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Comments: 955 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

BionicFire690 karma

Despite many controversies regarding video games, do you see any benefits from video games? (mostly when used in a controlled manner)

ScreensOnSubmarines1317 karma

Yes! In fact, I'd argue the benefits far outweigh the negatives. It's just sometimes things get out of hand. The very things that attract people to game can be the downfall... more on this later.

I personally love single player story driven narrative games. So Last of Us, God of War, Firewatch, Metal Gear, and so on. I've played games that brought me to tears with how beautiful the story was and how well acted they are. You can be so entertained and feel connected to characters and get a great story with games. I love it.

Other people can make friends, be a part of teams, feel like they are independent, increase problem solving skills, be a leader, and more!

Problems start when these things get prioritized over other things. Gaming checks a lot of boxes of needs: social, entertainment, risk taking, self-esteem, independence, creativity etc. All things that can be found in the everyday world, but they're arguably easier and more accessible in gaming for some people. Hence why it's so enticing and can become problematic.

Schematix7216 karma

Do you feel your experience with games helps you connect with your patients? I'm actually visiting a therapist for the first time soon (not for addiction, thank god). I'd imagine for issues/patients like yours they would typically be more resistant to advice than say a person seeking counseling for a mental disorder or perhaps a marriage counselor.

ScreensOnSubmarines177 karma

It definitely has helped!

black_flag_4ever605 karma

I keep playing this game called Reddit, how do I stop?

ScreensOnSubmarines658 karma

You never stop. You are Reddit now. We are one.

kingdazy283 karma

One of us! One of us! One of us!

ScreensOnSubmarines230 karma

Gooble Gobble!

Akinaataa467 karma

In regards to people believing that video games are the cause of these violent events. What, in your professional opinion, is the cause of these events? I'm sure it can't be narrowed down to one cause as people are so complicated.

ScreensOnSubmarines971 karma

You said the magic word: COMPLICATED.

What we're seeing today is a COMPLICATED social situation brought on by a lot of sadness, desperation, feeling life is unjust, lack of meaning, social economic struggles, and angry political rhetoric. This is just my view of it. And, like you said, it probably can't even be narrowed down to those things either.

For 30 years or so, gaming has been the SCAPEGOAT for violence. Ever since Mortal Kombat had ABACABB for the blood code, it was in the news.

I think people look for simple solutions to complex problems. It's "easier" to blame video games for violence than it is to address an administration's failings, hateful speech and actions, social economic issues, and existential dilemmas (personal and collective).

This is why conspiracy videos are super popular now too I think. They boil down very complicated, complex, and difficult to understand questions to "It's aliens" or "it's the illuminati." Boils them down to simple, graspable, and INCORRECT explanations.

In today's case, Trump boiled down all these existential and social, economic issues to "It's video games." Or "It's mental health." And it's irresponsible to do so.

He said something like, people in the gaming community gather together and glorify violence. I was like, dude, I was at E3 this year. Thousands of people were there, but no one was glorifying violence. We were all hanging out and excited about video games and being super nice to one another.

I think I ranted and may not have answered your question haha.

Edit: I'll add this. The research is clear that there is no connection between video games and violence.

dadudeodoom220 karma

As a gamer living with my grandparents and mum (who all detest gaming), what would you suggest for possibly trying to bring out understanding, or to make them more aware of the falsehoods they are using as arguments and the good in gaming? I've tried but not entirely sure I have data that is concrete or powerful enough to sway them. Thanks!

ScreensOnSubmarines382 karma

Do you need data to show them? Show them you. Show them your experience. Show them what you love about it. Engage in it with them. What game could you show them that they would enjoy with you? If they're not open to that then maybe they're not going to be convinced, and it's not your responsibility to do so at that point.

Edit: Happy cake day :)

cutelyaware26 karma

The research is clear that there is no connection between video games and violence.

Got a favorite source for that we can keep handy? I need one to reach for when I hear this argument.

ScreensOnSubmarines27 karma

I've dropped the name Christopher Ferguson a few times. Check him out!

Fatel28347 karma

What are some actual real life examples of video game addiction, and how does it affect the person who's addicted? There's tons of stereotypes of the fat kit playing WOW for 14 hours straight in his mother's basement every day, but I'm sure not every case is do extreme

ScreensOnSubmarines717 karma

I can't relate any specific stories for confidentiality sake.

But I'll say it takes many forms. You mention WOW for 14 hours straight and gaining weight. When actually weight LOSS is more common I suspect. Or I should say, I see this more. Malnutrition and poor sleep and weight loss is a big issue. People won't leave the game to eat healthy, exercise, or get regular nutrients. That is an extreme case.

Often times gaming addiction or compulsive gaming can look like: hey I'm going to work at my job, but I'm thinking about Siege or or playing on my phone when I should be working, then I get home, and ignore my partner or friends and play games instead, then I'm up till 2 or 4am, but that's fine, I'll skip breakfast and drink a lot of coffee before work tomorrow, I'll be fine.

