Addicted to video games? How to know and when to get help

What is gaming addiction? And how do you know if you need help?

Rania Mankarious, CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston, joined Owen Conflenti and Sofia Ojeda on KPRC 2 News Today at 10 to talk about gaming addictions and when to get help. Watch the full interview above.

What is gaming addiction?

Gaming addiction, also known as “Internet Gaming Disorder” is the playing of video games, digital games and or apps for at least 15 to 20 hours, or more, each week. When you break it down, this amounts to around 3 hours every day, including weekends.

What is the impact of gaming addiction?

The preoccupation with gaming can affect friendships, school, partner relationships, work productivity as well as lasting damage to health, well-being, vision, sensory response and even the ability for young players to differentiate real life from the fantasy within the game and/or the emotions within the game. Additionally, because gamers connect with almost anyone, they can often be talking to predators and not be aware.

What are some of the signs of gaming addiction?

  • Time spent playing
  • Preoccupation with gaming and overwhelmingly thinking about gaming and when to play next
  • Withdrawal from gaming including irritability, anxiety, anger, sadness
  • Using the gaming to deal with almost any issue or emotion / as an “escape” from everything

What are some strategies and solutions?

  • Parents, set limits around gaming
  • Talk to children about why gaming is not healthy
  • Seek medical intervention when necessary. Most therapists use Cognitive behavioral therapy which allows the player to shift their thoughts, replace the gaming compulsion with healthier patterns.

Rania, and Crime Stoppers of Houston, also shared these stats surrounding gaming:

  • Historically, the average gamer is 35-years-old and the average age of someone with gaming addiction is 24 years old
  • Gaming in 2021 grew to a $180 billion industry with 2.5 billion people gaming globally.
  • The Common Sense Census study found teens spent average of 1 hour and 46 minutes gaming a day in 2021, with boys falling above the 2 hour mark daily.
    • The study also looked at 3000 students and determined 19% of the boys and 7.8% of the girls were classified as having a gaming disorder.

Click here to visit Crime Stopper’s website.