About Cam Adair

Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is a community for gamers who want to quit and get their life back on track. You can join the community for free, here.

The internet touches all areas of our lives. It entertains, educates, and connects us in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago. For many people, it’s a force for good, providing more opportunities than ever before.

However, for others the internet can be as addictive as drugs, alcohol, and gambling, and people with ADHD are even more susceptible. This article looks at why ADHD is a risk factor for internet addiction, and shares advice on how to create boundaries around technology to stay healthy and productive.

What is internet addiction?

happy couple turned unhappy gamer

Internet addiction is a term that describes the uncontrollable urge to go online despite negative repercussions like disrupted sleep, strained relationships, missed deadlines, physical and mental health issues, and financial problems.

Typical symptoms of internet addiction include:

  • Constantly wanting to be online – some people are addicted to one aspect of the internet – gaming, shopping, porn, gambling, social media – while others switch between different apps and websites
  • Needing to use the internet for increasing amounts of time to find the same rush of pleasure
  • Losing track of time while scrolling – this is known as ‘time blindness’
  • Using the internet to escape from problems
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if online access is restricted
  • Feeling restless and irritable when attempting to limit tech use
  • Losing interest in everything else – school, work, friends, family, hobbies, etc
  • Hiding the amount of time spent online and lying to others about it

So, can ADHD cause internet addiction? Let’s look at Timmy’s story.

Timmy’s story

man looking at phone

When Timmy was young, he was an active kid who couldn’t sit still for long and often got distracted. His teachers noticed this and informed his parents. Soon after, Timmy was diagnosed with ADHD. “It’s not a problem, he’ll soon grow out of it,” they thought.

When Timmy entered adulthood, although he no longer had the common ADHD symptom in children – hyperactivity – he was still unable to concentrate on university work without distracting himself by scrolling through TikTok. And he often bought video games impulsively when he saw ads on steam sales, even though that money was meant for his education.

Timmy didn’t think he had ADHD anymore, but believed he’d picked up bad habits around using the internet and technology for long periods of time. In reality, Timmy suffered from ADHD and his addiction to the internet made his symptoms worse.

The truth is, Timmy is not alone and millions of people are struggling with ADHD and internet addiction. So, if you’re wondering, “Is screen addiction a symptom of ADHD?” then read on.

Why people with ADHD are more vulnerable to internet addiction

Internet addiction is positively associated with ADHD among adolescents and young adults, according to a 2017 systematic review on the link between ADHD and internet addiction 1 1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28724403/ × . This isn’t surprising if we consider the main symptoms of ADHD – impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and the inability to focus – because these behaviors make people with the condition more vulnerable to digital distraction.

Certain aspects of the internet such as video games, social media, online shopping, messaging, and endless sources of entertainment can make ADHD symptoms worse.

If we take gaming as an example, video games are designed to provide hyper-stimulation and goal setting. Players need to defeat the dragon, win the weapon, get to the next level, complete the mission, etc. People with ADHD often struggle to remain focused, but gaming is a fun and exciting experience that appears to hold their attention. But since they’re so stimulated all the time and jump from one game to another at the first sign of boredom, this also decreases their ability to pay attention properly. There are also lots of deceptively designed microtransactions that prey on their impulsivity and fear of missing out. So, gaming can worsen these ADHD symptoms (distractibility and impulsiveness). In extreme cases, an individual with ADHD can develop a video game addiction.

Social media is another potentially risky activity for people with ADHD who often struggle in social situations. It can be a relief to have somewhere to escape from feelings of frustration, loneliness, and rejection, which doesn’t require any mental energy. Social media preys on impulsivity, inability to focus, and boredom and promises a ‘cure’ for all these things. So someone with ADHD may see a TikTok notification and feel compelled to open up TikTok – that’s their impulsivity being manipulated. Next, they watch a few TikToks and keep mindlessly scrolling – that’s their inability to focus and time blindness being exploited. To understand why apps like TikTok are so bad for people with ADHD, discover how TikTok affects the brain.

Online shopping is another way that people with ADHD can become addicted to the internet. ADHD brain crave dopamine and impulse buying produces an intense feeling of pleasure and reward – known as a ‘dopamine rush’ – which can be irresistible. Having 24/7 access to spending opportunities can be problematic for people with ADHD who struggle with impulsive behaviors. Not only can they become addicted to online shopping, over time they can spiral into debt as constant spending outstrips their income.

These are just a few examples of how those with ADHD can be more susceptible to the addictive nature of internet, and why it may be necessary to set strong boundaries around technology.

How to deal with ADHD and technology addiction

adhd subtypes

As having ADHD makes people more vulnerable to internet addiction, it’s important to create some boundaries to stay healthy and productive. These boundaries will be different for everyone, but here are some tried and tested tips on how to deal with ADHD in a tech-focused world. (They are directed at the person with internet addiction, so if you’re a concerned loved one, please share the advice with them. You may also find this ADHD guide for parents a useful read.)

Consider whether the internet helps or hinders you

Do your online activities improve your life or have a negative impact? Once you’ve come up with the answer – which is probably that much of what you do on the internet isn’t worth it – you can start limiting your screen time. So, what is the best lifestyle for people with ADHD? For most people with ADHD, quitting entirely is unrealistic because we live in a digital world. Even if you avoid it in your leisure time, your school or job will require you to use the internet.

Devise ways to limit your usage

Working out how to effectively moderate your internet and tech use is very individual because everyone has their own go-to apps and websites. But here are some general ideas that you may find helpful:

Avoid short-form content

Try to avoid short-form content, especially when you’re bored, because it will train your mind to be more distracted. Short-form content can be text based – like blogs, news items, or social media posts – or video content on YouTube, TikTok, Facebook Reels, etc.

Use newsfeed blockers

Having a newsfeed that’s constantly flashing up the latest news and updates can be an irresistible pull for anyone struggling to limit their internet use. Clicking onto any of the stories can be a big time waster when you’re trying to complete a school assignment or work-related task. Try using a newsfeed blocker to avoid unnecessary distractions.

Be more intentional

Think about how you can use the internet more intentionally and break free from mindlessly scrolling. Work out ways to create friction between you and whatever you do online. This could involve setting time limiters on your phone apps or even removing apps completely so you need to log in each time. That way you can be less impulsive, and it will take more effort for you to be distracted. You can also be intentional by choosing the best games to play if you have ADHD.

Schedule your time

Another way to avoid automatically reaching for the internet is to schedule your free time using Google Calendar. A common symptom of ADHD is impulsivity, so planning the day in advance can help you manage this behavior. For example, if you take medication for ADHD, maximize your productivity during the hours when your medication is most active. If you aren’t medicated, you should also identify what times of the day you have the best focus and be diligent about using that time for productive work.

Consider quitting certain activities

As mentioned above, it’s impossible for most people to stop using the internet completely because it’s difficult to function without it. However, certain online activities are a non-essential part of life such as shopping (which can be done in person), news updates (which can be consumed in a newspaper or on the radio), and gaming (which can be replaced with other hobbies and interests). Delete these apps and websites completely, or get rid of your gaming console to avoid temptation.

Seek support from others

Having read the above suggestions, you may have good intentions but it can be difficult to limit your internet activities alone. That’s why it can be helpful to seek accountability and support from others: friends and family, professionals, or people with ADHD who are facing the same struggles. Online forums are a good place to connect with the latter. The Game Quitters Discord platform has a mental health channel where you can post questions and receive support. Be sure to turn off your notifications on Discord unless absolutely necessary so they don’t distract you further.

Need help with ADHD and internet addiction?

Game Quitters Reviews

If you’ve read this article and are wondering, “Do I have ADHD or am I just addicted to my phone?” you should seek professional help to find out if you have the condition. Then, you can establish how best to manage it – medication, psychological support, or both.

Do you need our expertise to manage internet addition and/or video game addiction? If so, check out our specialist coaching programs for gamers and families. Then get in touch to find out how we help you regain control of your life.

It’s widely recognized that ADHD can make people more prone to video game addiction. But what are the signs that you or a loved one may be playing problematically? In this article we explore the common symptoms of gaming addiction, explain how they may affect people with ADHD, and share tried and tested tips for regaining a healthier game/life balance.

If your child has ADHD and is a keen gamer, our ADHD guide for parents is a useful read alongside this article.

Why do video games appeal to people with ADHD?

Living with ADHD can be stressful and some people suffer from anxiety. However, research has found that simple video games like Angry Birds may enhance emotional well-being; they can help to improve mood, promote relaxation, and reduce anxiety 2 2. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/video-game × . The study also highlighted that video games enable players to build emotional resilience – a valuable skill for people with ADHD to develop in order to deal with the day to day challenges they face.

People with ADHD are often drawn to playing video games because it’s a safe space. Those who lack social skills and feel excluded at school or work are often more confident about interacting with others while gaming. This is because there’s no need to stay focused on conversations, read facial expressions, or pick up on social cues. It’s much easier to respond appropriately in virtual situations as an avatar.

Another symptom of ADHD that video games can help with is lack of concentration. The immediate and frequent feedback of video games makes people with the condition able to focus (often called ‘hyperfocus’) for longer periods in order to progress through the game and achieve goals. They can learn from their actions during gameplay, which is motivating and rewarding. Making mistakes is all part of the process, and unlike in real-life situations there’s no chance of being mocked or teased.

These benefits of playing video games can make some people with ADHD ask themselves, “Am I using video games as a coping mechanism and if so, is that a problem?” While some individuals with the condition have a healthy game/life balance, others struggle to keep their gaming under control and this can lead to video game addiction.

Why are people with ADHD more at risk of video game addiction?

gamer with gaming catalog

The ‘hyperfocus’ that some people with ADHD experience when playing video games can make it difficult for them to stop gaming. So, does ADHD make you addicted to video games?

We don’t know what percentage of people with ADHD play video games but we do know that there’s a link between ADHD and video game addiction. A two-year study of 17 to 29-year-olds across more than 300 gamer groups in South Korea found that:

  • 59% of participants with internet gaming disorder had ADHD
  • 82% of participants with gaming disorder had ADHD

Please note: Internet gaming disorder and gaming disorder are both terms used to describe excessive gaming that has negative consequences, but the former relates to internet-based gaming only, whereas the latter encompasses all types of gaming.

What are the signs of too much gaming?

mom learning to spot the signs of gaming addiction

People with ADHD tend to have similar signs of video game addiction to those without ADHD. These include unsuccessfully trying to cut down or stop playing, withdrawal from friends and family, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, and continuing to game despite the problems it causes. For video game addiction to be diagnosed, they must have been showing signs of problematic use for at least a year. However, there are other more physical signs that those close to them may notice sooner.

So, what are the physical symptoms of too much gaming? One of the first things that tends to suffer is sleep. We hear from many parents and partners who are concerned about their loved ones staying up late, gaming all night, or waking in the early hours to play. Sleep deprivation can manifest in different ways, affecting their mood and behavior, causing headaches, and making it even harder to concentrate during the day at school or work. This can be particularly problematic for people with ADHD who may struggle to focus even after a good night’s sleep.

Other physical symptoms of video game addiction are triggered by leading a sedentary lifestyle. Hours spent hunched in front of a screen, repeating the same movements, and neglecting to eat or drink – or bingeing on unhealthy snacks and fizzy beverages – will take its toll. Obesity and heart problems can start to develop, along with repetitive strain injury, and sometimes secondary addictions can occur, such as soda addiction. Research has found that eating a healthy diet appears to decrease the risk of ADHD by 37%, whereas a diet of processed food, and consuming high amounts of artificial food coloring and sugar, seems to increase the risk of ADHD by 92% and 51% respectively 3 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9608000/ × .

How can gamers with ADHD play more responsibly?

benefits of gaming in moderation

As experts in video game addiction, we’re often contacted by gamers and parents of gamers with ADHD. They want to know how to reduce game play to a manageable level but don’t know what steps to take. Here are some tried and tested tips to help build healthier gaming habits.

1. Set time limits for gaming sessions

To help you decide on appropriate boundaries, we recommend you check out these screen time guidelines.

Parents: Make sure you monitor that your child is sticking to whatever screen time limits you’ve agreed. Use a timer or set an alarm and warn them that the session is coming to an end. Expect some pushback but if you’re consistent and stick to your guns it will soon become the new normal. Give praise when they step away from the screen, which is a good dopamine boost for kids with ADHD.

Gamers: Set yourself a daily screen time limit and remember this should include all online activities – scrolling social media, online shopping, checking news feeds, etc – as well as gaming. Use apps, alarms, or other tools to help you stay on track. Remove all game-related items from your bedroom so you’re not tempted to play at night. Delete gaming apps from your phone to stop you playing mindlessly when you’re on the go. Ask friends and family for support while you try to get your gaming under control.

2. Find video games that help with ADHD

Once you’ve decided on a daily screen time limit, consider the best types of video games for people with ADHD. You may have heard of EndeavorRx, the FDA-authorized video game that’s available on prescription. It’s specifically designed to help improve the attention of 8 to 17-years-olds with ADHD. The game developer, Akili, has restricted the amount of time kids can spend playing EndeavorRx. Once five missions are complete, the game will not allow them to play any more until the next day.

Although not specifically aimed at people with ADHD, video games designed for a mainstream audience can help manage the symptoms of ADHD too. For example, Roblox, Fortnite, Guitar Hero, and Minecraft are among the titles that may improve memory, focus, communication, and other valuable life skills that you or your child may lack.

3. Encourage in-person socializing

Many people with ADHD find it difficult to make friends because they’re less aware of other people’s thoughts and feelings, and don’t always know how to respond. But the combination of ADHD and long gaming sessions makes it even harder to develop and practice relationship skills. That’s why it’s important to regularly socialize with peers, to learn how to interpret facial cues and body language signals during face-to-face conversations and interactions.

4. Find alternative hobbies to video games

Get inspired by these hobby ideas and screen-free activities.

Parents: The amount of input you have in planning your child’s schedule will depend on their age. It’s easier to be more hands-on if they’re younger, but you can still try to influence how teens spend their time. Getting out of the house and away from the games console will mean they’re less likely to want to play.

Gamers and parents: Any hobbies and interests that involve movement are particularly beneficial because people with ADHD have low dopamine, and exercise provides a natural dopamine boost that can help ease physical symptoms and improve emotional well-being.

Need help?

help for gaming issues

Are you worried that you or your child with ADHD might be addicted to video games? If so, take our short quiz for gamers or test for parents to find out whether the gaming behavior is cause for concern. If they, or you, meet criteria for ADHD video game addiction, we can help.

As experts in gaming addiction, we’ve supported gamers and families all over the world, including those with a gamer in denial.

Take the first step and apply for a Gameplan strategy call. During the call, we’ll discuss your situation and explain what’s involved in our coaching programs. (Please note that we have limited spaces on the programs and are unable to accept all applicants.)

Alternatively, you can join our parent Facebook group.

You can also watch our video on the 3 secrets of gaming addiction.

Social media is a divisive issue. While some people extol its benefits, others can only see negative repercussions and worry about the long-term damage it may cause. But why is social media bad for some users and not for others?

At Game Quitters, our expertise extends beyond video game addiction to tech overuse in general. In this article we explain 10 ways social media can cause harm.

What are the 10 negative effects of social media?

girl being bullied online

Although there are positive aspects of social media, it presents some significant risks. That’s why it’s important to know both the pros and cons of social media. So, how does social media have a negative impact on life? Here are 10 ways it can have a detrimental effect, including some negative effects of social media statistics.

1. Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can include harassment (sending abusive, offensive, or threatening messages), doxing (posting someone’s private details without their consent), cyberstalking (unwanted attention that may continue offline), impersonating someone (setting up a fake account in their name), and even revenge porn (sharing sexually explicit images or video to humiliate an ex-partner) on sites like OnlyFans.

Cyberbullying can be triggered by homophobia, religion, race, or misogyny but sometimes it has more to do with the perpetrator than the person being abused. They may have been cyberbullied themselves, feel jealous of the victim, or simply get a kick from inflicting misery. Whatever the reason, the impact of cyberbullying on social media is far-reaching – it can cause emotional, psychological, and physical distress.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, online abuse is on the rise among US youth 4 4. https://cyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-continues-to-rise-among-youth-in-the-united-states-2023 × . A 2023 survey of 5,000 13- to 17-year-old US middle and high school students, revealed that 26.5% of respondents had been subject to cyberbullying in the past 30 days, compared to 23.2% in 2021, 17.2% in 2019, and 16.7% in 2016. The 2023 study found the most common types of cyberbullying that took place online were:

  • mean or hurtful comments – 77.5%
  • someone spreading malicious rumors – 70.4%
  • being embarrassed or humiliated – 69.1%
  • intentionally being excluded from a group activity – 66.4%
  • being repeatedly contacted after telling someone to stop – 55.5%.

2. Age-inappropriate content

One of the other potential harms of social media is age-inappropriate content. Across platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, children and teens can inadvertently encounter or deliberately search for content they’re not ready for developmentally. Images, videos, and other material that are directed at adults can be upsetting and disturbing for impressionable young minds. That’s why it’s important to set appropriate screen time guidelines based on age.

One of the risk factors of viewing age-inappropriate content is young people providing a false date of birth to gain access to social media platforms. A 2022 UK study by Ofcom found that 32% of 8- to 17-year-olds have a user age of 18+, after providing fake information when they initially registered 5 5. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/news-centre/2022/a-third-of-children-have-false-social-media-age-of-18 × .

3. Withdrawal from family and friends

Although one of the positive effects of social media is connectivity, overuse can cause a disconnect with friends and family. Hours spent scrolling and posting in the online world often creates friction in real-world relationships. Parents become increasingly frustrated when their child barely looks up from the screen and is monosyllabic during interactions. And real-life friends can feel excluded when those they were close to seem distant and unavailable. Online friendships are different from fact-to-face interactions as we miss out on body language and tone of voice so messages can be misconstrued, leading to misunderstandings and conflict.

In-person connection and support play an important role in child development and this can be lost when someone withdraws from friends and family. An increasing reliance on social media for connectivity and belonging can put a strain on existing relationships and make it difficult to develop new ones. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. ‘The Global State of Social Connections’ – a 2023 study by Gallup and Meta – highlights the prevalence of loneliness worldwide 6 6. https://www.gallup.com/analytics/509675/state-of-social-connections.aspx × . It found that 25% of respondents aged 15 to 18 years old feel “very lonely” or “fairly lonely”. How does social media affect you socially? Does it have a positive or negative impact on your relationships?

4. Lack of interest in other activities

It’s not just friends and family who can be neglected when an individual becomes hooked on social media. They can also start to lose interest in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed. The pull of checking for likes, follows, and updates can become all consuming, taking up more and more hours each day. Although some people can continue to pursue their passions on social networks, it’s not always the same experience. For example, following well-known hockey players on Instagram or watching game highlights on YouTube is different from training with teammates or playing hockey in person.

With the average US teen spending 4.8 hours a day on social platforms, it’s no wonder that other hobbies and interests are taking a back seat (4). So, we’ve put together 50 best screen-free activities by age and 60+ hobby ideas to help anyone wanting to reduce their social media use get a healthier tech-life balance.

5. Physical health problems

Excessive social media use may also cause physical health problems when individuals start to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. As shown above, hours spent scrolling can replace and interfere with more active hobbies. This can cause weight gain and obesity, which have serious health implications. In fact, a study by the University of Buffalo found that social media overuse may increase the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, and lead to more frequent visits to health centers for headaches and musculoskeletal problems like back and chest pains.

It’s not just inactivity that can negatively affect physical health, excessive social media use can also adversely impact diet and sleep. Taking a break to make a healthy meal may seem like too much effort – it can be quicker and easier to grab some junk food and soda. Even stopping to get a good night’s sleep is a struggle for those who are constantly checking social media, and some people even wake in the night for an update. Over time, this will lead to severe sleep deprivation, which can affect day-to-day functioning and physical health.

6. Mental health issues

The negative effects of social media on society are not only related to physical health problems, but the rise of psychological issues is also significant. So, how does social media have a negative impact on mental health? Although it can be a lifeline for some people, who feel a sense of belonging and connection in their online communities, it can make others feel lonely and isolated. This is because it can create a false sense of true engagement. And loneliness can be a contributing factor to mental health problems such as depression. A 2023 study that examined the association between social media use and loneliness among adults found that more time spent on social media was associated with more loneliness 7 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9817115/ × .

Young people are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of social media on mental health because their self-worth is often linked to approval from others. The number of likes, follows, comments, and shares they receive can have a direct (and often adverse) impact on their emotional well-being. The negative effects of social media on youth mental health can also include lower self-esteem and comparison anxiety. Most people only post the positive aspects of our lives on social media, giving an unrealistic view of reality, which can make them seem more popular, attractive, or wealthy. Having a window into their near-perfect lives can compound matters for those already feeling inadequate.

7. FOMO

As mentioned above, young people have a greater tendency to compare themselves to others on social media and this can lead to FOMO (the fear of missing out). FOMO makes some individuals feel compelled to constantly checking their social media accounts. There are numerous reasons for FOMO, including missing important posts, direct messages, live chats, and news; not knowing what others are doing or saying; annoying someone by not responding immediately; being left out of discussions, jokes, and events; and losing popularity or influence. FOMO can lead to problematic use and cause those affected to miss out on real-life relationships and activities.

8. Negative body image

There are positive and negative effects of social media on body image. Although it can celebrate diverse body shapes, promote body positivity, and offer health and fitness advice, it can also negatively impact how users view their bodies. Negative issues occur because of the idealized (and often filtered and AI) images posted on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, which can lead to unhealthy comparisons and self-esteem problems for those who may not match these unrealistic beauty standards.

Research in 2023 found a link between social media, body image, and eating disorders in young people 8 8. https://journals.plos.org/globalpublichealth/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgph.0001091 × . It recommended that because of on the scale of social media usage by youth, this issue should be considered an emerging global public health concern.

9. Unrealistic expectations

Let’s now look more at the negative effects of social media on self-esteem. Social media influencers – paid by brands to promote their products and services – post carefully curated content that can create unrealistic expectations. Many people fail to see the marketing ploy and instead think this portrayal of a flawless image and lifestyle is realistic. Constant comparisons can make them feel inadequate and lead to unrealistic expectations about their appearance, home, holidays, car, job, social life, etc. It can also distract users from their own choices and aspirations.

Influencers can significantly impact on their followers’ buying decisions. According to a report from Mintel, almost 50% of German and British consumers have purchased a product from an influencer they follow 9 9. https://www.mintel.com/media-content-producers-market-news/impact-of-influencer-marketing-on-consumers-purchasing-journey/ × . They can also encourage their followers to purchase products and services they neither need nor can afford.

10. Social media addiction

While social media is a fun way to keep in touch with friends, stay informed, and be entertained, overconsumption can start to affect the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain responsible for motivation and reward, and people who constantly scroll through social media can deplete their dopamine level, which can make them feel low, bored, and anxious. They crave more of the dopamine ‘reward’ so keep bombarding their brain with pictures, videos, memes, ads, and captions, and needing more likes, comments, and interactions to experience the same rush of pleasure.

If you’re worried that you might be affected, check out the signs and symptoms of social media addictionand find out more about Instagram addiction, Snapchat addiction, TikTok addiction, and YouTube addiction.

Need help?

man being controlled by his phone

If you think you’re addicted to social media, you need to decide what to do – limit it or quit. Start by identifying the different platforms that are causing issues, and consider whether you need to continue using them. Sometimes it can be a relief to remove yourself from toxic situations, or sites that are taking up too much of your time.

How to limit your social media use

If you decide to limit your social media use, think about the positive aspects of your engagement, such as staying connected with friends and family from all over the world. Then reflect on the negative side of your interactions, like having heated debates with strangers, or going down a rabbit hole of endless short videos.

Work out which platform(s) you’re going to use for which purposes, then de-activate the ones you want to leave and log out of the ones that you’re keeping. So, each time you want to check your feeds, you have to log into your accounts. This will make you consider your actions rather than impulsively reaching for your phone whenever you have a spare moment. Over time you’ll engage more mindfully with content that enhances and adds value to your life.

