Video Games Day

What on earth is Video Games Day?
Who comes up with this stuff?
What do we need to know about Video Games?
What global awareness would we benefit from knowing?
What is Google and the websites relating to video games telling us?
Are we ready to know more about the impact of video gaming online?
Are we aware of the scope and size of the video gaming problem?
Are we prepared to take a look at some real life facts about video gaming?

WHY are there two days for Video Games Day?
What is the purpose of these games’ days?
WHY have video games become so popular worldwide?

WHY are we not recognising that long periods of time spent in isolation with video games affects the way a person thinks and feels?

WHY is there a correlation with social anxiety and low self-esteem around video gaming?

WHY have video game addictions not been officially recognised within the medical field?

WHY are the psychological symptoms of video game addiction almost identical to those associated with substance based addictions, like drugs and alcohol?

Definition of Video Game

An electronic game played by means of images on a video screen and often emphasizing fast action. (1)

History of Video Games

1972 – Odyssey was the 1st officially acknowledged video game. (2)

Here is what the official websites are telling us about this day –

Gaming is a pervasive part of our culture, colouring everything from our choices in clothing to our taste in cuisine, there are even themed restaurants that are entirely dedicated to gamers and the games they love.

Video Games Day is dedicated to recalling this defining part of our culture and sharing it with our fellow gamers, new and old alike. (3)

The website tells us how to celebrate Video Games Day by getting together with friends, dig out our old consoles and play favourites and share with the newest generation of gamers. They suggest to play an event with game themed food and costumes and decorations.

Video Games Day is an excuse to go down a path of digital reminiscence. (3)

Video game players across the United States enjoy this day with much pride and enthusiasm. (4)

There are two special days for video gamers –

Video Games Day – 8 July
This is our chance to relish with our favorite video games in a local level.

National Video Games Day – 12 September
Nationally established celebration for video games.

Essentially, these two days are ‘good chances for you to sit back and enjoy a video game marathon as a way to celebrate the significant progress of video games.’ (2)

Do we all agree that video games have made our recreation time more enjoyable?
Is the video games world taking us away from our natural state as it is mind-challenging?
Can we subscribe and call this ‘bonding’ time if we are fixed on a screen playing a game?

It would be true to say that video game activity is the norm among children and teenagers.

Computers, Xboxes and any hand held device means the games can be played anytime and anywhere we want. (5)

Many parents may welcome what these games bring, when children are spending all their time playing games but is this the modern day answer to parenting?

When our kids start to neglect and ignore other areas of life to play video games, common sense would tell us that we need to be asking questions.

1 in 10 gamers showed signs of addiction from an online poll by leading academic. (6)
Professor Vladan Starcevic – Medicine Department of Sydney’s Nepean Hospital

Addiction.com gives us Signs of Video Game Addiction to consider –

Psychological Signs of Video Game Addiction

Mood Shifts
Withdrawal Symptoms
Preoccupation with Video Games

Physical Signs of Video Game Addiction

Poor Personal Hygiene
Physical Problems

Behavioral Signs of Video Game Addiction

Declining Interest in School Performance
Loss of Interest in Other Activities
Increased Aggression

Relationship Signs of Video Game Addiction

Isolation
Conflicts with Others (5)

Other Signs of Video Game Addiction

Using video games as a way to cope with unresolved issues, places children at risk of developing more serious addictions when they get older.

Like adults caught up in addiction, children struggling with video game addiction will run into problems in other areas of life and may show in –
Poor academic performance
Disregard for personal hygiene
Behaviour problems at school
Emotional outbursts when confronted about gaming behaviours. (7)

Video games can take the form of computer games, online games and even portable hand held games. Like the urges and cravings that drive substance-based addictions like drugs and alcohol, compulsive video gaming develops into its own lifestyle. (6)

WHY has gaming addiction got so bad and what are we doing?
WHY do gaming addicts suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome?
WHY do these people isolate themselves in their room?
WHY do gaming addicts live on two to three hours sleep each night?
WHY do they live on chocolate and caffeine?
WHY is procrastination a pattern in those with gaming addiction?

Recent studies have shown that adults who play video games have higher levels of happiness, and in some cases relaxation, as a result of their gaming. (4)

Games serve as a sense of accomplishment and make us feel great, not just in a personal sense but in a multiplayer sense.
That feeling of taking down the final boss of the final level of the game with your best friends is totally awesome and totally priceless. (4)

Video games can serve as an escape from our sometimes boring and monotonous lives.
Long day at work?
Nothing like a fight against a big boss in Sonic the Hedgehog, a good old-fashioned Mario Kart race or a dose of Mindcraft world-building to wash your cares away. (4)

Firstly, who is funding studies claiming higher levels of happiness as a result of gaming?
If this is working then can we do further studies to see how all of their other lifestyle choices are and how their true health and well-being is?

If a sense of accomplishment is totally priceless then how long does it really last?
Is it possible that we may need more of it to keep going and this can lead to addiction?

Would it be wise to find out WHY we find our life boring and monotonous so we never need to escape with video games?
What is a fight on screen really doing to us inside?
How does a kart race change anything in our real daily life?
How can a dose of Mindcraft wash our cares away and WHY do we need to keep building a false world inside our mind and play it out on a screen?
How does this support us to grow and learn about the Responsibility of Life?
How does this help us to evolve?

$91,000,000,000
$91 billion dollar Global Gaming Industry (8)

Gamer Addiction: A Threat to Student Success! What Advisors Need to Know
By Lee Kem – Murray State University. College of Education.
(9)

This in-depth study was published in 2005 spelling out what we need to know about gaming addiction.

Video games are designed to keep the player riveted to action.
Players experience a sense of control when they enter into the fantasy world of speed, realism, violence and new morals. (9)

Many games offer online anonymous interaction with other people; a ‘hook’ is a sense of family or belonging in the form of a pseudo persona the player develops when repeatedly playing the game. The longer the game is played, the more the pseudo persona can replace reality. (9)

Game playing often begins with boredom; the excitement becomes the reward.
This behaviour is reinforced on an intermittent reinforcement schedule – the most powerful type of reinforcer. The college classroom comes into direct competition with the daily reinforcement from the video games.

Playing provides an alternative reality in which problems are solved and success and reward is possible.
When life seems out of control, the game provides a sense of control.
If life becomes difficult or stressful, the game will provide an avenue of escape from Responsibility and Reality. (9)

So what on earth have we done about this 12 years later?
WHY was this study not taken as a revelation back in those days?
WHY did we not follow up what this man was saying to the world?
WHY have we not got the details of this study on front page headlines?
WHY are we so ill informed by the media about this type of stuff?
WHY are very few bringing awareness to us about the harm of video gaming?

Characteristics of Addiction

Gamer addiction has the basic identifying characteristics of all addictions.
These tend to be progressive and cyclic.
(9)

Intense pleasure/guilt

  • More pleasure derived from playing video games than anything else
  • Sense of well-being or euphoria while playing
  • Guilt because of the amount of time spent playing the games
  • Lack of attention to other issues

Obsessing

  • When not engaging in the activity, individual constantly thinks about the activity
  • Gaming controls the thoughts
  • Craves more and more time with activity

Neglecting

  • Neglects everything to play the video games:
  • Studies
  • Work
  • Hygiene
  • Sleep
  • Relationships
  • Food
  • Family
  • Friends

Lying

  • Denies and lies about the amount of time devoted to playing
  • Denies and lies about expenses involved in playing
  • Will lie to protect source of pleasure and good feelings

Anger/Depression

  • Angry when something/someone interferes with activity
  • Feels empty, depressed, irritable when not at computer or gaming

Unable to Control

  • Engages in game playing after deciding not to do so
  • Decides to play one hour; plays three, four or all night
  • Compulsively keeps investing time and money

Debt

  • Money spent on addiction before paying for food, rent etc.,
  • Compulsively keeps investing time and money

Dependency

  • A high followed by a low
  • Cure is to play again and regain the high
  • A deeper low follows and the cycle is repeated

The following has 4 focus areas that can assist in identification of possible gaming addicts in academic environment:

Attitude

  • Lack of interest in attending class
  • Nervous
  • Anxious
  • Belligerent
  • Lying
  • Angry
  • Absorbed
  • Uncomfortable

 Physical Appearance

  • Dishevelled
  • Unkempt
  • Red-eyed
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Weight loss
  • Back problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Migraines

Behaviour

  • Withdrawn
  • Isolated
  • Aggressive
  • Sleeps in class
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Lack of sleep
  • Does not eat regularly
  • Games up to 20 hours at a time

Academic Performance

  • Missing class
  • Assignments not completed
  • Argumentative with professors
  • Failing
  • Probation
  • Suspension (9)

Symptoms

The two major indicators of Gamer Addiction are withdrawal and isolation.
The common thread in addiction is an emotional dysregulation.
Individuals are often –
Depressed
Lonely
Angry
Shy
Afraid to go out
In high family conflict situations
Low self esteem

This then affects all relationships.
Players have difficulty separating the game of fantasy world and reality. (9)

The compulsive playing tends to cover these underlying psychological problems.
(Cromie, 1999) (9)

85% boys and 65% girls are game players = 960 students addicted out of 10,000. (9)

Many students, choosing gaming over academics has become the norm.

Gamer Addiction is an obsession with video game playing that usually begins in elementary and middle school.
By college, the individual progresses from simple to elaborate games and the student is game-hooked.  An activity becomes an addiction when it is used to change an individual’s mood.

Computer use become Abuse when it interferes with ‘one’s work or school, or disrupts personal or family relationships, and becomes increasingly necessary to feel good. (10)

USA

Marshall, age 25, was living on soda drink full of sugar and caffeine.
‘I would get weak from not eating but I would only notice it when I got so shaky I stopped being able to think and play well.’

Charlie aged 28, was suicidal and lost his job when he realised his online gaming was totally out of control.
He started playing video games around age 4 and was addicted by the age of 9.

Peter aged 31, the low came when he had been homeless for six months and was living in his car.
He was addicted to Internet porn, masturbating six to ten times a day, to the point where he was bleeding but would continue.
When he was not doing that, he was so immersed in the fantasy battle game World of Warcraft that in his mind, he was no longer a person sitting at a screen, but an avatar: ‘shooting guns and assassinating the enemy’ as he ran through a Tolkien-esque virtual realm.
If he wasn’t doing that, he would read online news reports obsessively and exercise his political opinions, projecting himself pseudonymously as a swaggering blogger-cum-troll. (8)

Peter says “Looking back now, I think a lot of male problematic behaviour is channelled into killing people on screen. I had anger against the world. A paradoxical mix of entitlement and worthlessness and being upset that my life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to.
I have noticed a lot of the trends in games are about ‘my father is lost and I have to find him’ on some quest.”

These three men talk about venting frustrations online and boys not being taught how to communicate with each other very well. (8)

This rehab centre helps residents, mainly men withdraw from technology that has consumed their lives.

