Learn to differentiate between a hobby gamer and an addicted gamer.
Video games can have a positive significance effect on people. They can arouse a player’s sense of curiosity and enjoyment, as well as improve people’s coordination, problem-solving skills, memory, concentration and reflexes.
Gamers tend to agree. “Personally, I think games help me to process and do things faster,” said Chhun Sreykunsocheata, a 13-year-old gamer. “I think I have become more flexible because of playing games, too.”
Advancements in technology have made playing games easier, with players now able to use a desktop, television-set or even a smartphone to access a game. Smartphones have allowed gamers to play anywhere, anytime.
According to the Global Games Market Report 2019, there are 2.5 billion gamers in the world – accounting for around 30% of the entire population. Mobiles are also now the console of choice, with almost half of gamers playing on a smart device.
“I spend an average of 2 or 3 hours on games per day,” said Sreykunsocheata. “I don’t think I’m addicted to games. I play games often, but I can go without them.”
Although games can be enjoyable and have benefits, anything to an extreme can cause problems.
There is a clear line between a hobby gamer and an addicted gamer. When you are a hobby gamer, it is not imperative that you have to be playing games all the time – you still can live a normal life. Hobby gamers can still manage a normal social life and hang out with friends and family members.
That does not apply to those who are addicted to video games. People with video game addiction are not entirely different from those with alcohol or drug addiction. They are likely to:
- Think about games all the time or most of the time
- Get annoyed or frustrated when they cannot play
- Need to spend increased amounts of time playing to feel good
- Not able to quit gaming or reduce their playing time
- Not enjoy their previous interests and hobbies
- Get into problems in school, their workplace or at home
- Lie to people about time spent on gaming
- Use gaming to ease bad moods
- Choose to carry on playing, despite noticing the above signs
- Develop tiredness and poor personal hygiene
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized video game addiction as a type of behavior disorder’. It becomes a gaming disorder when playing overtakes all other interests and when the desire to play continues despite the negative consequences. In order for someone to be diagnosed with gaming disorder, that person must show this type of behavior for more than 12 months.
The decision by the WHO faced backlash, because gaming addiction is controversial. The WHO stated that the disorder affected around 3% of gamers, while the Associated Press found that it can be as low as 1%. Some experts believe more research is needed to understand and classify it as a condition. The disorder, however, can have a disrupting effect on those that are affected by it.
“I used to play video games for days straight, without sleep”, said 38-year-old Khat Chivoin. He said he spent most of his time on adventure games, such as JX and Dota. Games had been his first priority – friends, family and work came after. He knew it was problematic, but he couldn’t help it because he loved it so much.
“Last year, I realized I was addicted to gaming, as people would always comment on my habit,” said Chivoin. “Due to my age and responsibilities, I’ve been trying to cut down on gaming. I only play when I have free time and I’m now trying to play mobile rather than desktop games.”
It was hard for Chivoin at first but he now plays an average of four hours a day and only when he has the time. He attempted to reduce his gaming when he started to notice the negative impact it was having on his life, which included heart problems and a lack of social interaction. “Whenever I was playing games and someone interrupted me, I would get really angry back then,” he admitted.
This post is also available in: KH