Let’s make it clear here and now that we are not against gaming. We are gamers too, and our hearts beat for gaming as much as yours does for it. But, we also know that too much of anything can not be good for us. Say, you are on a full-fledged diet. You work out a lot and your dietician has advised you to eat eggs. You’ll eat a certain number of eggs each day, right? You won’t end up eating ‘just eggs’ for every meal that you have. Why is it so? That’s because you know eating too many eggs can cause harm to your body.
In the same way, gaming for recreational purposes is a good thing. But when you make gaming the only job in your whole day, you are harming yourself. Researchers have now come to the conclusion that ‘gaming addiction’ is a real thing. You can also call it ‘gaming disorder’. So, it has already registered its place under ‘addictive behaviours’ in WHO’s books.
You can casually play games. It’s fine to sometimes unwind and have some fun with video games. But, if you feel like it’s taking over your life, that’s your cue to escape. Gaming can be as addictive as any other narcotic substance. It is not illegal like these substances, but gaming can cause an equal amount of harm to the human brain.
If you are here to find a way out, for yourself or somebody you love, we have the right set of suggestions for you. Here are some of the ways to end a video game addiction in someone-
1. Set Limits
The Internet is flooded with questions like ‘how to stop my video game addiction?’ and ‘how to stop teenage video game addiction?’ for obvious reasons. Sometimes it’s the parents or often it is the person themselves who realises that video games are pulling them inside. Before talking to a psychologist, you can always try to control yourself.
Set a certain time limit for video games. Make a little routine for yourself. Say, you will work/study for so and so hours and then you can play for half an hour or an hour maybe. Don’t make it a binge-playing session. Set a rule for yourself that you will only play this many matches. And you will, then, stop playing no matter what. Rules are good. Rules make you disciplined.
Set a timer on your phone to be doubly sure that you stop playing immediately after it rings.
2. Keep your gaming devices away
Keep your gaming console, or whatever that you play your games at away. Keep your working space free from games. Try to make your space a screen-free zone. Dedicate a separate place for your gaming stuff. Put them in a cupboard or something similar so that when you complete all your work and then you come to play, you can take them out and have a match or two. Keeping them before your eyes would only distract you. If you have devices in your room, make sure that you switch them off when you go to sleep or work.
Having sleep-related issues while quitting video games is normal. They’ll go away with time.
It’s okay to have a few setbacks. Try opening up a smaller game that requires a minimum time like Clicks Test or Cookie Clicker. These things would work similar to how nicotine patches work for smoking addiction.
3. Install extensions and apps that block access to games
It’s a good thing that now certain browser extensions and applications can limit your play time. Some apps would block your access to certain games, while others would block you all together for a particular time so that you can concentrate. There are PC programs like Game Boss that can stop you from visiting gaming websites. Or, extensions like StayFocused and LeechBox can serve the same purpose on web browsers. Similarly, there are also mobile phone apps that can serve similar purposes.
An addiction is an addiction, may it be drugs or gaming. When we can not see anything in the world but gaming, that’s where we know we are not controlling the games anymore. The games have begun controlling us. There is always a way out. But the first step begins with you. It’s your willpower that can save you from getting swallowed by the gaming world altogether.
If you are having trouble doing that yourself, you can talk to your parents, teachers and friends about it. They would help you maintain your gaming withdrawal system. You can also find alternate sources of entertainment, like outdoor games and some other hobbies. The more you can stay away from your gaming zone, the better. Gaming addiction can be cured by the individual himself/herself. But if you think nothing is helping you get rid of video games, you must consult a physician. A support group could also help you out.
There are numerous ways to set oneself free from gaming addiction. The fight begins with you!