Video game producers strive to create games that keep fans engaged and wanting more. Many young people gradually become so hooked to video gaming that they cannot stop playing to do more important things in life.Canadian Cam Adair was one of them.
“Originally when I started gaming, I was fine, you know, a healthy kid, a happy kid,played hockey but eventually it began to become a problem, and actually enough dropping out of high school not once but twice,never graduated, never went to college and got to a point where I was pretending to have jobs playing video games up to 16 hours a day.”
Experts say the symptoms are similar to alcoholism and drug addiction. “Gamers, texters, kids that are doing reading of and like watching Youtube videos get this dopamine release. When it stops abruptly like when a parent... where there’s a time they have to stop, they really experience almost spontaneous withdrawals.”
But some experts reject the idea of classifying excessive video gaming as addiction. They argue that people often resort to video games to fight anxiety or depression and that kids are more likely to get hooked to games if they lack social skills. When those primary issues are resolved, the need for gaming declines they say.Cam Adair sought professional help after becoming suicidal.“It’s actually about understanding how these games are designed and why they do hook you so much, what human needs they fulfill for you.”
Adair welcomes the WHO decision for raising awareness of the problem so it can be treated.The Cyber Addiction Recovery Center in Los Angeles offers assessment and treatment for technology addiction which includes video gaming, social media addiction, phone addiction and cyber pornography addiction.
“We work with kids as young as five and all the way through teenagers and into adulthood.”Christopher Mulligan, the Center’s founder, says addiction to technology cannot be treated in the same way as alcoholism or drug addiction. “They’re gonna have to get back online eventually; they’re gonna have to use their computers;they’re gonna have to use their phones, so it’s really teaching this very challenging goal of sustainable relationship to technology.”The World Health Organization says classifying gaming disorder as a disease will help member nations recognize the problem and prepare ways to treat it.
Zlatica Hoke, VOA News, Washington.