Computer Games  Playing Too Much

Computer Games Playing Too Much

In November of 2000, my life was going well. I had a lovely girlfriend. I had a working car. My job paid more than enough for me to survive. It also supported my increasingly expensive
video game playing.” These are the words of Michael Fahey. Fahey is a writer. He writes for the video game news website
Kotaku. In November of 2000, his life was good. However, Fahey’s life was about to change. In four short months, Fahey would lose his
girlfriend, his car and his job. He lost all of these things because of an
addiction. He could not stop playing computer games. Most people recognize the common problem of
drug or alcohol addiction. Addicts often depend physically or mentally
on substances or particular acts. They believe that they need them to survive. But have you ever heard of a person who is
addicted to computer or video games? Research shows this is a growing problem all
over the world. Today’s Spotlight is on gaming addiction. Computer games are popular all around the
world. Many people play these games on the Internet. Using the Internet lets people in China play
games against people in the United States. And people in India can play games against
people in South America. Games look more and more real as computer
technology improves. Many people describe playing computer games
as entering into a new world. Some games let people create their own cities. Some games take people on journeys. Other games let people “chat” or talk
over the Internet. People playing these kinds of games create
their own Internet communities. Many people like having these kinds of social
relations. They feel less pressure to act or look a particular
way. That is because the people they are talking
to cannot see them. Gaming can have many positive effects. It can help people make friends. It can help people learn to solve problems
and make decisions. It can even help improve eye and hand movement. However, gaming can become a problem. Some people even begin to spend more time
playing games in their Internet world than living in the “real world.” This is what happened to Michael Fahey. For Fahey, his addiction was connected to
a particular game – a game called EverQuest. He began playing EverQuest in December of
2000. “Within a week, the game became my life. If I was not sleeping or at work, I was playing
EverQuest. Then, working became rare. I would go into work, and I would still hear
the sounds of EverQuest in my head. All I had to do was close my eyes and I was
in my EverQuest world.” Fahey’s gaming addiction cost him a lot. However, there have been far worse cases of
gaming addiction. In 2005, the BBC reported that a South Korean
man died while playing an Internet computer game. The 28 year-old man died in an Internet cafe
He had been playing the same game for 50 hours with few breaks. The man had not slept well. And he ate very little food while he played. Police officials believe the man died from
heart failure caused by extreme tiredness. Newspapers have reported similar cases of
gaming deaths around the world in places like Taiwan, China, and the United States. Many experts have begun to study gaming addiction. There have been many studies done recently
– particularly looking at gaming and young adults. Dr. Douglas Gentile is an expert on gaming
addiction. He told the website Science Daily, “We are
starting to see a number of studies from different cultures – in Europe, the United States and
Asia. All the studies are showing that around 7-11%
of game players seem to have a real problem. They are considered gaming addicts.” Like all addictions, gaming addiction does
have warning signs. The National Academic Advising Association
lists a few warning signs on its website. One warning sign is intense pleasure and guilt
about playing. People addicted to computer games will feel
the happiest when they are playing games. But they will also feel guilty about the amount
of time they spend playing. Another warning sign is obsessing
Gaming addicts will find themselves thinking about playing all the time. And this can lead to neglect. People with a gaming addiction often neglect
or forget about their studies, work, sleep, relationships, food, and family. Gaming addicts may also struggle with lying,
anger and depression. People with a gaming addiction are often unable
to control the amount of time they play And uncontrolled playing can lead to other
problems like debt. Many gaming addicts spend all their money
on gaming. China was one of the first countries to address
gaming addiction. With almost 300 million Internet users, China
has the largest number of internet users in the world
In 2007, the Chinese government decided to act. They began setting time limits on game players. This ban concentrated particularly on those
under the age of 18. Doctors in China also began to address the
problem. In 2004, Dr. Tao Ran started one of the first
health clinics for people addicted to gaming. “Recently he told the Christian Science Monitor:
“The problem is getting worse.” Internet addicts often have a difficult time
in school and society. So, they try to escape their difficulties
and avoid problems. They lack self-confidence. Often they do not have the courage to continue
their real lives.” Dr. Tao uses different methods to help people. Sometimes he uses therapy. He will talk and listen to the patients. Together they will create a healthy lifestyle
plan. This requires a balance between work, school,
and play. Dr. Tao also encourages people to be involved
in activities other than playing computer games. In severe cases, he will use medicine or other
medical treatments. Today, many more governments and doctors are
addressing the issue of gaming addict. More people are learning about the problem. More people are getting help. And more people are changing their lives. Some people might blame the game makers for
creating the problem of gaming addiction. However Michael Fahey does not. Instead, he wrote,“It would be easy for
me to blame the game EverQuest. But I know that was not the problem. I hid. I ran from my problems. I hid in an Internet world instead of directly
working to address my problems.”

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