How to quit social media

If you want to leave social media for good, it can be a difficult journey to take alone. Read Phil’s story about why he quit social media for inspiration. If your social media problems are deep rooted, you may need professional support.

Having grown up in the digital age, today’s teens cannot imagine life without Instagram, TikTok, Discord, Snapchat, and YouTube. Even those who remember the pre-internet era, would struggle to function without many of these platforms now.

Despite its challenges, social media has many positive effects when used responsibly and in moderation – from helping us stay more connected than ever before, to providing access to communities where we feel accepted. In this article, we explore the most notable benefits of social media on our lives.

Positive effects of social media statistics

stat about teen social media use

Social media is often vilified for its negative impacts but here are some statistics about the positive effect of social media on US teens:

  • Young people are more likely to report that social media has pros rather than cons, according to a study by Pew Research Center 10 10. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/04/24/teens-and-social-media-key-findings-from-pew-research-center-surveys/ × :
    • 58% say it helps them feel more accepted
    • 67% feel like people in their networks can support them through difficult times
    • 71% appreciate having a platform to demonstrate their creative side
    • 80% use social media to feel more connected to their friends’ lives.
  • The main three positive effects of social media on teens::
    • Connections/socializing – 46%
    • Information/learning – 25%
    • Entertainment/fun – 14%

What are the 10 positive effects of social media?

happy social media icons

Although social media can present some risks, it has multiple benefits when used responsibly. That’s why it’s important to understand the pros and cons of social media. So, how does social media help in a positive way?

1. Connectivity

As a society, we’ve never been better connected and much of that’s down to social media. Previous generations have communicated by post, phone, or in person, often sporadically. Whereas now, we can keep in touch anytime, anywhere with anyone in our social network. It’s the perfect forum to share news, photos, and videos.

As well as staying up to date with the lives of friends, family, and colleagues, social media allows us to follow the accounts of celebrities and other public figures. It can be exciting to have a window into their world, makes them more relatable, and allows direct interaction when they respond to comments. This engagement enables us to feel more connected to them.

2. Belonging

Although spending hours online may seem like a solitary activity, social media platforms are a great place to make friends. Having an online community can make us feel supported and understood, which can boost our emotional well-being.

This sense of belonging is especially important for people who struggle to make face-to-face connections, perhaps because they have social anxiety or haven’t found like-minded people in their immediate vicinity. It’s also a way for those who live in remote areas with limited access to social activities to overcome loneliness and isolation.

3. Communication

Social media has changed the way we all communicate. Instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat, Wizz, Discord and Messenger are an increasingly popular way to stay in touch. They can be used for much more than simply sending text messages, with features such as group messaging, video chat, free calls, photo-sharing, and messages that delete after a certain time.

Many businesses use social media to communicate their products and services, with targeted ads that appeal to our specific interests and preferences. We’re also bombarded with recommendations about different brands from influencers on social media. This means we can discover and connect with many more products than ever before, wherever we live in the world.

Social media is very useful in emergency situations when important public safety information can be posted to a mass audience. It was a vital communication tool used by governments and public health authorities around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide regular updates.

4. Awareness

Another of the positive effects of social media on society is raising awareness and influencing people. It can be a powerful tool for shining the spotlight on social problems, political issues, charitable causes, and other important campaigns. In fact, 31% of Americans say social media is very effective in raising awareness about political or social issues, and 49% believe it is somewhat effective 11 11. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/09/09/americans-think-social-media-can-help-build-movements-but-can-also-be-a-distraction/ × .

When harnessed successfully, social media can reach new audiences, encourage dialogue, mobilize support, and drive change.

5. Accessibility

Social media companies have invested considerable time and money to make their platforms accessible to the widest possible audience, including people who have sight, hearing, motor, or cognitive disabilities.  As a result, many social platforms have accessibility features including:

  • alternative text (alt text) that provides an audio description for blind and partially sighted users
  • automated video captions for deaf people and those with hearing loss
  • information written in plain English to make content more accessible to individuals with cognitive disabilities
  • consistent and predictable navigation to help people who have physical or motor disabilities.

6. Inclusivity

Have you ever wondered, “How does social media have a positive impact on life?” One of the major advantages is that social media is a platform for everyone, irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other identity. It provides a forum for previously marginalised voices to be championed and heard.

And social media isn’t just a space for people with similar backgrounds and preferences to communicate and connect. Brands that advertise on social media are also becoming more aware of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their content and campaigns.

7. Information

While the internet gives us instant access to a world of information, social media offers much more than a one-way experience. It allows us to interact, share, and engage with information that interests us by joining groups and discussions across different platforms.

For many of us social media also plays an important role in how we access news. Gone are the days when the information we received about local, national, and global events was controlled by media outlets, many of which have their own agenda and political allegiances. Thanks to social media, our feeds are now packed with information, insights, and opinions shared by ordinary people from diverse backgrounds.

8. Learning

Although many parents feel frustrated by the amount of time their kids spend on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc., there are positive effects of social media on youth. One of them is the many learning opportunities available on these platforms. For example, the American Museum of Natural History regularly posts interesting facts about its collection, and NASA shares information about its people, programs, and missions.

Many universities use social media platforms like YouTube Live, Facebook Groups, and Instagram Live to stream lectures. Not only does this make learning more accessible, but it also allows these live streams to be recorded and captions added. Having subtitles can help non-native speakers and students who are deaf or have hearing loss fully understand the content, and re-watching lectures can help all learners revise for exams.

It’s not just young people who can benefit from the impact of social media on learning. People of all ages can access information, webinars, events, and courses on a wide range of topics. The interactive nature of social media means it’s easy to ask questions to engage further with the subject matter.

9. Entertainment

Social media has transformed the way we’re entertained by giving a platform to millions of people rather than a select few who get a record label or make it onto our TV and movie screens. Using platforms like TikTok and YouTube, anyone with a skill or talent can showcase their work and reach large audiences, especially if the content goes viral.

Gaming has always been a social activity, particularly massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, but social media has taken it to a different level. The entertainment aspect of gaming now extends far beyond simply playing video games. On platforms like Twitch, Kick and YouTube, players can keep up with the latest gaming news, watch live game streams, and connect with other gamers to share tactics and experiences.

10. Mental health

Social media often gets a bad press when it comes to our emotional well-being, but there are positive effects of social media on mental health. It can reduce loneliness, provide a sense of belonging, and improve our self-worth. The way that others engage with our social media content (via likes, favorites, comments, shares, retweets, mentions, etc) can make us feel happy and valued, which demonstrates the positive effects of social media on self-esteem.

Despite reports of negative effects of social media, such as people getting depressed and anxious when comparing themselves to others online, there are positive effects of social media on body image. In the past magazines, advertisements, TV, movies, etc. featured glamourous models and actors, whereas social media gives us access to people of all shapes and sizes.

Need help?

safe online family

Despite the many benefits of social media outlined above, it’s important to recognize that there are also negative effects, including social media addiction.

If you or a loved one are concerned about your social media use, try reducing your screen time, switching off notifications, or finding other hobbies and interests. However, if your urge to constantly scroll is deep rooted, you may need professional support.

At Game Quitters, our coaching programs are designed to help individuals and families have a healthier and more balanced relationship with technology.

Scrolling through social media is one of our favorite pastimes. There are currently 4.89 billion social media users globally, which represents more than 60% of the world’s population, and this is projected to reach almost 6 billion in 2027.

However, despite its popularity, social media is highly controversial. Those whose loved ones lives are consumed by TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitch, Kick and other popular platforms will argue that the cons outweigh the pros, while those who avidly use social media will say the opposite.

Objectively, there are tangible benefits of social media when it’s used responsibly. But there are also negative impacts that cannot be ignored. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of social media?

This article looks at how social media affects society. We explore the pros and cons of social media to help you and your family harness the positive aspects and try to minimize the potential harms.

Pros of social media

people using social media

Let’s start with some of the main pros of social media. Many people will advocate that it’s a force for good and has brought numerous benefits to society. They believe that it can positively impact mental health and well-being when used in moderation.

Here are some of the main ways that social media can enhance our lives:

Increased connectivity

A key advantage of social media is increased connectivity. It allows people to stay in touch with friends and family from all over the world, regardless of distance or time zone. Through different social platforms, they can maintain close contact by sending messages, sharing photos, and using video chat apps.

Social media is also good for connecting people with similar views and interests. It enables them to easily communicate, share content, and discuss ideas. For individuals with niche hobbies, it’s a way to find likeminded people in other cities, states, and countries. Having a close-knit community can foster a sense of acceptance and belonging.

This connectivity was particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic because it was a safe way to communicate when lockdown measures were in place. By enabling relationships to stay strong even when we were unable to meet up physically, it became important for the mental health of many people globally.

Mass communication

Social media is the most popular news source for 18 to 34-year-olds in the US – 47% use social platforms to get their daily news 12 12. https://www.statista.com/statistics/717651/most-popular-news-platforms/ × . It can be a reliable source of information, but fake news is an ever-present risk.

Information can be posted in real time on social media. So, we get access to news as it happens – often from eyewitnesses – sometimes before traditional news outlets can cover it. Following other people’s reactions to news and information also draws people to social networks to really get under the skin of a story.

Another benefit is that social media can be used to communicate and discuss topics that aren’t covered by mainstream media – possibly because they’re too niche or controversial. Those who want a platform to share and seek views with likeminded people now have a space to do so.

Knowledge and learning

There are pros and cons of social media for students but one of the main advantages is learning opportunities. Children and young people can build up knowledge on a broad range of subjects in an interactive way. With different views and perspectives shared across multiple platforms. they can engage with issues and have their voices heard.

As most social media platforms have a global reach, there are no geographical barriers to learning. Anyone of any age can access online courses, webinars, tutorials, and training programs delivered by experts to learn new skills and broaden their understanding of the world. Plus, many educational institutions share valuable insights on social media, which can give students access to information and resources beyond the walls of their school or college.

Inclusivity

People with disabilities sometimes feel isolated, but social media can provide valuable support outside their immediate community. It can break down physical barriers and allow those with disabilities to communicate with others on a wide range of subjects and build a social network. .

Social media can also be a lifeline for people who feel marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. They can easily find people who share similar backgrounds, preferences, and identities using hashtags and other search criteria. These connections can be crucial for their mental health and well-being.

Entertainment

As well as enabling groups of people to build communities, social media offers a myriad of entertainment options – memes, GIFs, videos, quizzes, puzzles, live streams, challenges, and much more. This entertainment is highly accessible because social media users already have phones, tablets, and computers, so they can view most of this content for free on platforms like Omegle, Wizz and Discord. What’s more, much of it is humorous and lighthearted, which can be a healthy distraction for anyone feeling lonely or depressed.

One of the most popular types of entertainment in the world is playing video games. And many gamers use social media to connect with other players, keep up with the latest gaming news and trends, and watch video games or live stream their own gameplay on platforms like Kick. This type of entertainment and engagement is replicated across thousands of other hobbies and interests.

Creativity

Social media allows users to express themselves creatively to a much wider audience than ever before. They can develop a platform to share their skills and talents via carefully curated messages, photos, and videos. For example, many people have successfully built a huge following on social networks like TikTok where their posts reach thousands, or sometimes millions, of people.

As well as using social media to share creative content, it’s also a great place to get inspired. Many people access social media to spark their creativity by following accounts, searching hashtags, or joining groups that relate to their hobbies and interests. There’s something for everyone from make-up tips to interior design ideas.

Cons of social media

sad people from social media

Despite the pros of social media, there are also disadvantages that can negatively impact our quality of life – from constant distraction and disrupted sleep, to cyberbullying and addiction.

It’s important to be aware of the dangers of social media to recognize when to stop engaging with any harmful platforms, content, or people. Understanding these red flags can help us navigate social media more responsibly and prevent any problems from further escalating.

These are some of the common cons of social media:

Cyberbullying

Social media makes it easy for individuals to carry out a relentless campaign of bullying and harassment. Often, victims don’t know who’s behind the abuse, but sometimes they may suspect who could be sending them threatening, offensive, or obscene messages. Either way, it can be difficult to prove, and perpetrators are able to stay anonymous without facing any consequences. Cyberbullying can be highly traumatic and cause emotional distress, low self-esteem and, in extreme cases, self-harm and suicide.

This toxic and aggressive behavior can take various forms including:

  • Discrimination – Abusing someone because of their gender, age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or any other unfair or prejudicial distinction.
  • Doxing – Publishing someone’s personal information online – possibly their IP address so others can help to crash it.
  • Outing – Revealing a person’s sexual or gender identity without their permission.
  • Trolling – Making inflammatory and antagonistic comments to provoke others into starting arguments.
  • Swatting – Calling emergency services to report a fictitious crime or crisis taking place at the victim’s address.
  • Hacking – Gaining access to a victim’s social media accounts to post vile and hurtful messages.
  • Cyberstalking – Making persistent efforts to contact the victim, which can sometimes escalate into stalking them offline as well.

Misinformation

One of the pros of social media is mass communication, but this is also one of the cons. Unfortunately, social networks have become a breeding ground for spreading fake news to manipulate and distract users from the real story. There’s so much information pushed out on social media that users find it difficult to filter out the truth.

Misinformation is quickly and easily shared across platforms, which can lead to confusion, distrust, and division. This is exacerbated by the fact that algorithms often display content that aligns with an individual’s existing views and beliefs, which can create echo chambers. They aren’t shown diverse opinions about a subject, and this can lead to polarization. In extreme cases, the spread of false information can interfere with democratic processes and influence election results.

Mental health issues

So, is social media bad for our emotional well-being? Despite the negative press, there are pros and cons of social media on mental health. On the plus side, connecting with likeminded people can foster a sense of acceptance and belonging, as shown above. However, the cons arguably outweigh the pros for some users, and it can have a detrimental effect.

One of the main issues is that social media can present an airbrushed version of other people’s lives. Some individuals constantly compare their home, car, job, holidays, friendships, etc to this idealized lifestyle, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Another downside of social media is that users can become increasingly reliant on likes, comments, and shares to feel good about themselves. If they fail to generate enough of these it can have a negative impact on their emotional well-being.

Cyberbullying also puts a huge strain on an individual’s mental health. It’s often relentless and impossible to escape from, which can induce stress, anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.

Lack of interest in other activities

When we look at the pros and cons of social media for youth, one of the main cons is time wasting. A 2023 survey found that more than half of US teens spend a minimum of four hours each day on social media – females 5.3 hours and males 4.4 hours 13 13. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradadgate/2023/10/18/gallup-teens-spend-more-time-on-social-media-than-on-homework/ × . This is time that could be spent on other activities like homework, sport, hobbies, and socializing with friends in person. The irresistible urge to scroll through social media can cause conflict at home as parents become increasingly frustrated by their child’s procrastination and lack of motivation to do anything else.

Privacy risks

Social media platforms contain personal information, which may be vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous people. When someone sets up a social media account, they agree to the terms and conditions. This allows social media companies to collect and share data with third parties for marketing and other purposes. But there can be privacy risks from data breaches. For example, in 2022, more than 200 million email addresses were stolen from Twitter/X and published on an online hacking forum 14 14. https://www.reuters.com/technology/twitter-hacked-200-million-user-email-addresses-leaked-researcher-says-2023-01-05/ × .

There are also privacy risks associated with what users post about themselves – name, date of birth, location, employer, pet’s name, etc. Armed with this type of information, scammers can do a lot of damage – from setting up fake social media accounts to full identity theft. There’s also the risk of burglary if people post photos and videos while on vacation. An empty house can be an open invitation for thieves, which is why some insurance companies warn against doing this.

Social media addiction

Social media addiction is not officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses, fifth edition (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association, so the actual number of people affected globally is unknown. However, it’s estimated that 10% of Americans are addicted to social media and this may well rise as more apps and platforms are launched. But what is social media addiction and why is it happening?

The barrage of likes, comments, notifications, and reactions can be highly addictive and this is one of the reasons why social media has been described as ‘digital dopamine’. Scrolling through updates, photos, and videos can induce a similar high to drugs and alcohol. And the fear of missing out (FOMO) only exacerbates the problem as people feel obliged to constantly check what’s happening in their online world. Dedicating so much time to social media often has a negative impact on an individual’s daily life, relationships, and mental health.

If you think that you or someone you care about may have a problem, check out the warning signs of social media addiction.

Conclusion – What are the benefits and harms of social media?

social media icons

As this article shows, social media is a double-edged sword. The pros and cons of social media will affect different people in different ways depending on how they engage with it. There are some positive aspects when it’s used responsibly and in moderation. However, there can also be negative effects if it’s used excessively and causes harm.

You should always be aware of the cons of social media, and if you notice the first signs of these cons developing, consider moderating your use. Read our tips for achieving a healthier balance with social media.

Need help?

safe online family

If you or a loved one are unable to stop engaging with gaming content on social media and it’s causing problems, we can help.

At Game Quitters, we’re experts in screen addiction. Our specialist coaching programs are designed to allow those using devices to choose to manage their time effectively. It’s not just about gaming or using social media less – it’s about building a life you (or they) no longer need to escape from.

To find out more, get in touch to book a Gameplan Strategy Call. During the call, we’ll see if you or a loved one are a good fit for our coaching program. We have limited spots available and are unable to accept all applicants.

Games provide more than entertainment for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They’re also a great way to develop important life and social skills. The positive effects of playing games include enhanced memory, improved concentration, and better communication with others.

In fact, there’s even an FDA authorized video game treatment for children with ADHD. (Although as experts in video game addiction, we know that people with ADHD can be more susceptible to playing compulsively, so striking a healthy balance is key.)

In this article, we look at some of the best types of games for people with ADHD.

What is ADHD and how can playing games help?

adhd

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children and adults. People with ADHD often get easily bored, find it difficult to focus, act impulsively, and struggle to sit still.

While many young children display these types of behaviors from time to time, they generally grow out of them. However, for people with ADHD the symptoms continue, which can cause problems at home, school, work, and in social situations.

Although medication can make a difference, it’s important to find other ways to alleviate and manage the symptoms of ADHD. Playing games can help:

  • improve eye-hand coordination
  • enhance communication skills
  • develop social skills
  • build working memory
  • inspire creativity
  • increase attention span.

What games are good for ADHD?

best adhd games for kids

Finding games for someone who struggles to pay attention, follow instructions or finish a task, and gets easily distracted can seem like a challenge, but it is possible. With some adaptations – such as regular breaks, set times to start and finish the game, and modified rules, if necessary – certain games can be beneficial.

But what are play activities for ADHD? Let’s look at different types of games that can help people with the condition:

Board games for ADHD

Board games are a great way for people with ADHD to develop their cognitive and social skills in a low-pressure environment. So here’s a round-up of some of the best board games for ADHD – kids and adults.

Snakes and ladders

This classic game is popular with all ages, especially children. Players take turns to throw the dice and move along the board toward the winning square at the top, climbing ladders or sliding down snakes when they land on them. It’s a fun way to improve concentration, math skills, and social interactions, while learning how to deal with failure and disappointment. (It’s easy to go from first to last place as there are lots of snakes to navigate.)

Story cubes

Story cubes are sets of dice with a different picture on each face. Players narrate a story with each roll of the dice, and this encourages creativity and imagination. The stories are often very funny, which helps people with ADHD want to stay focused on the game and interact with others.

Jenga

Jenga is a block-stacking game where players take turns to remove one block from lower down and place it on top of the tower. Eventually the tower becomes so unstable that it collapses. Jenga is often used in play therapy, which is why it’s one of the most popular games for ADHD. It has multiple benefits – from improving fine motor skills to problem-solving and responsive thinking.

Sorry!

Sorry! is a classic game that only takes about 30 minutes to play. The winner is the first person to get their four pawns safely round the board. If someone lands on a space occupied by another player, they say “Sorry!” and send that pawn back to the start. As a result, the game helps people with ADHD to work on impulse control and manage frustration.

Battleship

During this strategy board game, players take turns to try and hit each other’s ships using grids and coordinates. So not only does it teach math in a fun and engaging way, it helps to develop logic and reasoning skills too.

Card games for ADHD

Card games have many of the same benefits as board games in alleviating and managing the symptoms of ADHD. There are lots of fun options available that provide instant rewards, which is particularly appealing to people with ADHD.

Memory game

This simple game involves laying multiple cards face down on a table. Each player turns over two cards at a time to find a matching pair. As the name suggests, it’s a great memory training exercise for people with ADHD. They also have to watch what other players are turning over, so need to ignore distractions.

Monopoly Deal

Often, people with ADHD prefer fast-paced games that don’t last too long. That’s why Monopoly Deal is a good choice. The traditional board version of the game can take hours, but this card game offshoot is billed as ‘fast-dealing card-stealing fun!’ The aim of the game is to collect three complete property sets, which requires strategic thinking and organization skills.

UNO

Another fast-paced card game is UNO. It’s particularly good for young children with ADHD because the rules are simple. They love the bright colors and it helps with number recognition, making it an educational as well as an entertaining choice. It will also hold their attention because the action moves quickly from player to player. Everyone is trying to get rid of their cards until they have only one left and can shout: “UNO!”

Hedbanz

One of the best ADHD games for practicing social and critical thinking skills is Hedbanz. One player chooses a card and puts it in their headband without looking at it. They then ask the other players questions with “yes” and “no” answers to work out who or what they are –and it’s all against the clock.

The Gift of ADHD card game

This card game has been specifically designed for children and teens with ADHD. Players learn how to harness the positive aspects of the disorder to deal with everyday challenges. This upbeat approach helps those with ADHD to see how their differences can also be strengths.

Video games for ADHD

Video games provide more than entertainment to those with ADHD – from boosting attention and concentration, to improving organizational and multitasking skills. However, playing in moderation is important to harness the positive effects of video games and avoid the negative aspects of too much game play.

So, having looked at board games and card games, what games are good for ADHD online?

Roblox

Roblox is a popular platform that allows players to create their own games and try out games designed by others. It can help those with ADHD improve focus and concentration, plus it encourages creativity and enhances problem-solving. These skills can then by applied to real-world situations. There’s also a social aspect of the game which can also help with social interactions outside the game.

Minecraft

There are no set rules in Minecraft – players can use their creativity and imagination to build whatever they like in their virtual world. This can be quite a challenge for people with ADHD, because it requires planning, organization, and focus. However, these qualities can be developed and practiced over time. And if played as a multiplayer game it provides great opportunities for collaboration with others.

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero involves using a guitar-shaped controller to play along to different tunes. While children and teens pretend they’re famous pop stars, this video game is teaching some valuable skills. Learning new songs can help those with ADHD to follow instructions, memorize patterns, and stay focused, while sharpening their working memory.

Fortnite

This action-strategy game is a combination of other popular titles like Minecraft, Valorant, and Call of Duty. Although Fortnite is primarily a fighting game, the cartoonish graphics make it less gory than other video games of this genre, so it has a wide appeal. Game play requires players to stay focused and alert to survive, and allows them to use creativity when building safe structures – important skills for people with ADHD.

EndeavorRx

So, what is the FDA approved brain game for ADHD? EndeavorRx is designed boost memory function in 8 to 12-years-old with the condition (2). It was created by neuroscientists and game designers and is available on prescription. 73% of children reported an improvement in their attention after playing. The game involves multitasking and ignoring distractions while racing through different worlds and dodging obstacles.

Need help?

gamer slang terms

While gaming can be a positive experience for many people with the condition, for others ADHD and video games can be a brutal combination.

Are you worried about your gaming habits or concerned that someone you care about is playing compulsively? Take our video game addiction test to see if you – or they – meet the criteria for addiction.

At Game Quitters we’ve helped hundreds of people all over the world to either stop gaming completely or reduce it to manageable levels. And we can help you and your family too, especially if you are struggling with ADHD and video game addiction.

Take the first step and learn a new 3-step process that works even if your gamer doesn’t want to stop – get free access now.

If you’re new to Twitch, it can be difficult to follow what’s going on. Even regular users and streamers sometimes struggle to keep up with the latest slang, emotes, and abbreviations. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the ever-evolving terminology, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we explain the most commonly used Twitch lingo to help you communicate confidently with other viewers and streamers. As a global support community for gamers and families, providing jargon-busting guides is all part of our service at Game Quitters.