“There is not consistent criteria to measure this yet, nor is there agreement in psychiatry that one can be addicted to the Internet. Research has accumulated to the point where something called Internet Gaming Disorder has made its way into the back section of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), meaning it is being considered for future possible inclusion.” (8)
Hilarie Cash – Psychotherapist – Chief Clinical Officer at reSTART rehab Center, Washington

The DSM is the handbook of the American Psychiatric Association and is considered the standard US reference book for mental health.
It has now included Gambling Disorder for the first time, after 40 years of study.

“Gambling became the first behavioral addiction to be recognised and that opened up the mind-boggling concept that behaviors alone can be addictive – and just as powerful as a chemical addiction.

The chase and reward patterns of betting, hooking up or advancing in a competitive video game are not unlike a drug high and can be similarly compulsive even though a foreign substance is not being introduced to the bloodstream.

The way a gamer’s brain lights up in euphoria and builds up a tolerance to the rewards, distorting the neuro pleasure pathways over time, is similar to a cocaine addict.

Some games are much more addictive than others and they are designed that way, especially the endless massively multiplayer online role-playing games largely designed by men to appeal to males”.
Hilarie Cash – Psychotherapist – Chief Clinical Officer at reSTART rehab Center, Washington (8)

Is this a wake-up call and should we be paying attention to this woman who is concerned that parents don’t understand how addictive screens are for little children and detrimental to their mental development, especially interactive activities? This woman is alarmed about the dangers of the nascent virtual reality medium.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) – innovation in the area of online computer gaming.
This pilot study examined the psychological and social effects of online gaming. (11)
Gamers ranging from age 18 to 69 years.

41% gamers played online to escape.

Further analysis showed that excessive online gaming was significantly correlated with psychological and behavioural ‘dependence’.
It was also found that ‘dependent’ gamers appear to possess some core components of addiction to MMORPGs (e.g., mood modification, tolerance and relapse).
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
October 2009 (11)

Hello Hello

What on earth is going on if back then in 2009 we knew the dangers of online gaming?
WHY have we not bothered to take these guys seriously who carried out this study?

WHY are we waiting for more and more research when we can simply join the dots?
WHY have we become so adamant on more research to keep proving what we all know?What have we been doing for the past 8 years about the effects of MMORPGs?

Can we blame those who supply the games or is it us making the demands so they give it to us?

Are those who seek to benefit making sure we keep getting more and more regardless of the consequences?

Are we ok with the harm this is causing us, our kids, our families, our communities, our country and our world?

2013
Internet Gaming Disorder (DSM-5) (12)

Proposed Criteria

Persistent and recurrent use of the Internet to engage in games, often with other players, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as indicated by five (or more) of the following in a 12-month period:

  1. Preoccupation with Internet games. (The individual thinks about previous gaming activity or anticipates playing the next game; Internet gaming becomes the dominant activity in daily life).

Note: This disorder is distinct from Internet gambling, which is included under gambling disorder.

  1. Withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away. (These symptoms are typically described as irritability, anxiety, or sadness, but there are no physical signs of pharmacological withdrawal.)
  1. Tolerance – the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in Internet games.
  1. Unsuccessful attempts to control the participation in Internet games.
  1. Loss of interests in previous hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of Internet games.
  1. Continued excessive use of Internet games despite knowledge of psychosocial problems.
  1. Has deceived family members, therapists, or others regarding the amount of Internet gaming.
  1. Use of Internet games to escape or relieve a negative mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety).
  1. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of participation in Internet games.

Only non-gambling Internet games are included in this disorder.

Internet gaming disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the degree of disruption of normal activities. Individuals with less severe Internet gaming disorder may exhibit fewer symptoms and less disruption of their lives. Those with severe Internet gaming disorder will have more hours spent on the computer and more severe loss of relationships or career or school opportunities.

Subtypes

There are no well-researched subtypes for Internet gaming disorder to date. Internet gaming disorder most often involves specific Internet games, but it could involve non-Internet computerized games as well, although these have been less researched.

Diagnostic Features

Gambling disorder is currently the only non-substance-related disorder proposed for inclusion with DSM-5 substance-related and addictive disorders. However, there are other behavioral disorders that show some similarities to substance use disorders and gambling disorder for which the word addiction is commonly used in nonmedical settings, and the one condition with a considerable literature is the compulsive playing of Internet games.

Internet gaming has been reportedly defined as an “addiction” by the Chinese government, and a treatment system has been set up. Reports of treatment of this condition have appeared in medical journals, mostly from Asian countries and some in the United States.

The DSM-5 work group reviewed more than 240 articles and found some behavioral similarities of Internet gaming to gambling disorder and to substance use disorders.
The literature does describe many underlying similarities to substance addictions, including aspects of tolerance, withdrawal, repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit, and impairment in normal functioning. Further, the seemingly high prevalence rates, both in Asian countries and, to a lesser extent, in the West, justified inclusion of this disorder in Section III of DSM-5.

Internet gaming disorder has significant public health importance, and additional research may eventually lead to evidence that Internet gaming disorder (also commonly referred to as Internet use disorder, Internet addiction, or gaming addiction) has merit as an independent disorder.

Internet gaming disorder is a pattern of excessive and prolonged Internet gaming that results in a cluster of cognitive and behavioral symptoms, including progressive loss of control over gaming, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms, analogous to the symptoms of substance use disorders. As with substance-related disorders, individuals with Internet gaming disorder continue to sit at a computer and engage in gaming activities despite neglect of other activities. They typically devote 8-10 hours or more per day to this activity and at least 30 hours per week. If they are prevented from using a computer and returning to the game, they become agitated and angry. They often go for long periods without food or sleep. Normal obligations, such as school or work, or family obligations are neglected. This condition is separate from gambling disorder involving the Internet because money is not at risk.

The essential feature of Internet gaming disorder is persistent and recurrent participation in computer gaming, typically group games, for many hours. These games involve competition between groups of players (often in different global regions, so that duration of play is encouraged by the time-zone independence) participating in complex structured activities that include a significant aspect of social interactions during play. Team aspects appear to be a key motivation. Attempts to direct the individual toward schoolwork or interpersonal activities are strongly resisted. Thus personal, family, or vocational pursuits are neglected. When individuals are asked, the major reasons given for using the computer are more likely to be “avoiding boredom” rather than communicating or searching for information.

Prevalence

The prevalence of Internet gaming disorder is unclear because of the varying questionnaires, criteria and thresholds employed, but it seems to be highest in Asian countries and in male adolescents 12-20 years of age. There is an abundance of reports from Asian countries, especially China and South Korea, but fewer from Europe and North America, from which prevalence estimates are highly variable.

Risk and Prognostic Factors

Environmental.  Computer availability with Internet connection allows access to the types of games with which Internet gaming disorder is most often associated.

Genetic and Physiological.  Adolescent males seem to be at greatest risk of developing Internet gaming disorder, and it has been speculated that Asian environmental and/or genetic background is another risk factor, but this remains unclear.

Functional Consequences of Internet Gaming Disorder

Internet gaming disorder may lead to school failure, job loss, or marriage failure. The compulsive gaming behaviour tends to crowd out normal social, scholastic, and family activities. Students may show declining grades and eventually failure in school. Family responsibilities may be neglected.

Comorbidity

Health may be neglected due to compulsive gaming. Other diagnoses that may be associated with Internet gaming disorder include major depressive disorder, ADHD, and OCD.

A Narrative Review on Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) – Naskar et al (13)

There seems to be an attraction to lose oneself in the realms of virtual reality, which is provided by these gaming platforms. The stimulation it provides continues to feed this need and the person loses sense of real life and is not aware of the isolation and separation that is moving them away from human experience. (13)

HELLO

Let’s just stop here for a moment please.

WHY have we got an explosive growth in Internet usage recently?
Does this have something to do with children and teenagers now using the Internet?
Is this because access to technology is easier than ever for our kids to have?
WHY have we in this modern age come up with yet another new dis-order called IGD?
WHY is Internet Gaming Disorder rapidly growing and how are we going to stop it?
WHY is all this on-screen stuff having such a huge impact on our health?
WHY are there severe consequences because of the negative impact of gaming?
WHY are we not asking more questions when we know our kids are our future adults?
WHY is there not much data regarding exact prevalence and other risk factors?
WHY are we not on the front foot of this new 21st century disorder called IGD?
WHY do we keep asking for more proof when even one case study tells us things are not right?

What is the attraction that someone wants to lose themselves in the realms of virtual reality?
Do we need to be studying this and finding out WHY we prefer virtual to real life?
Could it be as simple as we don’t like real life as it requires the word RESPONSIBILITY?

WHY are gaming platforms allowed to get away with what they do?
Is it something to do with supply and demand?
In other words, we want it and demand it and they simply supply and keep supplying?

WHY do we have such a deep need for stimulation to feed our needs?

Would it be wise to look at what our needs are and why we have them?

Could there be a clue here as to WHY we need video games to fill up our needs?

Could it be possible that the more we feed the needs we want even more, because the need is empty in the first place – bit like a bottomless pit?

Possible?

Next – Is there another clue here Dear World, that the person loses sense of real life because the need being fed is a false illusion?

Could it then be possible that this illusion removes the person and separates them from living life in the real world, which is the human experience?

Could it be possible that this emptiness we feel that has the need and requires the stimulation of what gaming brings, further isolates them from real life?

Could it be possible that the need becomes insatiable like a source sucking the life force out and the person not only loses sense of reality but becomes unaware of the difference between virtual reality and planet earth, real life, common sense, the human body and relating to earth life.
In other words, it is like they are not there and something else is in the mind doing all this at the expense of the body which is in total dis-regard and neglect.

Could it be possible that our mind no longer can think clearly and this removes and separates us from the human experience and we cross over into the world of virtual reality and struggle with the difference?

Could it be possible that we feel the tension of human life on earth and know something is not right and so we opt for something like gaming to numb us and bring us temporary relief?

Could it be possible that Internet Gaming Addiction is no different to other mind-altering substances like drugs and alcohol but remains under the radar and we call that legal?

Could it be possible that we are not acting fast enough with new dis-orders that seem to keep presenting themselves in our ever growing crazy world?

Could it be possible we normalise things when the mass are doing something without seriously checking the harm to the human body and society?

Could it be possible that there has been no real change as all those involved are exhausted and cannot keep up with what is next required?

Could it be possible that our world lacks real true role models who live with a Quality of Integrity and Vitality that is felt because it is lived?

Could it be possible that we can each do our bit simply by looking at our own life and where we are choosing and not choosing to take Responsibility?

Could it be possible that bad mouthing, blaming, championing or celebrating a world day is not needed but awareness about any given topic is?

Could it be possible that those who can, have a Responsibility like the quote in the Independence Day of America?

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. (14)

In other words, as Nicholas Cage said in the film National Treasure –
If there is something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the Responsibility to take action.

Could it be possible that we all need to see any problem as our problem and not sit back and hope it will go away or let others get on with it?

WHY are we even waiting for more research when common sense tells us something is seriously wrong with all this gaming stuff?

Have we got time to waste and wait for more funding to research what we already know?Have we got the luxury to sit around in hope that someone out there will sort this out?Have we got the urgency running through our veins that these people are not living life and seriously need help, even if they look like they are ‘normal’?
Have we simply changed what we call normal and accepted this, as the mass are all doing it?

