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Breaking your bank account to buy games? Bad signs of video-game addiction and how to combat them

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man-swirling

It’s a condition we didn’t hear about in such dire terms back when I was a youth – when my sister and I marveled at the black and white “Pong” table tennis game that slowly volleyed a square figure from side to side on our TV screen.

Video game addiction.

Back in the 1970s, I didn’t even have a TV in my room, and it delighted me to spend lots more time reading Harold Robbins or Sidney Sheldon mass-market paperback novels than to stare at some game on the tube.

Cut to 2014, and reports of people dropping dead from playing for hours on end have led to “Shut Down Laws” in South Korea that disallow those younger than 16 years of age to play between midnight and 6 a.m., not a bad rule for the United States to enact.

I’m not trying to make gaming sound all bad. After all, I wouldn’t mind raking in the $4 million per year that PewDiePie makes from his YouTube videos about games. For every article about self-control and frontal lobe issues, you’ll find one praising both the benefits of hand-eye coordination and the latest gamer to strike it rich.

I am warning us all to keep things in balance, and that if any of the following signs seem apparent or to touch home in an all too familiar way, it might be time to step away from the console and discover this thing called the sun:

Warning sign #1: You ignore people who are talking to you…

…because you’ve got your Turtle Beach headphones seemingly permanently attached to your head. Or perhaps you’ve upgraded to those sweet Afterglow Headsets that let you simply tap a button to mute your gaming buddies so they won’t hear your mom or dad calling you by your nickname or giving you pecks on the cheek when they come home.

There’s nothing wrong with connecting with your online friends through fun multiplayer games every day, but it also helps to balance them out with time spent talking face-to-face with folks in real life. (And I don’t mean via Face Time.)

Warning sign #2: You don’t want to go out…

…not even to get a dose of your favorite meal from McDonald’s, Chipotle or Taco Bell. By the time you do in fact take a break from all that game “beasting,” you discover you are ravenously hungry because you haven’t eaten in hours. Perhaps all day.

Warning sign #3: You neglect basic hygiene such as brushing your teeth and showering…

…because you’re so caught up in gaming. And that’s just gross.

Warning sign #4: You break stuff from rage quitting so often…

…and you’re a little too wrapped up in winning. If you’re on your second console or controller or anything other item because you destroyed the first one in anger, you’re a fricking boss, man. Okay, no – step away from the controller and leave your room.

Warning sign #5: You need to make more money to buy the latest game releases…

…or your finances are in dire straights because of gaming – because I realize not all video game addicts are 13-year-old boys. Sometimes they are adult males and females, too, but you won’t find finger wagging here. Yeah, I’m one to talk. Just because my tastes run more toward buying Malaysian 100% virgin human hair for weaving onto my head instead of scoping out GameStop to compare their pre-order bonuses against those offered by Amazon for upcoming games – (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, here you come!) – doesn’t mean I’m the best money manager. At least I can admit my vices.

So there. If your next stop after reading this article is to check out how much credit is available on your Chase credit card or the likes of personalloansforbadcredit.net in order to gather more income for that next gaming purchase, perchance it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

At least that’ll get you away from all those rapid-flash games for a little while…