Common questions about Twitch

Twitch is the go-to streaming platform for gamers and the one we receive the most questions about. Here are some examples of recent queries from confused gamers and parents:

What do you call a Twitch streamer?

As well as being referred to as a streamer, another term to describe someone who broadcasts content on Twitch is a creator.

What are Twitch emotes?

Emotes are small pictures used by viewers and streamers on Twitch chat to communicate instead of using a word or comment.

What does Twitch chat mean?

Twitch chat allows streamers and viewers to converse with each other and build a community on a Twitch channel.

What is the meaning of Twitch in social media?

As a streaming platform for gaming content and other entertainment, Twitch is classed as social media. Users can interact with others using the chat function.

What is a Twitch in English slang?

This is one of the more random questions we’ve received! We assume the enquirer doesn’t understand Twitch. For the full lowdown and how to get started on the platform, check out our Twitch guide.

A-Z of Twitch terminology

twitch streamers xqc and pokimane

Here’s a round-up some of the most popular Twitch terminology to help you fully engage with other users:

AFK – An abbreviation for ‘away from keyboard’ which often appears in Twitch chat to tell others that a viewer or streamer is offline. It’s a term that’s also used on other social media platforms.

Bits – This is the currency used on Twitch: US$1 = 100 Bits. Viewers can donate Bits to their favorite streamers to show their support.

Bot – Good bots (like Moobot and Nightbot) help streamers by moderating the chat and answering basic questions from viewers. Bad bots engage in ‘hate raids’ (see definition below) on streams by spamming racist, sexist, and other vile messages.

BTTV – Short for ‘Better Twitch TV’, BTTV is a third-party browser extension which can be downloaded in order to use custom and animated emotes in chat.

Cheering – A term used to describe sending Bits (the internal currency used on Twitter) to streamers. To donate Bits, type ‘Cheer’ in the chat box along with how much you want to donate, for example, ‘Cheer500’.

Emote – See this question in the section above: ‘What are Twitch emotes?’

EZ – A quick way of saying ‘easy’. It’s sometimes used in a derogatory way to insult another player and let others know that the game was won easily.

F – When the letter ‘F’ appears in chat, it means that viewers are paying their respects if there’s a sad event on the stream. It comes from the popular first-person shooter game Call of Duty, where players were asked to press F in memory of virtual soldiers who had died.

FF – This means ‘failed fight’ and is used to brag or be sarcastic about the result of a game.

Gas – Appears in chat when something is great, for example, ‘that’s gas’.

Hate raid – A situation where anonymous users bombard another user’s chat with insults and abuse.

Hype – When something is ‘hype’ on Twitch it means it’s awesome or cool.

Hype train – A hype train is activated by a spike in contributions to a channel (such as a surge in subscriptions/gift subscriptions or sharing details of subscription renewals in chat) from multiple viewers in a 5-minute period.

IRL – An abbreviation for ‘in real life’, which is used across many digital platforms, not just Twitch.

Jebaited – This is a commonly used Twitch emote to show when someone gets baited or tricked.

Kappa – Used in Twitch chat when someone is being sarcastic or ironic. There’s also a kappa emote, which is a picture of former Twitch employee Josh DeSeno.

LUL – This emote is used to express laughter and features the face of video game reviewer John Bain, known as TotalBiscuit. The LUL emote is the Twitch equivalent of the LOL text term or the laughing emoji.

Mod – Twitch slang for ‘moderator’.

Pwned – Used instead of the word ‘owned’ to say when a player has been beaten, for example. ‘[name of player] has been pwned’. It comes from a misspelling by a Warcraft game designer who accidentally put ‘pwned’ rather than ‘owned’ on a map design (‘o’ and ‘p’ are next to each other on a QWERTY keyboard).

Raid – There are positive raids and negative ones on Twitch. A positive raid is when a high-profile streamer urges viewers to go to another streamer’s channel once their stream has ended. A negative raid (known as a ‘hate raid’) is when a steamer encourages their followers to attack another streamer’s channel.

Rerun – Previously called a ‘vodcast’, a rerun is when a stream is rebroadcast on a channel and is not live. Viewers can still use live chat while the rerun is showing.

Stream sniping – An underhand tactic sometimes used in MMO games on Twitch where another player is also watching the live stream to gain a competitive advantage over opponents.

Viewbot – A bad bot designed to artificially inflate a streamer’s live view count to make their stats look better than they actually are to attract advertisers, sponsors, viewers, and followers.

Whisper – This feature allows one user to send a private message to another user that no one else on the platform can see.

YOLO – An abbreviation for ‘you only live once’. It’s often used on Twitch (and other social networks) to urge someone to do something risky or exciting.

Need help?

Are you reading this article because you – or someone you know – can’t stop watching or streaming Twitch? If it’s starting to become problematic, we can help.

At Game Quitters, we’re experts at supporting people who are addicted to Twitch and anyone who is also struggling with gaming disorder.

If you don’t know where to turn, take the first step and learn a new 3-step process that works even if your gamer doesn’t want to stop – get free access now.

Gamer language can seem overwhelming to those new to gaming. But even veteran players are sometimes baffled by the latest video game terms.

There are several reasons why gaming terminology is constantly evolving – from tech advances and new video game releases, to the latest pop culture references and social media slang.

At Game Quitters, we’re often asked about gaming lingo. Here are some examples of what parents and those new to the gaming scene want to know:

  • What are things gamers say during gameplay?
  • What is the slang for new player in gaming?
  • What is terminology in games that are for multiple players?
  • What is the gaming phrase for good game?
  • What is gamer girl slang?
  • What are some gamer phrases that are also used on social media?
  • What is ‘get good’ gaming slang?

Gaming terms glossary

fluent in video games

So, if you’ve ever asked any of the above questions about gamer phrases, or simply want to familiarize yourself with the latest gaming slang, check out our jargon-busting guide:

AFK – This means ‘away from keyboard’, which is often used in multiplayer games when a player is going to be unavailable for a while.

Aggro – A shortened version of ‘aggression’ or ‘aggravation’, to describe unwanted attention from the enemy during gameplay.

Basic – A derogatory term to describe a player or game that’s mainstream or unoriginal.

Battle Pass – An in-game reward available to purchase that gives players access to extra gaming content, levels, and virtual items. Many video games feature battle passes, such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Clash of Clans.

Camping – A tactical move to describe a player staying in one place during a first-person shooter or fighting game to ambush their opponent.

Casual gamer – One of the nine types of gamers, in this case someone who plays recreationally from time to time, without any need or desire to play more often.

Deathmatch – A gameplay mode that’s incorporated into many shooter and real-time strategy games (RTS), where the aim is to kill as many other characters as possible. (Also known as free-for-all.)

DLC – An abbreviation for downloadable content, which is extra content that’s available after a video game is released to enhance its features, usually for a fee.

End game loop – This is the term used to describe content that’s available for players in MMO games who have finished all available gameplay.

Esports – One of fastest growing sports in the world, esports is competitive video games, where gamers play in high-profile tournaments for prize money. (Also known as e-sports, electronic sports, competitive gaming, and professional gaming.)

Free-for-all – see Deathmatch.

F2P – This stands for ‘free to play’, which means the game can be played for free – although it may still contain loot boxes and battle passes as a way for the game developer to make money.

Gamer girl – This one is pretty obvious, it’s the term for a female gamer.

Git gud – Gamer speak for ‘get good’ and refers to getting better at a game or challenge.

GG – A commonly used term that meaning ‘good game’.

GLHF – This abbreviation for ‘good luck, have fun’. It’s a friendly phrase used by players at the start of a game.

Griefing – A way to describe the act of purposely harassing another player or disrupting their gameplay.

HP – The abbreviation for ‘hit points’ which represent the amount of damage a character can take without dying or getting knocked out.

IYKYK – Used widely across social media as well as in the gaming world. It means ‘if you know you know’ and often implies there’s an inside joke.

JRPG – This stands for ‘Japanese role-playing games’, often with an emphasis on storytelling and usually designed in anime style. Popular JRPG titles include Tales of Arise, Chrono Trigger, and Dragon Quest 11.

Kill steal (also known as KS) – Giving the final blow in a kill and receiving the credit for it, when most of the damage was inflicted by another player.

Loot box – A loot box is a virtual item in a game that contains a randomized reward. It’s often compared to gambling.

MMO – This stands for massively multiplayer online, a type of video game that can be played by many people who can interact with each other during gameplay.

Noob – This is one way of saying ‘new player’ – others are n00b and newb.

Prog – Short for ‘progress’ and often used by players in MMOs to refer to their progress in the game.

Ragequit – When a player stops playing mid-game because they’re frustrated or angry about losing.

RPG – The abbreviation for role-playing game, which involves a player taking on the role of a specific character, often in a fantasy or science fiction video game. Well-known RPGs include Starfield, Diablo IV, and Sea of Stars.

RTS – This means ‘real-time strategy’ and is a type of video game that allows multiple gamers to play concurrently in real time.

Sandbox – A type of video game that gives players much freedom and creativity – usually with no specific objective – so they can build, change, or destroy their world/environment.  Popular sandbox titles include Minecraft, Roblox, and SimCity.

Skin – A virtual item that can be purchased to decorate weapons or customize characters in the game. Beware some players may engage in skins gambling.

TBS – Turn-based strategy games involve players taking turns to play.

Throw shade — To criticize, insult, or belittle someone during gameplay – also used in other situations.

Tryhard – A negative term to describe someone who’s so focused on winning – often to the detriment of other players – that the game stops being fun.

UX – This is one of the most common game design terms and means ‘user experience’. It’s about making sure the menu, icons, text, navigation, etc. are intuitive and easy to use so that players have an enjoyable gaming experience.

WOW – An abbreviation of the popular World of Warcraft video game.

WP – This simply means ‘well played’ and is a term used to praise another gamer.

Discover more slang words and acronyms used by teens across the internet and on social platforms like Snapchatand Instagram in our other must-read guides.

Need help understanding gaming?

Is gaming taking over your life? At Game Quitters, we’ve helped thousands of people from all over the world get their gaming under control – and we can help you too.

Book a Gameplan Call to see if our coaching program is right for you – there are limited slots available.

On the call, we’ll discuss your current situation and the steps you need to take for a happier and more productive future.

Please note: we also accept families with gamers in denial.

‘Failure to launch’ is the name of a popular 2006 movie, featuring a 30-something man who still lives with his parents and refuses to take on adult responsibilities. ‘Failure to launch syndrome’ is a term inspired by the movie, which describes a young person’s inability to go through the usual rites of passage associated with adulthood.

In this article, we explore various factors that can prevent someone from becoming independent, including gaming and technology addiction. We also look at whether failure to launch treatment is available, and what parents can do to help a loved one make their own way in the world.

What is failure to launch syndrome?

vector guy pondering question

Failure to launch syndrome (sometimes called Peter Pan syndrome) is usually defined as a young person’s inability to take on the responsibilities and independence associated with adulthood. Typically, they live in the family home and are highly dependent on their parents. They’re unlikely to be in school or employment, contribute anything financially, help with household chores, or be able to form significant relationships.

Failure to launch generally occurs in young adults between 18 and 29 years old. That said, people of any age can lack the maturity needed to cope with the challenges of adult life. This is why we’re sometimes asked about getting help for failure to launch syndrome at 30 and failure to launch syndrome at 40, as well as failure to launch syndrome at 20,

So, is failure to launch a diagnosis? Despite sounding like one, failure to launch syndrome is not a formally recognized condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). But although it’s not a classified disorder, many people who fail to launch are battling with the following:

  • Low motivation
  • Lack of direction
  • No sense of purpose
  • Inability to focus
  • Feeling ‘stuck’
  • Low self-esteem
  • Procrastination
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Fear of responsibility
  • Feelings of isolation, helplessness, and shame
  • Poor social skills and avoidance of social situations.

What is the failure to launch generation?

gaming stats by age

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that millions of young adults had to stall their transition to adulthood and remain at, or return to, the family home. For a while, they were unable to live independently – even if they wanted to – because of the lockdown restrictions imposed in many countries worldwide. It would have been all too easy to stay afterwards and become the failure to launch generation, but many young people have since returned to college; got a new job, if they were laid off during the pandemic; or moved in with a partner or friends. But what about those who haven’t progressed?

Failure to launch statistics

If someone you care about feels ‘stuck’ and unable to progress to an independent life, they’re not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, young adults in the US are reaching key life milestones later than previous generations. So, what is failure to launch for a 20-year-old, for example?

The following statistics compare today’s 21-years-olds with young people from 40 years ago:

  • 39% have a full-time job, compared with 64% in 1980
  • 49% still live with their parents, compared to 38% in 1980
  • 25% are financially independent of their parents, compared with 42% in 1980
  • 6% have been married or had child, compared with 32% and 18% respectively in 1980.

One of the reasons for the above statistics is the increase in college enrollment over the last four decades: 48% of 21-year-olds in the US go to college today, compared to 31% in 1980.

However, by the age of 25 young women today have either caught up with or overtaken their female predecessors: 61% are in full-time employment now (the same as in 1980) and 56% are financially independent (compared with 50% in 1980). However, 25-year-old men today still lag behind their predecessors in achieving these key milestones.

Common signs of failure to launch syndrome

adults sleep deprived

Are you concerned that a friend or family member may be struggling with the transition into adulthood? Take our quiz to see if they have common failure to launch symptoms.

Failure to launch quiz

  1. Have they dropped out of school or college, or has their academic performance nosedived?
  2. Do they have little or no interest in taking on responsibilities and becoming independent?
  3. Have they moved back home after trying and failing to live on their own, or have they never left home?
  4. Do they have no plans or long-term goals?
  5. Do they struggle to hold down a job or are they only minimally employed?
  6. Do they contribute little financially to the household?
  7. Do they abuse substances, particularly illegal drugs, alcohol or prescription medication?
  8. Do they have mental health issues such as depression, anxiety/social anxiety or behavioral disorders such as ADHD?
  9. Have they failed to develop the life skills needed for adulthood e.g., budgeting, time management, cooking, and cleaning etc?
  10. Do they lack the emotional intelligence to thrive, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, relationship building, and resilience?

What causes failure to launch syndrome?

why social media is addictive

There is no single cause of failure to launch syndrome, but the following can be contributory factors:

Societal issues

21st century life is a minefield of economic and environmental problems for young people – from the cost-of-living crisis, student debt, and lack of affordable housing to the threat of global conflict and climate change.

It’s no wonder that many young adults feel trapped in a state of negativity and unable to make their own way into a world that seems threatening and frightening.

Overprotective parenting

Parenting style can be a factor in a young person feeling practically and emotionally ill-prepared to fend for themselves. Overprotective parenting (also known as helicopter parenting) can be done with the best interest of the child in mind but can lead to a lack of confidence and self-autonomy.

Often unintentionally, parents choose to make their children’s lives easy, for example, doing all the household chores, or removing any obstacle they may face outside the home. However, age-appropriate challenges at different stages of development are what helps young people develop essential skills like problem-solving, resilience, and decision-making.

Challenging life events

Certain major life events, such as the death of a close family member, serious illness or injury, relationship break up, or other adverse circumstances can make it difficult for a young person to take on adult responsibilities and function independently.

Formative experiences

Experiencing traumatic events in childhood can have a long-lasting effect on a young person’s emotional stability and impact their ability to cope with the challenges of adulthood.

These adverse formative experiences may range from domestic violence, abuse, or neglect to living with a family member who has substance use or mental health issues.

Mental health disorders

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven 10-19-year-olds suffer from mental health problems. The most prevalent conditions are depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders which can all be underlying reasons for a failure to launch. ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a chronic and debilitating behavioral disorder that affects an estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults.

Narcissism is a personality disorder that can exacerbate failure to launch. Narcissism often presents as someone having an exaggerated sense of entitlement, being self-centered, and showing a lack of empathy for others. In failure to launch, this can manifest as an overreliance on their parents for practical and emotional support.

In many countries globally, mental health resources are stretched or inadequate, so teens are not receiving the specialist support they need. As a result, untreated mental health issues can often persist into adulthood and cause poor self-esteem, and negative thoughts and behaviors. This can affect daily functioning and leave young people unable to cope with the pressures of living independently.

Substance abuse

Abusing substances, particularly alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed medication, is a major factor in failure to launch syndrome. This is because young people suffering from an addiction are more likely to experience financial struggles, cognitive impairment, emotional issues and physical health problems.

Trying to satisfy the addiction can take over their lives so that other important aspects such as school or college, work commitments, fitness and health, and social activities take a back seat. This chaotic lifestyle can cause significant challenges when trying to transition to adulthood.

Technology addiction

While technology has many benefits, it can also have negative consequences. Many young people feel they need to be constantly connected to the internet and social media platforms due to FOMO (fear of missing out).

The online world can become their real world as they increasingly withdraw from school, work, family, and friends.

As a result, they can miss out on important milestones on the road to independence such as academic and personal achievements. It can also stunt their social development as they fail to develop meaningful relationships that establish their place in society. Overreliance on technology can rob young people of these real-life experiences and is a constant distraction from making their own way in the world.

Video game addiction

Video game addiction is a particularly destructive type of technology addiction. What starts as a fun hobby can gradually take over a young person’s life until it reaches the point where it’s their main priority. It’s where they spend all their time. It’s where they feel a sense of competence. And it’s where they find all their friendships.

Consequently, playing video games becomes more important than their education, career prospects, relationships, hobbies, health, and hygiene. But their passion for gaming is no longer a passion, it’s something that’s spiraling out of control.

Those suffering from gaming addiction and any associated mental health issues lack the skills, time, and energy to do anything apart from reach the next level or mission in the game. Their entire world is virtual, so it is exceptionally difficult to strike out in the real world on their own.

Is someone you care about showing signs of video game addiction? If so, suggest they take our short video game addiction test.

Brad’s story

At Game Quitters, we often hear from loved ones whose children’s lives are consumed by gaming on our parent support forum. Brad (not his real name) was suffering from failure to launch syndrome because of video game addiction. His mother contacted us in desperation:

“My son is 26 years old. Currently he’s depressed, suffers from low self-esteem, and has suicidal thoughts. He wakes up at 2pm, drinks an energy drink, and smokes a joint. Then he hops on Discord to see which gamer friends are online to play League of Legends. In between games he smokes more weed to maintain a high throughout the whole day.

He plays for 10-15 hours a day and has no motivation for anything else. He has no plans to start working or go back to school to improve his skills. All I want for him is to get a job, becoming self-sufficient and survive in the real world.”

Brad recognized that he needed professional help to regain control, and redirect his focus toward breaking free from addiction and becoming independent. So, he agreed to join the Game Quitters specialist coaching program for people gaming problematically. Since we started working together, he’s playing less games, smoking less weed, has a weekend job, and goes to a boxing gym four times a week. But most of all, he’s starting to see a vision for his life outside the relentless gaming cycle and make plans for the future.

How to help someone to launch

unhappy marriage gaming

If you’re living with a young adult who’s struggling to live independently, you may be wondering how to treat failure to launch syndrome. We sometimes get asked: ‘How do you fix failure to launch syndrome?’ or ‘How do you help an adult with failure to launch?’ In the same way that there’s no single cause of failure to launch syndrome, there’s not one approach for helping young adults overcome it. Instead, there are several things that parents and carers can do (and not do) to help them make their own way in the world.

Do

  • Agree clear boundaries and expectations
  • Provide empathetic and loving support
  • Explain that becoming independent is a gradual process
  • Encourage lifestyle changes such as regular sleep, healthy eating, and physical activity
  • Help them identify their strengths and praise small wins to build self confidence
  • Help them to get professional support for any substance abuse, mental health, or addiction issues
  • Teach them some practical skills such as money management, cooking, and cleaning
  • Set a date when you’re going to start charging for rent, food, utilities, etc.
  • Offer them opportunities to fail and learn from their mistakes
  • Make time for yourself and seek support if you need it.

Don’t

  • Get angry or frustrated – it will just make the situation worse
  • Cut off support with little or no warning
  • Set unrealistic goals
  • Be overprotective by making decisions or taking action on their behalf
  • Let them shirk household chores
  • Try to solve their problems
  • Pay their day-to-day expenses – food, clothing, socializing, etc.
  • Dictate what they should do with their life.

Another way to help is to enroll on a failure to launch program such as the Game Quitters coaching program for families and young adults. Read on to find out more.

Need help?

asking for help is not a weakness

If you’ve tried the above approaches but someone you care about is still failing to launch, and you think it’s because of gaming or technology addiction, we can help. Or maybe you’ve been asking yourself, ‘Why am I failing to launch?’ because you’re finding it difficult to stop gaming and take the necessary steps toward independence.

At Game Quitters, our 12-week coaching program focuses on overcoming obstacles to improve motivation and find a sense of purpose.

For more information, get in touch to book a Gameplan Strategy Call. During this confidential conversation, we’ll see if they’re a good fit for the program – we specialize in helping gamers in denial. Limited spaces are available so that we can provide personalized coaching.

This guide for parents explains how 4chan works and why it’s an unsafe environment for anyone under the age of 18.

Technology opens many doors, allowing young people to pursue hobbies, enjoy entertainment, access learning opportunities, and much more.

However, social media can expose teens to all kinds of dangers including cyberbullying, self-esteem issues, and addiction. Some platforms are more harmful than others and 4chan is particularly risky for children.

What is 4chan?

what is 4chan

4chan is a website that hosts image boards, where users can share pictures and post comments about diverse topics – from anime and manga (4chan originated in Japan) to gaming, music, sport, food, travel, politics, history, adult content, and more.

Due to the inappropriate nature of some of the boards, 4chan has an 18+ age rating. However, it’s not possible to register on the site, so users post anonymously. This makes it easy for teens to access the platform and get exposed to risky and offensive content.

As a result, 4chan is one of most concerning social media platforms for parents and has also been the subject of several controversies, which are mentioned later in this article. Despite negative publicity, the site has grown in popularity since its inception in 2003 and currently has around 22 million monthly visitors.

How does 4chan work?

how 4chan works

On the 4chan homepage is a list of boards divided into seven categories: Japanese culture, video games, interests, creative, other, misc. and adult. The latter two categories are marked NSFW (Not Safe For Work, which means they contain 18+ material. However, the other categories also have image boards with content that may be inappropriate for young people.

To access the full site, a user simply clicks on a board that interests them. A pop-up screen appears with a short disclaimer stating that the content is for mature users only and may be unsuitable for minors. It also directs users to its rules, which must be accepted as a condition of using the site.

One of the rules is that anyone accessing the platform must stop using it if they’re under the age of 18. But there’s nothing to prevent teens from accepting the disclaimer and continuing onto 4chan, meaning they’re immediately in an unsafe environment. The disclaimer only appears the first time the site is accessed so there’s no reminder on future visits.

Once through to the board that interests them, a user can either post an image and start a new thread, or join an existing discussion. When replying to another conversation thread, no image is required. Interactions on the site are mainly anonymous because the default setting is anonymous, although users can choose to type in a name.

It is possible to hide inappropriate comments and report illegal content on 4chan. To hide a comment, users can click the small triangle to the right-hand side of a post and then choose ‘hide comment’ or ‘hide thread’. To report illegal content, users can click the small triangle to the right-hand side of a post and then choose ‘report post’. But despite these features, many of the boards contain profanities, violence, extremist views, and sexually explicit material.

Common questions about 4chan

4chan faq

Some of the most popular image boards on 4chan are about gaming. There are thousands of threads ranging from retro video games to those dedicated to strategy, role playing and multiplayer games. As experts in video game addiction, we receive many questions from concerned parents about the platform, such as:

  • How old do you have to be to use 4chan?
  • Is it illegal to browse 4chan?
  • Is 4chan a virus?
  • Is 4chan bad?
  • Is it okay to use 4chan?
  • What should you not look up on 4chan?
  • What should I avoid on 4chan?
  • What do people use 4chan for?
  • Is 4chan safe to use?

Let’s explore the last question in more detail and look at why 4chan is unsafe for teens.

Is 4chan safe for kids?