Where is all this rapidly growing public health problem going to end up?
Have we stopped long enough to even consider that our health systems currently cannot cope?
Have we looked at what the long-term damage is going to be to our society?

Have we bothered to pause and ask why is this going on and what is our part in this?
Have we just written this off like any other news which quickly becomes old news?

Case Study 1

Messrs. A and B were two unmarried brothers belonging to a nuclear family of upper socioeconomic class of urban background of New Delhi, India.
A is 19 years old, studying in 12th standard.
B is 22 years old, studying in 2nd year of engineering.

Problem started when both used to stay at home together and started playing online games with their virtual Internet friends from different countries.
Duration of online gaming progressed from 2-4 hours per day to 14-18 hours within a few months.
Their behaviour and self-care were simply not there while playing games.
They both –
Urinated and defecated in their clothes
Did not change clothes for days
Did not bathe
Skipped meals
Did not answer phones
Did not open door, even to parents
Their home was robbed twice in their presence, whilst they were playing online games.
(13)

HELLO again

Is this case study spelling out to us that it makes no difference what background we come from?
Is this story shocking us enough or is it just another thing that is not right in society?
Is this telling us that online games with virtual friends means no real relationships?
Is this saying when we have online friends that don’t exist except in our mind, we are in trouble?
Is this clear that we lose all sense of self and the responsibility aspect of daily living?
Is this presenting that when we are checked out with our mind elsewhere, it is dangerous?

Case Study 2

Boy aged 18 – excessive use of video game for last 2 years.
Playing meant losing interest in studies and low academic grades.
Decreased self-care
Disturbance in biological functions
Avoiding contact with others
Irritability when asked to stop video game
Disturbance in leisure activities
Disturbance in family routine
Disturbance in family interaction
Disturbance in physical and mental health

Parents had psychiatric distress, which they attributed to helplessness to manage the user’s psychosocial dysfunctions. It also starts affecting their lifestyle in terms of decreased engagement in pleasurable activities, disturbance in sleep attributable to frequent checking of user’s activities at night, and interpersonal problems. (13)

Is this case study telling us that it is not just about the gamer but others too, including family?
How serious is it when parents have psychiatric distress because of their son’s psychosocial dysfunctions due to playing online games?

Who do we blame and point the finger at?
Is anyone to blame or is there something we are missing?
How bad will the disturbance in life have to get before we say No to this form of abuse?How crazy have things got that we are not the user and our life is affected by another?

Prevalence

The prevalence of Internet Gaming Disorder varies worldwide and is estimated to be between 0.2% and 8.5%.

Korea is reported to have the highest known prevalence.
50% of adolescents are presumed to be addicted to gaming and Internet Gaming Disorder.
24% of those diagnosed as having Internet Addiction need hospitalization.

However, these reviews and studies have considered Internet Gaming Disorder and Internet Addiction Disorder as the same disorder, so it is difficult to say what the exact prevalence is as the two conditions are distinctly different but with some overlapping characteristics. (13)

According to Ko et al, increasing age, poor self-esteem and low daily life satisfaction were associated with more severe online gaming addiction among males.

12,938 children and adolescents studied from seven countries across Europe.
Adolescents with Internet Gaming Disorder reported being from broken home, divorced parents.
Muller et al (13)

Most Popular Genres

88% action games
86% casual games
84% sports games
Study conducted by Donati et al, in 2016 among 701 male adolescents (13)

4744 University students in USA studied in 2015
Internet Gaming Disorder scores elevated rapidly with time playing Real Time Strategy and Real Person Fiction Games than for action games.
Eichenbaum et al

2422 individuals studied in Netherlands to find correlations between game genres and Internet Gaming Disorder. Findings show stronger correlation between online gaming and Internet Gaming Disorder than offline ones.
Lemmens et al (13)

Comorbidities Associated with Internet Gaming Addiction

Internet Gaming Disorder is thought to be a gradually progressive behaviour, with a chronic course deteriorating over time. The pathological gaming behaviour may lead to significant physical and mental health problems as reported by numerous literary evidences.

Addicted gamers have a higher association with psychopathologies than controls.
Addicts scored higher in Beck’s Depression Inventory and Social Phobia Inventory and are less agreeable, thorough, and emotionally stable.
Lehenbauer-Baum et al (13)

Treatment

In response to game cues, patients with Internet video game addiction showed higher brain activation in left occipital lobe cuneus, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortext and left parahippocampal gyrus than healthy comparison subjects.

After a 6 week period of Bupropion SR (sustained release), craving for Internet video game play, total game play time and cue-induced brain activity in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were decreased in the patients with Internet video game addiction.
Bupropion which is an anti-depressant was suggested to change craving and brain activity in ways that are similar to those observed in individuals with substance abuse or dependence. (13)

CHINA (6)

Documentary by RT called China’s Digital Detox, looking into the harsh reality of Internet gaming addiction.

Here are some key points from the documentary –

China has 700 million Internet users.
First country officially to recognise Internet addiction as clinical condition.

Military style boot camp to help gamers overcome Internet dependence.
Some parents are giving up their jobs to be at the boot camp and attend parent classes.

$1500 cost each month for 6 months.
Course based on Military training.

Parades, marching outdoor exercise important.
Stand still for 20 minutes outdoors in silence with back straight.
One to one group sessions with psychologist referring to Freud model.

Many now have health problems from poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle.
Screen time was junk food and sugar carbonated drinks.
Now nutrition important with balanced diet and plenty vegetables.

Vitamins and minerals given.
Sedatives prescribed in cases of severe depression.

Drugs not widespread.
Alcohol not easy to get.

WHY the Internet?
Internet easily accessible, costs almost nothing.
They feel in control like it is real life.
On the Internet, they are the heroes.
It is what they lack in real life.
What they can’t get at home, they get on the Internet.

Parents are running their business and often leave child with grandparents.
Only one child policy in China.

Child in boarding school for 10 years referred to it as prison.
He said the boot camp was the same as former prison life – it is boring.
“We march, wash clothes by hand and clean our rooms.
We have army drill parades and are pushed around.”

Boot camp orders
‘Room 5 – bedspread is not smooth enough.’
‘Room 8 – some furniture in the wrong place.’

Boarding school
Lessons start at 6am and finish 9:30pm.
No friends.
Very busy, no time to go to the toilet.
School wanted to be top in the Province’s ratings.

“nobody understood my heart…
my parents were poor growing up and don’t understand me.
they have no idea what I have been through or what I want in life.”

Parents think they are always right in everything they do.
15% ignore their children.
Children’s mental age is below average.

99% dropped out of school.
Unable to communicate with others.

Parent talking
We didn’t know material side of things not important to him.
We only cared about his material well-being
We never asked how he felt or if he was bullied at boarding school.

We must be real failures as parents.

We can’t and we don’t know how to. Of course, we will learn. First, we must learn his needs and get to know him better.

Parents learn about the children from the boot camp. Before they only wanted obedience.
Children see that their parents have changed.

Parent realise they cannot tell child what to do and need to allow him to make his own choices as he has grown up now.

“They often played online games and if one of the players needed to pee during the game, he was so afraid of interrupting the game, that he would put on a diaper.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Dysfunctional relationships in the family are behind it.
We educate parents to give their children space to grow.”
Tao Ran – Director
The China Youth Rehabilitation Base

Adults quit their jobs
They played 24/7
Some never left their room for 6 months.
Never saw daylight

Adult Story
Issues at work and found he was withdrawing from life.
Played for 16 hours in one day – that was his record high.
Mum tricked him and got him into boot camp.
Tried break window with his head and cut his veins with broken glass.

After the boot camp he became a presenter in the parent classes.
He starts with As for our kids, loneliness is a permanent state.

Parents are busy at work and have nothing in common to talk about with kids who have no siblings. They go on the Internet to meet new people and communicate. They gradually lose the ability to communicate with real people and start living another life. That’s called loneliness.

Sentyan
Sentyan system is long term voluntary isolation.
Locked up in room alone and no one to talk to.
A diary is used to write down reflections in life and childhood memories.
Not allowed outside for 28 days and 128 days was the longest in Sentyan.

JAPAN

518,000 children ages 12 to 18 addicted to Internet. (15)

Government successfully conducted “Net fasting” camp aimed at keeping internet-addicted teenagers away from smartphones and computers.

After the camp, 3 out of 7 who skipped school and played online games at home all the time were attending school.

Some participants regressed back to their old habits after a brief period of spending less time online. (16)

eSports

eSports is the abbreviation for electronic sports.

eSport – first new major sport invented in over a century.
Competitive video gaming is sweeping the world.
Players see themselves as athletes.
Prize monies are several hundred thousand dollars per game.
Heinrich Zetlmayer – Managing Director, Turtle Entertainment (17)

eSports consist of a variety of video games, for which you need nimble fingers and a fast brain to succeed. Just as with traditional sports, fans follow teams, watch matches and even attend cup finals cheering on their favourite stars from around the world.

Football clubs have started signing Fifa stars who are players of the virtual game rather than the real thing.

$130 million revenue in 2012 from eSports
$465 million expected in 2017
NewZoo – eSports Data Expert (17)

385 million global audience
191 million regular viewers

£2,000,000 paid a year to eSports player aged 21, not including sponsorship or bonuses. (17)

We could all agree this is new compared to all other sports we know of.

What is it about competition that drives us to neglect our precious body?
What is it about eSports that fans love even though it is not real life?
What is it about us as a world that doesn’t care about the side effects?
What is it about us that subscribes to something that is not real?
What is it about us that ignores all the signs that something is not right?
What is it about us that requires entertainment and the buzz consistently?

POLAND

2017 – Spodec Stadium, Katowice, West Poland
Intel Extreme Masters Final
173,500 attending
46 million viewers watching online
35% increase from last year (17)

Olympic type events like these are broadcasted widely by a leading eSports company that organizes competitions worldwide via streaming service. Today this company is worth over a billion dollars.

The Intel Masters was founded in 2006 and the man who established this puts its growth down to four factors:
Social Media
Live Streaming
Faster Internet
Longevity of more established games (17)

SOUTH KOREA

98% households have Internet

All textbooks to be digitised and base all schooling around tablet computers.

2,000,000 people receiving treatment to wean themselves from playing online games.

3 month old girl died, as parents were consumed in marathon online game session.

5 year old writes a pledge card “I promise to play Nintendo for 30 minutes only. Daddy promises to play less cellphone games and play more with me”. (18)

Esports originates from this country.

Korea has one of the fastest and most developed broadband networks in the world.

In South Korea, eSports is so ingrained in society that it could be seen as a national past time.

eSports Stadium, Seoul, Korea
This is the first sports venue in the world designed specifically for online gaming.
2005 arena opened that hosts online games in the form of sports coverage.
While professional gamers are playing a game on stage, spectators cheer from the gallery. (19)

Television
South Korea has a channel that shows eSports 24 hours a day. (17)

eSports Stars
I practice a minimum of 12 hours a day. Sometimes 15 hours a day when close to a match.
As you sit for long hours without movement, inevitably it cannot be good for your health but I do believe it contributes to brain development.
Faker – eSports Star

This news article describes Faker like most eSports players:

Bespectacled
Spotty
Exhausted
Pasty-faced
Sense no sun for years (17)

PC Bangs
Internet cafes where clients spend an average of five hours playing computer games. (20)
Bang means room in Korean.
Initially opened by South Korean Government to promote the Internet and gaming.