Stuff like that are kinda warning signs that something is developing. A lot of things like "I'll be fine" or "It's no big deal" kinda talk, which is denial and common for addicts of all kinds.

Ser_Danksalot255 karma

You mention WOW for 14 hours straight and gaining weight. When actually weight LOSS is more common I suspect.

Former WoW addict here. When I was playing back from its EU release in 2005 to 2007, I was putting in full waking hours of play per day and was so into the game i'd put off eating until I was starving. I think I lost 2 belt sizes during that time.

ScreensOnSubmarines200 karma

How you doing now???

Maxisfluffy78 karma

What if someone fully accepts that what they are doing is unhealthy, but they are truly happy and not depressed?

ScreensOnSubmarines158 karma

It's very difficult to help change someone's behavior who believes they do not need help or change.

We as humans have free will (fight me! haha), so at some point in our development, as adults, we do have some freedom to say things like - I know this is bad for me, and I don't want to change it.

There's the whole Stages of Change model that is helpful at times. People will recognize what they're doing is bad, but they'll be "pre-contemplative" or "contemplative" about doing anything about it.

I think I struggle with your word "truly." Because I have a hard time thinking of a person who can say "I'm doing something bad, but I am TRULY happy" and have that be totally true.

aversethule95 karma

Chiming in here, as a gamer and independently licensed professional counselor with supervision credentials.

I used to play Everquest a good 5-8 hours on weeknights and 15+ hour days on weekends in my thirties while working a full-time job and raising my two children with my wife. I do think I suffered a mild depression during the time (upon reflection), which is typical for that age group, perhaps connected to the shock of just how difficult "adult life" is and how powerless one can be as a young professional. Having disclosed that, I also have noticed over the years as my gaming frequency waxes and wanes that it is not nearly as difficult to give up gaming if I have something else into which I can invest my efforts and self-expression. For me, it seems clear that gaming addiction, among other addictions, are really symptoms of a deficit of having something meaningful in one's life to focus upon. Finding purpose and meaning for one's time and efforts is much more productive than trying to manage the symptoms head on, because those symptoms are there to help manage (self-soothe) the pain of the hurt soul, if you will. Trying to focus upon the symptoms (addictive behavior) at best is likely to result in symptom substitution and at worst contribute to a further downward spiral as coping mechanisms are effectively removed for the person.

In theory, it's not rocket science...find purpose and meaning in your life and things will go better. We are all here wanting to shout to the Universe "I'm here, for a while at least, it must mean something!" and have the Universe respond in some validating way, like "I hear you, I may not know that it means either, but it does mean something!" In execution, finding that answer is unique for people and not often an easy thing to figure out.

ScreensOnSubmarines56 karma

For me, it seems clear that gaming addiction, among other addictions, are really symptoms of a deficit of having something meaningful in one's life to focus upon. Finding purpose and meaning for one's time and efforts is much more productive than trying to manage the symptoms head on

Couldn't agree more!

EventHorizon18239 karma

We as humans have free will (fight me! haha)

Sam Harris has entered chat

ScreensOnSubmarines39 karma

OH SHIT NOT SAM HARRIS!

ImOnRedditAndStuff11 karma

I'm kinda worried about myself, but I'm not sure if it's addiction or maybe borderline? I play AFK games while at work, while working, but it still affects my work. I don't like that I do, but I always seem drawn back in. When I get home, all I want to do is play games. I don't put off major responsibilities but I definitely would much rather be playing. I don't want to say I put off my wife, but there are things I could be doing with her over gaming and I usually split 50-50 between her and gaming (sometimes we play together). As of now I still get to bed at a reasonable hour even tho I want to continue playing...

Do you think I have a problem? I just feel like games are kind of a release for me after a stressful day. I am only a little over weight (maybe about 15-20 lbs), but I still get to the gym a few times a week, and try to eat healthy.

Video games feel like a big part of my life and I really enjoy them. If I were an addict, do you think it's possible for someone like me to just play less without feeling like it's all you want to do? Or is it like smoking, once you're done you should never go back?

ScreensOnSubmarines10 karma

everyone is different. Some people stop all together. Other people rediscover healthier ways of engaging with gaming. Context is everything. Maybe gaming is a problem, but maybe gaming is more a coping skill for stress. Perhaps looking at your stressors and mitigating those could be something worth looking into? I don't now. Hard to say. But once stressors are dealt with and meaning and positive mood increases then maybe you'll see the gaming go down as a biproduct.

Just things to ponder? But I can't give thorough help here as my disclaimer states.

true_spokes167 karma

Do you feel gaming companies have a responsibility to make efforts to prevent excessive gaming? If so, what should that look like?

ScreensOnSubmarines314 karma

Fuck this is a very important question in gaming nowadays. I like YongYea's coverage of these topics on YouTube. I met him at E3!