Here are some of the main reasons children should be discouraged from using 4chan:

Inappropriate content

While teens may find it liberating to have somewhere to share their views without worrying how people will react, anonymity is a double-edged sword. This freedom can make other users feel emboldened to post inappropriate content without fear of repercussions. In fact, the ‘random’ board has a no rules policy, which means that violent and pornographic content is allowed.

Extremist views

Exposure to extremist views can have a serious psychological and emotional impact on vulnerable young minds. Hate-filled posts can influence their opinions and behavior, giving them a distorted view of the world.

4chan has been at the centre of several controversies involving hate campaigns and misinformation. This demonstrates how a sense of community, combined with anonymity, can be a toxic mix. Here are some of the most high-profile 4chan controversies:

  • GamerGate – online harassment campaign in 2014 against women, minorities, and progressive voices in the video games industry
  • QAnon – far-right political conspiracy theory movement founded on 4chan in 2017 that’s now spreading misinformation globally
  • Homophobic cyber-attack on LGBT+ Pride Month celebrations in London in 2020

No age verification

Users do not need to create an account to view and create content, and there’s no age verification process. The disclaimer which pops up the first time that 4chan is accessed states that users must be ‘mature’, but some teens may consider themselves mature enough to use the site. It’s not unless they click through to the rules page that there’s any mention of 4chan being for over 18s only. And there are no penalties for ignoring that rule and proceeding onto the image boards.

No parental controls

As 4chan is not designed for under 18s, there are no parental controls. The only way for parents to limit access to the site is through more general parental controls on broadband and mobile networks.

Limited content moderation

While users can report content, a post will not be removed unless it’s illegal or in breach of the site rules. Moderation across the platform is limited because extreme and adult-only content is not only common, but actively encouraged as this is what sets 4chan apart from other social networks.

Get help

4chan safety tips

Although 4chan is not for under 18s, teenage gamers do visit the platform to share their passion for video games with other gaming enthusiasts. But however innocent their intentions for using the site, they risk stumbling across adult-related content.

And, if your child is suffering from video game addiction, scrolling through image boards and threads about gaming is likely to fuel their desire to play.

Many parents are frustrated about the amount of time their child spends gaming, to the detriment of schoolwork, hobbies, and relationships with friends and family.

As experts on video game addiction, we’re often asked, “Can you put parental controls on an Xbox?” by those who want to know how to limit their child’s screen time and in-game purchases.

This article has step-by-step instructions on how to set up Xbox parental controls for greater peace of mind.

Your guide to setting up parental controls on Xbox

xbox family settings

It has never been easier to manage your child’s Xbox gaming activities with the Xbox Family Settings app. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Download the Xbox Family Settings app on the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Sign into your Microsoft account or set one up if you don’t have an existing account.
  3. You can then add your child (or several children) to your family account.

If they already have a Microsoft account

  • Click on the ‘Accounts’ icon on the top-right of the Family screen
  • Choose ‘Add child’ then ‘Add existing account’
  • Enter your child’s email address
  • Select ‘Send invitation’ then ‘Done’
  • Your child must open the email, click on ‘Join now’ and follow the instructions
  • Refresh the list of users on the Family screen to add your child to your family account.

If they don’t have a Microsoft account

  • Click on the ‘Accounts’ icon on the top-right of the Family screen
  • Choose ‘Add child’ then ‘Create new account’
  • Select ‘Get a new email address to create a Microsoft account’
  • Follow the instructions to set up the member’s account
  • Click on ‘Next’ after the app generates a gamerpic and gamertag for your child
  • Follow the onscreen prompts to amend any settings or account information, if required
  • Select ‘All done’
  • Refresh the list of users on the Family screen to add your child to your family account.
  1. Now you’ve added your child to your family group, you can control their Xbox activity via the app.

Parents who have asked us questions like: “How do I change parental controls on Xbox One?” and “Where is Xbox Live parental controls?” have found the app very intuitive and easy to use.

What can you do in the Xbox Family Settings app?

xbox family settings app

The Xbox Family Settings app allows you to control your child’s Xbox activity from your phone or tablet:

Set screen time restrictions

A popular question on our Game Quitters parent support forum is: “How do I set screen time limits on Xbox?”

Using the Xbox Family Settings app, you can create different screen time schedules for different days of the week. You can also pause your child’s screen time at any point and they will receive this message: “Your screen time is up”.

Monitor in-game spending

With the ‘Ask to Buy’ feature, you get notified if your child tries to make an in-game purchase and they don’t have the funds. The app also allows you to view your child’s account balance and see their recent spending history.

Get friend request notifications

You can review and respond to friend requests to reduce the risk of stranger danger. You can also see who you child is following on Xbox Live and decide who they can play with in the Xbox online multiplayer community.

View their gaming habits

You can access daily and weekly activity reports to see how your child is spending their time and which video games they’re playing.

How to remove parental controls on Xbox

To turn off parental controls on Xbox, you can remove your child from the Xbox Family Settings app as follows:

  • Open the app
  • Click on ‘Edit’ at the top of your family members list
  • Select ‘Remove from family’ under the account you want to delete
  • Choose ‘Remove’ to confirm.

Healthy Xbox gaming tips

xbox healthy tips

There are other ways to help your child find a good game-life balance besides setting up parental controls on Xbox. At Game Quitters, we’ve helped hundreds of families to successfully navigate the modern digital world. Here are some tips that encourage healthier gaming habits:

Encourage in-person socializing

Does your child’s social life revolve around gaming? It can be more difficult to get them offline if it’s the only way they interact with their peers. Rather than using Xbox to socialize, encourage them to hang out with friends in person. If your child is younger, you could arrange play dates with other children. For older kids and teens, sport is a great way to meet with others in person – see the next point about taking up a new hobby.

Suggest other interests and activities

Even if you set up Xbox parental controls, your child may start playing another type of video game instead. The best way to ensure they have a good game-life balance is to encourage them to find other interests. Our hobby guide has more than 60 different ideas, or inspire them with screen-free activities tailored to their age group.

Remove Xbox from their bedroom

Does your child play Xbox and other video games in their bedroom? If so, we recommend moving the gaming console into a communal area of the home. That way they’re less likely to game late into the evening (or get up in the night to play), you can monitor their gaming sessions more easily, and they’ll stay more connected to the rest of the family.

Use the Xbox voice reporting feature

If your child is subjected to inappropriate or abusive language on any multiplayer game with in-game voice chat, you can report it using the Xbox voice reporting feature.

Establish gaming ground rules

Even with Xbox parental controls in place, it’s a good idea to establish some basic ground rules. Explain to your child that schoolwork and any other responsibilities are the priority and they must be done before Xbox or other gameplay.

Plan an Xbox detox

Xbox parental controls are a great way to manage your child’s gaming sessions but it’s a good idea for them to have a complete break from time to time. Screen-free time, preferably outside, is important for their physical and mental health. The Xbox detox could last anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day, or even a weekend if you’re planning a trip away.

Delete their Xbox account

This is a radical step if all other options have failed, and you may want to sign up for one of our coaching programs before deleting your child’s Xbox account. However, if you’re determined to remove their Xbox Live account, here are some step-by-step instructions.

If you’ve found these Xbox family safety tips useful, please share them with friends and family.

Need help?

If you’ve set up Xbox parental controls but are still concerned about your child’s gaming habits, try our video game addiction test for parents. In just a couple of minutes, you’ll establish whether they may be addicted to playing Xbox.

At Game Quitters, we can offer you a free Gameplan call to discuss our bespoke coaching programs if their behavior is a cause for concern and you need expert support.

While social media offers many benefits and opportunities for young people, it also has a dark side. At Game Quitters, we’re committed to educating parents on the risks of adult-only platforms that are increasingly being accessed by children and teens. In this article we look at the potential dangers of OnlyFans for creators and subscribers, and offer support for anyone who may be using the site compulsively.

What is OnlyFans?

what is onlyfans

OnlyFans is a British-based social media platform established in 2016. Over the last few years it has experienced a surge in popularity, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, when transactions increased seven-fold.

Let’s answer some of the common questions we receive on our parents support group and other forums:

Is OnlyFans a free app?

No, OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform and users must enter their payment details to set up an account and pay to see creator content. See the typical monthly fees below.

How does OnlyFans work?

The platform has more than three million creators worldwide who share images, videos, and messages with subscribers (known as fans) for a monthly fee, which ranges from $4,99 – $49.99. OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of all payments.

What type of content is on OnlyFans?

There is a diverse range of content on OnlyFans – including fitness, travel, food, comedy, and music – but it’s best known for pornographic material posted by sex workers and strippers.

What is the OnlyFans minimum age requirement?

Due to the adult content on the site, creators and subscribers must be 18+ to have an account. However, younger people are finding ways circumvent the rules and provide false identity information.

Is it safe to use a credit card on OnlyFans?

OnlyFans is a legitimate social media site so it’s as safe as any other online platform.

Can I be anonymous on OnlyFans?

Sometimes, parents decide to access OnlyFans to see what their child may have been exposed to (or may be creating and sharing). But before setting up an account, they want to know: “Can you be tracked on OnlyFans?” It is possible to be anonymous on the platform if you create a basic profile with a random username and don’t include any personal information.

Is OnlyFans safe?

onlyfans dangers

If your child has bypassed the 18+ age restriction and regularly uses the site, you’re likely to have some concerns. So, what are the risks of OnlyFans? Certain dangers are specific to creators or subscribers, while other perils affect both types of user.

How safe is OnlyFans for creators?

Some parents are shocked to discover their child is creating content on OnlyFans even if they insist that what they’re sharing is innocent and harmless. Here are some of the main risks:

Online harassment

Creators can sometimes be exposed to online abuse if they don’t comply with a fan’s request or sent unwanted messages or comments for no specific reason. Other forms of harassment include bullying, stalking, and doxxing (when a creator’s private details are published online). This is why it’s important for creators to be as anonymous as possible on the platform. They should always be aware of what personal information could be gleaned from photos, videos, and live streams. Unscrupulous individuals can piece this information together to identify someone and subject them to a wave of online harassment on OnlyFans and other social media sites.

Sextortion

Another reason to stay anonymous on OnlyFans is to minimize the risk of sexual extortion or ‘sextortion’. If they’re identifiable, someone could threaten to expose a creator’s private life and share intimate images and videos with friends, family, and coworkers – and post the content on other more public social media platforms – unless specific demands are met.

Child exploitation

Despite the age verification process, children and young people are still being sexually exploited on OnlyFans. According to the BBC, child exploitation is happening on two fronts:

  1. Under 18s are selling sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves on the platform as a way of making money.
  2. Individuals are encouraging children as young as five years old to make and post indecent images which are shared on the site. This illegal content can then be easily replicated elsewhere online.

What are the risks for subscribers?

Having identified some of the potential risks for creators, how safe is OnlyFans for subscribers? Let’s look at some of the ever-present dangers:

Explicit content

Even if under 18s are only using OnlyFans to follow the lives of fitness trainers, influencers, and celebrities, they can still be exposed to inappropriate adult content. Pornography is rife on the platform and accidentally accessing this type of material – particularly when it’s violent and aggressive – is deeply disturbing for young minds. Viewing explicit images and videos can influence how they behave in early sexual encounters and exacerbate existing body image issues.

Overspending

As OnlyFans is a subscription service, anyone wanting to use it must create an account and add payment details. After the account is approved, the new user can start subscribing to creators’ pages to access their content. Subscription fees range from $4.99 – $49.99 per month, per creator. This can quickly add up if a fan subscribes to multiple creator pages and spending can spiral out of control. What’s more, some young people may subscribe using a parent’s debit or credit card without their knowledge.

Blackmail

It’s not only creators who need to be careful about sharing personal information on OnlyFans. Subscribers also need to be vigilant about not disclosing any details on the platform that could reveal their identity. If this happens, they may be susceptible to blackmail from predatory creators who could threaten to leak private and embarrassing conversations to friends and family unless their financial demands are met.

Common risks for creators and subscribers

While some risks of using OnlyFans are specific to creators or subscribers, there are other potential dangers that affect both types of user:

Phishing scams

Malicious people have been known to lure creators and subscribers away from OnlyFans onto third-party sites, where it’s easier to steal their personal information. These phishing sites are made to look legitimate (with a similar web address and design to other popular platforms) so that unsuspecting users will enter their login details, password and financial information which can then be stolen by hackers.

OnlyFans addiction

At Game Quitters, we’ve seen both content creators and subscribers become addicted to OnlyFans. Creators can get hooked on the attention they receive from fans which cannot be replicated on the same scale in real life. They can also become dependent on the money they make and feel compelled to produce more and more content to further boost their income. For subscribers, OnlyFans can become their drug of choice and they need to view an increasing amount of images and videos to experience the same ‘high’. Some fans also use the platform to escape from negative emotions or situations – it’s a place where reality is suspended for a while.

Need help?

onlyfans safety tips

If your child is accessing OnlyFans as a creator or subscriber, you can use this article to explain why they shouldn’t be engaging with the platform.

Have they tried to stop using the site without success? Is it negatively impacting their life? If so, they may be addicted to OnlyFans.

At Game Quitters, our coaching programs are designed to help young people get their technology use under control and families understand how to support them.

With so many social media apps available, it can be difficult for parents to keep track of them all. An increasingly popular online chatroom is Omegle, whose strapline is ‘Talk to strangers’. It’s no wonder that concerned parents are asking questions like:

“Is Omegle safe?”

“What are the risks of going on Omegle?”

“Should a 13 year old use Omegle?”

At Game Quitters, we’re committed to making time spent online a safer and healthier experience. That’s why we’re producing a series of guides for parents to understand the dangers of apps used by kids, tweens, and teens.

In this review we explain what Omegle is used for, the potential risks and how to make your child aware of them.

What is Omegle?

omegle review

Omegle is an online platform—accessible via phone, tablet, or PC—where strangers are paired up for a text or video chat. There’s an optional question to help match users to like-minded people: ‘What do you wanna talk about?’ But whether they answer the question or not, they’re randomly linked with anyone, anywhere.

So, why do kids like Omegle? In theory, it’s an exciting way to meet new people and broaden their horizons, but the reality can be very different as there are some very unscrupulous people ready to exploit the app and those who use it.

Who uses Omegle?

Omegle is becoming increasingly popular globally. In just three months (from November 2022 to January 2023), average monthly visits worldwide grew from 67 million to 70.6 million. Around 66% of users are male and 34% are female.

As Omegle is officially for people aged 18+, age breakdowns do not include details of all users, because it omits information about under 18s. But what we do know is that it’s more popular with younger people: over one third of users are less than 25 years old.

Many users access the app from other social networking sites. This is known as ‘referral traffic’. Some influencers use Omegle and post about it on other platforms. There have been occasions where social media stars have announced that they’ll be live on Omegle at a particular time and there’s the chance that followers may get randomly paired for a video chat. As of January 2023, referral traffic came from the following platforms:

  • YouTube – 40.03%
  • Reddit – 30.56%
  • Others – 10.77%
  • Instagram – 7.09%
  • X (formerly known as Twitter) – 6.37%
  • TikTok – 5.18%.

What are the dangers of Omegle?

dangers of omegle

Recently, we’ve noticed more questions about Omegle on our Game Quitters parent support group, such as ”Can I trust Omegle? What is the controversy with Omegle? Is Omegle safe to use on phones?”

The BBC carried out an investigation into Omegle which had some disturbing findings, including children exposing themselves to strangers on the site. Let’s look at some of the other reasons why Omegle isn’t safe.

Talking to strangers

Many parents are incredulous when they discover the premise of the app: two strangers are randomly paired to chat by text or video. Something you’ve been warning your child about since they were small is potentially happening in your home every day. And it’s as risky as it sounds. There’s also the possibility that children could deliberately or unwittingly reveal their name, age, location, or other details to strangers they meet on Omegle. This could have dangerous repercussions including conversations moving offline and meeting in real life.

Adult themes and sexual predation

Despite the home page of omegle.com saying, “Video is monitored. Keep it clean!” there’s no way that every conversation and video can be checked. Even Omegle recognizes that “moderation is not perfect. You may still encounter people who misbehave”. This means that pornography, grooming, and sexual predation are ever-present risks.

Unmoderated content

Although the main chat and video interface is supposedly monitored, users can also choose ‘unmoderated content’. Omegle’s community guidelines state that “nudity, pornography and sexually explicit conduct and content are prohibited on the moderated sections” of the site, which implies that this type of content is accessible via the ‘unmoderated content’ button. There’s nothing to stop impressionable children accessing shocking and disturbing chatrooms by choosing this option. All they need to do is lie about their age and they’re in.

Hacking

We’ve been asked, “Is Omegle safe from hackers?” and “Can you get tracked on Omegle?” On the surface, it is safe from hackers and trackers because it’s an anonymous platform. But, as we’ve seen above, some users can be persuaded to provide personal information to strangers they meet on Omegle and unscrupulous people could use this data to access a child’s online passwords and accounts, which could be linked to a parent’s credit card.

No age verification

Although the Omegle terms of service agreement states that the app “shall not be accessed or used by persons under the age of 18”, in practice anyone can use it because there’s no age verification and no registration process.

Lack of parental controls

Despite the risks that Omegle presents to underage users, there are no parental controls available to monitor their online activity. This means that parents have no idea who their child is talking to, or what they are sharing or being exposed to on the platform.

No instructions to block or report inappropriate behavior

There are no obvious instructions for reporting or blocking chats that may be inappropriate or offensive. Instead, the Omegle home page includes this wording: “Use Omegle at your own peril. Disconnect if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable.” It does warn: “You may be denied access to Omegle for inappropriate behavior, or for any other reason”. However, anyone who is banned can easily get back onto Omegle by simply changing their IP address and creating a new user profile.

Private chats can be shared

Have you ever wondered “Does Omegle record your video?” or “Does Omegle save chats?” Superficially, it’s a closed conversation between two strangers. But in reality, someone could video or screenshot chats and share them on other widely viewed social media platforms like TikTok or YouTube. This would be devastating for a child or teen, especially if they’ve been encouraged to say or do something inappropriate. It could even be used to blackmail them.

How can I make the Omegle app safer for my child?

Alarm bells are probably ringing if you know or suspect your child may be using the app. To help you navigate your way through the minefield, we’ve put together these useful tips.

1. Establish if your child is using the app

Having read about the risks of Omegle, you may be concerned that your child is using the app. But you should also consider they may not have heard of it. By asking about Omegle, you could pique their interest and inadvertently encourage them to check it out. Perhaps talk generally about the different apps they use and only mention the dangers of Omegle if your child brings it up. However, you may prefer to put them off ever using it by discussing the risks we’ve outlined above.

2. Explore the app yourself

If your child insists that Omegle poses no danger, check it out for yourself. As it’s free to use and there’s no registration process, it’s quick and easy to get paired with a stranger and start exchanging text messages or chatting via video. You can then decide whether it really is a fun and harmless way to meet other people from all over the world, or it’s full of inappropriate content.

3. Have an open conversation with your child

After exploring the Omegle app for yourself, have an open conversation with your child about how and why they use it. Have they ever encountered any disturbing content or been made to feel uncomfortable by someone they’ve chatted with? If you stay calm and non-judgmental, they’re more likely to be honest and feel able to tell you about any issues in future. If you’re uncomfortable with your child continuing to chat to strangers on Omegle, use specific examples to highlight your concerns so they understand your viewpoint.

4. Explain the dangers of sharing personal information

Don’t assume that because your child is aware of stranger danger in real life, they fully understand the risks of sharing personal information with people they meet online. Explain why they shouldn’t share their name, age, or location on Omegle or other social networking sites with people they don’t know.

5. Set up third-party parental controls

Although Omegle doesn’t have its own parental controls, it does highlight the use of third-party protection. The Omegle home page has a link to a ‘Family guide to parental controls’ by a nonprofit called ConnectSafely which explains how to choose filtering or monitoring products, and suggests some family-friendly tools and apps.

6. Look for safer alternatives

After reading this review, you may decide that Omegle poses too much risk to your child and ban them from having the platform on their phone or PC. If they’re used to spending hours on the app, it will be easier for them to accept your decision if you can suggest alternatives that are more age appropriate. There are also plenty of screen-free activities available, whatever their age or interests, to keep them entertained.

Need help with screen addiction?

safe online family

If you’re concerned about the amount of time your child spends online, you’re not alone. It’s a constant battle in many households all over the world. But how do you stop your child from spending so much time on their screens and make sure their screen usage doesn’t negatively impact their life? We’ve put together some handy tips on how to reduce screentime.

Sometimes, despite repeated attempts to reduce their screentime, nothing seems to work. This could be because they’re suffering from screen addiction and if this is the case, we can help.

If you’ve found this Omegle app review helpful, please share it with other parents who may be unaware of the risks. It’s part of a series which includes guides to Discord, Kick and the Wizz app.

Many parents are unaware that there’s a dating app for kids. Those who have heard of Wizz app feel concerned about their child’s safety and asked for a wizz app review that includes questions like:

“What are they being exposed to?”

“How can I protect them?”

“Should they be using the app at all?”

At Game Quitters, we’re not only experts in screen addiction, we’re also knowledgeable about other potential online risks. In this review, we look at the potential dangers of the Wizz app and how parents can make it a safer experience for children.

What is the Wizz app?

what is wizz app

Wizz is a social networking app that enables users to connect with people from all over the world, chat live, and share images and videos. They can select friends based on age, gender, location, and interests. The community feature brings together like-minded people who are into the same things: gaming, sport, music, film and much more. The Wizz app can be downloaded on the App store (where it’s described as “a safe space”) and Google Play.

This all sounds fairly innocuous, right? Well, maybe not.

Wizz has a swiping feature similar to adult dating apps and is sometimes called ‘teen Tinder’. Users can look at strangers’ profiles and choose to swipe one way to dismiss them or the other way to start a conversation. This is one aspect of the app that’s potentially risky for impressionable youngsters, especially with apps like OnlyFans out there as well.

But there are other reasons why the Wizz dating app may be an unsafe environment for children and teens. Let’s look at some of the risks…

Dangers of Wizz app

dangers of wizz app

Here are some of the potential dangers of the Wizz app and what parents need to know:

Age verification loopholes

Children as young as 12 can have a profile on Wizz but it varies by country of residence. Anyone who wants to download the app must provide their date of birth and upload a picture (which Wizz scans using AI technology to check they look the age they claim to be). But this system isn’t foolproof. There’s nothing to stop younger kids from asking someone older to take a selfie for them and inputting a fake date of birth.

Stranger danger

As a parent, you probably know most (if not all) of the friends your child hangs out with in real life. But stranger danger – with no guarantee of a robust age verification process – is one of the main risks of using the Wizz app. This means that scamming, stalking, blackmail, phishing, catfishing (luring someone into a relationship by pretending to be someone else), grooming, and sexual predation are all a potential perils.

Explicit content

Anyone using Wizz can be exposed to inappropriate and harmful content. Although it’s advertised as a place to “meet new friends”, most people perceive it as a dating app. This means that some users’ profiles are sexually explicit and live chat can quickly turn into sexting. But it’s not just words that can be damaging. Children and teens can be persuaded to share or swap intimate selfies with people they’ve grown to trust on the platform.

Foul language

If your child regularly uses the Wizz app, you may notice swear words and other profanities creeping into their vocabulary. This isn’t ideal in most situations at any age but it’s particularly inappropriate for younger kids to use this type of language and think it’s acceptable.

Drug-related conversations

Some Wizz profiles feature drug slang emojis which glamorize drug taking and drug dealing. And users can be exposed to seedy conversations about drug use via the app’s live chat feature with strangers from all over the world.

Ineffective blocking system

It’s possible to block another user for inappropriate or offensive behavior by tapping the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen. But some users have complained that it’s not 100 per cent effective: “I blocked someone on Wizz but they still requested a chat.”

In-app purchases and subscriptions

Although Wizz is free to download, in-app purchases and weekly or monthly subscriptions are available – and they are heavily advertised on the platform. Users can buy ‘coins’ to add more friends, or pay a subscription to avoid advertisements or be the top profile for a limited time. Vulnerable younger users may feel pressurized to succumb to these temptations.

No parental controls

Many parents are amazed to discover that the Wizz app does not have any parental controls. Read on to find out how you can make it a safer experience for your child in our wizz app review.

