How Are Video Games Addicting?
With teen obesity in America on the rise, many parents and politicians are pointing the finger at video games. They point out that less physical exercise and more time with the gaming console and computer is one of the main factors as to why so many teens are becoming obese and overweight. It seems like ever since the first video game was created, the older generations and lawmakers have continually blamed video games for every problem in America that is associated with the youth. From violence to drug use, and now obesity. But while most of the accusations against video games are untrue and unwarranted, one thing about them that even teens and avid gamers won't deny is that they can be very addicting. But what is it about them that makes them such an addictive hobby ? Let's take a look at some of the most probable explanations.
Video games are similar to street drugs, and this is because of many reasons. One of the main reasons is that they can allow a person to escape from reality and the stress and pressures of everyday life, if even for only a brief twenty or thirty minutes. They can also allow a person to live out their fantasies by roleplaying or allowing a person to act out certain scenarios in a game that they would never do or could never do in real life. In this sense, they stimulate the senses in many different ways, like a stimulant would. So video games, as harmless as they seem, could basically be considered to be a form of digital drug and this is why so many kids end up addicted to them.
Another reason that video games are so addicting is because of the relative convenience. Nowadays, they have all types of sizes when it comes to portable consoles, and you can find arcade machines everywhere you go, from the movie theaters to Walmart or Target. So like drugs, video game addicts can get their fix wherever they go. From handheld Playstations to the Nintendo DS. Portable gaming has come a long way since the early days of the Nintendo Gameboy and even their failed Virtual Boy console. Many places such as fast food restaurants like Mcdonalds and Jack in the Box allow their customers free Wi-Fi and an electrical outlet to plug your electronic devices into. So it's not uncommon to see a kid in one of those places playing a multiplayer game online while eating fries or sipping on a milkshake. There's even some public buses in most major cities that offer Wi-Fi as well, which I'll admit, can get a bit irritating when someone is playing a game online with their speakers on full blast volume and you can hear the other players they're playing against cursing and cheering.
As mentioned before, video games can be played online against other people from around the world. So now, with popular games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, gaming has become more and more competitive. Anything that involves a level of competitiveness is going to be addictive in some way. There's even some people who attend gaming competitions as much as possible for this reason. But this could be considered to be a healthy form of addiction because it encourages people to try hard for things they want in life and strive to achieve them. But on the other hand, argument and insults sometimes occur between gamers in the heat of the moment. This type of incident is unavoidable sometimes but still a rarity since mot online gamers seem to get along. So in addition to being addictive like a drug, video games are also similar to many types of sports.
If a person with a drug addiction no longer has access to drugs, they will have no choice but to quit, even though they may suffer from withdrawal symptoms in the process of quitting. Well this is probably one of the strongest reasons why a gaming addiction can be so hard to overcome and break. The companies that make the games, like Nintendo, Sega, Rockstar, Microsoft and Sony, are constantly making and releasing new games every week. Popular games like the Grand Theft Auto series are updated with new versions and sequels on an almost annual or bi-annual basis. They even allow gamers to pre-order the games before they are released. This is similar to how a drug addict will hand their money over to a middleman and wait for them to come back with some drugs. So it seems impossible for hardcore gamers to break the habit when they are constantly having new addictions pushed in front of their face.
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