I don't know if I'm qualified to boss around Microsoft and Playstation to tell them what to do.

I think I lean more on the side of education and personal responsibility on the part of the consumer. Now, hear me out, this is a topic that I struggle with coming to a firm conclusion on.

If there's one thing I want to scream from the rooftops it's this: PEOPLE, STOP EXPECTING GAMING COMPANIES TO CARE ABOUT YOU.

They are a business, and their job is to make money, and they will do what they can to make that money.

Gamers love our games. Duh. And I think we have an expectation that the people making games must also love them too. And they might, but they also love money. They also love raking in the millions.

We cannot look to mega corporations for ethics and morality. That is our job, as individual human beings.

So... I think where I'm at now, and I am very open to changing my opinion, is that consumers need to be educated on the dangers of excessive gaming, microtransactions, loot boxes, in game gambling, and so on. But only because I don't think a mega corporation is going to do it. They won't, so we have to. I hope I'm explaining that okay?

Edit: That said, I do think the whole "surprise mechanics" thing was bullshit.

true_spokes54 karma

Thanks for the considered response! I think there is some precedent for companies being forced to warn consumers about the dangers of their products, e.g. cigarettes. Do you think gamers would stand for a warning label on their loot boxes?

ScreensOnSubmarines109 karma

Heck if we can get a warning label I'll take it. I won't say no to any olive branch they extend.

I think in MGS:4 there was a note when the levels downloaded that said "be sure to take regular breaks" or something like that. That's always a nice reminder. Especially in a Kojima game.

flashmeterred7 karma

On this topic - are pay-to-play or wait-to-play (often phone games) the bigger drivers of gaming addiction now?

I mean, on gaming companies not caring about you, once you've bought a one-off-payment game, they've got their money and while they probably don't care if you're playing it too much, they also probably don't care if you don't play it much. If someone develops a conscience they might add a MGS-style "you've been playing too long" sort of mechanic.

But that is actively against the money-making opportunities of pay-to-play etc. Do you see more addiction to these games? Can we have another reason to hate them (on top of a common gambling-style, the more you put in, the more you get out nature of these games)?

ScreensOnSubmarines6 karma

On this topic - are pay-to-play or wait-to-play (often phone games) the bigger drivers of gaming addiction now?

These are crazy common to see. Mobile games can be crazy addictive. It's...crazy.

Mystic_Dawn130 karma

Do you think gaming addition should be made aware to students in school? Much like they learn about addiction to drugs. Or would it be better to educate the parents on signs and ways to mitigate?

ScreensOnSubmarines132 karma

Yes to both! I'm hopefully working on some talks and workshops at schools in the near future where I can talk about this!

The trick is to balance "Hey this is a growing problem, and be aware of it" and "omg everyone is addicted to games!" I don't want to create panic, but I do want to educate and help those who need it.

Quigleyer115 karma

Do you play video games yourself? If yes, does the knowledge of your specific niche keep you from enjoying them at times?

ScreensOnSubmarines190 karma

I play games and I enjoy them!

I said in another comment that I like the more single player story driven games.

I also play CS:GO.

My knowledge of my niche does not keep me from enjoying them. It keeps me aware of when a gaming company is trying to bamboozle me though.

FlocoPops67 karma

Sorry just gotta ask, what's your CS:GO rank?

ScreensOnSubmarines153 karma

Lieutenant Rank 23! Is that good? I only play casually now. I used to be on a team called the Flower Delivery Boys during CS:Source.

I have a 10 year badge. Is that worth anything? haha.

Shadow-ban85 karma

It's pretty funny he meant your matchmaking rank but this answer was cute anyway. Keep up the good work out there

ScreensOnSubmarines68 karma

lol, the keyword is "casual" haha

Akbarrrr30 karma

Ahaha I’ve never seen someone respond to that question with their casual ranking thing (whatever that’s called). As someone who has had a serious addiction and had to literally get rid of my computer to stop myself, I appreciate your work. CS:GO can be a hell of a drug.

ScreensOnSubmarines19 karma

Hope you are well :)

Frank_the_Mighty84 karma

Are there specific games that are more common with video game addiction? I feel like WoW is a go-to joke, but I'm curious as to what are some real world examples.

I remember playing a lot of Binding of Isaac when I was in a rough spot. You can bang out a game in 40 minutes, so the cycle went: Do nothing -> feel bad about doing nothing -> distract myself with BoI -> Do something until I just fucking can't -> Do nothing (repeat).

ScreensOnSubmarines44 karma

See my other comment on this. If that doesn't answer anything, write back :)

need20coins54 karma

Is there a game that consistently seems to be the most addictive?

ScreensOnSubmarines132 karma

Will I get sued for this? Haha. How much trouble will I get in for naming names?

I'll play it safe and say things like, games that have a lot of microtransactions that either directly impact the way you play a game, how much you win, how much you can craft, and how much you can progress, are pretty up there. These games really play on Instant Gratification.