How can I make the Wizz app safer for my child?

how to make wizz app safe

At Game Quitters, we’re often contacted by concerned parents on our Facebook support group asking “Is Wizz a dating app for kids?” and “Is Wizz safe for my kid?” So we’ve put together these safety tips:

1. Download and explore the app

Set up a Wizz account so you can see the type of people and content your child is exposed to. It’s also a good way to familiarize yourself with popular acronyms. For example, you may wonder, “What does NFS mean on the Wizz app?” (It means ‘not for sale’ and is mainly used by gamers.)

2. Make privacy a priority

Check the Wizz privacy policy and your child’s privacy settings to see what they’re sharing. Make sure their location is turned off as a minimum.

3. Have an open discussion

Talk to your child about the potential dangers of Wizz (as outlined above) and the risks of sharing personal information with strangers. Encourage them to let you know if they’re concerned about something they’ve viewed or been asked to send.

4. Set screentime rules

If you feel that Wizz is a positive way for your child to be sociable and expand their circle of friends, help them manage their time on the app responsibly with our healthy screentime guidelines.

5. Delete the Wizz app

You may decide, after reading this review, that Wizz has too much harmful and inappropriate content, and decide to delete the app from your child’s phone.

If you’ve found these safety tips helpful, please share them with other parents asking “Is Wizz a dating app and do I need to be concerned?” or parents looking for a wizz app review.

Need help with screen addiction?

Wizz is a popular app with teens. If your child is spending increasing amounts of time on the Wizz app and it’s having a detrimental effect on other aspects of their life, they may need support.

If they’re also suffering from screen addiction, we can help.

Take the first step and apply for a Gameplan strategy call.

On this call, we’ll see if your family is a good fit for our coaching program where we get control over screen time in your child’s life.

If you want to reduce the number of hours you spend playing games like League of Legends or Valorant, you can uninstall Riot Client – the central hub that lets you access all Riot games. This article explains how to remove Riot Client so you can break free from compulsive gaming and start pursuing real life goals.

At Game Quitters, we don’t just help people to stop gaming completely. We also support players who want to get their gaming under control so they can balance screen time with other hobbies and activities.

Uninstalling Riot Client – your questions answered

riot games client

Of course there are other reasons why you may want to uninstall Riot Client apart from managing your gaming time. There could a bug affecting your PC that can only be fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling Riot Client, or perhaps you need to free up space on your hard drive.

If this is the case, you might want to consider deleting other games, apps and platforms too such as FIFA, PS4, PS5, Bluestacks and Discord.

Here are some of the questions we receive from gamers and families about the process of removing Riot Client from a PC:

Should I delete my Riot games before uninstalling Riot Client?

Yes, we recommend deleting all Riot games before uninstalling Riot Client because any games running in the background could disrupt the process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the search bar at the bottom of your PC.
  2. In the search bar, type ‘Apps & features’.
  3. Click on it to open the window.
  4. Search for the video game you want to delete i.e. Valorant.
  5. Click on it and select ‘Uninstall’.
  6. Repeat this process for all the Riot Games you have on your PC.
  7. When you’ve deleted all your games, empty your Recycle Bin.
  8. Then restart your PC.

Do I need to uninstall Riot Vanguard?

vanguard

If you’ve previously installed Valorant, then Riot Vanguard anti-cheating software will also be on your PC. You need to uninstall it to completely remove all traces of Riot Games from your computer. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Click the search bar at the bottom of your PC.
  2. In the search bar, type ‘Apps & features’.
  3. Click on it to open the window.
  4. Search for ‘Riot Vanguard’.
  5. Click the three dots and select ‘Uninstall’.
  6. Empty your Recycle Bin.
  7. Now restart your PC.

How do I uninstall Riot Client on PC?

Once you’ve deleted your Riot games and Riot Vanguard, you’re ready to uninstall Riot Client. But you may be wondering: ‘Where is the uninstall button for Riot Client?’ There isn’t one specific button, you need to follow the process below:

  1. Click the search bar at the bottom of your PC.
  2. In the search bar, type ‘Riot’.
  3. Select ‘Open file location’.
  4. Navigate back to ‘Programs’ at the top.
  5. Scroll down to the Riot Games folder and right-click on it.
  6. Press the trash icon to delete the Riot Games folder.
  7. Next, type ‘Run’ in the search bar.
  8. Type ‘AppData’ in the pop-up box.
  9. Click ‘Local’.
  10. Scroll down to find ‘Riot Games’.
  11. Right-click on it and press delete.

Why is my Riot Client not uninstalling?

It could be because you still have some Riot games on your PC. Follow our instructions above in the ‘Should I delete my Riot games before uninstalling Riot Client?’ section and make sure you delete your Valorant account as well.

How will I know that all traces of Riot Games have been removed from my PC?

Are you wondering how to completely uninstall League of Legends and Riot Client from your PC? Follow the instructions above to delete a specific video game (such as League of Legends) and Riot Client.

To make sure there’s nothing associated with Riot Games left on your PC, type ‘Riot’ into the search bar. If anything pops up, right-click and delete it.

Need expert help?

ps5 addiction

At Game Quitters, we’re here to support you or a loved one wherever you are on your gaming journey.

If you’re reading this article because you can’t stop playing a particular video game, we’ve produced some handy tips on how to quit playing League of Legends. The same strategies can be applied to other popular titles from Riot Games such as Valorant, Teamfight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra.

If you’re concerned that you or someone you care about may have video game addiction, take our short quiz to find out if you – or they – meet the criteria for problematic use.

Perhaps you’ve reached the stage where you want to live your real life instead of a virtual life. As experts in video game addiction, we can help – even if you’re the parent of a gamer in denial.

Take the first step today and apply for a Gameplan strategy call. During our conversation, we’ll see if you’re a good fit for one of our coaching programs.

Have you have heard of Kick, the new ‘creator-friendly’ streaming service? It doesn’t yet rival Twitch or YouTube Live in terms of viewers or channels, but it’s already becoming popular with streamers and gamers.

As experts in video game addiction, we’re always looking out for new platforms that people may start to use compulsively. This article explores the appeal of Kick and answer some frequently asked questions about the new streaming service.

Frequently asked questions about Kick

kick streaming logo

As Kick was only launched in 2022, many people in our community forum and parent support group are still unfamiliar with the new streaming service. So, here are some common questions and answers that we want to share with you.

What is Kick?

Kick is a relatively new streaming platform which is similar to Twitch, YouTube Live and Facebook Live. Creators can stream videos in real time. While viewers can subscribe to a creator’s channel, watch live streams and post comments.

What can you stream on Kick?

There are six main categories on Kick to make it easier for viewers to find what they want to watch:

  • Games – The menu shows video games that are currently being streamed, from massively multiplayer online (MMO) games to esports tournaments.
  • IRL – Content about everyday topics. Popular categories include just chatting, cooking, news, and travel and outdoors.
  • Music – DJ sets, acoustic streams, live music, dance and more.
  • Gambling – The most popular streams are slots and casinos. Other gambling content includes poker, sports betting and table games for viewers aged 18+.
  • Creative – Covers a wide range of creative themes including makers and crafting, digital art, video production and graphic design.
  • Alternative – This category has content that doesn’t fit elsewhere such as just sleeping, crypto and trading, sports and politics.

How much does Kick pay streamers?

kick streamer pay

Kick has one of the lowest (if not the lowest) revenue charges among streaming platforms. Creators receive 95 per cent of all subscriber income, while the platform retains just 5 per cent.

Kick plans to generate cash flow through advertising and is working on the basis that giving creators such a lucrative incentive will draw the best creators to Kick, which in turn will attract major advertisers.

How is Kick different than Twitch?

kick vs twitch

The main difference between Kick and Twitch is the 95/5 per cent subscriber revenue split that creators receive on Kick compared to the 50/50 per cent split offered by Twitch. Plus, 100% of all tips made on Kick, known as ‘Kicks’ are paid to streamers. Earnings can be withdrawn the same day so there’s no waiting for a monthly payout. And these earnings are based on hours watched and total viewers rather than a monthly subscriber count.

Kick has also pledged to make its terms of service as transparent as possible with clear rules on what is and is not acceptable. This includes strict guidelines around ethical gambling, a practice that was banned on Twitch in 2022.

How many users are on Kick?

kick streaming viewers

Kick is becoming increasingly popular, but it still has a long way to go to match Twitch statistics. Here’s how the two platforms compared in July 2023:

 

Current viewers
Channels now
Games being streamed
Total streamers
Peak online viewers
Peak online channels

Kick

55,365
2,106
4,675
520,251
573,641 (July 1, 2023)
7,385 (July 1, 2023)

Twitch

1,508,215
49,906
119,828
16,279,664
6,642,217
234,924

Why stream on Kick?

Creators are streaming on Kick for several reasons. Firstly, they can potentially earn more money on Kick than most other streaming platforms due to the 95% creator / 5% Kick revenue split.

Secondly, as Twitch becomes increasingly saturated with channels and streamers, the odds of success are very low for new streamers. Choosing Kick gives them more chance to stand out and attract viewers.

Is Kick safe? Does it allow NSFW?

According to Kick’s community guidelines, the platform aims to be “fun and safe for all”. The guidelines outline what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Live streams, videos and comments that contain nudity, pornography or sexual activity are prohibited. However, this does not mean there is no mature or NSFW content on the streaming platform.

The guidelines state the activities and material that must be tagged as 18+. These include excessive profanities, graphic depictions of violence, 18+ rated video games, game nudity, smoking and drinking alcohol. Kick also bans hate speech, harassment, threats, bullying and racial slurs. However, as with other online platforms, sanctions against anti-social behavior are difficult to enforce.

Is gambling allowed on Kick?

kick gambling

Kick does not allow gambling between users, or sweepstakes or lotteries. But the streaming of gambling games is allowed, depending on the laws and regulations of the country where the viewer is located. Gambling streams are particularly prevalent on Kick because they were banned on Twitch in 2022 after some of its biggest streamers threatened to stop using the platform if it didn’t change its policy.

However, there have been certain Kick controversies and criticism around viewbotted gambling streams (when automated programs or bots are used to inflate the viewer numbers on a live stream). As a result, the platform has made an update in a bid to stop view count manipulation. [5]

Who owns Kick streaming?

Kick was set up by Bijan Tehrani and Ed Craven, who co-founded stake.com (an online crypto casino). Top streamer, Tyler ‘Trainwreckstv’ Niknam is a non-owner advisor. Despite having a huge following on Twitch, Trainwreckstv quit that platform in late 2022 because of the gambling ban.

Why is Kick in beta mode?

Kick has launched in beta mode because although the streaming service is live, it’s still being tested and there may be further tweaks to improve the user experience.

Need help?

If you or a loved one are struggling to limit the time you spend on Kick, Twitch, YouTube Live or other streaming services, expert help is available. You can read our tips about how to stop watching streaming platforms like Twitch and Kick.

Whether you want to stop gaming or watching gaming streams entirely, or bring it to manageable levels, we have a coaching program for you.

Take the first step today and apply for a Gameplan strategy call to see if you’re a good fit for our Respawn gamer programor Reclaim family program.

After the 12-week program, you’ll be free from gaming problems and pursuing your real-life goals – studying, earning money, exercising, getting out of the house, hanging out with friends and having a better attitude.

PlayStation 5 (PS5) is the latest and most powerful gaming console Sony has released and is the successor to PlayStation 4 (PS4).

As experts in video game addiction, we’re often asked how players can delete PlayStation games and apps. Some people simply want to free up space for newer titles, while others are looking to reduce their video games backlog so they’re less tempted to play for hours on end.

Read on to find out how to uninstall a game on PS5 and possible problems you may encounter. Or check out our article on how to delete games on PS4.

How to delete games on PS5 home screen

ps5 game library

Follow these steps if you want to delete PS5 games you’ve recently played:

  1. Go to the home screen.
  2. Highlight the game you want to delete.
  3. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  4. Hit ‘Delete’.

How to delete games on PS5 library

If you can’t find the game you want to delete on your home screen, this is because only the most recent games you’ve played will appear there. However, you can access and delete any PS5 games on your Game Library – here’s how:

  1. Go to your Game Library.
  2. Make sure you’re on the ‘Installed’ tab.
  3. Find the game you want to delete.
  4. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  5. Hit ‘Delete’.

Top tip: If you’re struggling to find the game you want to delete, scroll to the right and click on the downward arrow icon. Then use on of the following ‘Sort by’ filters to quickly find the game you’re looking for: Most Recent, Name (A – Z), Name (Z – A), Purchased Date (New – Old), Purchased Date (Old – New).

How to delete PS5 add-ons

Another way to free up space on your PS5 is to delete any add-ons you no longer use, while keeping the main game. You can always reinstall them later if you change your mind. So, how do you delete downloads on PS5? It’s a very easy process:

  1. Go to home screen or your Game Library.
  2. Highlight the game with the add-on you want to delete.
  3. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  4. Select ‘Manage Game Content’.
  5. Hit ‘Delete’ next to the add-on you want to delete.
  6. Press ‘Delete’ on the pop-up to confirm you want to delete the add-on.

Does deleting a game on PS5 delete saves? Do I lose my progress?

A common concern when deleting PS5 games is whether game saves and progress will be deleted too. Rest assured that uninstalling a game on your PS5 does not delete your saved data unless you delete your game files, as described below.

How to delete game files on a PS5

When you delete a PS5 game, the data associated with it is saved in case you want to reinstall the game in future. But, if you definitely don’t want to play the game again, you can delete the game file, and free up some extra space, as follows:

  1. Go to the home screen.
  2. Select ‘Settings’.
  3. Select ‘Saved Data and Game/App Settings’.
  4. Choose ‘Saved Data (PS5)’
  5. Select ‘Console Storage’.
  6. Click on ‘Delete’.
  7. Choose the files you want to delete.
  8. Hit ‘Delete’.
  9. Press ‘OK’ to confirm.

How do I add more space to my PS5 without deleting games?

If you’re running out of space and don’t want to uninstall a game every time you download a new one, there are other solutions. To access all your games all of the time, you can buy extra devices and storage options, such as an internal or external solid-state drive (SSD).

Why can’t I delete a game on my PS5?

Even though it’s usually straightforward to delete PS5 games, you may sometimes encounter issues. Here are some helpful tips to fix the problem:

  1. Check your console is connected to the internet.
  2. Make sure your username and password are correct.
  3. Update your console software – you can experience game deletion issues if you’re not using the latest version.
  4. Restart the console – sometimes a reboot can iron out any system bugs.

If you’re still having problems after following these steps, contact PlayStation support for troubleshooting advice.

Need help?

ps5 addiction

Are you reading this article because you or someone you care about are playing PS5 games compulsively? Maybe you’ve tried deleting games or even deleting your Playstation account but it’s not enough to stop you or a loved one struggling to focus on anything other than gaming.

You’re not alone and we can help. If gaming is affecting your life, it’s possible to change.

At Game Quitters we have lived experience of having and overcoming video game addiction.

Take the first step today and apply for a Gameplan strategy call to see if you or a loved one are a good fit for one of our coaching programs.

There are limited spots available and we accept gamers in denial.

Do you want to delete PlayStation 4 (PS4) games to free up storage space, restrict the number of games you can access or because you’re bored with them? It doesn’t matter what your reasons are for uninstalling games from your PS4, the steps are the same.

In this article, we explain how to do it and answer some frequently asked questions about deleting PS4 games.

How to delete games from your PS4

Discover how to delete games on PS4 with our step-by-step instructions:

How to delete games on PS4 library

ps4 games library

People who want to stop gaming so much sometimes ask us: “How do I delete a game from my PlayStation library?” or “How do you delete downloads on PS4?” It’s a very easy process:

  1. Find the PS4 game you want to delete in your Game Library.
  2. Select the game.
  3. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  4. Hit ‘Delete’.
  5. Press ‘OK’ and the game will be uninstalled.

How to delete PS4 games on the hard drive

The Game Library is the easiest place to find your games but accessing ‘Settings’ from the home screen shows how much storage space each game is taking up on the hard drive. So, if you’re wondering, “How do I add more space to my PS4?” it’s a good idea to remove older games to free up room for new games. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the home screen.
  2. Select ‘Settings’.
  3. On the ‘Settings’ page, choose ‘Storage’.
  4. Then, either choose ‘System Storage’ to delete games on the internal hard drive or choose ‘Extended Storage’ to delete games from an external drive attached to your PS4.
  5. Select ‘Applications’.
  6. View your game list and how much PS4 storage space each is taking up. Use your controller to choose the game(s) you want to delete.
  7. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  8. Select ‘Delete’.
  9. Choose the game(s) you want to remove.
  10. Select ‘Delete’.
  11. Press ‘OK’ to confirm your selection.

How to delete apps from PS4

If you want to know, “How do I delete apps on PS4?” read on:

  1. Go to the home screen.
  2. Find the app you want to remove.
  3. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  4. Hit ‘Delete’ and the app will be uninstalled.

How to delete game files on a PS4

When you delete games from a PS4, your saved game files remain in case you decide to reinstall the games at a later date. But, if you’re certain you don’t want your game files or you’re ok to restart the games from scratch, you can delete them by following these steps:

  1. Go to the home screen.
  2. Select ‘Settings’.
  3. Choose ‘Application Saved Data Management’.
  4. Select ‘Saved Data in System Storage’.
  5. Click on ‘Delete’.
  6. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  7. Select the game files you want to delete or choose ‘Select All’.
  8. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller.
  9. Hit ‘Delete’.
  10. Confirm your actions by selecting ‘OK’.

Common questions about PS4 gaming

ps4 controller

We often receive questions on our community forum and parent support group about PS4 games. Players and parents discuss a broad range of topics – from how to delete your Playstation account, to how to uninstall a game on PS4 to what to do if someone is addicted to PS4 games. Here are some of the most common queries we receive:

Does deleting a game on PS4 delete saves? Do I lose my progress?

If you delete a game from your PS4, your game saves and progress will not be removed unless you delete your game files, as described above.

Why does my PS4 not have enough storage?

PlayStation 4 has 500 GB of storage, which can get used up if you install lots of games. So, if your PS4 does not have enough space, it’s likely you have exceeded the 500 GB limit. You can free up space by deleting unused games, apps and game files, as described in the instructions above.

How do I remove games from my PS4 home screen?

You can remove PS4 games via the home screen and ‘Settings’ by following our ‘How to delete PS4 games on the hard drive’ instructions above.

How do I delete games on a PS5?

You can follow our step-by-step instructions on how to delete PS5 games.

What can I do to stop myself playing PS4 so much?

If you’re not ready to delete all your PS4 games, try doing other things to get some balance in your life. Our hobby tool suggests alternative ways to spend your time other than playing video games.

How do I know if I’m addicted to PS4 games?

ps4 addiction

Take our video game addiction test if you think that you or a loved one might be gaming compulsively.

Depending on how you (or they) score, you may want to consider one of our coaching programs – Respawn for gamers or Reclaim for families.

There are also plenty of resources on our website, including articles, videos and podcasts.

Need help?

At Game Quitters, we have lived experience of wasting days, weeks and months playing video games. We are living proof that it’s possible to fill your life with more interesting and fulfilling activities.

If you or a loved one are struggling to control your PS4 use, we can help.

Get in touch to discuss your situation – we are used to dealing with people who are addicted to PS4 games but in denial.

Book a call now – please note that limited slots are available.

All video games are potentially addictive, but massively multiplayer online (MMO) games are usually at the top of the scale.

At Game Quitters, we understand MMO addiction because we’ve experienced it first hand and it’s our mission to help and support others.

This article explains the more addictive nature of MMOs compared to other video games, common signs of MMO addiction and how you can protect yourself from the grasp of these types of games.

What are MMO games?

guy against red dragon

MMO stands for massively multiplayer online games. These are often accompanied by games that include role-playing and can extend to MMORPG. Popular MMO games include World of Warcraft, Black Desert Online, Guild Wars 2, RuneScape, EverQuest, Final Fantasy 14, Rift and Ultima Online.

MMOs offer a world of unlimited potential: you can be whatever you want, you can have a loyal group of friends, you can travel wherever you want whenever you want, you can win, succeed and conquer challenges and feel like you’re always doing the right thing.

Sound too good to be true? Well, that’s because it is. Many people struggle to play MMOs casually because if you want to achieve anything rewarding in game, you have to put in more and more time and energy – and that can become addictive. There are other reasons why MMO is so addicting as a genre of video game too.

Why are MMO games so addictive?

It’s possible to become addicted to almost any video game, but when it comes to single-player, story-driven games, you usually play them a few times and move on. However, this doesn’t happen with MMOs. That’s because there are several elements that make an MMO game extremely addictive:

Illusion of improvement

MMOs have the ability to convince you that you’re improving in a meaningful way. This taps into the human tendency to be motivated to do tasks, complete them and improve your skills. As you become attached to your character, and since you are in control, you begin to feel like you are the character. Completing challenges and missions in the game creates an illusion that you’re growing and improving as you become more proficient.

Sunk-cost fallacy

When you start playing World of Warcraft, RuneScape or another MMO, you begin the game with pretty much nothing, and in order to build your character and obtain some items you have to put in the time and grind.

A few hours playing an MMO is like a drop in the ocean, whereas if you spent a few hours in a single-player game, you would have already experienced 25% of the game. It pushes you to play the MMO for longer and makes it much harder to stop playing as you’ve already invested so much time in the game.

This is known as the sunk-cost fallacy – when you think you have to keep doing something because you’ve put a lot of time, effort or money into it, even when it’s making your life worse. The sunk-cost fallacy is a big aspect of what makes MMOs so addictive.

Socialization

Humans are social creatures, and gaming companies create MMOs to satisfy and exploit our social cravings. A big part of MMOs are guilds, where a group of players teams up and takes on the challenges of the MMO world together.

When you join or create a guild, a new dimension of the game unlocks for you – accountability. You can’t just turn off your computer or console whenever you want, you have to schedule time to play with your teammates and you have a responsibility not to leave the game in the middle of a combat or raid. This adds an extra layer of commitment to the game. The amount of time spent on gameplay means that for some people, MMOs are the only place they socialize.

If you’re finding that the more you play MMO games, the more you want (or need) to play MMO games, and MMOs are having a negative effect on your life, it could be an addiction.

What are the signs of MMO addiction?

mom learning to spot the signs of gaming addiction

A recurring question on our community forum and parent support group, is what are the signs of a video game addiction? If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be gaming problematically, here are some common MMO addiction symptoms:

  • Constantly thinking about past MMO games or anticipating your next session
  • Feeling restless and irritable when unable to play
  • Needing to play more frequently to experience the same rush of excitement
  • Trying to curb the amount of time you spend on MMO games, without success
  • Neglecting other hobbies and interests you used to enjoy
  • Continuing to play despite adverse consequences
  • Concealing the amount of time you spend gaming from friends and family
  • Using MMO games to escape from negative moods or situations
  • Jeopardizing school, work and/or relationships.

So, what is an MMO addiction? If you have experienced five or more of the above signs in the last 12 months, you may be at risk.

Still not sure if you’re addicted to MMOs? Take our video game addiction quiz to find out if you or a loved one may have gaming issues.

My addiction to MMO – Cam’s story

I experienced an MMO addiction first-hand. Playing World of Warcraft was both the best and worst time of my life. I loved escaping into a new world, building my character and playing alongside my friends. But I also became addicted to the game and eventually I quit when my life got to a point where I wrote a suicide note.

If you’re struggling to control your MMO gaming, read on to find out how to start living your own life, instead of a virtual life.

How to break MMO addiction

So, how do you get over an MMO addiction? There are steps you can take to turn things around. Here are four tips to help you regain control of your gaming:

1. Do a gaming detox

Playing video games causes your brain to release dopamine, and this repeated behavior can have a similar effect on your brain as gambling, drugs and alcohol. The more you play your favorite MMO game, the more dopamine you need to feel the same thrill.

Our video explores what gaming does to your brain and includes useful advice on having a 30 to 90-day detox to help your brain reset to normal baseline dopamine levels. Taking a complete break can help you moderate your play afterwards or help you quit gaming for good.

