By now, we have all heard the notion that videogames can be addicting. If not, then just search Amazon for “video game addiction”, and revel in the resulting booklist that recants personal trials, gives warning signs for parents to look out for, and gives expert advice in triumphing over this grave and horrible affliction.
Sure, addictions are never good. In the eyes of concerned parents, teachers, and physicians, addictions destroy people’s potential, interpersonal relationships, careers, entire lives - ruined! Few people when asked outright would even argue this. Though, if you ask anyone addicted to gum and coffee, they may tell you it’s not so bad. And what about sex addiction? Now that sounds like a sexy addiction – oh right, that is a sexy addiction. But there are help groups for that - and they sure sound more fun than a typical AA meeting.
Now it may be true that anyone who has seen the new concepts for the PS4 thinks “Wow, now that’s sexy!” - Because it just is. It’s gorgeous. Truly an example of the aesthetics and beauty our species is capable of conceiving. You may even find yourself lovingly gazing at it from across the room, admiring its smooth lines and inviting symmetry. At the very least, it warrants being kept completely dust and smudge free. (Let’s not start to think about cleaning addictions.)
But how serious can video game addiction really be?!
The APA (American Psychiatric Association) has not yet gotten around to officially defining it as a psychological disorder (maybe we’ll see this change when the new DSM comes out next year?), but there is a whole page dedicated to it on WebMD – and, hey, if it’s on WebMD, it has to be real. And despite complaints and accusations from parents and spouses worldwide, there are instances that suggest it may actually be more serious than we tend to think.
Perhaps you recall the couple in Korea who, during a stint of over 12 hours of straight game play, allowed their infant to pass away, unnoticed. Yes, the couple let their infant die because they were too busy playing a computer game to tend to their baby. According to the Guardian in March, 2010, the couple immersed themselves into a virtual world where they virtually cared for a virtual girl. This is all while their actual, prematurely born three-month old starved to death as they spent their time in internet cafes. Talk about ironic. Where was the real child during all this? They conveniently would leave her at home. Of course you would leave her at home! You wouldn’t want the child there, crying in the café’, distracting other patrons now would you?
Or how about case of the Korean man just this past April who was charged with murdering his mother because of his addiction? Apparently, she nagged at him so much about playing his games, she just had to go. And again in Korea, this time back in 2005, a man collapsed during his play at a local internet café after an amazing 50-hour haul of strategic maneuvering during what must have been one hell of a StarCraft battle; he later died from cardiac arrest due to his ordeal. And don’t think for a second it only happens in Korea.
In April 2009 (check out Tom’s Guide US) a retired Heathrow Airport worker stabbed and killed his “wife/girlfriend/roommate/partner” because of her addiction to Grand Theft Auto, despite the fact that they had three kids together. What a tragic addiction that turned out to be - for all those involved. So it’s clear that videogame addictions can be quite real, and the consequences of it can be quite severe.
But enough of that - back to sex and the PlayStation (alright!). Is the PlayStation addiction superseding the want and need for sex? Despite the many blog and forum posts that seek advice about what to do when your partner would rather play PlayStation than have sex with you, it may be interesting to note the amount of time that people are holding their PS3 controller greatly exceeds the amount of time they spend holding their partners…well, you get the picture.
The average person (whoever that is) spends around four hours a week sitting in front of their consoles, grossly engaged with the subtle flickers of their television screens, and the coincidental tapping of buttons. Many poles even reflect that willing participants report up to four times that amount – between 15 and 20 hours a week of dedicated game play. Sex? Well, not so much, regardless of Viagra’s notoriety. You don’t even want to know how many hours or how often. It’s too depressing.
Now for all of you serious gamers, (who are unemployed, live in your parents’ basements, and secretly control the internet and, therefore, the minds of the masses), you may not need to consider this information. But if you are, instead, one of the thousands of individuals who unwittingly spending most of your free time glued to your console, or for anyone who thinks you may have an addiction problem, there are many support groups for video game addiction. Please do not hesitate to contact one, put down your controller, and kiss the ones you love.
Or, we can just make up for it during a good game of Fallout: New Vegas.