So mobile games are weirdly very popular because people will buy upgrades in lieu of grinding. People who are susceptible to gaming or gambling addiction are very vulnerable to this kind of game.

Others are the very flashy, fast paced games, and certain battle royale type games among children, which shall remain nameless :p.

I've seen it all though. There's common themes, but there are games that are around building worlds that can be very enticing. RPGs and MMOs as well.

zGnRz46 karma

After gaming became mainstream over the past 10 years or so, and with the HUGE rise of content creators (twitch, youtube, etc.) do you think these content creators/streamers are a big cause in this change, and indirectly a bad influence on younger people who see these people play for HOURS in a row?

ScreensOnSubmarines78 karma

Yes!

But the keyword is "INDIRECTLY"

The thing that all these streamers have in common is: They create a relationships with their fans.

If you tune in to a streamer, you're tuning in to THAT streamer. Their personality. Their way of interacting with you and the audience. And some people are very lonely. If they feel like Ninja is their only friend, they'll tune in to see him and spend time with their friend for hours a day. Otherwise, it wouldn't matter what streamer you watched cause they'd all be the same. It's the relationship that is valuable, and that's what people, especially younger more isolated people want.

Juanieve0546 karma

Most common therapy for the addicted ?

ScreensOnSubmarines86 karma

I'll speak to my approach

My approach is a mix of Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Internet Addiction, as well as humanistic/existential.

You have to work behaviorally first, and try to limit the compulsion to gaming, but doing this with the client, so they feel comfortable and safe doing so is very key and important. I don't like just ripping the games away from them. Working with the individual struggling and their family as support is very much needed. Especially for younger kids. You can't expect an 11 year old to police and monitor their own use of game time.

Once things are kinda chill behaviorally, then moving into the cognitive aspect of things and harm reduction, so to prevent relapse. Here is where things like depression, anxiety, trauma, life changes, bullying, and other mental processes and suffering can be addressed.

need20coins42 karma

Do you deal with social media addiction too or just gaming? I ask because they seem to be becoming increasingly linked together.

ScreensOnSubmarines81 karma

Social media addiction is something I don't see a lot of, and I have some hypotheses as to why. Now, these are GUESSES, these are not FACTS.

I think people who are more geared toward social media have a sort of... simulacra (if I'm using that word right)... of support. They are often surrounded by people, be that in everyday life or online with comments and likes and hearts etc. They do not APPEAR lonely. They have a network. Therefore a lot of their suffering is kinda hidden. They're always living their best life. They're always smiling... because they have to.

Video game addiction has a very clear presentation sometimes. You can SEE the person spending too much time gaming, getting angry when they aren't gaming, struggling at school and work, and in relationships. You SEE the isolation.

Social media addiction, not so obvious. Also, social media is very normalized in the culture.

I don't know if that answers the question. I do see it, but not nearly as much as gaming.

ZKtheMAN_19 karma

It would be "simulacrum". "Simulacra" is plural, I believe.

ScreensOnSubmarines15 karma

Thank you :).

It's one of my favorite Philip K Dick books btw.

Gibreel8930 karma

Have you been seeing a rise in Gamergate or general alt-right culture among your patients and how do you handle that?

ScreensOnSubmarines67 karma

Weird you bring this up. I saw a lot of Alt-Right stuff last year. Not so much now.

A lot of it was younger people getting misinformation from less than accurate YouTube channels

I've never once had anyone bring up "gamergate."

Krash029 karma

How many hours a week qualify as being addicted to video games?

ScreensOnSubmarines78 karma

Being addicted to games is not entirely based on time spent gaming. But there's some good rules of thumb to follow. Generally speaking, beyond 2-3 hours per day is excessive, and that's going to cut into other responsibilities, relationships, social time, etc.

CBT for Internet Addiction suggests a 3-6-9-12 model.

Basically it's Birth to age 3 - no screen/internet time period

3 - 6 years old - one hour per day, but heavily monitored content and with family, educational only, no XBOX, Playstation etc.

6-9 years old - 2 hours max, but heavily supervised, XBOX is okay, gaming is okay if it is age appropriate

9 - 12 years old - 2 hours max, responsible gaming and responsible use. add independence, do homework etc.

12- 18 years old - independent use, but generally 2-3 hours is a good butter zone per day.

not_a_russian_troll933 karma

I'm a seasonal worker, and get months off sometimes, is it unhealthy to use them to kill time? I have a lot of free time, I do other things, keep in shape, sleep 7-8hrs every night. It's a cheap form of entertainment for me, but I must game 5-6 hrs a day usually.

ScreensOnSubmarines61 karma

but I must game 5-6 hrs a day usually

I'd challenge the word "MUST," because I wonder if there could be something you find meaningful or enjoyable that doesn't involve gaming. The word "must" just kinda makes me feel boxed in or limited. You know?

