Screen time used to be all about television and film, but now, it means much more. With computers at work, and smartphones in your pocket, as well as streaming networks making television and movies available anywhere, anytime, the average adult spends nearly 11 hours a day looking at a screen.
This article can help identify the symptoms of gaming disorder and/or addiction, and help you spot it in yourself, and your loved ones, before it gets out of control.
1. Easily Distractible
If you or someone you know is quick to get angry, especially when you’re interrupted playing a game, it’s an obvious sign of a problem. Video games should chill you out more than ramp up your stress levels.
If you find you can’t concentrate without playing, and that you get so immersed and become hostile to any interruptions, you may want to start limiting your screen time.
2. Trouble Sleeping
LED screens are designed to mimic natural sunlight. Which sounds really good, unless you’re addicted to them. Too much screen time can severely impact your sleep schedule.
If you’re noticing you’re playing late into the night, and it’s affecting your sleep, it could be a sign you’re addicted to gaming.
3. Withdrawing From Social Situations
All addicts tend to get preoccupied with their addictions, and video game addicts are no different.
Withdrawing from friends, and losing interest in hobbies that aren’t related to video games is often an indicator of addictive or obsessive behavior that can be unhealthy and dangerous.
4. Preoccupied with Video Games
Related to the withdrawing already mentioned, if video games take over your thinking, you may not be the first person to notice.
If your friends are finding it challenging to keep you on other topics, or your goals have become about video games, you should listen.
5. Use of Video Games To Deal With Negative Moods
If you find you don’t feel right unless you spend time with your screens, you may be addicted. Using video games as escapism every once in a while is perfectly natural. In fact, some studies show it can help with learning disabilities and stress.
But if you find you can’t cope with day to day stresses without spending hours in front of a screen, or you get anxious while your phone is charging, you may be addicted.
6. Unaware Of Your Video Game Use
If you’re spending hours of your day on gaming and didn’t notice, it’s a sign you’re probably addicted.
So now that you know that you might be in danger of a video game addiction, what can you do? It’s hard to avoid screen time, between school and work, your smartphone, and your social life. But there are healthy ways to handle your gaming.
Follow these tips to help minimize your risk:
1. Limit Your Screen Time
Screen time limits aren’t just for kids! In fact, thanks to time spent at work, and your office commute, adults may be more in danger of video game addiction than we know.
It may not be practical to limit your screen time by the hour. Instead, you should turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bed, to avoid the effects of the exposure to LED lights, and help you get to sleep, and stay that way.
2. Get Your Friends Involved
One of the worst parts of any addiction is how it cuts you off from family and friends. Have a game night at home, and invite your friends.
It’s a lot less isolating and encourages co-operative play that might lead to less of the anxious and aggressive behavior that a video game addiction can cause.
With our increase in screen time, it’s only natural to see some side effects. Video games are a great way to pass the time, and can even help improve your memory, ability to multi-task and other brain functions.
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