PC bangs are no longer just cafes now – they are parks and playgrounds in South Korea.

PC bangs are packed out by 9pm.
Many of the youth here play through the night.
Hundreds of computer screens are all busy.
Energy food and drinks, cooked meals and alcohol available.
Smoking room.
Stay long as you want without ever needing to leave. (17)

Teenagers and those in their 20s are too absorbed in the games to talk to another.

28 year old Jeong – maths teacher about to study PhD in brain science.
Attends PC bangs 3-4 times a week.
Sometimes plays all night.
Says it is cheap compared with other forms of entertainment.
Finds it exhilarating as he is reserved and awkward in conversation but in PC bang he feels happy and uninhibited.
Jeong is transformed when he starts playing a team game where killing is involved.
He speaks fast and excitably, barking instructions to anonymous team-mates.
When he finishes, he looks exhausted and is out of breath and says he feels good. (17)

HELLO again

How serious is this?
What on earth gets into this guy and transforms him?
WHY does he change so quickly?
WHY is killing an exciting thing on screen?
WHY is he comfortable barking instructions?
WHY is he ok with people who are anonymous?
What has got into him that makes him speak fast?
WHY is he looking exhausted at the end of the game?
WHY is he out of breath and thinks that is good?
WHY are we not funding studies to ask the WHY questions?

Can we join the dots and keep it simple here?

The first sentence in the article, tells us this young man, who plans to study a PhD in brain science is having some serious brain activity going on when he starts playing a team game.

Something inside him changes and he goes from being a reserved character in real life, who has difficulty engaging and communicating with others, to being happy and uninhibited in front of a screen with players who he has never met and doesn’t even know their names as they are all anonymous.

Society would class him as highly intelligent just by the fact of his occupation as a maths teacher who is now going to study a PhD.
However, what is intelligent about his choices with his gaming behaviour?
Is the brain science going to give us some answers here about his own behaviour?

Would it be common sense intelligence for us to at least be honest and ask WHY someone is reserved but takes on a completely different persona when online?

Would it be true Intelligence to question what actually happens to the mind and body when online games start? In other words what is this transformation?

Would it be worth studying that if this was all just a game and nothing more, WHY does it leave a person exhausted and out of breath?

Would it be real to ask how can it be possible to be out of breath when there was no physical gym type exercise going on?

Would it be worth considering at this stage that something is seriously wrong the moment the online gaming starts as it changes the behaviour of the gamer?
In other words, just like drugs the mind is in an altered false state of being.

Principal of High School found a solution when students struggled in the mainstream because they spent all night playing games. (17)

He opened a PC bang in the school and as long as students studied regular subjects in the morning they were allowed to play eSports in the afternoon and evening.

The school was fast becoming a training ground for future professionals.
The students said a minimum of 10 hours per day dedicated to games was needed to succeed.

The Principal does like to use the word addiction – he prefers the world over-indulgence.

He was asked would he liked to be remembered for curing over indulgence of creating eSports stars. If he had to choose between curing and training to become a professional, he said he would choose the latter.

Is this telling us that we prefer to have the recognition of making students professional gamers, rather than value human life of those who are suffering from gaming addiction?

Cinderella Law

2011 – Korean government introduced the Cinderella Law which forbids youth under age 16 to play computer games between midnight and 6am.
The law came in because the country had a problem with young people addicted to gaming. (17)

This was 6 years ago and do we have any studies now telling us if this law is adhered to?
If we are being honest, it is not possible to police and monitor a law like this, as in reality we do not have the resources to ensure our teenagers stop playing at midnight?

How is the problem in this country today with young people addicted to gaming?
Has this law made any real difference and if so, how come statistics are rising?

Mental Health

The industry’s lack of support for addicts is “immoral”.
Problems typically emerge when children enter middle school at age 11.
They lose interest in academic work, friends and family; they stop sleeping; eat poorly or hardly at all.
Immersive gaming without any resting is harmful to our brain. It is a definite fact.
Case reported where the gamer was immersed without any sleeping or having a meal. He died.
As a medical doctor, I think the support from the Government to the patients struggling with Internet gaming is not enough.
Dr. Lee Tae-Kyung – National Centre for Mental Health in Seoul (17)

Choi aged 31 is an addict and inpatient at Lee’s hospital. He talks how his addiction alienated him from the real world and his job. He played at PC bangs for four to six hours every night and stopped eating properly.
The quality of his work was affected and he began to confuse his own identity with characters in the games he played. He stopped relating to people.

National Center for Mental Health was dealing with drugs and alcohol and now it is about gaming.

Psychiatrist – Dr. Kim Hyun-soo says:

In the 1990s, the addiction issues were associated with glue or gas.
In 1998 Internet Games were commercialised.
In 2000 I started seeing gaming addicts.
Many of the glue and gas sniffers moved on to gaming.

Top ranked addiction among young people is game addiction.
90% of addicts are male teenagers.

Kim talks about addicts he has seen who wear nappies so they do not have to leave their game to go to the toilet; the gamers are so obsessed they stop eating and sleeping altogether.

He was one of the psychiatrists that investigated the case of a games addicted young man who killed his mother before killing himself.
“There have been many tragic social cases that are related to game addiction.”

Kim treated a 23-year old addict in 2005 and weaned him off eSports and thought he was cured.
Two months after completion of the treatment he killed himself.
What he realised was that he had wanted to keep the relationship with his gaming friends but he was chucked out of the community. The fact that he thought he had lost all his social relationships led to his suicide.

“I realised it was not a simple issue of not playing the game at all – it is not black and white. I had to go much deeper into the psyche.”

He discovered there were different types of gaming addictions:
Some were addicted to moving up the ranks
Some to the money making aspect
Some to that sense of belonging to the gaming community. (17)

WHY are we not listening to these medical professionals who are telling us the truth about what is really going on?

WHY are we demanding and wanting more research when these real-life stories give us the anecdotal evidence that we need?

The most difficult to treat are those addicted to the money side.

Kim says younger and younger people are becoming addicted.
6 year olds refusing to go to school because they are addicted to smartphone games.
Patients are treated with “talking therapy”.
Addicts talk out their problem and hopefully reach a solution. (17)

When talking does not work for youngsters, his partner, Dr. Lee Jae-won turns to electric shock treatment. One machine delivers basic shocks to stimulate the frontal lobe; the other provides transcranial magnetic stimulation, a less brutal therapy. These treatments, particularly the first, are controversial, especially when used on young people. But Lee insists his treatment is much more sophisticated than the cruel ECT – electroconvulsive therapy of yesteryear.
As he talks, he regularly flicks a switch, gives himself an electric shock and twitches.
He seems unaware that he is doing it. (17)

There are children obsessed before they enrol in elementary school, says Lee.

With gaming, it is the frontal lobe that degenerates and it is the frontal lobe that makes humans act like humans. Having it damaged can explain the antisocial, impulsive and unhappy behaviour.

One reporter allowed Lee to give him a single electric shock and found it violent. He described it as his bones felt like they had been struck by a tuning fork and he could feel it hours later. Note that these shocks are applied to the head.

This news story mentions a young boy with a tattoo in the waiting room for electric shock treatment. Tattooing is illegal in Korea and this confirms how far gone this boy is. (17)

Cheating

In eSports cheating is relatively easy. You can slow opponents down using technology to mess with Internet connection, take drugs to speed yourself up or simply lose.
Ian Smith, the first Head of British eSports Integrity Commission (Esic). (17)

Gambling in eSports already seems more advanced than in traditional sports.
Professional players have been banned for betting on themselves to win matches, or more commonly, to lose.

It is becoming increasingly susceptible to corruption because so many people are betting on matches. The casinos in Las Vegas are now streaming matches to attract more young people.

UK

May 2017 – London famous football club announced their ground will now be used to host live eSports matches, with potential crowds of 50,000 and revenues of £3,000,000 for each match.

2000 – first UK eSports addiction clinic opened. (17)

Hello

Can we join the dots here and not just look at the heavily wired countries who are taking steps to curb addiction in youth?

Have we as individuals decided to value screen time above other important things in life?
Have we made a choice to check out in our gaming world to avoid the RESPONSIBILITY that life brings?

Are we Bored with the life we have and this video gaming helps us to not address the boredom?

Do we need an escape because we simply do not like the life we have?

Are we aware of the dangers that video gaming may be having on our mind and body?
Are we choosing this dis-connected way of living as no one is educating us on the dangers?
Are we bothering to find out that video gaming can be an addiction just like crack cocaine?Are we feeling safe from the cruel world outside when we stick to our screen playing?
Are we comfortable allowing our kids to stay quiet and not worry what they are up to?

Are we as adults so hooked into the fantasy escaping world that we just can’t stop?

Does it suit us to have a quiet child completely absorbed in the video gaming world?
Does it work for our lifestyle to know our child is muted and totally immersed in gaming?
Does it make it ok, as we are big into video gaming and our kids just follow the same pattern?

UK

November 2009

First computer rehab clinic opens and surge in popularity of web based “fantasy world” games has triggered a wave of addiction among adults and children. (21)

Sufferers spend days at a time glued to their computer screens – going without food, sleep or any social interaction. As a result they suffer malnutrition, relationship breakdown and postural problems.

The wave of addiction is apparently triggered by more sophisticated online games where players have to invest significant amounts of time to progress. (21)

HELLO HELLO

This is huge and needs another re-read.

So here we have it – games that require more and more time to progress, when in truth the significant amounts of time are killing our players.

Behavioural shifts include users becoming aggressive, with chaotic lifestyles that result in irregular eating and sleeping patterns as well as social exclusion.
It is not unusual for people to get so obsessed with online gaming that they forget to eat and drift towards an anorexic and undernourished state.

There is no helpline in the UK and nobody else treating such cases in this country.

There is a relationship with characters in the game that give an artificial feeling created by the body’s natural endorphins, when you have killed some monster or solved a problem.
Peter Smith – Counsellor, Broadway Lodge, Weston Super Mare, Somerset (21)

While children and teenagers naturally gravitate towards video games, adults have also fallen into the gaming arena. These developments have given rise to some alarming video game addiction statistics that seem to be increasing with each passing year.

Ongoing technological advancements make it possible for anyone with a television, desktop computer, notebook computer or mobile phone to play video games whenever the mood strikes.

USA

A study in the medical journal Pediatrics presented the following video game addiction statistics:

20 hours per week playing video games.
72% American households play video games.
9% showed signs of video game addiction.
4% extreme users played video games 50 hours week. (22)

Video game addictions develop out of certain types of life circumstances and often become the “filling” for unmet needs and emotional conflicts in a person’s daily life. (7)

Children who spend inordinate amounts of time playing video games may have underlying, unresolved issues going on in their everyday life.

