I remember a few years ago in the summer, my friends and I would go out to play basketball or football. We would go down to the local court and play in the hot sun. We would sometimes playfully talk trash during the game and challenge each other. We would play one-on-one or two-on-two. If someone missed a shot we would playfully joke with them. After the games, we would be dripping with sweat from a tiring workout.
Nowadays, a lot of my friends are cooped up inside of their bedroom in the dark playing Fortnite or the newest, popular game. It feels lonely not being able to play or talk with them. It sucks that I do not see them or talk to them as much anymore. I cannot blame them though, because I am also a part of this issue.
I used to be addicted to video games. But it all changed one year ago when my parents took my Playstation 4 for a month. Throughout that month I matured into a better person and learned how to limit myself. It did not feel great at the time, but looking back, I needed it. Parents around the world struggle with seeing their children play video games all day. Video games can create addictions by incorporating different things. For example, in Fortnite there is a “leveling up” feature where you gain items or skins for continually playing the game. This makes teens want to keep playing it to the point they feel bad when they are not playing.
Video game addiction can decrease the health of a child or teen since they do not get out a lot. It also leads to the impairment of real-life relationships. They create family and academic problems. Students don’t get much sleep because of this addiction affecting their academics or grades. Many students would rather play video games than study for a test, which is also affecting their academics. They also might not do homework or not complete assignments. Teens don’t create better bonds with their family. Teens spend more time in solitary seclusion, keeping them away from social life. Teens can also make the excuse to parents that they are spending time with friends online, but it is not the same as a physical relationship.
According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, “Gaming can become very costly ending up in financial consequences or problems.” This creates more problems at home between the teens and parents. Many teens turn to disrespecting their parents because of this addiction. This is because they do not feel a bond with the parents. Students may create online personas and try to be something they are not which comes from their low self-esteem. They keep this in secret, and now the parents can’t help treat it.
Low-self esteem is also a big problem among teens and it leads to suicide or depression. Bullying could also happen on the video game that might lead to depression. According to a study by A Forever Recovery where 3,000 students in grades 3, 4, 7 and 8 were studied, more time on the video game among those children led to depression. They also developed anxiety, social issues, combined with grades dropping, impulse control suffering, and relationship deterioration. The Journal of Health Psychology also ran a test among 130,000 teens where gaming was determined the cause of 16% of obsessive compulsive disorder issues.
Frontiers in Psychiatry also ran a study of 563 students aged 16-21 who spent an average of 20% of their daily time on the internet gaming. It found that gamers exhibited enhanced connectivity between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex areas. Those two connectivities are closely associated with depression. Some teens use video games to ease bad moods and feelings. They use it to relax and get away from the real world. But teens can find other things to ease their minds.
Some ways we could solve this problem is by seeking a counselor for help with the teens. Also, many parents find themselves giving the teen more control than them. They need to take that control back so the teens do not disrespect them anymore. They will not argue with the parents anymore. Parents can also start restricting the time and making a bedtime for them. This could help solve academic problems because now they will get more sleep for school the next day. It could also solve social problems because now they get breaks off the game to go outside and talk with their friends. I have been apart of this problem and I learned how to stop this addiction and limit myself off the game. It is hard to stop this problem, but if I did it anybody can do it. I believe in everyone that they can stop this addiction by seeing a counselor or limiting their time. People could finally have social interactions on a daily basis again and help develop better bonds.
James Riley, 14, is a student at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School.