I'm glad it sounds like you practice a lot of self-care! :)

A decent question to ask is something like - am I experiencing any negative consequences from gaming? Be them social, relationships, creative, job, money, avoiding problems, so on and so forth.

If the answer is an honest no, then game on. Again, time spent gaming is not the only factor when it comes to gaming addiction or compulsive gaming.

not_a_russian_troll942 karma

Sorry, I didn't mean "must" as in I have to, just that's about how much a day on average.

ScreensOnSubmarines26 karma

Thanks for clarifying :)

Maxisfluffy9 karma

I argue with no screen time at an early age. My son who is now 7 and in the gifted program at his school, he was exposed to guided screen time. We chose educational apps and by 9 months he could identify most colors and numbers 1-9.

Our second son is moving along the same path, at 2 he knows all his numbers, colors, and letters. He too had guided screen time.

I guess just handing a kid an unprotected tablet could be bad depending what they are exposed too?

ScreensOnSubmarines19 karma

Your last statement is what rings true.

What I stated before is the model that is suggested by Dr. Kimberly Young.

LyphBB11 karma

This. Is it a time spent regularly thing or just a compulsion/obsession that constitutes “playing a lot of video games” as an addiction?

ScreensOnSubmarines46 karma

The difference between an addiction and a compulsive behavior is very important. Because it determines how treatment goes.

You can't treat video games like meth. If you do meth, the treatment is stop meth. If you play games too much, immediately taking away games can be harmful, because gaming is often a coping skill for sadness, anxiety, or trauma. That's when it can become a compulsive behavior. "Oh god, I'm so anxious about going to school. I'm going to game now."

Focusing strictly on "time spent gaming" misses a lot of the important factors that go into developing a gaming addiction or compulsive gaming behavior.

Treating and "curing" video game addiction is not entirely just taking the games away.

I think this is a big reason people don't seek treatment for gaming disorders. They get scared us mean therapists will side with the parents and take gaming away entirely. I don't like doing that. But it's a hard line to walk sometimes.

Squishy_Pixelz28 karma

How would you recommend someone manage their gaming before it becomes a problem?

Also, what advice would you give parents about their kids/teen’s gaming?

ScreensOnSubmarines55 karma

Good questions:

For parents: Don't assume that it's a problem right away. I think there's a generational problem with understanding and video games. People today have grown up with games. Other people, say, people over 40 or so, not so much. It's worrisome for parents to see their kids play a game so much, but that doesn't mean it's a problem. Often times I'll sit kids down with their parents and have a discussion about what the kid likes about their gaming. What it means for them. The parent often didn't realize its importance to the child. That conversation alone can help things so much. Because the child no longer feels judged by their parent.

As far as managing it? If you're an adult, be aware. Don't ignore it. Don't let things like responsibilities, relationships, health, and social relationships slip. Face to face relationships are very important for human beings. Also, be aware if you notice you're gaming to avoid a difficult emotion or situation.

mc_36525 karma

No shit????? Trump said something that wasn't true??????

ScreensOnSubmarines28 karma

I know right?!

Patches6723 karma

Trust me, we know video games do not cause violence. That was debunked ages ago. Even in 2002 Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore easily shot that theory down with the obvious fact every single nation in the world that plays as many, if not more video games than America and they don't have a mass shooting problem.

According to the Washington Post, America has over 393 million firearms. Over 5 million of those are assault rifles. Even if you write new laws law banning them, they're obviously not going anywhere.

So, if we tackle this as a mental health issue, is there a realistic chance that a nation-wide mental health awareness and implementation can make a difference in curbing acts of mass violence?

ScreensOnSubmarines54 karma

If we treat it as only a mental health issue, my fear is that it will send the message that "mental illness = violence." And there's enough stigma around mental illness today as it is, and also, being mentally ill makes someone more susceptible to being a victim as opposed to a perpetrator of violence.

I think what we have is a systemic, social, economic, and complicated issue that can't be boiled down to just mental health.

I worked for 4 years in psychiatric hospitals. Most of the time, they were not violent places, and patients were more scared and sad than violent. However, if there was violence, you could usually trace it back to some sort of feeling of injustice. The patient felt they weren't being heard, they weren't being treated fairly, they weren't being helped, they weren't being treated like a human with respect. These were the feelings that led to violence. Not their psychosis. That's my take on it though.

jasanapines22 karma

What’s the worst case of video game addiction you’ve seen?

ScreensOnSubmarines55 karma

I can't go into specifics because there'd be too many confidential things and potential identifiers.

I will say, it can get pretty bad. Sorry I cannot be more specific. Laws and stuff.

There's a movie called "Love Child" that was made by Valerie Veatch that goes into just how bad things can get. Suggest checking it out.

Yeskar19 karma

Hello, I was wondering about esports athletes in general, ppl that practice 8-10 hours a day for it's job to be the best at their games. This is not your casual 8 hour job to live, they live to be the best. Have you seen any cases where addiction and competing cross together?