Compulsive gaming behaviours closely resemble the behaviours exhibited by drug addicts, some of which include:

Obsessing over the activity when not engaged in it.
Losing track of time.
Scheduling daily activities around “video game time”.
Disregard for negative consequences. (7)

Dr. Kimberley Young – Ted TALK

China
Korea
Taiwan

Gaming centres where Internet Addiction is most problematic and prevalent.

USA – considered more of a silent addiction.
Less Internet cafes. Happening more in homes, people’s bedrooms.
Gamers are treated that fail school or live back at home with parents as cannot hold a job. (23)

Suicide

There is an online game using the name of a giant sea mammal spreading via social media accounts.

Aim – to goad vulnerable youngsters into taking their own lives.
Reports state children as young as seven are playing.

The suicide challenge in this game has already been linked to some 130 deaths in Russia.

Parent blamed the game for death of teenage daughter in USA.
She started researching and reading more about the game and joined the dots.
One weekend her daughter asked her to step on the roof of the house. This is something the game asked. She realised one of the pictures is from her own roof.

Anonymous administrators give out tasks and participants are required to submit photo evidence each day to prove the challenge was completed.

As the tasks become more extreme over a 50 day period, some group administrators have encouraged members to self-harm – with some scoring the shape of this sea mammal on their forearm.

Day 50 – group members are purportedly encouraged to take their own lives.

Russian university student planned to throw himself from a building to complete one of the challenges in this game.

He told Sky News
I didn’t feel like I needed to kill myself. I felt I needed to complete the task.
I only had this thought in my head – that I need to complete the task. (24)

Dear World

After reading this blog, would it be true to say the we have been re-creating a way to use our mind on screen time that is deeply harming our body?

Could it be possible that video gaming for many has become an addiction?

Could it be possible that video gaming is simply not evolving us as a race of beings on earth?

Could it be possible that video gaming cannot be celebrated if some of our world are truly suffering as a direct result of playing video games?

Can we sit back and let this continue after reading what is going on?

Do we each have a Responsibility even if it is sharing this blog on social media so more people are aware?

Can we take the Responsibility and get talking about this much needed topic?

Can we pass on what we now know to others in our community who may not be aware of the dangers of video gaming?

Are we ready to do our bit and take note of all that has been presented?

Are we concerned that our children may just be addicted to video games because we have made the choice to not connect with them?

Are we bothered about the state of our world in the future, knowing that our kids are the future generations to come?

Can we be honest enough to admit that we cannot celebrate a day about images on a screen that is causing many some serious harm?

Could it be possible that good old-fashioned meeting, connecting and expressing who we truly are would be enough?

Could it be that Simple?


If you are feeling suicidal, contact your GP for support or the Suicide Helplines.

In a crisis contact your emergency services.

Suicide Helplines

UK – Samaritans available 24 hours
Tel: 116 123

Childline – for children and young people
Tel: 0800 1111

USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Tel:  1-800-273-8255

Other Countries
Check International Association for Suicide Prevention Resources on Crisis Centers
https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres


References

(1) (n.d). Definition of Video Game. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/video%20game

(2) (n.d). Video Game Day 2018. www.dates.abouttravelingtheworld.com. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
http://www.dates.abouttravelingtheworld.com/special-holidays/video-game-day

(3) (n.d). Video Games Day. Days of the Year. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/video-games-day/

(4) (n.d). National Video Games Day – September 12. National Today. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
https://nationaltoday.com/us/national-video-games-day/

(5) (n.d). 10 Signs of Video Game Addiction Parents Should Recognise. www.addictions.com. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
https://www.addictions.com/video-games/10-signs-video-game-addiction-parents-recognize/

(6) Ryan, G. (2016, June 8). Addicted Gamers Wearing Diapers to Avoid Pauses. Sunshine Coast Daily. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/addicted-gamers-wearing-diapers-avoid-pause-video-/3041133/

(7) (n.d). Does My Child Have Video Game Addiction? www.addictions.com. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
https://www.addictions.com/video-games/child-video-game-addiction/

(8) Walters, J. (2017, June 16). Inside the Rehab Saving Young Men from Their Internet Addiction. The Guardian. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/16/internet-addiction-gaming-restart-therapy-washington

(9) Kem, L. (2005). Gamer Addiction: A Threat to Student Success! What Advisors Need to Know. NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Game-Addicted-Students.aspx

(10) Orzack, M. (2005a). Q&A with Dr. Orzack. www.computeraddiction.com. Retrieved September 7, 2017 from
www.computeraddiction.com/peter.htm

(11) Hussain, Z., & Griffiths, M.D. (2009). Excessive Use of Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games: a Pilot Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction – Springer Link. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11469-009-9202-8

(12) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, V A, American Psychiatric Association, 2013. (pp. 795 – 798)

(13) Naskar, S., Victor, R., Nath, K., & Sengupta, C. (2016). “One Level More.” A Narrative Review on Internet Gaming Disorder. NCBI. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5479086/

(14) (1776). The Declaration of Independence. US History.org. Retrieved September 10, 2017 from
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

(15) Ryall, J. (2013, August 27). Japan to Introduce Internet ‘Fasting Camps’ for Addicted Kids. The Telegraph. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/10267303/Japan-to-introduce-internet-fasting-camps-for-addicted-kids.html

(16) (2015, May 6). Japan’s First Internet Fasting Camp for Teens a Success. Stuff. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from
http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/68293880/japans-first-internet-fasting-camp-for-teens-a-success

(17) (2017, June 16). The Rise of eSports: Are Addiction and Corruption the Price of its Success? The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2017 from
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/16/top-addiction-young-people-gaming-esports

(18) Lee, Y. (2012, November 30). South Korea to Stem Digital Addiction from Age 3. Stuff. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from
http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/8014281/South-Korea-to-stem-digital-addiction-from-age-3

(19) (n.d). e-Sports Stadium. www.visitseoul.net. Retrieved September 10, 2017 from
http://english.visitseoul.net/attractions/e-Sports-Stadium_/3376

(20) Wei, Will. (2015, October 18). What it’s Like Inside a ‘PC Bang’ in South Korea. Business Insider UK. Retrieved September 10, 2017 from
http://uk.businessinsider.com/south-korea-gaming-pc-bang-2015-10?r=US&IR=T

(21) (2009). Britain’s First Computer Rehab Clinic Opens. The Telegraph. Retrieved September 10, 2017 from
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/6485888/Britains-first-computer-rehab-clinic-opens.html

(22) (n.d). Alarming Video Game Addiction Statistics. www.addictions.com. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from
https://www.addictions.com/video-games/alarming-video-game-addiction-statistics/

(23) (2015, January 5). What You Need to Know About Internet Addiction. TEDxBuffalo. Retrieved September 10, 2017 from
https://youtu.be/vOSYmLER664

(24) Blue Whale Game – Suicide Challenge Hits UK as ‘Children as Young as Seven Discover Craze’. Sunday Express. Retrieved September 8, 2017 from
http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/849453/Blue-Whale-Game-Suicide-Challenge-UK-Children

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Comments 45

  1. Very scary stuff! Why is this not talked about in the media?

    Is it because the age group that is now working in media is the age group that grew up with video games, and they do not want to admit that the gameing that they do is harming them?

  2. 20 years ago when my children found video games on the computer and I noticed how they would disappear into the computer, lose track of time, and afterwards they would be different, l knew computer games were a waste of time, a dead end.

    Especially for children who are supposed to be experiencing real life, not a distortion of life.

    When a young person sees on a computer screen that you can kick someone in the head and not hurt the person, because they have no direct experience in life, they believe that it is true.

    And their bodies are actually experiencing all the emotional trauma as if they really experienced it.

    Computer games are a dead end, they serve no purpose except to separate you from the world. How have we allowed them to exist for as long as we have?

    1. Bang on, Ken.

      We have a few education-style games for young kids on our ipad. Even with those, if I watched my kids play for even 10 minutes, I could see a switch in their behaviour. They would become fixated on the screen, unable to engage with the outside world. Then came the agitation, with their bodies wanting to move but their heads locked into the game. And when you called ‘time’ they would cry out and fight as if you had just taken away a meal after a period of famine.

      We would point out these physical and behavioural reactions to them so they could see them for themselves.

      The ipad has pretty much stayed in the cupboard since then.

  3. After reading this article by Simple Living Global it is clear that Video Games are the modern day acceptable drug that are having damaging consequences for our health.

    Metro newspaper – 24th November 2016

    ‘Younger people are increasingly being treated for conditions associated with older generations, including back problems, varicose veins and piles. Hours spent on games consoles or watching box sets mean bad posture and a lack of exercise are causing problems for 25 – 45 year olds, says BUPA…’

    Do we have enough evidence now that our preoccupation with video games is far from healthy or will we continue to search for more evidence to confirm what in truth we already know?

  4. Superb blog on video gaming – stunning facts and stats – yet very sobering to consider how bad things have got. Some kids aren’t old enough to know how the world was before computers/digital devices – but some of us do remember when we used to play outdoors, without a computer in sight (in fact when I was much younger we didn’t even have a TV). How bad does it have to get? It feels like with video gaming we have unleashed a monster that we have no idea how to deal with.

  5. I’m struggling to see why anyone would think of having a video games celebration day in the first place.

    What exactly is there to celebrate here?

  6. I have recently seen some of this at the ‘after school club’ at my kids’ school.

    At pick up time, the majority of the kids are lined up in front of laptops playing or watching one game or another. The games are cars and adventures and fighting – zero education.

    When I went in yesterday it was like watching a bunch of zombie children. No engagement, just staring into the screens, fixated.

    Many of them were playing a game where the characters are battling tribes and the main movement is a sword stabbing the ‘enemy’ on repeat.

    It is clear many of the kids are totally in to these games. My son found it hard to pull himself away.

    When I pointed out what I was seeing, I was told it is so the kids can ‘relax’ after being outside and that it makes them calm.

    How are we defining ‘calm’ here?

    Do we mean ‘calm’ or do we mean ‘out of the way’?

    Is it ‘calming’ to spend time repeatedly stabbing characters on a screen? How calm is the child’s inner domain when/after doing that?

    These kids are in primary school.

    What on earth are we doing here?

  7. “WHY are we even waiting for more research when common sense tells us something is seriously wrong with all this gaming stuff?”

    This is a GREAT question. It applies to so many subjects in life.

    It’s like we are open to justification – to being talked out of what we know is true.

    Why is this?

    Is it because we have lost our trust in that knowing, somehow?

    Or perhaps we don’t like the responsibility that comes with that knowing?

  8. The story about the boy in the Chinese boarding school is very sad.

    It is an extreme example, and yet how many parents put the material world above the true needs and feelings of their child?

    If we are honest, I suspect this would give most parents pause for reflection.

    Can we ALL take a good dose of their medicine:

    “First, we must learn his needs and get to know him better.”

  9. What a phenomenal blog. Packed full of factual information. I am not familiar with gaming but have heard of it. This blog is shocking and a real eye opener in the severity of the affects gaming has on children and adults and how addictive and life destroying it is. Why do we need more research when there are cases such as the ones in this blog proving the detriment and devastation gaming has on lives?
    Another very educational read, thank you Simple living Global.

