“Help, my child is addicted to video games and I don’t know what to do”, is one of the most common problems a parent shares with other parents or on internet forums, like Reddit, Quora, Facebook etc. video gaming has cemented itself as one of the most popular forms of entertainment for children and young adults, like all good things taken to the extreme, this has manifested some evils, video game addiction is one of the most taxing problems a lot of people face, and they do not know how to remedy this. This is damaging the psyche and relationships of a lot of gamers, and this needs to be addressed.
The Misconceptions of Addictions
Hands up if you have a child, sibling, friend or anyone you know who plays a lot of video games and are compromising their health, sleep and daily routines. I think a lot of you know or have heard of someone who fits the bill. Video game addiction is a serious issue and not enough people are addressing it, video game industry is one of those industries which grew in tandem with the internet, semiconductors, smartphones etc. it was a beneficiary of a lot of developments in the tech and entertainment world. The popular notion most parents have is that video games are ruining youths. I feel this is true…only to a certain extent, we are missing a lot of variables here. It is an easy fix to blame the cause rather than to understand. The psychology behind addiction is a complicated issue and it is hazardous to implement surface-level solutions. Such as taking away video games, which I feel is a band-aid solution.
I feel this is similar to alcohol or other narcotic abuse, when a person is addicted to alcohol, taking away their alcohol makes them take drastic steps, it is the same with video games. I do not believe taking away the substance is the cure for substance abuse. This method of treating alcohol abuse has a high chance of relapse. I do not believe that addiction is a mental illness, it is a symptom, it is a manifestation of how a person copes with a lot of issues in his life and they just have different coping mechanisms, and the video game is one such coping mechanism. While I do not downplay how games are designed to be addictive, video games went from a bunch of game lovers making an Italian plumber saving a princess to hiring behavioural psychologists and other scientists to design mechanisms to keep the player engaged as much as they can. But this is the gaming industry capitalizing on the aforementioned; they are not the root cause.
The Overlooked Causes
Like I previously mentioned, gaming is a coping mechanism, or as the kids these days call it, "copium". What exactly are they coping from? From personal experience and observation, children who get addicted to video games are victims of bullying and isolation at school, they do not desire to go to school, their only means of coping from their vicious environment is the solace the video games provides them, sometimes they play games even if they don’t like the game, this is widely observed in various parts of the world, video games has emerged as a coping mechanism for those suffering and taking away their only means of coping from their harsh reality will make them do things which the parent will regret for the rest of their life.
Have any of you ever asked those addicted “Hey, why do you play games man?”, “Bro, why do you not go to school and play the same old games all day?”, “Son, why do you play games so much instead of playing outside with friends”, “Son, can I join you in playing this it looks really fun and I want to try it out with you”, though sometimes these questions don’t give the answers you desire, they definitely will give you some answers, whether we like it or not, there is a trigger which makes them shut themselves from the outside world. It is very easy to the child’s habits on something like “it’s the damn video game”, “it’s the damn TV”. But we rarely bother to explore the root cause.
Only The Right Potion Works
I am no expert on mental illness or psychology, but I believe there is a root underlying cause to everything and trying to alleviate responsibility by playing the blame game rarely helps anyone. Communication is key to understanding any issue, before we start solving problems, the first step is to identify the problems, you cannot use a mana potion and expect it to restore your HP, and you cannot use a poison heal when you are paralyzed, you do not blame a blacksmith when the weapon is used to cause destruction. You can only give appropriate remedies when you know what is ailing you.