| Fact Sheet
Computer and Video Game Addiction
Computers, video games, and the Internet
have become entrenched features of our daily
lives. Computer use has reached beyond work
and is now a major source of fun and entertainment
for many people. For most people, computer
use and video game play is integrated into
their lives in a balanced healthy manner.
For others, time spent on the computer or
video game is out of balance, and has displaced
work, school, friends, and even family.
What is computer and video game addiction?
When time spent on the computer, playing
video games or cruising the Internet reaches
a point that it harms a child's or adult's
family and social relationships, or disrupts
school or work life, that person may be caught
in a cycle of addiction. Like other addictions,
the computer or video game has replaced friends
and family as the source of a person's emotional
life. Increasingly, to feel good, the addicted
person spends more time playing video games
or searching the Internet. Time away from
the computer or game causes moodiness or withdrawal.
When a person spends up to ten hours a day
or more rearranging or sending files, playing
games, surfing the net, visiting chat rooms,
instant messaging, and reading emails, that
easily can reach up to seventy to eighty hours
a week on-line with the computer. Major social,
school or work disruptions will result.
Symptoms of computer or video game addiction:
- Most of non-school hours are spent on
the computer or playing video games.
- Falling asleep in school.
- Not keeping up with assignments.
- Worsening grades.
- Lying about computer or video game use.
- Choosing to use the computer or play video
games, rather than see friends.
- Dropping out of other social groups (clubs
- Irritable when not playing a video game
or on the computer.
- Computer or video game use is characterized
by intense feelings of pleasure and guilt.
- Obsessing and pre-occupied about being
on the computer, even when not connected.
- Hours playing video games or on the computer
increasing, seriously disrupting family,
social or even work life.
- Lying about computer or video game use.
- Experience feelings of withdrawal, anger,
or depression when not on the computer or
involved with their video game.
- May incur large phone or credit bills
for on-line services.
- Can't control computer or video game use.
- Fantasy life on-line replaces emotional
life with partner.
There are even physical symptoms that may
point to addiction:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Sleep disturbances
- Back, neck aches
- Dry eyes
- Failure to eat regularly or neglect personal
For the computer or video game addicted
person, a fantasy world on-line or in a game
has replaced his or her real world. The virtual
reality of the computer or game is more inviting
than the every day world of family, school
or work. With the increased access to pornography
on the Internet and in games, this fantasy
world may be highly sexual.
The first step to healing is to recognize
the symptoms. Help from a professional is
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Last revised: 3/11/05