  10. I have just read your last link, it seems absurd that something that encourages people/children to complete more and more dangerous and harmful tasks that result in them taking their lives is called a game.

  11. I have never been into video gaming but this blog certainly sets the scene. Have you ever watched someone who is addicted to gaming their eyes are fixed and it is like they are in their own world. And it is literally that, it is not Real Life.

    I knew someone that was so addicted to gaming that they never left the house, even to the point of not working. How can we as a society become so addicted that gaming becomes our Reality.

    This blog really hits home the seriousness of what gaming does to us as human beings and I would question why we use the virtual world and not the real world to Live in.

  12. Why is it so easy for people to let their children play video games?

    It is because most people are too exhausted to truly do what they know is right. Engage their children in real life. Be with them not just take care of them.

    I used the television as a ‘baby sitter’ at times and l knew it was wrong but l needed to get supper together. It would have been much more fun and rewarding to engage my children in the food making process, but l felt l was too exhausted to do that.

    It makes me sad to remember doing that. I lost a precious moment with my children.

    Simple Living Global’s Back to Basics program has supported me to deal with my exhaustion and understand how l got that way.

    If our world was not so exhausted, there would be no way we would allow our children to do video games.

    Could this be the answer to this video game craziness (and all the worlds problems) – Just take true care of yourselves.
    We all know what is true.

  13. “…Also, even though my daughter was playing an ‘educational’ game, I noticed that she many times was more agitated, moody, and anxious after using those computer games…”

    Michael this is so interesting isn’t it – how their bodies are somehow agitated during and after playing these games?

    It feels like this should be the subject of a study – there is much to look into here.

  14. Having worked for a company that produces digital games, I have seen first hand the work that goes in to making them as compelling and addictive as possible.

    Testing and data analytics are deployed to understand in great detail where players might get disinterested and to make sure the game is just the right level of difficulty for them to feel determined, but not give up. The games are ‘optimised’ to the greatest degree, based on that data.

    It is all very mindfully done.

    I suspect people realise there is a level of manipulation involved when they engage in video games, but:

    – Do we realise the extent of the manipulation?
    – Have we reflected on why we allow it – what we are getting out of it?
    – Have we reflected on the harm it may be causing?
    – Is it right for children and other vulnerable groups to be exposed in that way?

  15. I’ve just watched your link to the presentation by Dr Kimberly Young, ‘what you need to know about internet addiction’ very interesting and educational, I recommend watching it… ‘disconnect to reconnect’ disconnect from our tech to reconnect to each other.. ‘tech free family time’ this woman speaks a lot of sense.

  16. What is the pupose of video games ? Is it really about what is good for humanity? No, it all about making money.

    So there was a demand for video games and someone saw an opportunity to make some money.

    Why do we want something that is just allowing us to escape life? Is it because the life we have does not feel ok?

    We are feeling overwhelmed by life and we do not know what to do about it.

    Ten years ago l was there. Totally exhausted, could barely work.

    I understand now that l had been ignoring all my body’s messages for a long time.
    It finally caught up with me.

    With support from Simple Living Global, l am slowly re-connecting to my body and trusting myself that l know what l need.
    I do not feel overwhelmed by life because l am truly supporting myself. When l do this my body knows exactly what do in any situation.

    This blog is showing that our bodies know that video games are not good for us.
    Is it time to Listen?

    Remember that video games are there because we asked for them!

  17. So I am getting confused. Who would have a video gaming day?

    And why do people play video games in nappies?

    I feel that they shouldn’t have this day, because video games just pull you in and you won’t want to leave them.

  18. I was nodding to a lot of what was shared here as I myself was addicted to video games. We have more than enough evidence to show that video games are abusive and harmful and more so across society as it is not regulated like legal drugs. A toddler in a pram with a bottle of whisky in the mall – thats a no go but a child with an iPhone that’s ‘ok’ apparently. This subject needs more exposing as you’ve done so here in much detail.

  19. This is an incredible expose on the not so obvious dangers of playing video games.

    The statistics are utterly shocking and the ridiculousness of the whole thing makes for compelling reading.

    It asks the question of how the authorities can stand by and do nothing when people are wearing nappies so they don’t have to stop playing.

    People are urinating and defecating themselves just to play a video game.

    How is it possible that this is not seen as a mental illness?

    I was going to ask how far this has to go, if someone has to kill themselves for them to be considered mentally ill – but that is exactly what is happening.

    How is it possible that a website is allowed to be produced that incites people, mainly youngsters, to complete tasks that are very harmful to themselves and others and that also includes taking their own lives?

    How is it possible that this website is not illegal?

    Where is the responsibility of the people that organise these events?

    Where is the responsibility of the authorities?

    Where is the responsibility of the parents of these youngsters?

    With the introduction of this so called new ‘esport’ and the huge sums of money that can be earned, there is no reason to assume that these behaviours are not going to carry on and possibly get more bizarre and more dangerous.

  20. I met a woman today. She was capable, warm and lovely. She said she’s a big gamer.

    She plays one of the big multi player ‘online battle’ games. She has really got into it. She shared that it’s the first thing she’s found that she’s good at and that is addictive. It gives her a sense of purpose, achievement and recognition.

    She was also talking about the big competitions that happen and how you can team up with people and the best players win $1,000,000 in real life prize money. This creates an extra buzz around the game.

    What if these games only feed or fill an emptiness we carry?

    What if they wouldn’t take hold if we had true purpose in life? If we had a true sense of ourselves?

  21. Guy next to me on the plane kept reaching for his video game.

    It was fascinating to watch. Like a lab mouse going back for its sugar water every few minutes.

  22. If we choose to partake in a virtual world what are we Really running away from? Is it easy to sit in front of a screen and forget our troubles rather than face and deal with what is really going on in our life.

    If you look around almost everything has a technology element. Whether it is self service checkouts in a supermarket, buying goods on line rather than going into a shop and pay at the counter. The list is endless.

    Have we lost the human touch ie communicating face to face? Is it easy just to click a button rather than do that face to face. What are we teaching our children who are our future generation?

    Does our world need to wake up to the fact that connecting to people is Real and by locking ourself away and absorbing our self in something that is fantasy – is not Real.

  23. Why is it so much easier to sit in front of a computer and play video games, rather then interact with real life?

    I have felt the excitement of playing video games. And I can see how they can be addictive. For some reason I have been able to just experience it and then move on. Is it because I was 40 when video games started appearing? And I had experienced enough of life to see that video games were nothing compared to real life?

    Because of the state of our world our children are unsure as to how to live in it. It is easy for them to want to withdraw from the world. I know because I withdrew in my own way as a child.

    Video games provide a easy way to escape the realities of the world, that is why they are so popular now.

    When children are young they need role models in life, to see how to be in the world. It is our responsibility to show them a way of living that supports them to flourish, and welcome all the true challenges in life.

    Simple Living Global has supported me to remember this way of living, a way of living that makes sense. All I need to do is live me, this will support everyone I meet to just be themselves.

    I along with many others are living like this and we are making a difference In the world.

  24. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/26/health/cnnphotos-internet-addiction-china-boot-camp/index.html

    CNN – 26 April 2016

    This news story tells us there are hundreds of military-style boot camps where young Chinese people (aged 8 to 30) are quarantined from their compulsive use of technology, mostly online gaming.

    Most had been forced to enter the treatment centre by family members concerned about their physical and mental health.

    Maccotta states the internees were subjected to “discipline and repetition” which the leaders of the treatment centre said would cure their addiction.
    Their personalities are annihilated. They stay “behind a formal posture of silence and obedience” and they do not show sadness.

    ‘I think that what draws the kids to video games is the chance to get easy gratification in a virtual world, where they dive deeper and deeper’ says Lorenzo Maccotta who spent a week at a digital detox in China.

    Is this the answer here or is there more we need to explore?

    Can we for sure agree with the officials that believe the centre’s methods of intense physical training and no use of computers, “cures” most addictions?

    Maccotta doubts about the long days at the bootcamps with hard work, discipline and isolation.

    ‘It is very harsh for a kid to live such experience, I don’t think this is helpful’.

    Reading this Video Games Day blog – is it presenting another way, which is asking us to get to the root cause of WHY any child or adult chooses to spend excessive hours on a screen, away from real life?

    Could this be the starting point if we are ever going to nail it when it comes to video gaming addiction?

  25. I have a magazine about a video game. I like it. It is about building things. I can’t stop reading it.

    I keep thinking about it even when I am not reading it. I wonder why this is. It doesn’t seem good. I wonder if it happens to other children.

  26. An article in ‘The Week’ magazine, 25th March 2017, talks about how “Violent games are exonerated.”

    Playing violent video games does not make people more violent, or reduce their capacity for empathy – not in the long term at least, according to a new study.

    Researchers in Germany recruited 15 male gamers who had all played first-person shooter games, for at least two hours a day for the previous four years.

    In a two-part experiment, the gamers were first asked to complete psychological questionnaires to evaluate their levels of aggression and empathy.

    Then they were shown a series of emotionally provocative images while their brains were wired up to MRI scanners.

    As each image appeared, the gamers were asked to imagine how they feel in the situation depicted and their responses in specific brain areas were measured.

    When the results from both parts were compared with those from a control group of non-gamers, no significance was found.

    Earlier studies have found a link between playing video games and a lack of empathy.

    The researchers say this may be because those gamers were tested immediately after playing, when they may still have been “pumped up.”

    The gamers in the new study hadn’t played for at least three hours when the tests were initiated.

    Of course, we need study groups to determine what is the truth or not, but is it possible that a comprehensive answer to something like this can never be found, so are we really going to get a true picture when there are only 15 people in the study?

    The researchers in this study say that because they were tested three hours after playing, the participants showed no tendencies towards violence or being less empathic, but those who were tested straight after did become less empathic and more violent.

    Is it possible that if we are tested for alcohol or drug levels after three hours from stopping, the results would be less than if we had been tested straight away?

    But the alcohol and or drugs still remain in our system and in the long term (as well as the short term), can create serious harm to our bodies.

    The study says that the participants had been playing these violent games for at least two hours a day for four years and that the images of ‘emotionally provocative’ material showed no significance.

    Is it possible that their continued exposure to this violence had diminished their ability to be more empathic and therefore these images had little or no effect on them?

    Is it possible that studies like these are very counter productive as it gives the message that playing video games for hours at a time is OK?

    Is it possible that, like alcohol and drugs, or anything we do in excess, playing video games for hours at a time is an addiction?

  27. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/gaming-disorder-mental-health-condition-video-games-addiction-a8121876.html

    Independent – 21 December 2017

    Gaming disorder is to be classified as a mental health condition for the first time.

    The ICD – International Classification of Diseases is a diagnostic manual published by the World Health Organisation. It was last updated in 1990 and the 11th edition is due to be published in 2018 and it will include gaming disorder as a serious health condition to be monitored.

    Some of the standard symptoms that could determine ‘Internet Gaming Disorder’ include –
    Anxiety, Withdrawal symptoms and Antisocial behaviour.