ScreensOnSubmarines22 karma

Esports is a hard topic. I mean, for any sport you want to get good at, you gotta train. Esports is no different. Training requires time and commitment.

Where I get concerned is that getting to that professional level is rare. And people can use the excuse of becoming an Esports pro or a famous YouTuber as justifying their addiction.

"I'm going to be a famous YouTuber" is the new "I'm going to be a famous rock star."

Pm-ur-butt17 karma

Does this go round seem any different than any other? Particularly the Mortal Kombat/Doom freak out from the early 90's? Do you think there will be any changes in the industry?

ScreensOnSubmarines47 karma

I'm hoping for changes regarding loot boxes and microtransactions and gambling. I mean, ahem, surprise mechanics.

pls_send_me_boobs16 karma

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

ScreensOnSubmarines22 karma

Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream!

Melkain4 karma

Didn't Breyers change their recipes? They're not ice cream anymore - they're frozen dairy desserts.

ScreensOnSubmarines13 karma

Don't fuck with me on this...

<3

brentfield13 karma

I believe my 24 year old son and his 26 year old live-in girlfriend have developed a codependent video gaming addiction where they enable each other. I would say that my son plays around 8 hours a day when he has to work, and then play around 12-18 hours on his days off. He has no real interests beyond video games. What can we do to try and help him, when neither believe they have a problem? I have seen behavior like this with friends I had when I was younger that were functional alcoholics. He plays every day and I don’t know how he would do if he wasn’t able to play. We went to Hawaii recently and he had two of his online gamer friends meet us there and they played Switch a lot. He even bought a PlayStation Classic at a swap meet to bring home from there.

ScreensOnSubmarines29 karma

You're in a very difficult spot, and I'm sorry you're seeing your child suffer.

Consider his point of view. Will he let you into his world? What could he be struggling with that isn't just the gaming? Would he be open to a sit down conversation with you where you can let him know your concerns and worries? Will he tell you what he loves about gaming?

These are important first steps in my opinion. Understanding, and not judging or shaming. Gamers are often very sensitive and feel shame when other people come at them with questions like "why are you gaming so much!?"

Attempt understanding first. If there is a problem, and he's open to working on it, work with him as a team to get help. Have his back. Don't assume he 100% has a problem without understanding, listening, or talking with him about it.

That's the best I got with the info provided. Please read my disclaimer above.

brentfield6 karma

Thank you very much for your swift answer and for your advice. In my younger days, I gamed a lot, but this was pre-Internet, so my wife was the only other person that I gamed with. So, our son grew up with gaming and he and I played a lot together as he grew. So, that may play into the genesis of the addiction. My wife’s favorite story about the Boy and gaming was when I gave him an unplugged controller and it didn’t take him long to figure out that he wasn’t playing. He was about nine months old when that happened. When he was about sixteen, he and I wrote a gaming column in our local paper. The premise was that we would review a game from our different points of view: mine was that of a person who grew up without the Internet and preferred single player games, and his was that he grew up playing mostly online and he would concentrate on the multiplayer aspects. We called it “Father and Son Gaming.” So I was the first enabler, really, but he wasn’t playing every day and not for such extended periods. I enjoyed being able to do this with the Boy and I considered it to be excellent bonding time. I didn’t see a problem, then. Because of all we played together and my keeping up to date about new games, I’m already a part of that world for him. (I keep up to date because it’s all he really talks about, so it’s my only avenue to get him to engage with me for a brief period, at least.) I will heed your advice and earnestly try to get him to recognize a problem. Thank you, again.

ScreensOnSubmarines7 karma

Sounds like he really looks up to you. Maybe finding a way for you two to be close and connect that doesn't involve gaming would be enriching for both of you? :)

Don't blame yourself too much. You both obviously find a lot of meaning in gaming. I loved reading this. Thank you.

TissuePaperNachos11 karma

Do you think multiplayer games teach kids more social interaction, or do they just encourage kids to be rude to other players?

Edit: IDK if you are still answering questions...

ScreensOnSubmarines11 karma

Can both be true? haha. I've seen both happen.

GodFeedethTheRavens8 karma

I remember a study that explained that while violent video games didn't cause violence acts, there was some nuance that violent video games did increase aggression, but no more than consuming any other violent media. (The researcher commented that 'aggression' can be things as small as giving someone a cold shoulder)

Is that kind of statement remotely true?

ScreensOnSubmarines11 karma

I think those studies account for "frustration" more than "aggression" or violence. One study I saw did something like - you play a game for a short time (one that some of the participants never played before), stop, and see if you'd give someone strong hot sauce. I may be mis-remembering this study.