2. Find replacement hobbies

While having a detox, look for new activities to replace gaming. You could learn a language, start a podcast, write a short story, take up photography or try a new sport.

Our hobby tool has dozens of ideas to inspire you to put down your games console and have a new focus. It’s also a great way to make new friends and socialize face to face. You don’t even have to take up a new hobby. It could be something you dropped because gaming took over your life that you want to get into again.

3. Schedule your day

Playing MMO games often occurs on impulse. Creating structure in your day will help minimize the urge to play when you have nothing else to do. Having free time is not a rationale for gaming, it’s a sign that you need to find other ways to fill your day.

You could use Google calendar – or whatever works for you – to schedule replacement hobbies, social activities, school, work, daily chores, moderate gaming and more. When you have specific times designated to gaming, it’s a lot easier to stick to those sessions and avoid the impulsive desire to play.

4. Switch to single-player games

In our experience, MMO games tend to be more addictive than single-player games. This is because single-player games have a pause button where you can save your progress and come back later, whereas MMO games are more focused on achievement and rankings. They continue even if you’re not playing, so you can feel a sense of FOMO when other people are getting further ahead.

If you’re looking to limit or moderate your behavior, try switching to single-player games or story-based offline games which are generally less risky.

Need help?

asking for help is not a weakness

If you’ve tried the steps above but are still struggling to develop healthy gaming habits, you may need professional help.

At Game Quitters, our gamer and family programs provide immediate strategies to stop the spiral and breakthrough denial. You’ll also learn how to improve all areas of your off-screen life, including increased motivation, productivity and social skills.

Take the first step today and book a Gameplan strategy call. Limited slots are available.

During the call, we’ll see if you’re a good fit for one of our coaching programs, where we can help you get your MMO gaming under control for good.

There are so many ways for kids to entertain themselves these days that keeping them safe can be a minefield for parents. As experts on gaming and screen time, we often get asked how to set up parental controls on games consoles and other devices to control spending, limit screen time and restrict online communication.

Now, parents are increasingly concerned about what their children and teens are watching on streaming platforms. This article focuses on how to set up parental controls on Roku so you can keep your kids safe, even when you’re not around.

What is Roku?

roku tv

Roku is a popular streaming platform that gives access to over half a million movies and shows on your TV. You can watch a wide range of channels and streaming services including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix and YouTube. You can also play video games on your TV via Roku 15 15. https://channelstore.roku.com/en-gb/browse/games × .

Roku is very easy to set up and use. Simply connect to the internet, set up a Roku account and start streaming what you want to watch. There are two ways to access the service:

  • Roku streaming player – a set-top box or streaming stick that plugs into your TV
  • Or, Roku TV – a smart TV with built-in Roku functionality.

The service has become increasingly popular since it was first released, in collaboration with Netflix, in 2008. By March 2023, Roku had 71.6 million active accounts worldwide, an increase of nearly 20 million accounts in two years.

Is Roku safe for young viewers?

family watching Roku

Many parents are concerned about whether the streaming service is safe. Roku offers some fantastic entertainment that’s suitable for viewers of all ages. However, with instant access to 4,000+ free and paid channels, there are potential risks of inappropriate content. Without supervision, young people may be able to access movies and shows that feature violence, sexual themes, strong language, and more.

So, can you set parental controls on Roku? Yes, it is possible – read on to find out how.

How to set up Roku parental controls

Are you worried about what your kids are watching on Roku? With Roku parental controls you can restrict access to unsuitable content and block the purchase of apps, shows and movies from the Roku Channel Store. Here’s our guide to help you set up parental controls and protect your children.

Create or update your Roku PIN

One of the questions we get asked on our parent support group is “Can you put a passcode on Roku?” Yes, you can. The first step to keeping your kids safe on the streaming platform is to set up a PIN. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into your Roku account.
  2. Under the ‘PIN preference’ heading, select ‘Update’.
  3. You will then be asked to ‘Choose your PIN preferences’. Under the ‘Making purchases and adding content’ heading, there are three options. The ‘Always require a PIN to make purchases and add items from the Channel Store’ option offers the tightest restriction.
  4. Next, create and verify a four-digit PIN – don’t choose something your kids may be able to guess. (If you already have a Roku PIN, you can change it here. Select ‘Change PIN’ and enter a new four-digit PIN.)
  5. Having set up or changed your PIN, you can decide who in the family needs the PIN to access content on Roku. You will see a heading, ‘Under Parental Controls for the Roku Channel’ – select ‘Little kids’, ‘Young kids’ or ‘Teens’ to require the PIN. The Roku Support page has a handy chart that shows the ratings – U, PG, 12A, 12, 15 and 18 – and whether they are in the ‘Little kids’, ‘Young kids’ or ‘Teens’ categories.
  6. Then click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Once the PIN is set up, you can decide if the content is appropriate the next time your kids want to add a channel or purchase a movie. It is a good idea to reset the PIN from time to time to be extra safe.

How do I hide channels on Roku?

Although the PIN will stop your kids from accessing inappropriate content on Roku, it will not hide movie and TV show titles when they are browsing or searching content on The Roku Channel, and some of the titles are suggestive.

How to remove Roku hidden channels

It is possible to remove certain channels after you have set up your PIN:

  1. Using the Roku remote or Roku app, go to the Roku home screen and choose ‘My Channels’.
  2. Find the channel you want remove.
  3. Click the ‘Options’ button (the * key) on the remote.
  4. Choose ‘Remove Channel’ and then click ‘OK’.
  5. Confirm you want to remove the channel.
  6. Repeat these steps to remove other channels.

How to hide content on the home page

As well as removing channels, you can also hide the Movie Store, TV Store and/or News Feed from the Roku home page. This is a good way to stop your kids from seeing everything that’s available on the streaming platform and removing temptation. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Roku home page and choose ‘Settings’.
  2. Then select ‘Home Screen’ and click the arrow in the right-hand corner.
  3. On the next page, choose ‘Movie Store’, ‘TV Store’ and/or ‘News Feed’, then select ‘Hide’.

Parental controls in third party channels

We sometimes get asked, “Can you block YouTube on Roku?” The answer is no. The PIN can only be used to restrict access to shows and movies in The Roku Channel, not third-party channels like YouTube, Netflix and Disney+. You need to go to ‘Settings’ in those apps to set up parental controls and help protect your child from harmful content.

Need help?

safe online family

At Game Quitters, we’ve helped hundreds of children, teens and families with unhealthy digital habits. So we know that setting up parental controls, isn’t the only way to keep your child safe on Roku.

Understand their online world

We recommend you familiarize yourself with Roku. By exploring the streaming platform you will better understand the potential risks for your child. It will also help you be part of their online world which is helpful for keeping the lines of communication open. If you show an interest in the type of content they’re watching, they are more likely to come to you with any worries and concerns.

Set up screen time limits and encourage other activities

As well as monitoring the content they are watching, you may want to consider the amount of time your kids are spending on the platform. Our screen time guidelines will help you set screen time limits and encourage healthy digital habits. Another way to make sure Roku doesn’t start to take over your child’s life is to encourage other interests. Our hobby tooland screen-free activities guide are packed with inspiration.

Get in touch

If you’re concerned your child may be addicted to watching Roku, book a call so we can give you expert advice and access to our resources.

Do you feel anxious and stressed when you sit down to game, rather than happy and excited? If so, you’re not alone. Many other gamers are asking themselves. ‘Why do video games not feel fun anymore?’

On the surface it seems baffling. There have never been so many games to choose from, and the sound quality, graphics and interactive elements are more engaging than ever before. But yet, you find video games to be boring. So in this article we explore what has led you to find video games to not be as much fun as you used to.

Why do video games feel boring now?

To understand why video games are boring nowadays, we need to explore how video games have changed over the years.

The late 90s and early to mid-2000s in the gaming community are regarded as The Golden Age of video games. A lot of all-time classic games were released during this period such as Super Mario 64, Halo, World of Warcraft, Half-life, and many more.

This time period of gaming is the most nostalgic and brings up many positive memories. There were no microtransactions, DLC, or other predatory mechanics that we see in modern games.

You see, back then, video games were designed for the enjoyment of the game. They were an art form and a way to connect a community of gamers together. Modern gaming is different. Today video games are designed to maximize the amount of time a player plays, and also the maximize the amount of money they spend within the game itself.

It’s not about a one-time virtual adventure anymore, it’s about engaging the player enough and making him or her think that they need to keep playing.

Modern video games are designed to hook you into playing and stay playing and video game companies know exactly what to do in order to achieve that.

It’s also why so many games feel like an endless grind. They are no longer innocent simple games to play and complete, because you’d finish the game and move on to another one and the company would lose your business.

Instead, gaming companies force you to grind monotonous quests just to get your battle pass rewards so you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your money. The innocence of playing a game start to finish and completing it is no longer there and instead games feel like a chore and almost like having a second job.

Are games losing their popularity?

gaming stats by age

Game designers certainly don’t think that video games are losing their popularity. The number of games released on Steam has grown massively over the last decade – from 434 in 2012 to 10,963 in 2022, that’s 30 games per day. And this doesn’t include exclusive titles released on other platforms.

Even the most hardcore gamer wouldn’t be able to finish all these games, especially as the most popular ones take 20-30 hours to beat. You can perhaps identify with that feeling of staring at your game library, unable to decide what to play, even if you have hundreds of games in your backlog. It can be overwhelming, and deciding what to play can feel more like a chore than a fun activity.

Why are video games less fun as you get older?

nostalgic gamer

For many of us, we’ve been playing video games since we were young. They are nostalgic and provide us with a lot of good memories. But as we get older, they can start to feel less fun, and more like a chore.

Here are three reasons video games become less fun as you get older:

Gaming burnout

Gaming burnout can involve emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by playing video games. But it can also include being tired and bored of gaming, and lacking the energy and passion you once had. Gaming is an activity you have done for a long time, and often, especially if you are addicted to gaming, it may be the only activity that you have.

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Whenever you boot up an older game or buy a new one, you may feel anxious because you are thinking of all the other games you should be playing. Or, if you play a certain game, you may worry you won’t be able to finish it before the next game is released. You can also experience FOMO when you’re unable to game because of work, school or other responsibilities. Fear of missing out can be this anxious state of being pulled in several directions, especially if you are being pressured to play by your friends.

Choice overload

Another sign of gaming being less fun as you get older is choice overload. This is when you are unable to play because you have too many options. The average gamer has dozens, if not hundreds, of games. Most of those games are not finished or were finished a long time ago, and whenever you boot up your system to play, you have so much choice and this can put you in a state of paralysis, leading to feeling stressed about gaming.

Wasted-time worry

Some gamers begin to question the amount of time they spend gaming. A nagging voice in their head starts to tell them that gaming is having an adverse effect.

A member of the Game Quitters community recently said: “Eventually the short-term reward from gaming will be outweighed by the long-term regret of missing out on your own life.” Maybe you are beginning to understand there are more important things you could be doing, or more healthier hobbies you could engage in, besides gaming.

How do I find video games fun again?

happy gamer

If you feel like video games aren’t fun anymore, but you want to find a way to enjoy them again, here are some tips:

  1. Take a break or quit – If you don’t have a problem with gaming but it’s making you feel a bit flat, try taking a break for a few days so you come back refreshed and able to enjoy your hobby again. If you’re concerned you may have video game addiction, perhaps you should consider quitting once and for all. If you don’t know which category you belong to, take our video game addiction test.
  2. Establish why you have gaming burnout – Try to work out why you feel burned out from playing video games so you can do something about it: seek support, get more sleep or try a relaxing activity away from screens.
  3. Play different games – Sometimes people ask us, ‘Why are video games less fun as you get older?’ but it’s because they’ve got stuck in a rut playing the same type of game. Perhaps you can reignite your passion for gaming by trying different genres.
  4. Find other hobbies – Maybe games are less fun because you play too much. Instead, find new activities to replace some of the time you play video games, and with a life of more balance you may enjoy games again.
  5. Look after your mental health – If you feel anxious or depressed, that will definitely affect the fun you have gaming.

Need help?

At Game Quitters, our community forum and Discord often have messages from gamers who feel frustrated that they have stopped enjoying their gameplay. And some of them can’t stop playing even when it’s making them stressed, anxious or depressed.

Our specialist coaching programs are designed for gamers and parents struggling with gaming problems:

  • Respawn is for gamers who want to quit gaming and improve their life.
  • Reclaim is to help families manage problematic gaming at home.

Take the first step to a happier life today and book a Gameplan call. Limited places are available.

Is Reddit taking over your life – or are you concerned that a loved one may have an unhealthy relationship with the platform? While it’s a great place to find out information about absolutely anything, or discuss your favorite video games with likeminded people, it can be difficult to know when to stop scrolling.

Reddit is the most addictive social media website – at least for me, anyway. I’ve tried everything to stop wasting time on Reddit before, including blocking subreddits and even individual users who would always keep me coming back. It got so pathetic I even tried to enable Reddit parental controls as an adult.

We understand the constant pull back to subreddits because we’ve felt the urge ourselves, and helped many other redditors whose work, education, relationships and health were suffering.

In this article, we explain how to delete a Reddit account and answer some frequently asked questions about the platform. Within less than a minute you’ll have finally deleted your account, and can go back to doing things that actually mean something to you. It’s time to become productive again.

Step-by-step instructions for deleting your Reddit account

Follow these simple steps to discover how to delete a Reddit account:

Step 1: Go to User Settings on Reddit

How to Delete Reddit Account

Log onto Reddit and navigate to the ‘User Settings’ area on the sidebar at the top-right of screen.

Just log on and navigate over to the “User Settings” area on the sidebar at the top-right.

Step 2: Click Deactivate Account

Reddit Account Settings

The only difficulty you might have is finding the link. You have to scroll down the page to see it. Click the button that says ‘Deactivate Account’, and a screen will pop up. (Please note that to delete a Reddit account is exactly the same as to deactivate Reddit account.)

Step 3: Confirm Reddit Account Deletion

Deleting Reddit Confirmation Screen

Finally, click the deactivate button and confirm your decision to delete your Reddit account. That’s it. You’re done.

After you’ve removed Reddit, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you’re no longer going to waste any more time pretending to absorb facts or catch up on the latest memes.

You can take comfort in the knowledge that you’re no longer going to waste any more time pretending to absorb facts or catch up on the latest memes.

Common questions we’re asked about Reddit

We often receive questions about Reddit on our community forum and parent support group. Unsurprisingly, people of all ages are struggling to control their use of the platform. Here are some of the most common questions we receive:

Can I delete my Reddit account on the app?

Yes – here’s how to delete Reddit account on app instructions:

  • Click on your avatar to open your profile menu.
  • Choose ‘Settings’.
  • Under ‘Support’, click ‘Delete account’.

What can I do to stop myself using Reddit so much?

If you’re not ready to quit the platform completely, try to do other things to regain some balance in your life. Spend more time with friends and family, take up a new hobby and find other ways to stop wasting time on Reddit.

How do I know if I’m addicted to Reddit?

Check out the common signs of Reddit addiction to see if you may have a problem and find out how to reduce your dependency on the platform.

How can I stop myself reinstalling Reddit?

If you’re worried that you may get the urge to scroll through Reddit the next time you’re bored, we recommend installing a blocker to prevent you from visiting the platform in future.

Are there parental controls on Reddit?

It is possible to set up Reddit parental controls to help keep your kids safe from online predators, cyberbullying and inappropriate content. You could also introduce screen time restrictions to stop your family spending hours online each day.

Will deactivating my Reddit account delete my posts and comments?

No, deactivating your account via the web browser or app will not remove any posts, comments or private messages. To delete your data before you deactivate your Reddit account, visit the Reddit website for more information.

Need help?

If you or someone you care about are struggling to control your Reddit use, we can help. At Game Quitters we have lived experience of wasting hours and hours on the platform. We know it’s possible to quit and fill your life with more interesting and fulfilling activities.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you – we’re used to dealing with people who are addicted to Reddit but in denial.

Book a call to talk about your situation. Please note that limited spots are available.

Dopamine has been described as the ‘modern devil’. But why is the so-called happy hormone potentially harmful? If you binge-watch TikTok, play video games all night or constantly check Instagram, then you may be addicted to cheap dopamine.

At Game Quitters, we’ve been helping parents and teens with digital and gaming problems for nearly 10 years. In this article, we explain the negative effects of cheap dopamine and share our tips for beating digital dependency.

What is cheap dopamine?

‘Cheap dopamine’ is a new buzz phrase that describes how social media, video games and other on-screen activities are hijacking our brains and controlling our behavior.

Drugs, alcohol and gambling can be highly addictive, but they cost money. Whereas scrolling through Facebook and Snapchat or playing Roblox and Among Us is cheap – you just need a smartphone and internet access. But it’s turning us into dopamine addicts and each like, swipe and share is feeding our habit.

Why can cheap dopamine be addictive?

At Game Quitters, we’ve looked at how dopamine impacts gaming, to understand why some people keep playing even when it’s having a negative effect on their lives. We know that dopamine is not the only cause of addiction – other issues such as peer pressure, genetics and environmental factors can also play a part – but the happy hormone is certainly a contributory factor.

Before we explain how cheap dopamine is linked to addiction, it’s important to understand what dopamine is and how it affects our behavior. Put simply, dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that makes us feel good. It’s often described as the brain’s reward system because it allows us to feel pleasure. We get rewarded with a surge of dopamine when we do certain things in everyday life like eating, exercising, shopping and earning money. This makes us want to do them again, to experience the same feelings of joy. The right amount of dopamine is positive because it makes us happy and motivated. But too much dopamine is linked to poor impulse control which can lead to addiction.

Let’s look at the dopamine theory of addiction to understand why this pleasure chemical can cause so much harm. When our body starts craving more and more of the dopamine ‘reward’, the brain cannot produce enough dopamine naturally and this can leave us feeling low. Only the enjoyable activity – which for many people is online entertainment like gaming or social media – can raise dopamine to the required levels. So, we do more of the activity in a desperate attempt to experience the same rush of pleasure. But our brain shuts down even more of our ability to get dopamine, so the vicious circle of chasing dopamine continues. As addiction expert, Dr Anna Lembke, explains: “We spiral into a joy-seeking abyss.”

As video games and social media apps are cheap and highly accessible, it’s easy for the craving to become compulsive. For these reasons, cheap dopamine, Naval Ravikant says, is the ‘modern devil’. With gambling, drinking or drugs you eventually run out of money, but online entertainment is limitless. You can go down a rabbit hole and resurface hours later because the next video game or Instagram story loads automatically. But each bingeing session makes us less sensitive to the effects of dopamine, and it takes more and more dopamine to feel that same pleasure or excitement. We become increasingly dependent on digital media to keep functioning and can this can lead to video game addiction or social media addiction.

The effects of cheap dopamine

So, what does it feel like to have too much or not enough dopamine? Here are some common symptoms of a dopamine imbalance so you can recognize the signs:

Physical symptoms include:

  • brain fog
  • muscle cramps and stiffness
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • memory problems
  • digestion issues
  • disturbed sleep
  • feeling tired and lethargic
  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • low sex drive.

Emotional symptoms include:

  • lack of motivation
  • poor concentration
  • no pleasure from previously enjoyed activities
  • impulsiveness
  • aggression
  • addiction
  • feeling sad and hopeless
  • lack of self-esteem
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • schizophrenia
  • psychosis
  • mania
  • hallucinations
  • false perceptions.

If you or a loved one have some of these symptoms and find the only way to relieve them is to seek instant gratification through social media apps, video games or other on-screen activities, you may be addicted to cheap dopamine.

What is healthy and natural dopamine?

how to increase dopamine

We’ve only talked about cheap dopamine so far. But on the other side of the coin, there are healthy and natural dopamine sources. These are difficult and less stimulating to engage with initially. For example, would you rather spend two hours reading a book or playing your favorite video game? The answer is probably gaming – an activity that feels good in the moment, but ultimately does not provide anything for the person doing it. Reading a book might not seem as attractive, but it provides tangible benefits, and is a natural dopamine source.

Cheap dopamine sources feel great in the short term, but in the long-term they can make you weak, lazy and unproductive. Whereas natural dopamine sources might not seem very enjoyable or beneficial, but over time will help you relax and learn. Once you adopt this mentality in theory, you then need to approach it practically by doing a dopamine detox.

How to reset your behavior with a dopamine detox

Doing a dopamine detox is key in order to get your life back in control and stop being a slave to cheap dopamine. You might think a dopamine detox means not engaging in highly stimulating, cheap dopamine, but that’s not always the case. It all comes down to you and your lifestyle. If you feel that doing a classic dopamine detox – which is not engaging in any cheap dopamine at all – is right for you, go ahead. If you think you just need to moderate and balance your life, setting time limits or avoiding certain activities can also be effective. The most important thing is to look at your life, see how much engaging in cheap dopamine is affecting you and then regulate your behavior accordingly.

You need to identify which cheap dopamine sources negatively impact you the most. Perhaps you don’t have a problem with binge-watching Netflix, but you do have a problem with gaming. If this is the case, quitting or limiting time on Netflix won’t solve the problem as you’ll spend even more time on video games. But, if you quit or moderate gaming, perhaps you can relax by watching a movie instead. It’s all about having a healthy balance.

Just make sure you don’t substitute bad habits with other bad habits. Finding replacement activities that give you natural dopamine sources is a good way to develop healthy habits.

Remember, engaging in this type of dopamine source might not feel good at the start, but with time will become far more rewarding than cheap dopamine.

Need help?

If you or someone you care about can’t stop scrolling Instagram, bingeing TikTok or indulging in marathon gaming sessions, we can help.

At Game Quitters, we understand it’s not realistic to live your life without technology. That’s why our coaching programs are not about no tech, but mindful tech – harnessing all the digital world has to offer in a positive way.

Instead of living your life addicted to the thrill of cheap dopamine, we can help get your digital habits under control for good and find other off-screen activities to fill your time.

Take your first step today – apply for a Gameplan strategy call so we can see if you (or your family) are a good fit for our coaching program.

We accept families with gamers in denial but, due to high demand, we have limited spots available and cannot accept all applicants.

Valorant is a free-to-play, first-person shooter game that requires no extra payment to unlock key features. However, Riot Games – the company behind Valorant – makes millions of dollars each year through in-game purchases, known as microtransactions.

This article explains how to check your Valorant purchase history to stay in control of your in-game spending.

Valorant Points explained

valorant points

Players can buy a range of items to progress in the game and enhance their experience using Valorant Points (VP). This in-game currency is purchased using real money. There are plenty of opportunities to spend Valorant Points throughout the game. They can be used to buy:

  • weapon skins
  • collection bundles
  • sprays
  • player cards
  • player titles
  • tier unlocks
  • gunbuddies
  • discounted items in the Night Market
  • upgrades to premium Act battle pass.

There is a secondary currency in Valorant called Radianite Points (RP) and there are two ways for players to acquire Radianite Points. They can either buy them with Valorant Points or earn them by completing the battle pass. Radianite Points are used to purchase premium content and upgrade weapon skins (that have already been bought using Valorant Points) by unlocking the full potential of the skin.

Players can see how much money they have spent on Valorant Points by checking their Valorant purchase history.

Step-by-step guide – how to check your Valorant purchase history

Although in-game purchases are often small amounts, a few dollars per item can quickly add up to a significant sum. For example, buying just 1,000 Valorant Points each month for US$9.99 doesn’t sound much but it’s almost US$120 over a year – and many players spend much more 16 16. https://valorant.fandom.com/wiki/VALORANT_Points × . Once players have Valorant Points, it can be difficult to resist buying multiple weapon skins and other in-game content, making it easy for spending to become impulsive and uncontrolled.

That’s why it’s good to get into the habit of checking your in-game purchase history so you can track every cent you have spent in the Valorant store. If you’re the parent of a Valorant gamer, it is prudent to regularly view their account so you can look out for any problematic behavior or take action if their in-game spending becomes excessive. We are often asked where is purchase history on Riot Games’ website?

Here is a step-by-step guide of how to view your Valorant purchase history:

Step 1: Visit the ‘Checking Your Purchase History’ Valorant page on Riot Games website.

Step 2: Login to your Riot Games account with your username and password.