    Gaming is highly addictive says Mark James, security specialist at ESET.

    There will always be those who debate this and of course scientists want more research, as we are a world who needs proof and evidence over and over again because we seem to not apply common sense and innate wisdom.

    After reading this blog and knowing what this news story is saying, that some video gamers spend between 12 and 24 hours on video game screens, do we really need more proof that something is not right.

    What if we by pass coming up with solutions and go straight to the root question –

    What is going on for any person that they choose to switch off and engage in front of a screen playing games?

    Is this telling us something is not right?

    Something must be wrong, because this is not a natural way to connect and engage with others?

    We have enough proof that talking face to face, connecting and meeting people is something that humans need for a natural well being. Cutting off from this can lead to ill mental health and is it any surprise that gaming disorder is going to enter our world classification book of diseases?

    Surely that in itself confirms something is wrong.

  28. A friend just told her 2 young boys that she is pregnant with a baby sister.

    Their main concern was how the baby would get in the way of them playing video games and watching TV.

    The solution was to offer a video console and TV in the boys’ bedroom.

    Now the boys are excited about the baby coming.

  29. BBC News – 2 January 2018

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42541404

    Gaming Addiction is to be listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organisation.

    The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will include the condition “gaming disorder”.

    It has been described as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests”. This is basic things like sleep, eating, socializing and education.

    The ICD was completed in 1992 so it is well overdue now for a new revised edition which is proposed for some time in 2018. The guide contains codes of diseases, signs and symptoms and is used by doctors and researchers to track and diagnose disease.

    Internet Gaming Disorder is listed as a “condition for further study” and this means it is not yet officially recognised.

    Are we confused if we read that WHO has confirmed it is to be listed and then we get on the same news story it is not officially recognised.
    Would it be true to say that as a world, we are always seeking more and more research studies trying to come to scientific based evidence?

    If we simply read what this blog is presenting and joined the dots, could we agree that something is not right and waiting for ‘further study’ is not needed when we know right now how serious this gaming disorder stuff is?

    South Korea – government introduced law banning access for children under 16 from online games between midnight and 6am.

    Japan – players alerted if they spend more than a certain amount of time each month playing online games.

    China – an Internet giant has limited the hours that children can play its most popular games.

    Are these countries taking some action and finding solutions because things are bad?

    Are these strategies going to really work to stop our youth being addicted to video gaming?

    Are we dealing with the root cause of why anyone would want to spend so much time online gaming for excessive hours?

    I have watched a really young boy learn from his older brothers how to use a screen and what to do. Just observing his fixed state of being and rapid eye movement looked scary. It was like it was not the 2 year old but something had overtaken him and he was controlled by what was on the screen shifting his eyes very quickly.

    Another observation was in a huge famous tech store, parents were busy buying phones and the three kids were playing online games. Their movements and the talking to the screen confirmed to me that something was seriously wrong. They were so fixated that they had no idea what was going on around them, even when they were asked a question by someone. It was like they could not register anything as the game was so important.

    Is it time we asked a big fat question – What is the purpose of video games?

    Can we get real and honest so we can get to the Truth?
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/get-real-get-honest-and-get-to-truth/

    Are we using online gaming or offline games to distract us and stop us from feeling what needs to be felt?

    Is this a way off and whacky question or is this something we all need to be asking before things get even worse?

    With the rise in mental health issues with children and teenagers – is it time to ask questions about everything we are endorsing for our kids in this modern day world of ours?

  30. People in my school play video games and it is bad for them because they are putting badness into their bodies.

    They get crazy and mad because they don’t want to be on the bottom line.

    The bottom line is where if you come off the top line you will be on the bottom line. The top line is when you are being amazing.

  31. BBC NEWS – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42705881

    GP saying they have seen plenty of evidence of the link between mental ill-health in youngsters and their use of social media.

    16 year old self harmed and ended up in A&E and of course the first thought was to put him on anti-depressants, but TALKING to this teenager meant that this doctor realised he needed to be weaned off social media.

    But how many physicians would go straight for the prescription pad as the solution?

    As this blog is presenting – could it be possible that our youth need to be met for who they truly are and this would be the start point to open up and give them the space to talk?

    Are we simply way too busy, judging ourselves and distracting ourselves, to notice what is going on under our noses and in our own home?

    Next – Consultant Psychiatrist Louise Theodosiou is saying children are spending too long on their phones and has seen a rise in teenage depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

    Online addiction to gaming platforms is mentioned and how these children refuse to travel to psychiatrist appointments, so a range of professionals have to make home visits to deal with the issue. It can take months to persuade them to leave their bedrooms.

    She says these children are living in a fictional world, sometimes to the detriment of their physical health, but they are still not wanting to leave their virtual worlds.

    Hello – can we just stop and re-read this?

    What on earth is going on and WHY are we allowing this?

    Are we settling here for the easy route or is this a real solution?
    In other words, is this the best way we spend the nation’s money – sending out professionals on home visits as a child refuses to go to them.

    Are we feeding the ‘nanny state’ that the UK are known for when it comes to the health service?

    Is there more we can do here or do we just let it all happen and accept it as part of life?

    How serious is this that our kids are into a virtual reality and lost sense of real reality?

    How can we bring them back to who they truly are?
    How can we start to take the steps needed to end this behaviour?

    What is our individual role, even if we are not a parent?
    What can we be doing to support these parents?

    Can we start simply by asking more questions?

    Can blogs like this, by Simple Living Global be a way of bringing more awareness?

    Can a website like this full of content presenting another way help?

    What we can no longer ignore is that something is seriously wrong and blaming the social media platforms is not the answer.
    Blaming anything or anyone is also not the answer.

    It is high time we ALL took responsibility for what we as individuals are actually doing in our own daily life?

    Can we become real role models for our children, teenagers, youth, our community and our society or do we just add to the ill that is going on that we have all created?

    Could it be possible that the real role models are those who live a life of TRUE RESPONSIBILITY and that means taking responsibility for every choice they make?

  32. Thank you for this absolutely outstanding blog on the perils of internet gaming and the devastation caused by internet gaming addiction.

    The author has provided us with an extraordinary and comprehensive compilation of the scientific research and anecdotal evidence that video games have an addictive potential as dangerous and harmful as many addictive substances.

    The author shows us unequivocally that internet gaming should be treated as a dangerous pastime and an addictive substance.

    Therefore, it is rather grimly and sadly ironic that I know some parents that allow their children to play computer games without restriction because they think of computer games as being a safe pastime.

    When the children are in their rooms playing computer games, the parents falsely think they are safe because they know where they are and they know what they are doing.

  33. Metro News – 20 March 2018

    A girl aged 13 was shot in the head by her brother aged 9 because of a row over a video game controller.

    The news story is in the UK but this happened in the U.S.

    Do we see it as just a story out there as its not in our country or do we pay attention?

    Do we ask how on earth could this ever happen?

    Do we have the list of questions of WHY and are we expressing this?

    What gets into them during a video gaming session that leads to this?

    Are we going to ask why are our kids getting so into this screen stuff?

    Are they seeking a form of connection in this virtual reality as it’s easy?

    Are they going to video games to get what they need as nothing in real life is worthy of their attention?

    How are we raising our kids who are going to be the future adult generations?

    Can we afford to sit back and let it all continue or do we have a hand in this?

    How are we all living in our daily lives and how connected do we feel to others?

    Are these the type of questions we need to be asking and opening up conversations at our dinner tables and in our communities and in our countries so that our world can start with the statement – SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

  34. Watching a guy today on the train with his portable video game.

    He was fully plugged in. The game was a high fantasy one with weird characters – grotesque and whimsical.

    His body was in a heightened state of tension – shoulders hunched and held, his fingers like claws.

    He was clearly networked, because when we went into a tunnel you could feel his fury at the interruption.

    It was like a glimpse into this person’s life – focused on fantasy.

    I wonder how much of his energy and time it takes.
    I wonder how it affects what he talks and cares about.
    I wonder the extent to which it impacts how he sees and experiences the world and the people in it.

  35. Talking to a woman this week about her appal at experiencing video game addiction in a small child.

    She had watched her 3 year old grandson begging – literally begging – his mother to have their tablet so he could play games. She said it wasn’t the casual whinge you see kids do when they are trying it on. It was full-body pleading, like the technology was the only thing on earth and to not have was devastating.

    She said she could see this was something that had built up over time, leading to a point where it was everything to the child to have its fix. The melt down at any refusal was disproportionately huge.

    This lady felt sorry for her grandson. That video games had become so important to him – above so many other things in his life, aged 3. That he had been parented in a way that led to these priorities and this suffering.

    1. 18th June 2018

      This week the ICD-11, International Classification of Diseases manual was published. This is the 11th edition. The ICD is a manual that is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose diseases.

      For the first time Gaming Disorder has been included as a disease. So whilst the DSM-5 considered Internet Gaming Disorder as something that needed further study before it could be included in the manual (2013), 5 years on we have Gaming Disorder as a recognised disease.

      This is so concerning and to be honest I cannot say it is a shock.

      On a daily basis at work or whether travelling on public transport, I see children who are just about able to walk with their eyes glued to a screen.

      What you describe about this 3 year old Jenifer is unfortunately no surprise.

      The question does arise though – what will happen to our 3 year olds as they get older if this addiction continues?

      Will they make it to adulthood and if they do – what will their adult life be like?

      Will we see new symptoms and other diseases as a result of this addiction?

  36. Sky News – 23 June 2018

    The NHS has funded the first internet addiction centre in London.

    The founder has said it will be a ‘life-changer’ for those who struggle with an addiction to gaming.

    Other internet-based addictions could be treated in the future.

    “Gaming disorder is finally getting the attention it deserves.
    We are unlikely to witness an epidemic of young players with an addiction.

    World Health Organization classified gaming disorder as an addiction, describing it as a pattern of persistent gaming behaviour so severe it “takes precedence over other life interests”.

    Symptoms include impaired control over gaming and increased priority given to gaming.

    WHO said “studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital or video-gaming activities”.

    Dear World

    Are we all aware that research studies by the time they are published they are out of date.

    This means what we get told old news and things may have changed.

    Please re-read this blog and all the facts presented.

    Then put our common sense hat on with eyes wide open, the next time we are out and about on the street.

    What is super clear is our young children in buggies are on the video games.

    Check the bus stops and the shopping malls and we will be left with the real facts that this is not just a few heading towards persistent gaming behaviour.

    What is noticeable is they are super young and with this behaviour pattern being ingrained – where is it going to end up?

    Next – we need to ask the parents who know their child is addicted to gaming.

    Next – we need to speak to teachers and see what they have to say.

    Next – we need to observe all children and watch their eye movement, clock their body language and their behaviour, before, during and after they are video gaming.

    Next – we need to get real, wake up and do what it takes to be on the front foot.

    That means start talking about this and not wait for the next research study to come out, but ask more questions so that we can get to the root cause of WHY any child makes a choice to look at a screen instead of being connected to their being inside and engaging in the real world and not a virtual reality made up world behind a screen.

