If you’ve clicked here, you’ve got a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, niece, nephew or cousin who is close to your age and you’re worried that their gaming is out of control.
This website aims to provide you with an overview of problem gaming, some quick tips for supporting a friend you think may have a gaming problem and referrals to online and face to face resources you may find useful. For indepth information, you can also explore the research articles page.
Overview of problem gaming
Gamers who DON’T have gaming problems have fun when they’re in the game. They have a good time and when it’s done, it’s done – they go on to something else.
Gamers who DO have problems might have started gaming for fun – but now, they are gaming to stop the twitchy, nervous feeling they get when they’re NOT gaming. So they’re not so much gaming for fun but to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
You could be worried because your friend is:
- spending more and more time preoccupied with their favourite video game, thinking about it all the time or hanging out for the next opportunity to play
- spending less time on homework, work, sports, and social activities with family and friends in order to game more; turning down invites to hang out with you, attend parties, play games with you,
- making up stories about why they can’t catch up to hide their game play – e.g. saying they are doing homework that you know they are not doing; staying up all night to play and not getting enough sleep
- disinterested in other activities
- playing to escape from problems or negative feelings
- unable to quit or limit game play
- spending more money than they can afford on equipment or in-game items
- continuing to play despite the negative consequences to themselves , their families and friends.
It’s not necessarily about how much time they’re gaming but how little time they’re spending on the other parts of their life like friendships, school, work, extracurricular activities and maintaining their health.
A November 2013 segment from ABC’s Good Game provides a great overview of problem gaming. You can watch it on the page below or click the linked text to watch it on YouTube in a new browser tab or window.