Just last month, a 45-year-old man threatened to kill an 11-year- old boy for beating him in the popular video game, Fortnite. The New York Man was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment and acting in a manner to injure a child. While these games are fun to play, they can lead to a dangerous addiction and unhealthy sense of reality.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, 60 percent of Americans play video games daily. That number seems high but when you think about usage on gaming platforms, personal computers and cell phones, it is fairly accurate. But what is a gaming disorder? It could be described as “impaired control” where gaming is a priority and takes over the daily routine.
Just this summer the World Health Organization added gaming disorder to the latest version of the International Classification of Disease. Medical professionals are treating the addiction in similar ways like they treat anxiety or alcoholism with medications and therapy.
For kids and adults alike, gaming can be a stress reliever and a way to connect with friends who are playing the same game. Often, players can get pulled in and not pay attention to the time. Is your gamer on the verge of becoming addicted? It’s important for parents and the child to be aware of the number of hours on the screen playing. Kids still need to connect with others face-to-face, complete chores and homework, do something active and get adequate sleep. Gaming addiction can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and social phobia. Kids need balance in their lives. If they put gaming on the top of the daily to-do list and get anxious when they cannot play, an intervention may be warranted.