    If we are to have any life changing effect, it would be wise to consider all aspects of living and how choices are being made in daily life and ensure there is no band aid solution where the real deep issue gets buried and on the surface it looks like we cracked it and got results.

    We need to all wake up to the fact things are getting worse and thinking gaming disorder is only affecting a few may be the biggest understatement and a confirmation we are not on the front foot.

  37. An article from Sky News, 5th July 2018, talks about a ‘Young girl’s character ‘gang-raped’ in Roblox online game.

    As I had never heard of this before, I decided to check it out.

    A massively multiplayer online game creation platform that allows users to design their own games and play a wide variety of different types of games created by users through the game studio.

    The website states that ‘Roblox is the best place to imagine with friends. With the largest user-generated online gaming platform, and over 15 million games created by users, it is the number 1 gaming site for kids and teens’.

    It allows users to create their own content, which led to one young player’s character witnessing traumatising scenes.

    A mother has warned parents to delete a popular online game from their children’s phones, tablets and consoles after a young girls avatar was “violently gang-raped” while playing.

    The mother shared a distressing account of her daughters experience on the iPad version of the game, which saw her character being attacked by two males and then a female.

    At least one of the attackers – who the developer of the game told Sky News has now been banned – appears to have used the games extensive creation tools to carry out the assault in a sexually explicit manner.

    In the news item, there is a screenshot of the girl’s character lying motionless, face down on the ground, after the attack.

    The game was launched in 2004 and has been compared to another megahit similar game, which is said to have 64 million active players, many of which are children.

    In Europe, including the UK, it has a PEGI (Pan European Game Information) age rating of 7+, while in the US it has a 10+ rating from the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

    Whilst this is obviously a horrific experience for the young girl concerned, where do we need to look to find out who is responsible?

    Is it the people that created this game?

    Is it the people that are selling the game?

    Is it the parents for buying the game for their children?

    Is it the parents for not being more vigilant while their children are playing this game?

    Is it society itself for allowing these video games to become a much bigger part in our lives and the lives of our children?

    Is it because, we as parents, would rather let our children play with these video games because it keeps them quiet and it is so much easier than to participate fully with our children?

    Is it possible that we all need to take our part of the responsibility in this?

  38. I have just read a news article where one man is stating that video games help players cope with mental health difficulties.

    He shares this as from his own experience he used video games to deal with difficult times. Video games are used in his life to deal with the symptoms of anxiety and depression and voices in his head.

    Only if games are played ‘too often’ is it a sign of mental health problems this man says, rather than video games being the cause of mental illness.

    We have a habit of only seeing things as a problem when they are extreme.

    If anyone has read the criteria for assessing Gaming Disorder in the ICD-11 or the proposed criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder in DSM-5 we will see that the bar is set very high, so all those that are not officially diagnosed are seen as not ill.

    But what if that is not true?

    What if the signs of an addiction go far beyond how often video games are played?

    Does anyone check the behaviour of the person playing on a daily basis?

    Could it affect their ability to interact with others or even sleep at night?

    I knew someone who had a son aged 7 who when he was on the screen with the video games would be glued to it. The behaviour when he was told to come off was very frightening to the point that his mother felt apprehensive and I would say afraid when she had to tell him to come off.

    He was afraid to sleep at night and would speak of being visited by things at night.

    Things got so bad that one day his mother locked herself in a room as he was threatening her with a knife.

    Now no-one put this down to the video games, but I know that this was having an effect on him and we did discuss this but his mother stated that she did not feel able to stop him playing them.

    She did seek support from social services with his behaviour. They were looking into a learning disability diagnosis.

    When our children are babies, if anyone told us that if we give them a screen, this would be the end result at age 7, I am sure that we would not accept that this is possible, but having seen it first hand I know for sure that it is.

    Children need to be connected to and met by adults who are connected to who they truly are and who love and care for themselves. Only then will they be pulled to not seek outside stimuli like video games as they will feel met for who they truly are.

  39. This is an interesting comment – thank you Shevon.

    International Classification of Diseases – 11th Edition came out this year 2018 so it was not mentioned in this blog, which was written in September 2017.

    However, this blog does mention the proposed criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – Edition 5.

    It is clear that the bar has been set high because these guidelines are for extreme and serious cases.

    But what about all those who fall under this line?

    I can speak from real life citizen journalism. By that I mean I listen, I talk to people on the street, in my neighbourhood, community, on the bus, train and at work. I find out what is going on, as it is of great interest to me to report real life facts.

    On that note – local school children in a long waiting list to see a psychiatrist because of video gaming addictions.

    One business owner in the community shared how his son has been addicted since the age of 4. The current games were from their native country which was scary stuff, telling him not to go to bed between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

    This boy suffered anxiety and when I met him, I could clearly see the harm this was doing, not only did he look exhausted from lack of sleep but the natural social skills were simply not there as he was 9 which means this had been going on for 5 years.

    With due respect is the psychiatrist the answer or is there more the parents need to be doing or saying?

    Are we going to blame or is it time to bring in real education?

    How do we do that if parents are too busy working and have little time to be around their kids and on top of that have their own stuff going on?
    This boy was saying all his friends were seeing the psychiatrist too.

    What we can all agree on is SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

    What is screen time and this artificial world doing to all of us?

    Is virtual reality removing us from real life everyday responsibility?

    Are these the type of questions we now need to be asking or do we wait for more and more research to tell us what we know now?

    Is it time to put our common sense hat on and join the dots as let’s get honest, things are getting worse.

  40. This week the UK opened its first NHS funded Gaming Addiction Centre for children.

    This really saddens me. Our children should be living in a joyful way. Instead they are addicted to a virtual world. To the point they are not going to school or doing anything other than gaming.

    Is this yet another sticking plaster? This is a major crisis and yet society still has their eyes closed to the fact our children are being exposed to what is a harmful and dangerous world of gaming.

  41. Daily Mail – 11 August 2018

    Organisers are in deep talks about having video game leagues in the Olympics for 2024.

    The world’s oldest sporting tournament could include e-sports as a reality.

    E-sports is competitive video game playing and watching millennials play is big business.

    Tens of thousands of fans at big stadiums, watch their favourite players or teams use their consoles to battle against each other in a digital world.

    Young technology companies are waiting and ready to serve the gamers’ and viewers’ needs, hoping to cash in on a multi-billion pound industry.

    Predictions are that by 2020 there will be 70 million people watching an e-sports final.

    That is more than the number watching American professional baseball or soccer finals.

    Gaming has gone from a past time that was ghettoised in the bedrooms of teenage boys to the mainstream.

    What exactly is behind this rise is not clear.
    Developments in internet speed, graphics technologies and gaming capabilities are part of it.

    Majority of the viewers are young people and an executive chairman of an e-sports organiser says that, we are in the middle of a cultural revolution and it’s driven by human curiosity.

    It is more accessible to get into e-sports than becoming a professional footballer and it proves to be incredibly lucrative for some players.

    Last year a 25 year old earned £2.9 million.

    Those supplying are making billions. A company in US produces graphics cards and is worth $121 billion.

    Research shows that e-sports fans are more than twice as likely to gamble as the general population, and now sports betting is being deregulated in the US, a new market could be cracked open.

    The big break could come in 2022 Asian games where players will be on a mainstream stage for the first time. After that e-sports’ rise could be meteoric.

    If we read this blog and consider the facts and everything it is presenting, we could say we are more than well informed about what video gaming is about.

    Could money be the motivating factor for this new sport to be included in the Olympics?

    Do we blame the organisers who want to keep the fans happy or do we take stock and admit we are the ones asking for this?

    If none of us were interested, this or any other sport would not exist.

    Can we agree with one man’s opinion about human curiosity when it comes to video gaming?

    Could it be possible that young kids who are not feeling plugged in and connected and are not being met for who they truly are by parents and teachers, are somehow feeling a void – a gap that needs to be filled and the simple quiet option is in front of a screen, where they become the master of control?

    What if these games are designed to hook in children and young adults and so on some level it is a drug of choice, but no way would our world ever admit we have a drug called video gaming?

    Drugs are substances that alter our natural state of being.

    Video games are a mind-altering drug, but excess use is not going to enter our world diagnostic manuals for physicians. This confirms something is clearly not right.

    While we wait around for more research because we are going to be asking for this, once this new sport takes over the world platform, let us consider all the questions presented in this forensic blog.

    In addition to this, we could simply observe a young kid or adult and see their eye movements and body language and then make up our own minds about what it is doing to them when they are playing.

    Is it time to stop pretending that things are ok and video gaming is safe?

    Do we need a 911 before we take real action or can we get on the front foot now and listen to those who are presenting the Truth, like Simple Living Global?

  42. Thank you for this superb blog.

    For a couple of years in my early thirties, I used to play video games. For a while, I enjoyed the raciness, adrenaline rushes, satisfaction in improving my skill and the thrill of competition that I felt when playing these games.

    The four games I played most were two car racing simulations, a military battle simulation where I controlled an avatar that was a soldier and a role play game in which I played a spy on a mission that involved killing lots of bad guys.

    As I look back over the time I spent playing these games, I have to wonder why I did it.

    In real life, I have never ever had any desire to either be a soldier in battle, or to race a car, or even to be a spy that carries a gun. So why did I spend so much time in computer based simulations of these things?

  43. An article from divorce-online asks if a new digital game is becoming a relationship wrecker.

    The game is all over the news at the moment as one of the most addictive games ever played.

    The game is an apocalyptic survival video game that has attracted legions of fans and controversy in equal measure.

    The free multiplayer spans a number of platforms and pits players against 99 others in a frantic fight for survival on an island, where the last gamer standing is the winner.

    40 million people have downloaded this free game.

    It’s not only teenagers that are being affected, but adults too and it is affecting relationships and marriages according to research by this online divorce website.

    The company has seen an increase in enquiries where this game has been mentioned as part of the reason someone wanted to file for divorce.

    It has received 200 divorce petitions for this reason since January 2018.

    A spokesperson for the company said. “Addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling have often been cited for reasons for relationship breakdowns but the dawn of the digital revolution has introduced new addictions which include pornography, online gaming and social media.”

    Of course, it is an addiction and it is no different to any other addiction, be it drugs, gambling or alcohol.

    Yes, with the latter three there are more obvious signs and some could say that the visible consequences are much worse, but is it possible that pornography, online gaming and social media are so much more insidious, because they are either becoming an acceptable social norm or they already are?

    But what exactly does the word addicted mean?

    Merriam Webster defines it as:
    (a) Having a compulsive physiological need for a habit forming substance
    (b) Strongly inclined or compelled to do, use or indulge in something repeatedly

    So what is missing in our lives for us to be compelled to do, use or indulge in something repeatedly like spending countless hours on social media, pornography or online gaming?

    What is it with this new online game that people are prepared to sabotage their relationships and marriages?

    Are we losing the ability to connect with others on a human level?

    Why do we continuously have to find ways to distract ourselves from living?

    Is it possible that we are choosing these distractions, because life is getting too tough and we don’t want to take responsibility for ourselves?

    Is it possible that the more we venture into the online world, the reality of what is true or not becomes evermore distant?

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