Here it is I think: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/08/video-games

Nightman24177 karma

What are your thoughts on EA being named the most unethical company years in a row? Not specifically, FIFA Ultimate Team and how they hire specialists to make it as addicting as possible

ScreensOnSubmarines23 karma

I don't look to companies for ethics. It doesn't surprise me when mega corporations do shitty things. That said, /r/fuckEA

malosharkbait237 karma

What's your view on MMO type games like world of Warcraft and Warframe since they have systems that reward playing everyday?

ScreensOnSubmarines18 karma

WoW is kinda the game that put gaming addiction front and center for a time. A lot of games that kinda, don't have an end in sight, run a risk of being addictive. People are always chasing something and have something to chase.

Shrek-Hulud6 karma

Greetings!

I have Bipolar II and pretty much been maxed out on debt up until the last couple years. It wasn't until I accepted that I was a gambling addict that I was able to start living free of debt.

Here's the thing, I gamble very little. I have probably spent 2,000$ on traditional gambling. I have spent upwards of 50,000$ on useless shit on videogames (this is over the course of 13 years.)

Is there any difference between this and traditional videogame addiction?

Is there any movement to expand gambling addiction to include microtransactions?

I would have never gotten out of the cycle if it didn't just click when I was talking to someone in Gamblers Anonymous, after hearing their story and relating to it at a very emotional level.

ScreensOnSubmarines6 karma

Microtransactions are so new and the effects likely haven't been studied thoroughly. However, we can look at things like instant gratification, impulsivity, and risk taking that those who struggle with gambling addiction may face.

Put a 10 year old kid in front of a game that says "You can take 40 hours to get what you want, or you can use your parent's credit card and get it now." The kid may very likely choose the now, and not understand nor care about the consequences. But how could they? It's not their fault.

I think there's striking similarities between video game and gambling addiction, especially when loot boxes and MTs are involved, but I think at their heart they're different struggles. I could be wrong though.

It would be wise of future research and those who study or work with gambling addiction consider the impact of MTs in treatment.

_selfishPersonReborn5 karma

What do you think of lootboxes? Are those sort of games more addictive? And what would you do to improve that if so? (especially in games where they're important to have, e.g. Hearthstone, MTGA)

ScreensOnSubmarines3 karma

I like YongYea's channel and coverage of this topic. I'm in agreement with him 100% on it. Lootboxes can certainly be a problem for those addicted to games or those who are vulnerable or younger kids.

UndercoverKrompir5 karma

Do you agree with the classification of gaming addiction as a mental illness and gender dysphoria no longer being considered one?

ScreensOnSubmarines29 karma

Gaming Addiction in the DSM-V is a proposed criteria/diagnosis that requires further research. It's under the section called "Conditions for Further Study." It may be included in future DSM editions, but as of now, it is under research because of how new and misunderstood the condition is.

The World Health Organization made it official.

But the short answer is: Yes, I agree with its addition. HOWEVER, I also think there's some hysteria around it. Hopefully this gets cleared up with time and research and understanding (And politicians not using gaming as a scapegoat).

I'm not Jordan Peterson, don't get me in trouble with the gender questions! Haha. As of this comment, Gender Dysphoria IS listed in the DSM-V under its own chapter in Section II. I think one of the key words is "distress." Is the individual DISTRESSED by thoughts of gender dysphoria?

I'm so happy and glad the LGBTQIA community is becoming more welcomed and loved today. However, Gender Dysphoria is not an area of expertise for me.

The_Elon_Musk5 karma

I remember playing video games for six or eight to nine hours straight. Went to sleep at 5 am, then wake up and do that again. I didn't even bother eating or anything. I liked being in it.

Even skipped classes for that. Does it indicate depression? I've read excessive use of video games is a sign of depression?

ScreensOnSubmarines3 karma

It can be an indicator, but there would possibly be other indicators as well. Hard to say without knowing you or the situation.

fatkid4203 karma

Is it really a big problem to play 6-8 hours a day of video games with my friends if I have the time?

I’m a teenager and right now and it’s towards the end of summer and on certain days I play a lot of games such as GTA V or EFT with my friends on discord, then a board game on Table Top Sim later in the after noon. I make a effort to make sure I exercise at least an hour a day and leave the house to do something with my friends. I don’t do any of the habits I’ve seen you talk about like skip meals or loose sleep but 2-3 days a week I would say I play about 6-8 hours of games normally split into 3 time frames. This isn’t something that is even possible for me to do during the school year because I am so involved at school so if it is a big problem it will stop in a couple weeks anyway. Just thought it would be cool to have a professional opinion.

ScreensOnSubmarines6 karma

Context matters. I miss Summer vacation haha. If you are balancing self-care, social life, family, responsibilities, and gaming, go for it. You're certainly well beyond the recommended 2-3 hours max per day. So keep an eye on it. Also, make time for face-to-face friendship interactions. The screen is not a substitute for in person interactions. Sorry if this sounded harsh. Maybe I'm jealous of your Summer vacation :p

Pelowtz3 karma

On the topic of mass shootings and mental health... I am wondering if you have any insight into an issue I came across today.