Step 3: Once logged into your account, click the ‘Get Your Purchase History’ button.

Step 4: Your purchase history will then be displayed. It will show a breakdown of all the purchases you have made by date, amount of Valorant Points and payment method so you can check how much spent on Valorant.

How to control your in-game spending

If you or your child plays Valorant and makes in-game purchases, here are some tips for developing and maintaining healthy spending habits.

Establish a monthly budget

Work out how much you – or your child – is going to spend on in-game content each month and stick to it. Knowing your limit can help you resist the manipulative monetization tactics that are an integral part of the game. Set a reminder to check your Valorant purchase history each week to make sure you (or they) are on track and have not overspent.

Remove your credit card and bank details

Delete all credit card details and any bank information from Valorant to avoid unplanned or unauthorized purchases. It’s possible to link a prepaid gift card rather than a credit card for in-game spending This can give parents of Valorant gamers peace of mind. Visit the Riot Games website to find out more 17 17. Valorant Prepaid Gift Cards × .

Request a Valorant Point refund

If you’ve overspent on Valorant Points and then changed your mind, you can get a refund on unused in-game content and VPs up to 14 days after a transaction. However, certain items are non-refundable and not eligible for a Valorant refund including weapon skins bundles, premium battle passes and Radianite Points. For the full list of exclusions, visit the Riot Games website 18 18. Request a Refund Valorant Player Support × .

For more ways to avoid overspending, read our article: In-game spending: tips to keep your family safe.

Get help for Valorant addiction

valorant addiction

In-game spending is more likely to spiral out of control when individuals play Valorant for hours each day. As they progress through round after round, they are presented with endless opportunities to purchase in-game content. The thrill of buying new weapon skins or upgrading to a premium Act battle pass can become compulsive. If playing Valorant has got out of control, you might want to delete your Valorant account.

If you or a loved one are spending excessively and can’t stop, you may be addicted to in-game purchases and/or video games. At Game Quitters, our 12-week coaching programs are designed to help gamers get their lives back on track and families understand how to support them.

Get in touch to book your Gameplan strategy call and discuss how we can help you. Limited spots are available.

Why do some gamers feel exhausted, irritable and emotionally drained after playing video games? They may be suffering from gaming fatigue which can be highly debilitating.

In this article, we look at what causes gaming fatigue and share some tips on how to combat gaming fatigue if you or someone you know are affected.

What is gaming fatigue?

Gaming fatigue – also known as gaming burnout – is more than overwhelming tiredness. It’s a heightened state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion brought on by extreme and unrelenting stress.

So, who suffers from it? Gaming fatigue does not just affect high-profile streamers and professional esports players, it occurs across the gaming industry from amateur gamers to tournament organizers whose lives become consumed by video games.

What causes gaming fatigue?

Several factors can contribute to gaming fatigue – including insufficient sleep, poor diet and low mood – but the main cause is stress.

Many aspiring esports players put themselves under prolonged stress by engaging in marathon gaming sessions to try to make it in the industry. While professional esports athletes spend hours training each day to gain an advantage over their competitors.

Well-known streamers can experience sustained stress by hosting streams lasting for 12+ hours to attract more viewers and subscribers. That is not counting the time they spend posting content on social media channels and editing videos for YouTube.

Sometimes, amateur gamers are surprised that their energy levels are zapped. They ask: ‘Why do I feel sleepy after gaming?’ and ‘Can video games cause fatigue?’ But they are often juggling schoolwork or a demanding job as well as their hobby and this can cause gaming fatigue. The gameplay itself can also be stressful, especially if they are playing highly competitive MMO games.

How to combat gaming fatigue

healthy gaming habits

To combat gaming fatigue follow healthy gaming habits. If you are feeling overwhelming tiredness, the most important thing to do is sleep. However, there are other types of self-care that can help too. Here are seven ways to combat gaming fatigue and restore your energy levels:

1. Sleep well

Many gamers do not get sufficient sleep and suffer the consequences. Irregular sleep patterns can have a negative effect on your mood, energy levels and immune system. Here are some tips for sleeping well:

  • Take time to relax away from screens before bed.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Try to sleep for eight uninterrupted hours a night.
  • Do not get up in the night to game.
  • Avoid naps during the day.

2. Get moving

If you are suffering from gaming fatigue, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But, getting active releases endorphins that will improve your physical and mental health, and help you sleep better.

Take regular breaks to move around and stretch while gaming, and make daily exercise a priority. Start with a small amount of movement – perhaps a 15-minute walk – then gradually build it up and find a sport or activity you enjoy. If your sedentary gaming lifestyle has made you overweight, exercise will also help you lose weight and feel more energetic.

3. Game less often

If you are suffering from gaming fatigue it might sound obvious to play less often but many gamers try to power on through. With new games launching all the time, don’t pressure yourself to try everything. Just play what interests you and stop when it starts to feel like a chore. Gaming a little less often and taking regular breaks can help alleviate stress and make the gaming sessions you do play more enjoyable.

4. Reduce stress

As gaming fatigue is linked to heightened and prolonged stress levels, introduce some relaxing activities into your daily life. These could include:

  • Spending time outdoors.
  • Doing yoga or tai chi.
  • Taking a bath.
  • Reading a book or magazine.
  • Listening to music or a calming app.
  • Spending time with friends and family.

Stress uses up lots of energy so whatever relaxes you will boost your energy levels.

5. Look after your mental health

Losing interest in activities that used to make you happy – such as playing video games – can be a symptom of anxiety or depression. These emotional issues are not always connected to gaming fatigue, but they can be an underlying cause. If you think your mental health is affecting your relationship with gaming – or impacting other areas of your life – it may be time to seek professional support. Counseling can help to combat fatigue caused by stress, anxiety or depression.

6. Eat healthily and stay hydrated

Many gamers develop unhealthy eating habits because it’s easy to grab some junk food rather than choose a healthy option. Sometimes you may feel tired because you are dehydrated. A good way to keep up your energy levels is to eat regular, healthy meals and avoid junk snacks. Stay hydrated with water and limit the amount of caffeine, alcohol and soda you drink.

7. Find other hobbies

If gaming is having a negative effect on your life, it’s probably time to look for other hobbies and interests. However, you may struggle to think of anything to fill the void. One of the first places to look for inspiration is the activities you enjoyed before your life became consumed by video games. What pursuits used to make you feel happy and fulfilled? You could also check out the Game Quitters hobby tool for ideas.

Get help to limit gaming harm

level up irl

At Game Quitters, we are often approached about gaming fatigue by gamers and concerned parents.

If you or a loved one are showing gaming fatigue symptoms but cannot stop gaming, you may also be suffering from video game addiction.

Take our short video game addiction test to find out if you (or they) are gaming problematically.

We can help you or someone you care about break free from gaming addiction. Check out our specialist programs for gamers and parents:

Respawn is for gamers who want to quit gaming and improve their life.

Reclaim is to help families manage problematic gaming at home.

Take the first step and book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation with someone who understands problem gaming.

Burnout is a widespread problem across the world but does gaming cause burnout? Yes, gaming burnout is real and many players experience it. In this article, we examine the symptoms of gaming burnout and what you or a loved one can do to overcome it.

What is gaming burnout?

Gaming burnout includes the physical, mental and emotional symptoms of burnout that people experience from everyday life such as exhaustion, stress, depression and feeling overwhelmed or distressed. However, gaming burnout can also include being tired or bored of playing video games – and you’re not alone if you or someone you know are currently struggling with it.

What causes gaming burnout?

gamer tired of playing

Our article, ‘Gaming Fatigue and How to Combat It,’ explains that physical, mental and emotional burnout can be caused by several factors – such as insufficient sleep, poor diet and low mood – but the main cause is extreme and prolonged stress. The article includes six ways to combat gaming fatigue, or burnout, and restore your energy levels.

We’re going to look at the other aspect of gaming burnout – the reasons why some gamers are struggling to play video games. They may have too little time to juggle gaming and other responsibilities, so it feels like a chore. Or, despite having hundreds of games to choose from, they have lost their energy and passion for playing video games.

Most modern video games are designed to hook you into playing, even when you’re feeling drained and bored. They’re usually made for the sole purpose of keeping you online for as long as possible, buying all the DLCs and making the gaming company rich. It’s not about a one-time virtual adventure, it’s about making you feel you need to keep playing which is why so many games now seem dull. Video game companies spend a lot of time and money researching and implementing things that motivate a person to keep playing. So, you’re instantly bombarded with choices when gaming. You either choose to pay this amount of money or do a tedious task in-game until you unlock it for free. You either buy this new DLC or miss out on an ‘amazing experience’.

Video games aren’t designed for you to play and complete, because then you’d move onto another game and that company might lose your business. So instead they force you to grind pointless quests just to get your battle pass rewards, making games feel like a drag and almost like having a second job. This can strain your relationship with gaming and ultimately lead to gaming burnout.

However, dealing with gaming burnout isn’t as easy as simply stopping gaming. Unlike other hobbies, gaming often infiltrates into key areas of life including friendships and relationships. Plus, there’s peer pressure to keep up with all the latest video games, which is exacerbated by social media, so players continue gaming due to FOMO. But there are steps you or a loved one can take to feel happier and more in control. Let’s look at how to avoid video game burnout.

How to stop gaming burnout

how to stop gaming burnout

If you or a loved one are experiencing gaming burnout, here are three steps you can take to help overcome it:

1. Examine why you feel burned out

Step away from the screen and ask yourself why you feel burned out on video games. It could be due to stress, anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, boredom or a combination of factors. After you have identified the root cause(s), take action and do something about it. Whether you seek professional counseling, get more sleep, join a gym or practise other forms of self-care, you will feel happier and more energetic.

2. Mix up your gameplay

Perhaps you don’t feel physically or emotionally burned out but just incredibly bored of playing the same types of video games all the time. Try to mix it up a bit. If you always go for first person shooter games, it could become tedious. Check out other genres like indie games, sandbox, action-adventure or role-play games.

3. Take a break – or quit

If you’ve tried the first two steps and you’re still feeling physically or emotionally burned out and/or bored of gaming, try taking a break. Gaming shouldn’t feel like an obligation, so if you’re not enjoying it don’t force it. Take a week or two off and do something else. Watch a movie, read a book, hang out with friends and family, or find other interests and activities to fill your time. Our hobby tool is packed full of ideas to inspire you. If you’re unable to stop gaming for more than a few hours, despite feeling unhappy and unfulfilled by video games, it’s probably time to quit.

Get help for gaming burnout

control gaming

If you or someone you care about are showing signs of gaming burnout but can’t stop gaming, video game addiction may be an issue. At Game Quitters, we have the tools to help you.

Take our video game addiction quiz

On our website, there are two video game addiction quiz – one for gamers and another for concerned parents – so you can find out if you (or they) are gaming problematically.

Book a specialist program to get gaming under control

We have specialist 12-week programs for gamers and parents. Respawn is for gamers who want to quit gaming and improve their life, and Reclaim is to help families get their gamer back, even if they are in denial.

Join our support community forum

Join the largest online support community for those who are struggling with video game addiction and connect with like-minded people. For concerned families, join our Parent Support Group on Facebook.

Use our expert resources

Access a wide range of video game addiction support. Resources include articles, podcasts, webinars, real-life stories and videos.

If you need help, take the first step today. Book a Gameplan call to discuss your concerns in confidence and see if our coaching programs are a good fit for you.

The online world can sometimes feel alien to parents of teens with its unique words and acronyms. But anime – TV shows and movies inspired by Japanese animation – adds an extra layer of confusion as most anime slang terms are in a different language. In this article, we explain the most popular anime words used in plots and storylines.

At Game Quitters, members of our parent support group often ask questions about the terminology tweens and teens use online. That’s why we’re compiling a series of articles to decode the popular words, phrases, acronyms and hashtags that appear on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, and video games such as Roblox.

A-Z of anime terms

kawaii

This A-Z list of common anime phrases is designed to help parents with kids who are fans of Japanese animation:

Anime – An abbreviation of animation. Used to describe hand-drawn or computer-generated cartoons from Japan that are popular worldwide. Genres include action-adventure, comedy, drama, horror, romance, science fiction and more.

Baka – Derogatory term meaning idiot or fool.

Bishoujo/bishounen (bishie for short) – Beautiful girl or handsome boy.

Chibi – Describes something (usually a person or animal) that is small and cute.

Cosplay – It means ‘costume play’ and involves dressing up as a character from an anime movie or TV show.

Doujinshi – Manga (Japanese comics and graphic novels) created by fans for fans.

Ecchi – Content that is slightly erotic and suggestive without being too explicit.

Fan service – Adding something with no direct relevance to the story to please fans.

Gakuran – School uniform worn by middle and high school students.

Harem – A story where a character is surrounded and loved by a multitude of men or women.

Hentai – Pornographic anime with explicit and graphic images. Some accounts on OnlyFans contain this content.

Itai – Used to express pain – it means ouch, sore, hurt or painful.

J-pop – Japanese pop music which is sometimes used in anime.

Kawaii – Tiny, cute or loveable.

Kowai – Frightening or dangerous.

Kuudere – A character who keeps control of their emotions and stays calm in stressful situations.

Lolita – Japanese fashion style of Victorian-inspired outfits that are elegant and modest.

Mahoshoujo – Magical girl – an anime genre based on young girls with magical abilities. Sailor Moon is a popular anime TV series of this type.

Manga – Japanese comics and graphic novels.

Nani – It means ‘What?’ and is used in the same context as in English.

Otaku – Someone who is obsessed with (and potentially addicted to) anime, manga and Japanese culture.

Pocky – A chocolate-coated cookie stick

Q-version – ‘Q’ means cute so ‘Q-version’ means the cute version of a person or thing.

Ramune – A type of Japanese soda. The mouth is sealed with a marble, rather than a screw top.

Shonen – A genre of anime popular with tween and teenage boys. It often features a young male hero and action-adventure storylines.

Shoujo (or shojo) – A genre of anime aimed at tween and teenage girls due to the mainly romantic storylines.

Sugoi — It can mean terrible or awful, or amazing or great, depending on the context.

Tsundere – A character (usually female) who changes over time from being cold and disinterested in a love interest to being warm and friendly.

Ureshiii — Happy, glad, pleased or relieved.

Urusai – It has several meanings including noisy and obnoxious. When said on its own with emphasis, it can also mean ‘Stop it!’ or ‘Shut up!’.

Visual kei (or VKEI)– It translates as ‘visual style’ and describes a fashion movement among Japanese musicians that’s a bit like glam rock. Artists have elaborate and flamboyant outfits, hair styles and makeup.

Weeaboo – A derogatory slang term for a Western person who is so infatuated with Japanese culture (not just anime) that it takes over their life.

Yandere – A character (usually female) who becomes so obsessed with someone they will do anything to be together – and this obsession can sometimes become dangerous.

Yaoi (also known as BL or boys love) – Anime storylines which feature romantic relationships between male characters.

Yuri – A genre of anime that focuses on romantic relationships between female characters.

Zettai – Absolutely, definitely or no matter what.

Get help for anime addiction

Are you concerned that your child may have an unhealthy obsession with anime? Are they neglecting friends, family, other hobbies and schoolwork to watch Japanese TV shows and movies? At Game Quitters, people who are addicted to anime and manga come to us for support.

Our coaching programs provide strategies to help your loved one make positive changes, stop the compulsive behavior and live their best life.

Book a gameplan strategy call to see if your loved one is a good fit for our coaching program. We have limited spots available and are unable to accept all applicants.

New Snapchat slang words and acronyms are appearing all the time. Working out what they mean can feel like a minefield for parents trying to keep their kids safe online. And some Snapchat slang spills into video game chat such as Roblox.

As experts in gaming and technology, we’ve put together a helpful list of the most popular terms including PU, SB, MK and ISTG.

20 popular Snapchat terms and acronyms

a list of common snapchat terms and acronyms

So, what are some slangs on Snapchat? This guide to Snapchat slang is not exhaustive. We have based it on the top 20 questions we’re most asked by parents trying to decipher what their kids are saying on the app. Some of the terms are unique to Snapchat, while others are used across multiple social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram. We’ve listed them alphabetically to help you find what you need quickly and easily.

What does AMOS mean on Snapchat?

Add Me On Snapchat. Used to ask other people to add you to their contacts.

What does ASL mean on Snapchat?

Age Sex Location. Used to ask for someone’s personal details. We strongly advise against providing this information.

What does ESB mean on Snapchat?

Everyone Snap Back. It’s a request to everyone who sees it to send a snap to the user to maintain Snapstreaks – the number of days two people have snapped each other. Snapstreaks are commonly linked to Snapchat addiction.

What does FFF mean on Snapchat?

Follow For Follow. Another user will follow you if you follow them back.

What does HMU mean on Snapchat?

Hit Me Up. This is an invitation for someone to get in touch. For example, ‘HMU tomorrow’.

What does HRU mean on Snapchat?

How Are You? Widely used on other social platforms as well as Snapchat.

What does ION mean on Snapchat?

In Other News. Used to change the topic of conversation when messaging.

What does ISTG mean on Snapchat?

I Swear To God. Often used at the start or end of a sentence to emphasize a point.

What does LMS mean on Snapchat?

Like My Status. It is commonly used to encourage engagement from other users. Alternative meanings are Last Man Standing and Let Me See.

What does MK mean on Snapchat?

Mmm Ok. When said quickly it sounds like ‘Mmm Kay’ hence MK. Generally used to agree with a comment but sometimes can express an element of doubt.

What does NRS mean on Snapchat?

No Replies. Used to let others know that someone will be offline and unable to send snaps for a while. It is sometimes abbreviated to NR.

What does PU mean on Snapchat?

Pop Up. Used to ask someone to send a message or start a chat.

What does SB mean on Snapchat?

Snap Back. Another user is asking you to reply to their snap.

What does SB for Streak mean on Snapchat?

Snap Back for Streak. Another user is asking for a picture to maintain a Snapstreak.

What does SCM mean on Snapchat?

Snapchat Me. Used to keep a conversation going or to move onto Snapchat from another social media site.

What does SMO mean on Snapchat?

Serious Mode On. Used when someone is posting something in a non-jokey way. Another meaning is Shout Me Out which is used to request a shout out on Snapchat.

What is a snap score on Snapchat?

A snap score shows how much someone has been using the app. The higher the score, the more snaps they have sent.

What does SNR mean on Snapchat?

Streaks and Recents. The list of people a user has most recently chatted with on Snapchat.

What does WTM mean on Snapchat?

What’s The Move? Used to ask what others are planning or doing. For example, ‘WTM tonight?’

What does WYLL mean on Snapchat?

What You Look Like? This question should be a red flag because if someone doesn’t know what another user looks like, it means they don’t know them in real life. Sharing personal photos or videos with strangers on Snapchat is potentially risky.

Other online slang guides for parents

We’ve compiled a series of guides to slang terms, acronyms, hashtags and emojis used by teens on other social media platforms:

Need help for your child?

If you’re concerned about your child’s social media or gaming habits, expert support is available. At Game Quitters we have coaching programs, resources and forums to help your child regain balance in their life, and feel more motivated, inspired and productive.

Limited spots are available on our 12-week coaching programs. Book a call to apply.

Instagram has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It’s now the third most used social media app by US teens after YouTube and TikTok.

However, there has been an associated rise in Instagram slang which some parents are struggling to decipher, including terms like Instagram addiction. So, we have compiled a list of commonly used words, phrases, acronyms and hashtags.

Why do teens use slang on Instagram?

teens social media

There are several reasons why slang is so popular on Instagram:

  • It gives teens a sense of identity and belonging by using a shared language that not everyone understands.
  • Slang, hashtags and acronyms are a great way to get more likes and followers on Instagram.
  • Gen Z have busy lives and want to save time by using shortcuts when communicating.

A-Z of popular Instagram slang

Are you baffled by all the latest slang? Do you feel excluded from your teen’s online world? This handy guide is not exhaustive because new acronyms and hashtags are emerging all the time. But it will help you decode the slang frequently used in Instagram posts and comments.

AFAIK – As far as I know

AMA – Ask me anything. Used to start up a conversation

BF – Boyfriend

Caught in 4K – Caught red handed, such as using an inappropriate app like OnlyFans

CSL – Can’t stop laughing

Deets – Details

DM – Direct message

DYK – Do you know

ELI5 – Explain like I’m 5. Used to request a simple explanation for something

FBF – Flashback Friday. Used to share photos from the past on Fridays

F4F – Follow for follow. Someone will follow you if you follow them

FF – Follow Friday. Hashtag used to recommend other accounts to your followers on Fridays

Foodporn – Hashtag used when sharing food pictures or to describe food that looks delicious

FWIW – For what it’s worth

Ghosting – Not responding to someone

GOAT – Greatest of all time

GOTD – Gram of the day. Used to highlight best photos of the day

Hundo P – One hundred percent

ICYMI – In case you missed it

IDC – I don’t care

IDK – I don’t know

IG – Abbreviation of Instagram

Igers – Instagrammers, people who use Instagram

IMO – In my opinion

Instamood – Hashtag used when the photo posted reflects your mood

Lit – Exciting or excellent

L4L – Like for like. Someone will like your photo if you like theirs

MCM – Man crush Monday

MFW – My face when. Posted with an image which shows how the user feels

MIRL – Meet in real life

NoFilter – Hashtag used when posting photos without an Instagram filter

OOTD – Outfit of the day

Petstagram – Hashtag used when posting photos of a pet

POTD – Photo of the day

Regram – Used when resharing something on Instagram

Repost – Used when posting someone else’s content

SelfieSunday – Popular hashtag used to share selfies on Sunday

SMH – Shaking my head

S4S – Shoutout for shoutout. When two people promote each other’s accounts

TBT – Throwback Thursday. Used to share photos from the past on Thursdays

TMW – That moment when. Used to describe an experience

WCW – Woman crush Wednesday

YOLO – You only live once

For greater insights into the slang and emojis used by teens on social media, understand the slang of unique platforms such as Snapchat, TikTok and Roblox. Slang used by Gen-Z can also extend to the way they use emojis, including for drug use.

Need help?

If you’re concerned about your child’s social media or gaming habits, we can support you. Our coaching programs are designed to help teens and parents set healthy boundaries:

Get in touch to book a Gameplan call and discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

With 1.96 million apps available on the App Store, knowing which are safe and which are potentially dangerous and toxic can be an ongoing challenge for parents. Even if you are aware of what is currently popular, new apps are going viral every month.

To help you navigate the minefield, this guide looks at the most dangerous apps for kids, tweens and teens.

Common questions asked by parents

concerned mom about online safety

Some apps are harmless and pose no threat to your child’s wellbeing if used in an appropriate way, while others are a breeding ground for inappropriate content, online predators and cyberbullying.

How can you keep track of which apps are suitable for your child, and which are not? Parents have so many questions about the dangers of mobile apps. Here are some of the most common ones which may resonate with you:

  • What are unsafe apps for kids?
  • What apps do child predators use the most?
  • What are the most dangerous social media apps?
  • What are dangerous YouTube apps for kids?
  • What is the most toxic app?
  • What apps can be dangerous?
  • Which app is harmful in my phone?
  • Are there dangerous apps?
  • What apps should you avoid?

What are the 8 dangerous apps for kids?

warning about kids apps

Keeping up with all the latest apps your child wants to download can be daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the different types of apps that could pose a danger – from popular social media apps to lesser known secret storage apps. So, what are the 8 dangerous apps that parents should be aware of?

Chat apps

Chat apps – also known as social talking apps and messaging apps– have transformed the way we communicate. WhatsApp is the most popular chat app worldwide and is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. Messages, photos and videos shared through WhatsApp are relatively safe thanks to end-to-end encryption. However, strangers might still find a way to chat with your child on WhatsApp, so it would be wise to monitor your child’s activity.

Other chat apps pose more of a risk. These include Discord – where kids hang out and talk about gaming – which can expose them to a range of inappropriate content from radical views to pornography. Another dangerous messaging app is Kik due to its sexual content and opportunities to meet strangers in chat rooms.

