An addiction to video games or computer games should be treated in much the same way as any other addiction. Like other addicts, gamers often are trying to escape problems in their lives. Video and computer games offer a particularly appealing escape to socially maladjusted teenagers, most often boys, who find it intoxicating to become immersed in a world completely under their control.
“When they play, their brains produce endorphins, giving them a high similar to that experienced by gamblers or drug addicts. Gamers’ responses to questions even mirror those of alcoholics and gamblers when asked about use,” said one addiction counselor.
But there is another very real challenge when quitting an activity that occupies all of your free time and involves pretty much everyone in your social network. Kids who are addicted to virtual reality have lost, or may never have had, the ability to comfortably communicate with people face to face. They’ve spent all of their time interacting in a virtual world and are extremely uncomfortable when dealing with real people in real time. In an online world, there is time to edit what you say. There’s also very little risk when the person you are talking with is in a different time zone, let alone a different country.
Shy or socially awkward kids are at greater risk of video game addiction than children who compete in sports or participate in group activities like afterschool clubs. Take away their computer or their game console and how will they spend their time? Helping them change will likely require some outside help. They need to build confidence in order to feel comfortable in the “real world.”