as psychological distress, depression, social dysfunction, and anxiety. These emotional problems result from addiction-related behaviors such as inadequate sleep to spare time for gaming, long periods of screen time, and unhealthy eating (Saquib 116). Addicts allocate more time to video games and sometimes lack enough time to take meals or sleep. A disruption in the sleeping and feeding patterns at an early age is detrimental to the development of young users and adolescents. High screen time results in less time allocated to social activities which then reduces the psychosocial quality of an individual’s life and also leads to poor social networks. Video game addicts also battle with lower self-esteem, lower levels of well-being, and poorer self-control leading to anxiety and depression, than individuals who are not addicts (Saquib 116). Emotional problems may affect individuals in their personal and social lives for a lifetime, making video game addiction a threat to the young generation.

Aggressive Behavior

Aggressive behavior is a common effect associated with addiction to video games. Exposure to video games that feature scenarios and actions of violence and physical harm make addicted users develop aggressive behaviors and thoughts. Violent video games cause feelings of anger, desensitization, increased aggressive thoughts, and physiologic arousal (Anderson S143). The development of such feelings leads to the adoption of detached views of humanity and society, increasing the probability of being hostile to peers, teachers, and family members. Aggressive behaviors may also result from the high levels of competition apparent in video games. Exposure to gaming competition for extended periods leads to the development of intense feelings of hostility and anger whenever a user experiences possible competitive situations in the game and real life (Adachi 1878). The aggressive tendencies resulting from exposure to violent scenarios/actions and competition might affect the behaviors of addicts and increase the likelihood of delinquency.

Impact on Family and Social Relationships 

Addiction to video games is detrimental to social and family relationships. Relationships between a game addict and their friends and family tend to suffer when the child spends the highest percentage of his or her free time gaming. Game addicts spend most of their time talking about and researching video games, losing touch with individuals who do not play video games and replacing previous hobbies (Christopher). Relationships with family might also suffer because of constant arguments regarding the time and money spent in excessive gaming. Hence, preoccupation with gaming is dangerous as it reduces the willingness to participate in other essential activities. 

Video Game Creators Views on Users and the Addiction

Video game creators intentionally model their games and marketing strategies to increase addiction to the games. The games are created and marketed in a way that taps into neuroscience principles to increase the desire to continue playing (Corriea). As such, game creators incorporate surprise rewards that increase the release of dopamine and hook the users to the game. Users thus play the games to acquire satisfaction, happiness, and neurochemical payoff. Video game designers make the games challenging enough to increase the desire to keep trying, and not hard enough for people to quit. Therefore, video game creators are aware that their games cause addiction as that is their selling point.

There are several impacts of video game addiction on the young generation and video game creators have a contribution to the addiction problem. As such, negative impacts identified, include emotional issues, development of aggressive and violent behavior, and family and social issues. These problems can affect a game addict throughout their life, prompting the need for parents and teachers to identify treatment options for the addicts. There is a need for the family to engage with the children and provide therapy and also seek the help of psychologists, and counselors to control the addiction.

Works cited

Adachi, Paul JC, and Teena Willoughby. “The longitudinal association between competitive video game play and aggression among adolescents and young adults.” Child development 87.6 (2016): 1877-1892. Accessed 19 Feb 2016.

Anderson, Craig A., et al. “Screen violence and youth behavior.” Pediatrics 140.Supplement 2 (2017): S142-S147. Accessed 19 Feb 2016.

Christopher, Drea. “The Negative Effects of Video Game Addiction.” Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/278074-negative-effects-of-video-game-addiction/ Accessed 19 Feb 2016.

Corriea, Ray A., “Video Game Makers Use Neuroscience to Make their Games Addictive.” Vox Media. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.polygon.com/2013/7/26/4559248/video-game-makers-use-neuroscience-to-make-their-games-addictive Accessed 19 Feb 2016.Saquib, Nazmus, et al. “Video game addiction and psychological distress among expatriate adolescents in Saudi Arabia.” Addictive behaviors reports 6 (2017): 112-117. Accessed 19 Feb 2016.

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