After completing the story of the leading dungeon crawler hack-and-slash action role-playing game Diablo 3 in less than a week, it is time to talk about gamers and problematic game behaviour. When does playing games become an addiction and how many hours per week can you hold a controller or mouse and keyboard in your hand?
A game addiction is a disorder, but it is often difficult to determine whether or not someone is dependent on games. Most gamers and parents want a simple answer to these questions, but there is none. Psychologists and scientists are searching for answers and most research contradict each other.
An addictive behaviour is considered as a psychological escape from reality through which a person often exhibits obsessive behaviour. Yet, game addiction is recognised as a disease, but are you addicted to a good role-playing game if you complete the story in less than one week?
Video game addiction
Definitely not. In the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases, a game addiction is defined as an increased priority given to playing games over other activities to the extent that games take precedence over other interests. It is not possible to set a limit on the duration of gameplay sessions because this is different for every gamer.
On multiple occasions, I lost my sense of time while playing a game. These interesting and entertaining hack-and-slash action role-playing games with massive dungeons and breathtaking challenges have never been more irresistible.
One or two hours a day is not a problem
As a gamer, you enjoy longer gameplay sessions of good games. My closest friends spend at least one or two hours a day playing different types of games. None of them neglects their homework or professional work related tasks.
Before or after the longer gameplay sessions, I completed all the required household chores and spent every day at the office with my colleagues. In the evening, I found the time to murder distinct types of enemies in different quests. The world of Diablo is large and the often overwhelming because of its complex and extensive lore.
Time behind a screen
The longer gameplay sessions consisted of four or five hours. Is this considered as too long? Some parents impose strict time limits on the gaming habits of their children, but parents need to take a look at the total time spent behind a screen throughout an entire week or month.
As long as the day-to-day life of your children consists of more than games and technology, you are in a good position as a parent. Do not impose strict time limits on your children as long as their game behaviour does not have a negative effect on their school results or professional life.
Most games save their progress in the story mode at predetermined locations in the world. Let your children reach the next checkpoint before turning off the comouter or console, even if their play time is up. The more understanding you are towards them, the easier it is to talk about their game behaviour.
Even if you think that your child spends too much time gaming, it is best to intervene when this behaviour persists over a longer period of time. This behaviour often ends after a few months, but if it persists you need to search professional help. As a parent, you need to know that a game addiction can be the result of other problems.
Boundaries and household rules
Longer gameplay sessions are not a problem in itself, but both children and adults need to respect the boundaries and rules in their household. If you notice that your child is repeatedly neglecting their obligations and no longer respects the boundaries, it is time to talk about their problematic behaviour.
As a parent, it is definitely not a good idea to hide the games, consoles or controllers. In our society, almost all children play games and you risk isolating your children if they are unable to talk with their friends about these games. This is what children do in school.
Remember, it is definitely not a problem to play a bit longer to complete your latest game. It is new and exciting, but this interests often weakens after a few days or weeks. This is considered as normal behaviour and not a game addiction. Sometimes, it is good to lose yourself in a game and take the time to unwind.
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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from Diablo 3, a video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.