When it comes to gaming, it often gets criticised as the outside focuses on the negatives. Is gaming addiction really a problem? Is it unique to games?
It seems that gaming addiction has hit been in the press more and more over recent weeks and months. Especially since the World Heath Organisation classed it as an official addiction with Gaming Addiction Disorder.
First of all, it is good that the WHO have done this, because like alcoholism, drug abuse and gambling addiction, for some this is a very big problem. Addiction is very real for certain people and they need help. Help that can only come if it is recognised.
Problems come from the hysteria in certain section of the press which use this as a way of demonising gaming. Showing a real hatred of the medium.
It is made out that because this is now recognised by WHO, it means all the children are in danger. That gaming is the big evil they always know it was and it needs to be banned.
Big Bad Fortnite?
Case in point, the pointless suing of Epic Games by parents of ‘addicted children’. It is a pathetic case in this instance and should be thrown out and treated with the contempt it deserves.
Now, this isn’t me saying it is something that should be ignored. If anything, I think further studies should be carried out into how different games have different effects on different minds.
I look to my own son and how he reacts to different games. Fortnite being one he can sit and play for hours on end if I were to let him. His attitude once he has played that game is a lot different to when he has been playing Rocket League, Apex Legends, Minecraft, NHL and many others.
I don’t think the issue here is with the game itself, but the peer pressure surrounding the game. Because of its popularity and the cosmetics available, kids are judged based on their looks and the items they have.
Much in the same way it happed to my generation in the 80s and 90s for the clothes we were wearing. Instead of real world cosmetics being the thing, it is digital ones. With Fortnite being the biggest of it all, that is where you need to look your best.
I do think some of the culture within gaming needs more regulation and needs external ruling to force action. Especially when it comes to some of the manipulative practices from some companies. But that is for another day. What I want to discuss is the attitude towards gaming and the attitudes towards gaming addiction.
It’s the way being addicted to something is verbalised that is the issue. Gaming is an addiction, it is looked at in the same way as drinking excessively, of taking drugs. Well except excuses are often made for both of those. Especially drinking…
Sandra 48 from Surrey is probably writing into the Daily Mail, or calling into Jeremy Vine with a glass of red in her hand at 10AM. But hey, maybe I shouldn’t jump to such conclusions.
It is the way things are spoke about. Gaming is an addiction, yet that book is a real page turner, one that you just can’t put down. You watch ‘Must See TV’, or a ‘Can’t Miss Movie’
All these are positive things, as is being obsessed with exercise or other hobbies. But gaming is big bad evil that is designed to get our children addicted
Well here is the thing. ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING you consume is designed to be addictive. It is designed to be the thing that you want more than anything in the world. This is done so people can make money.
Why is it different?
The only difference? How it is marketed and who it is marketed too and the reaction to it by different types of people.
What honestly is the difference between someone wanting to finish the part of the game they are playing? To someone wanting to finish a chapter in a book? Watch the end of Eastenders? Finishing a run or circuit?
There is no difference, but only one has been conditioned to be seen as negative. The others are all seen as positive things. Friction is caused because of the sneering attitude towards gaming
I have heard the argument that gaming is a waste of time, do something more useful, like reading a book. Or learning to play an instrument. Play outside…The same outside that out children are told are full of paedophiles, dodgy foreigners, murderous teens and many other evils.
The outside that is deemed so bad these days, that you have to wonder why kids would prefer to stay in and interact with friends via games.
Again I am not saying gaming is perfect, because there is a lot more that can and should be done to protect the vulnerable. Starting with how the corporation design their games to suck as much money up as possible using various techniques also used by gambling companies.
It does need addressing and it needs addressing sharpish, but at the same time, so do many aspects of life an what we consume and how we consume it.
What is the point?
I know this is me shouting into a void, but we need to give gaming a break when it comes to its representation in the mainstream media. We need a bigger voice to counter many of the lazy arguments and stereotypes that surround it.
Gaming should be enjoyed in the same way we enjoy reading, watching TV, films, listening to music, going for a drink or a run.
Here is the thing. Sharon 48 from Surrey… well she is probably stuck on level 357 of Candy Crush and has asked Reg, Davina, Dave and Tracey for some lives. Right after she’s finished telling everyone how that kid she heard about, was addicted to that horrible game of his.