We all have our outlets for dealing with stress. We pick up hobbies or join sports clubs to blow off steam. But what about video games? Seldom do people count video game playing as a hobby. However, a significant amount of time is spent playing videos games. Is your video game hobby negatively impacting your relationships with your spouse, family, or friends?
Most people would say that playing video games is a hobby. It is an escape from the real world for some, a way to relax and have some fun. However, for others, video game playing has become an addiction. An addiction that is negatively impacting their relationships with friends and family.
Ask yourself these questions to see if maybe its time to put down the controller:
Is your gaming taking priority over other hobbies or social activities?
People need to find time for the things they enjoy doing. If you use the phrase, “I used to…” and are playing video games instead of your past hobbies, you may have a problem. If your hobbies are having to take a back seat to video game playing, it could indicate that something is wrong.
How long do you play video games without interruption?
Video game addiction may sound like an exaggeration, but research shows that almost 10% of gamers display problematic symptoms. Playing longer than three hours in a row at any time is an indicator of a larger problem. The longer one plays, the greater the chances of becoming an addiction.
Do you dream about video games at night?
Dreams are important in helping us recall memories and provide us with solutions to our problems. Video game addicts have reported vivid dreams about specific games.
Many addicts report dreaming about playing their favorite games when it comes to video game dreams. These dreams are often very vivid and can provide a sense of satisfaction that the addict may lack in real life. Dreams about video games can also help the addict work through any problems they may be facing in their life. For example, if an addict has trouble with a certain level in a game, they may dream about beating that level and resolving the issue.
While dreaming about games may not be bad at face value, it shows us that our minds are attached to the games we play even when we are not playing them.
How do you feel when you are not playing video games?
There is a difference between simply enjoying your hobby and having an addiction. Addicts often find themselves lost without their drug of choice. Not only does this person neglect their duties or responsibilities for their gaming, but they also become anxious or irritable. Are you constantly thinking about playing when you should be focused on family, work, or other activities?
How much time do you spend with family or friends?
Involvement with video games can take away from personal relationships. It is important to maintain both to have a healthy outlook on life. The most pervasive myth about the social consequences of video game playing is that it creates anti-social personalities. People who play video games excessively are not necessarily anti-social; they simply need to limit their gaming time to maintain healthy relationships.
What behaviors do those around you complain about related to your gaming habit?
A lack of attention and care for loved ones or a complete disregard for household rules or responsibilities could be due to excessive time spent playing games. Self-awareness of how your action or inaction impacts others is a known key to a successful life. If you ignore the people around you and their needs, you may need to impose limits on your playing.
Impacts of excessive gaming:
Lack of communication is one of the most common side effects of a dysfunctional relationship. When someone is addicted to anything, whether it be drugs, alcohol, or video games, their inhibitions lower, and they become less inhibited in social situations. Someone with an addiction will not make time for friends and family because they prefer to stay home and play video games than go out with others. Family members may feel like they are becoming replaced since their loved ones would rather play games than spend quality time together. Even though individuals may say they are trying to get better, they could just be lying so that others do not leave them. This behavior can cause stress on the family members left at home.
The second negative impact on relationships is that it affects one’s mood. Video game addiction can cause someone to feel very isolated. When someone feels isolated, they are more likely to become depressed and even contemplate suicide. Since psychological issues are frequently linked with video game addiction, some patients undergo counseling for both their video game addiction and their mental health issue(s). Although this may not directly affect one’s relationship, if a person neglects other areas in his life such as school or work, this could create a rift between those around him or her.
Life is about balance. I’m not advocating for not playing video games. That would be hypocritical as I enjoy numerous hobbies. Find a balance between games and other areas of your life. Meet friends. Spend time with family or significant others. Play games, but also do something productive.
Give yourself goals for what you want to accomplish during the day. Maybe these goals are not things that directly benefit you right now but could be things that will help you in the future. Or maybe you want to read a book or two. Whatever you do, do it with balance.