Problematic gaming

Lots of people like to play video or online games and lots of people spend many hours of their spare time gaming. For lots of people this is ok and they are able to have other hobbies and interests, see friends and they can still get on with their everyday life. For others this love of gaming can tip into being unhelpful and impact on their life in a damaging way.

It is possible to be at risk of or develop an addiction to gaming in a similar way to those who are at risk of or addicted to substances (such as drugs or alcohol).

Here are some signs that there might be a problem and it’s time to get help:

  • Constantly thinking about or wanting to play the game
  • Feeling irritable and restless (fidgety) when not playing
  • Underreporting or lying about how much time you’ve spent playing or playing in secret (such as in the middle of the night)
  • Tiredness, headaches or hand pain from too much screen time and use of controllers
  • Not wanting to pay attention to things like your personal hygiene (e.g., washing) or eating
  • Not seeing friends as often or doing other things you used to enjoy doing as all your time is spent gaming
  • Not wanting to go to school so that you can game

Not everyone who has a gaming addiction will experience all the signs and symptoms. Also, if you are experiencing some of these signs and symptoms this does necessarily mean that you have a gaming addition, but it is important to get help and advice.

According to experts, some of the most addictive online games are:

  • Fortnite Battle Royale
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield
  • Farmville
  • Call of Duty
  • Minecraft
  • Angry Birds
  • Solitaire

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