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How to Avoid Getting Addicted to Computer Games

Video game addiction can be very detrimental to one's health and social life. The following is a steps list detailing how to avoid becoming addicted, ...

How to Avoid Getting Addicted to Computer Games article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Avoid Getting Addicted to Computer Games

Video game addiction can be very detrimental to one's health and social life. The following is a steps list detailing how to avoid becoming addicted, and how to un-addict yourself if you are already addicted.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Accept responsibility. The problem lies within the individual, not within the game. No attempt at beating 'addiction' can succeed until the individual accepts its existence. The problem is not the existence of video games, the content of games, but the person who chooses to play them.
  2. 2
    Identify the impact. How many hours a day do you spend playing games? Do you normally go out on the weekend? When was the last time you read a book? Identifying the negative impacts of the addiction will help you focus on positive improvements and getting back the things that you really are missing.
  3. 3
    Avoid blame. Blaming others for problems that you alone must face does not solve the problems. The 'gaming industry' or manufacturers are not the cause of this problem, and blaming them does not make the problem better. The vast, extreme majority of 'gamers' are healthy individuals, accepting responsibility is the first step.
  4. 4
    Stay positive. While it is important to identify the negative aspects of the problem, it is also important to focus on the goal and progress that you have made.
  5. 5
    Set Limits. If you decide that you have 1 hour per day to spend playing games, stick to that. Choose your games correctly! If you are playing a game that requires many hours of gameplay between saves or which is an open-ended game like many MMO's, you likely should consider a different game or different genre of games.
  6. 6
    Active parental monitoring. You are the parent, and thus you are in control. If your children do not listen to you, removal of the game console or setting of administrative control on the computer may allow you to better handle the problem.
  7. 7
    Look in your drawer of CDs. Are there more than 5 games that you have played in the last two months? Are these games open-ended (like Civilization, World of Warcraft, or Evil Genius)? This could be a warning sign.
  8. 8
    Add up the total hours played per week. This includes time spent reading walkthroughs and watching videos and discussing games in real life. Always round up! If this number is over 25, then there may be a problem.
  9. 9
    Request that your parents put you on a strict time limit for computer playing. There are freeware programs available for download that can help with this. Playing hide-and-go-seek with your parents (hiding your games) is an effective way to minimize gaming overall.
  10. 10
    Find something else to do. You know the statement "my anti-drug..." This statement is better phrased "my anti-addiction..." or "my anti-bad habit..." The best way to do this is to develop a variety of other things to do, with others.

edit Tips

  • Be vigilant. Games are meant to be interesting. They are not naturally addictive, but they are made for their replay value.
  • Be positive whenever possible. While negative reinforcement is sometimes necessary, positive reinforcement will always go further in the end.
  • Be an active parent. Children with gaming problems often do not spend enough time interacting with their parents in parent/child activity. Go out to a pizza place or well lit restaraunt. Sign up for a family softball league. Go swimming. There are many, many activities that are enjoyable where computer or video games are not even available. Sometimes, distraction is the best way to start.

edit Warnings

  • The computer is a device essential to stereotypical life in today's world. Addiction must be treated like an eating disorder: very carefully.

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