Although most online gamers know the clear definition between reality and fantasy, there has been a startling increase in number of revelations about addictions to computer games.
Players of popular online games such as Second life and World of Warcraft are well to the fore, with stories of child neglect while parents play on-line games, and children leaping to their deaths acting out World of Warcraft stunts.
It is clearly evident that people are now taking this virtual world much too seriously, with addiction and compulsion the tragic results. Kids are conditioned to this world with the initial offer of free games. As they grow and mature, they are enticed into the “pay as you go” games which for some become an obsession. Schoolwork is often one of the first things to suffer, and interest in food and family relationships may wane.
The terms “virtual” and “real” rage, were discussed by Psychiatrist Jerald Block in his study of Columbine killers Klebold and Harris, noting their obsession with the online game Doom.
It is also interesting to note, that The American Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public has requested that obsessive behavior in respect of online gaming be classified as a psychiatric disorder. Not surprisingly, computer game industry members have rejected this suggestion.
The AMA have also stated that long term video game players can be more aggressive, suffer attention disorders, and generally have more difficulty with schoolwork.
Parents are now being encouraged to be on the lookout for signs of addiction, which can include carpal tunnel syndrome, aches in neck or back, problems with sleeping, dry eyes, and poor personal hygiene and
And as parents, for so long we thought that it was just the alcohol, or meth amphetamine addictions of which we had to be aware!