For those like myself that believe the mass shooting epidemic is more of a mental health problem than a gun access problem, how do you respond to this statement:

“Most mass shooting perpetrators were not mentally ill so the problem is not mental illness”

However, I discovered that sociopathy and psychopathy are not technically mental illnesses, so they wouldn’t be “counted”. This seems silly and very much a hair-splitting argument. which made me think how often the causality of a problem is skewed by a technicality like this.

Do you think that mental illness diagnoses are applied too specifically to something like video game addiction in so far as to skew the real problem towards behavior and too far away from being understood as a legitimate mental illness problem?

LMK if that’s clear enough or if it’s out of your wheelhouse. 🙏🏻

ScreensOnSubmarines2 karma

Do you think that mental illness diagnoses are applied too specifically to something like video game addiction in so far as to skew the real problem towards behavior and too far away from being understood as a legitimate mental illness problem?

I think some mental illness diagnoses are more focused on the symptoms as opposed to the underlying issues. For example, hypochondria. If you just try to get the person to see that they are not sick, you might not get anywhere. You have to dig deeper. Were they treated like a sick person growing up? Did they feel frail or fragile? Do they fear death? Did someone close to them die? Did they have a near death experience or near fatal medical situation?

Gaming addiction falls under this category for a lot of people I think. They focus so much on the behavior. Which is why so many people think you can just take it away and solve everything. You can't.

pixelcowboy3 karma

What peer reviewed studies can we point at when people blame videogames for violence?

ScreensOnSubmarines3 karma

The work of Christopher Ferguson. Hands down. Boom. Recent, clear, concise.

peep2953 karma

Obviously videogames don't cause mass shootings. Duh. But surely the media we internalize has some effect on us. At the very least, I know that I have found myself changed for the better after playing a profound game, or sometimes I need to take a step back from a darker game because it's seeping negatively into my mood/thoughts away from the controller.

Is there any research on the long term effects certain videogames have on an individual? Whether they be first-person shooters, horror games, life sims, puzzle etc

ScreensOnSubmarines8 karma

Is there any research on the long term effects certain videogames have on an individual? Whether they be first-person shooters, horror games, life sims, puzzle etc

I'll have to look into this, but, to my knowledge, the short answer is no.

Gaming research has only in the past maybe 10 years or so, especially with Christopher Ferguson's work, been reliable in my opinion. Before that, the APA had a group of professionals study video games, but the team was arguably very biased before doing research.

Also you had a lot of 60+ year old people studying something they did not understand and already had a bias towards.

There isn't, to my knowledge, a longitudinal research study on video games that you describe. But there could be, but I just don't know about it!

There is some research that indicates if children are exposed to video games and too much screen time early on then there are some cognitive consequences. There's a phrase that's new and being thrown around called "environmentally induced autism." Not sure where that's headed or if it's legit.

rrandomusernamee12344 karma

The first longitudinal study was actually published this year, and did not find that playing violent games predicted increases in aggressive behavior:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-018-0031-7

ScreensOnSubmarines4 karma

Good find!

When I think longitudinal I think years in length. Looks like this was 2 months. I hope these studies continue.

Melorix2 karma

Hi! I'm currently getting my undergraduate in social work and had no idea counseling for video game addiction was a thing until this thread. Did you go into private practice for this? Do you do any other type of counseling (either related or unrelated to addictions)? Thanks!

ScreensOnSubmarines2 karma

ok you get the last answer. haha. I'm in private practice yes. I also work with codependency, relationship issues, recovery from emotional abuse, and existential/identity issues, or lack of meaning in career. A few others too, but those are my main things on top of the usual counselor stuff like depression and anxiety etc.

bedfordguyinbedford-2 karma

Can you really say violent video games do not contribute to violence ?

ScreensOnSubmarines6 karma

Yes

Violent video games cause violence is a scapegoat media talking point. They actively ignore research.

I like to cite the work of Christopher Ferguson on this topic. Check out his book Moral Combat, or his scholarly articles on the matter.

bedfordguyinbedford-8 karma

So in your opinion, the world would be exactly the same without the invention of violent video games?

ScreensOnSubmarines8 karma

I mean, it was pretty crazy long before violent video games existed.

ThEhIsO8730-8 karma

I agree with you, but what is the need to make this heavily political with Trump? People have been saying video games contribute to violence for literally decades. Was it possible to just make this a cool thread about your profession without having to drag in irrelevant politics?

Not a supporter of either party, just really tired of people interjecting it everywhere.

ScreensOnSubmarines19 karma

I bring him up because of his comments today. I could have not mentioned it, but it was relevant to the current discussion and why I felt it necessary to speak out with correct information when he so blatantly said something false.
Like you said, video games have been the scapegoat for violence for decades, and people need to be corrected when they give misinformation. Otherwise gaming will continue to be associated with violent acts.