I’ve talked about how the media portrays games compulsion all wrong and the negative effect this can have on sufferers and other gamers, and I’ve told you my story, but it’s not all bad.
As a community, we can raise awareness. We can share our stories and correct people who talk about gaming addiction as though it’s pathological. We can tell people how gaming becomes a crutch in hard times, or provides a reward system when life puts the pressure on, and why we end up turning to games instead of going outside. The more people hear about it, the more they’ll realise that this is something that they can help with, socially. How that instead of mocking people for gaming “too much” and telling them to get out more, we can be there for them and help. Because the worse somebody feels, the more they will turn to their games to escape, and that’s not what they need.
Of course, it is important to remember that sometimes gaming is a good thing. When you’re having a bad day, it’s nice to log in and relax. This isn’t limited to MMOs, but as this is my gaming experience, I use the example of being able to talk to your friends in game and playing with them. This social interaction puts a smile on your face when you may be feeling isolated and sometimes this is needed. Gaming can get us through difficult points in our lives but it doesn’t have to become a compulsion. Sometimes taking a walk, getting some fresh air and sunshine, will be much better for you than an escape. Go with your other half, friend, a family member, your dog, or listen to some podcasts, whatever gets you outside. But never be ashamed of your passion for gaming. Gaming brings people together and creates memories and that is definitely a positive thing.
What can you do to raise awareness for games compulsion? Share your stories. Use the hashtag #gamescompulsion when discussing on Twitter. Correct people’s use of the term “gaming addiction”. Get the word out there. Anything you might do, if it opens even one person’s eyes or helps anybody, is a good thing.