This week I read a story in the papers about a Chinese man who hired virtual “assassins” to repeatedly kill his son’s character in an online fantasy game with the hopes that this would stop him from constantly playing the game and therefore get a job. In all honesty, this story initially made me chuckle because of the ingenuity involved. However, I then spent some time questioning what lead a parent to take the drastic step of spending money hiring people to help his son.
This caused me to think about intervention. In the same way that the gentleman from China was willing to employ someone to help his son, so are many families in the UK, who turn to a more conventional approach. The idea of an intervention is to get the person with the addiction to see that they have a problem and agree to seek help for it. Just as with drugs and alcohol, there is sometimes a necessity for an online gaming intervention.
Online gaming can be difficult to define as an addiction, purely because it is something that many people can spend 12-14 hours a day doing without detrimental effects. If they are unemployed, single and have no children, then it is unlikely they will be doing any damage; no one is getting hurt and they are doing something they enjoy. However, as soon as it starts to have a detrimental effect on other things in the person’s life then it is a problem. At the extreme end of the scale I once heard of a teenager who spent so long hunched over his Xbox in the same position that his bowel started to die and he required surgery – certainly a gaming addiction. Less extreme cases involve people missing work, ending relationships or spending vast amounts of money to become members of the online community.
When online gaming becomes an addiction it is usually because there is an underlying issue going on, whether that is low self-esteem, lack of confidence or any number of other reasons. It will be necessary for the person to deal with these underlying issues in order to recover from the addiction. If you or a loved one feel there may be a problem with gaming addiction or if you want to discuss online gaming intervention, call us now, we are always happy to help.