Social media apps

Here are some features of the most popular social media apps among tweens and teens that parents are likely to find concerning:

  • YouTube – it’s not just the videos that can be unsuitable for children, the comments underneath can contain inappropriate content too.
  • Snapchat – although content disappears after 24 hours (which might encourage some kids to share inappropriate pictures), people can take a screenshot before an image vanishes.
  • TikTok – accounts are set to public by default so strangers could make contact with your child.
  • Instagram – the direct messaging feature can be risky because even if your child’s profile is private, strangers can still contact them.
  • Twitter – an easy place to access porn and kids don’t even need the app to view it.
  • OnlyFans – This app is not meant for kids, but many unfortunately use it. Sex workers, celebrities and influencers share videos, photos and live streams with subscribers.

Video editing apps

It’s not just social media apps that can be dangerous for tweens and teens but the tools they use to produce content for TikTok, Instagram etc. On the surface, the video creator and editor app Zoomerang is a harmless way to make videos, apply filters and add special effects. However, it has a dangerous location-tracking feature which means that online predators can pinpoint where your child is when they are using the app.

Secret storage apps

The very nature of this type of app means that many parents don’t know it exists – and that itself should be a red flag.

A secret storage app allows kids to hide photos, videos and other files in a password-protected place. They might use it to conceal inappropriate content sent to or by an online predator.

So, how can you check if your child has a secret storage app? You can start by checking your child’s phone for any suspicious apps. The app icon is likely to look harmless and inconspicuous, like a fake calculator. You can also search in the App Store or Play Store for popular secret storage apps such as Vault, Best Secret Folder, Hide It Pro, Secret Photo Vault, AppLock and Calculator Photo Vault. If there is a ‘Get’ or ‘Install’ sign next to them there is no cause for concern. However, if any have ‘Open’ next to them, it means the app is installed on your child’s phone.

Anonymous apps

Anonymous apps are as risky as they sound and have a huge potential for cyberbullying, sexual content and spreading malicious rumors. Apps like Tellonym and Yik Yak are popular with teenagers who can anonymously ask questions and share information with strangers without having to set up an account. Omegle, an anonymous video chatting app, is potentially more dangerous as kids can be exposed to graphic sexual content. Predators can use the app to groom children and share photos and videos afterwards.

Live streaming apps

Live streaming apps are highly risky for impressionable tween and teens. The videos are live, unmonitored and uncensored, so there is nothing to protect kids from inappropriate content. Certain live streaming apps have features which are particularly concerning:

  • Live.Me shares the broadcaster’s location and allows users to pay others for photos.
  • Twitch allows private messages called ‘whispers’. These can be sent to anyone if you know their username.
  • Bigo Live has no age verification and users must provide personal info such as their age and location.
  • Houseparty allows users to send links via chat and take screenshots.

Dating apps

So, how dangerous are dating apps for kids? Many teens use dating apps- such as Yubo, Spotafriend, Mylol and Hot or Not – out of curiosity with no intention of meeting up with anyone in person. However, they pose worrying online dangers for teenagers.

Dating apps can be a magnet for sexual predators who can pretend to be someone much younger by entering a false birthday when registering on the site. Plus, dating profiles can include intimate photos and explicit videos. If you discover your child has a dating app on their phone, encourage them to delete it and use the opportunity to talk to them about online safety.

Video game apps

Although there are many benefits of playing video games, some mobile apps can be risky for young players.

Many popular multiplayer games, including Among Us and Fortnite, have an in-game chat feature which can attract online predators. Some video game apps feature adult content like weed-dealing in Drug Grand Mafia, and violence and murder in Grand Theft Auto IV.

So, what can you do to keep your gamer safe online? There isn’t a dangerous apps list we can share because there are new mobile games being launched every month. But you can regularly ask your child what they are playing to check its age appropriate and get involved in their gameplay. You can also follow this list of healthy gaming habits by age.

How to protect your child from dangerous apps

safe online family

So, how can you keep your child safe online without denying them access to all the latest apps? We recommend using this guide to complement your own research into online safety, having an open conversation about the potential risks and regularly monitoring which apps they are using.

Sometimes, young gamers become addicted to certain apps – like Discord or Twitch – which can be linked to video game addiction. If your child is gaming problematically, we can help.

At Game Quitters, our Respawn program is designed to get their gaming under control and our Reclaim program is for families affected by gaming.

To find out more, get in touch to book your free Gameplan call.

BTC, CNP, LMAD… Does it feel like your kids are speaking another language when they play Roblox? Every generation has its own words and phrases – it’s a way of establishing identity and feeling a sense of belonging.

But when the slang involves gaming, it’s useful to understand what they’re saying so you know they’re playing safely and responsibly. In this article we give parents a lowdown on the latest Roblox slang.

What is Roblox slang?

roblox terms

Having a good connection with your child is important as a preventative measure for mental health problems and video game addiction. But it’s difficult to feel part of their world if you don’t understand what they’re saying.

At Game Quitters, we have coaching programs and support groups for families experiencing gaming problems. We’re often asked to translate what kids are saying to help break down communication barriers, especially when it comes to the question of whether or not Roblox is safe for kids

Here are some examples of what baffled parents want to know about Roblox slang:

  • Does BTC mean the B word in Roblox?
  • What does ABC for a girl mean in Roblox?
  • What does BBG mean on Roblox?
  • What does F4 mean in Roblox?
  • What is CNP Roblox slang?

To help decipher these abbreviations, acronyms and more, we’ve put together a glossary of Roblox slang.

Glossary of Roblox words and acronyms for parents

Here’s our round-up of the latest Roblox slang. Some of these words and acronyms are used on other video games and social media platforms too.

ABC – This doesn’t stand for anything. ABC means asking another player (or telling another player you’re ready) to make an offer, trade or perform a task in Roblox, such as roleplaying in a game.

AFK – Away from keyboard. Players say this when taking a break from the game for a while.

Banned Forever – A Roblox account has been banned.

BBG – Baby girl. Usually meant as an insult.

Beamed/beaming – Stealing limited edition items from another player.

Bloxxed – Defeated or killed.

Boomer – Term players use to describe their parents, often in a derogatory way when they are using Roblox parental controls.

BRB – Be right back. Used when a player needs to leave the game for a short time.

BTC – This has two meanings on Roblox – either Bitcoin or ‘Because they can’.

Bypass – To get round Roblox’s chat filter – successfully sending a message that should have been filtered.

CNP – Copy and paste. A derogatory term used to describe a player with a boring avatar.

Comped – Compromised. A way of saying that a Roblox account has been hacked.

CordDiscord, a popular app used by gamers for voice, video and text messaging. However, Discord can be addictive and it’s easy for strangers to infiltrate. If your child mentions Cord or Discord, use it as an opportunity to discuss online safety.

DM – Direct message. To ask a player to message privately on the Roblox chat feature.

Dog water – Used to criticise another player’s performance.

Fat legs – Derogatory term to describe an avatar where a female torso and default legs are used which many feel is ugly.

F4 – To quit or end the game.

FFA – Free for all. A game with no teams where it’s every player for themselves.

GG – Good game. Usually said at the end of a Roblox session.

G2G/GTG – Got to go. Used to let other players know someone needs to go offline.

Go commit – Go kill yourself. Used by malicious players. A red flag for parents.

IG – In game. Things that happen within the game, including in-game purchases and features. Can also be short for Instagram.

ISTG – I swear to God. This has different meanings depending on the context – from expressing frustration to emphasizing something.

LMAD – Let’s make a deal. This indicates a player wants to trade.

Logged Out – Means the game has logged the user out of their account which can occur for a variety of reasons or bugs.

Lua – A coding language used to create games in Roblox.

Noob – Someone who’s a beginner at Roblox and hasn’t learnt all the rules yet. Can be used in a derogatory way.

Obby/Obbie – Obstacle course. A popular type of game to make or play in Roblox.

PTS – Permission to speak. Used on certain servers to request permission before speaking.

PS – Private server – also known as VIP server. Can be set up to play Roblox exclusively with friends but there’s usually a monthly cost.

Pwn/Pwned – To dominate or defeat someone in a game.

Reeee (with any numbers of Es). Used to mimic a scream / as a way of expressing anger or frustration.

Robloxian – Someone who plays Roblox.

SMH – Shaking my head. To show disappointment – often in a jokey way. It can also mean ‘so much hate’ which is often used in a self-depreciating way.

SOZ – Sorry. Used generally online.

TT – Til tomorrow. A way of signing off from a game. Can also mean TikTok.

Voice – Often used to signal to a player to speak on voice chat.

XD – Used to mimic a laughing face emoji in online chat.

Need help for gaming problems?

If you’re still struggling to connect with your child, despite reading our glossary of Roblox terms, and you’re worried about a possible Roblox addiction or their gaming habits in general, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.

Our tutorials can also help you delete your Roblox account or other game accounts.

You can also book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

Snapchat is a fun and harmless way to message friends and send photos and videos, known as snaps, when used responsibly. However, some users can’t stop snapping, and it’s affecting their mental health and well-being, including developing into a Snapchat addiction.

In this article, we explain the potential dangers of Snapchat and why the messaging app can be so addictive.

Who uses Snapchat?

snapchat statistics

Snapchat is hugely popular with teenagers. According to a Pew Research Group study 19 19. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/08/10/teens-social-media-and-technology-2022/ × , 62% of US teens aged 13 to 17 used the app in 2022, making it the fourth most visited social media platform after YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. The study also found that 15% of US teens are using Snapchat ‘almost constantly’.

Kate, a 15-year-old British teen, recently started using the app after feeling peer pressure to download it: “It’s an expectation to have Snapchat. I would feel really left out if I didn’t have it now – everyone I know uses it.”

Statistics are not readily available for younger users because the minimum age is officially 13. However, tweens are still likely to be using Snapchat – date of birth information is required to access the app but Snapchat doesn’t appear to verify the information.

More Snapchat statistics and demographics from Omnicore 20 20. https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/ × :

  • Around 51% of Snapchat users are female and 49% are male.
  • Snapchat has 375 million daily active users – 88.5 million of whom are in the US.
  • Over 4 billion snaps (photos and videos) are created every day.
  • Snapchatters open the app 30+ times a day on average.
  • Daily active users spend at least 30 minutes on Snapchat.
  • The top reasons why people use Snapchat are to stay in touch with friends, share photos, and use filters and lenses.

Although there are no Snapchat addiction statistics available, a recent report suggested that over 12% of tweens and 34% of teens in the US could be addicted to social media.

What are the pros and cons of Snapchat?

Some people believe that Snapchat is dangerous and toxic, while others argue there are benefits of using the app. Let’s look at the pros and cons of Snapchat:

Positive effects of Snapchat

  • In a report commissioned by Snapchat, 95% of users said the app makes them feel happier because they can be themselves, connect with friends and share their daily lives. 21 21. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/snapchat-releases-new-report-on-how-and-why-people-use-different-social-app/545552/ ×
  • Teens have a place to socialize and connect with friends that’s easy to access 24/7.
  • Users can send photos and videos that (in theory) are automatically erased so anything that’s embarrassing will not be around forever.
  • The app is hugely appealing to teens thanks to the fun filters that can be added to photos and videos, plus it has games, quizzes, celebrity videos and entertainment channels.
  • There’s less risk of stranger danger because a person’s phone number and username are needed in order to engage with them.

Negative effects of Snapchat

  • As messages, photos and videos automatically disappear, users can be lulled into a false sense of security and share more sensitive content than they would on other apps. However, the receiver can screenshot the content while it’s live and share it with others, so it’s not really gone.
  • Cyberbullying is a common occurrence with bullies taking advantage of the fact that messages are time limited.
  • Parents are unable to monitoring their child’s activity on Snapchat because information sent and received is automatically deleted.
  • The unrealistic images presented by selfie filters has led people to question how is Snapchat affecting mental health and well-being. The platform can cause self-esteem issues, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more.
  • Snap Map is a feature that allows users to share their physical location with people on their friends list. This can be risky if teens have contacts who are not real friends.
  • Snapstreak is another feature that can have a negative impact on users, and lead to compulsive and problematic behavior – see below.

What makes Snapchat so addictive?

The main reason why Snapchat can be so addictive is the Snapstreak feature. On Instagram, a user’s popularity is measured by likes, whereas status on Snapchat is all about maintaining a streak. It’s common when an app is dangerous to include predatory design features.

A Snapstreak is the number of days two people have snapped each other. To keep the streak going, they must send at least one snap every 24 hours. Some teens manage multiple streaks at once and the pressure of keeping them all going can become an obsession, which can lead to Snapchat addiction.

Teens and young adults are particularly vulnerable to Snapchat addiction because their prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that controls impulsive and compulsive behavior) does not fully develop until their mid-twenties.

Signs of Snapchat addiction

If you think you may be addicted to Snapchat, or you have a teenage son or daughter addicted to Snapchat, here are some warning signs:

  • Feeling an uncontrollable urge to use Snapchat – it’s the first thing you check each morning and the last thing you check each night.
  • Going to any lengths to maintain your snapstreak – even giving your login details to friends so they can maintain your streak if you’re unable to yourself.
  • Looking for potential Snapchat story material everywhere you go.
  • Posting Snapchat stories that are more than two minutes long rather than a quick ‘snap’.
  • Needing to spend more and more time on Snapchat to experience the same ‘high’.
  • Attempting to control, cut down or stop using Snapchat without success.
  • Feeling irritable, restless or anxious when not using Snapchat.
  • Using Snapchat to escape from negative emotions and real-life problems.
  • Spending so much time on Snapchat that you neglect friends, family, school or work commitments.
  • Losing interest in all other hobbies and activities you used to enjoy.

How to stop Snapchat addiction

So, how do you break a Snapchat addiction? Here are some tips to help you or your teen develop a healthier relationship with the app:

Disable notifications

Turning off notifications is one of the easiest ways to stop yourself being controlled by Snapchat. Simply tap the profile icon in the top left of the screen, tap the gear icon in the top right corner, tap ‘Notifications’, then untick ‘Enable Notifications’ to disable all Snapchat alerts. You can also put your phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode or turn off the sound so you are not tempted to take a peek every time you hear it vibrate.

Delete your conversations

Clear all your Snapchat conversations on a weekly basis so you feel less compelled to engage in mindless chat. In ‘Settings’, go to ‘Account Actions’, tap ‘Clear Conversations’ and then tap the ‘X’ next to a name to clear the conversation. You may prefer to archive your conversations rather than deleting them completely. To do this, tap the clock icon near the top of the chat window.

Fill your time with other activities

Find other ways to spend your time so that Snapchat isn’t your only interest. Our hobby tool has over 70 ideas for new and mainly off-screen activities.

Talk to your teen

If you think your teen might be addicted to Snapchat, have an open conversation about it. Find out why they have become so reliant on the app to get to the root cause of their addiction. In our experience, many teens use social media to escape from reality or to seek attention and approval from peers. Learn techniques to speak with your son or daughter about their technology-use in our free Parent Support Group on Facebook.

Take a break

Spend some time away from Snapchat, even if this means breaking your snapstreaks, but find other ways to socialize to avoid FOMO. Suggest meeting up with friends in person and sharing real-life experiences instead of chatting with them on the app.

Remove the Snapchat app

If you or your teen find it impossible to take a break from Snapchat, you could consider deleting the app to remove the temptation to constantly check it.

If you’ve tried our tips above and they haven’t worked, you may be wondering, ‘Why am I so addicted to Snapchat and why can’t I stop using the app’? You may need professional help.

How to get help for Snapchat addiction

If you or someone you care about are showing signs of Snapchat addiction, you don’t need to struggle alone. At Game Quitters, our coaching programs are designed to give individuals and families the tools and motivation to regain control of technology.

For more information about how we help with Snapchat addiction, get in touch to book your Gameplan Strategy Call. Limited spots are available.

OnlyFans is a social media platform available by subscription. Content creators – including sex workers, celebrities and influencers – share videos, photos and live streams with subscribers, known as fans.

In this article, we highlight the common signs of OnlyFans addiction and explain what to do if you or a loved one are struggling to control your usage.

Is OnlyFans harmful?

harms of onlyfans

OnlyFans may seem like harmless fun, but it has a dark side and is a dangerous app. As well as easy access to pornography, users have been exposed to harassment, stalking and even identity theft and sex trafficking. However, there are no reliable OnlyFans statistics available to show how many users have been negatively affected by these issues.

If you are a concerned loved one, you may have some questions such as:

  • Is OnlyFans bad for my relationship?
  • My husband has an OnlyFans account – is OnlyFans cheating?
  • My partner doesn’t understand why OnlyFans is wrong – what can I do?

We suggest you have an open conversation with your partner about why and how they use the site. Some couples find that OnlyFans puts a strain on their relationship, while for others it can inject some excitement into their lives. In our experience, one of the most common risks of OnlyFans is addiction.

Why is OnlyFans so addictive?

onlyfans logo and money

OnlyFans can become addictive for both fans and content creators.

When fans spend on the platform, dopamine is released and their brain identifies it as a rewarding activity which they should repeat. As a result, some individuals feel compelled to consume more content to recreate the same feeling – like the high experienced when gambling or taking drugs. They can also become addicted to the thrill of engaging in something taboo or risky, especially when viewing sexually explicit content. This can lead to compulsive spending, with some users racking up thousands of dollars on credit cards to fund their habit 22 22. My boyfriend blew $10K on his OnlyFans addiction — while I was nursing newborn × .

Creators can become dependent on the attention and validation they receive from their audience. They can also become reliant on the platform for the money they can make from sharing content. Once they have become used to this income stream, it can be difficult to give it up.

Both fans and creators may compulsively check and post on the platform to escape from negative emotions or difficult situations, or to relieve boredom or loneliness.

10 signs of OnlyFans addiction

signs of onlyfans addiction

You may be wondering whether you’re addicted to the platform; how much OnlyFans is too much? Everyone experiences addiction differently but here are some common signs that you need to curb your usage:

  1. You’re unable to cut down or control the time you spend OnlyFans, despite repeated attempts.
  2. You’re constantly preoccupied with the content you have viewed or created.
  3. You experience withdrawal symptoms – such as irritability, anxiety or stress – when you’re unable to access the platform.
  4. You need to spend increasing amounts of time watching or creating content to experience the same high.
  5. You have lost your enthusiasm for other activities – OnlyFans is your only interest.
  6. You continue to log onto the site despite negative consequences.
  7. You lie to loved ones about the extent to which you use the platform and are evasive if they ask how to see OnlyFans purchase history.
  8. You use the platform as escapism to avoid negative aspects of your life.
  9. You have neglected work, school, relationships and other important responsibilities to spend more time on OnlyFans.
  10. You feel compelled to constantly refresh your feed to check for notifications and messages.

5 ways to break your OnlyFans addiction

If OnlyFans is having a negative impact on your life, there are steps you can take to change your unhealthy patterns of behavior. But first you need to recognize you have a problem and want to overcome it. Here are some tips to help break your reliance on OnlyFans. This information is also useful to help others who are showing signs of OnlyFans addiction.

1. Limit your time on OnlyFans

Be more intentional with your OnlyFans usage and set some strict boundaries. Work out how much time you want to spend on the platform. Then try to reduce it by a few minutes each day by using an alarm or screen time limit app. When your allotted time is up, commit to exiting the site and focussing on something else.

2. Speak to your bank

If you’re unable to restrain your spending on OnlyFans, speak to your bank. They may be able to support you by blocking any OnlyFans payments you attempt to make. If this is not an option, cut up your credit cards and replace them with a debit card so you can only spend money you actually have in your bank account.

3. Widen your social circle

Loneliness and addiction go hand in hand for some OnlyFans users. And finding a way out of loneliness is addictive as it can drive them to social media for a sense of belonging. Try to spend more time with people IRL. You’re unlikely to widen your social circle or find a soulmate overnight, but you can increase your chances of meeting people by being proactive – perhaps take up a new activity or register on a dating site.

4. Talk to someone

Confide in someone else – you don’t need to struggle alone. They will be able to give you encouragement and support as you work through your addiction. This could be a friend or family member, therapist or counsellor, or you could join an online forum or community and connect with other people who are addicted to OnlyFans or other social media platforms.

5. Delete your OnlyFans account

If you’ve tried to curb your OnlyFans usage, without success, the only way to truly break free may be to delete your account. Depending on the extent of your addiction, you could need some assistance.

Need help for OnlyFans addiction?

OnlyFans addiction is a serious issue that can have harmful consequences when left untreated. If you or a loved one have tried to reduce your reliance on the platform without success, we can help.

At Game Quitters, our 12-week coaching programs are designed to help individuals establish a healthier relationship with technology and families understand how to support them.

Get in touch to book a call to discuss how to quit OnlyFans addiction and regain control of your life.

From time to time, there are media reports about people who have died playing video games. But what is the scale of the problem and what are the reasons behind these tragic deaths?

In this article, we look at recent research into gamer death and whether video game addiction has a part to play.

How many people have died from gaming addiction?

New research into ‘Sudden gamer death: non-violent death cases linked to playing video games’ 23 23. Sudden gamer death: non-violent death cases linked to playing video games × has found 24 gaming-related deaths worldwide between 1982 and 2021, with 23 of the deaths taking place between 2002 and 2021. So, can you die from playing video games? Or, more specifically, can excessive gaming cause death? The research concludes that most of the victims are likely to have suffered from video game addiction.

However, it’s unlikely that this represents all deaths linked to playing video games. The research recognized that cases are more likely to get media attention if they happen in a public place or there are unusual circumstances. It’s probable that other deaths have not been reported to respect the privacy of the victims’ families. Also, the researchers were only able to identify deaths that received international media attention and were covered on English language websites. Any deaths caused by video game addictions reported by local news sources would have gone below their radar.

The research only includes players whose deaths appear to be directly connected to playing video games. It does not take into account deaths that could be linked to video games for other reasons such as video game suicides, violence from gaming, accidents or homicides driven by impulse, anger, revenge or negligence rather than the act of gaming itself.

Are there any common factors of the gaming-related deaths?

Brian Vigneault live streamer who died

So, the true number of victims is probably unknown but let’s look at the 24 people whose deaths have been linked to playing video games:

  • 23 of the victims were male and only one was female.
  • 14 of the deceased came from south-east Asia – China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand – and most (12) of those cases happened in internet cafés.
  • The age of the victims ranged from 11 to 40 years old.
  • 18 of the victims took part in marathon gaming sessions before they died with very little, if any, rest. This is a good indicator of a gaming addiction death.
  • Most were playing MMO games which are competitive, fast-paced and need high levels of concentration. It’s easy to lose track of time, play for hours on end, and forget to eat, drink, exercise and sleep.
  • No one is reported to have died playing sandbox games (which require creativity rather than action) or more slow-paced adventure games.

It’s interesting – but perhaps unsurprising – that half of the cases are linked to internet cafés. Many such venues are open 24/7 so gamers can play for hours on end without parental supervision. They are cheap to use, food and drink is readily available, and some cafés even offer overnight accommodation.

What were the causes of video game addiction deaths?

causes of video game death

There is no need to look at the top 10 deaths caused by video games as there are three main reasons among the 24 victims, although the cause of death is unknown in some cases:

Heart problems

The most common cause of death appears to be heart-related problems: heart attack, heart failure, sudden arrhythmia death syndrome and cardiac arrest. Most of the victims had been gaming for multiple hours prior to their death.

One victim of heart failure, a 28-year-old male from South Korea, had been playing for 50 hours before he lost consciousness and died. During his lengthy gaming session he had paused only for restroom breaks and to eat and drink a little, and had not slept for two days. These unhealthy gaming habits are likely to have cost him his life. Spending hours every day in a sedentary position playing video games can have severe implications for your physical health, as explained in our article on the negative effects of video games.

Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot gets stuck in the lung and blocks the blood flow. Blood clots often start in the legs and travel through the heart and into the lungs. This is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Common risk factors for DVT include lack of movement, dehydration, obesity and smoking.

Often, gamers who play for hours without a break are so focused on the action they can forget to move around, eat or drink. When they do stop, they may grab some junk food rather than choose a healthy option. One of the video game addiction deaths was a 24-year-old male from South Korea who suffered a pulmonary embolism. He had been gaming for 86 hours before he died, only stopping to buy cigarettes and use the bathroom.

Cerebral hemorrhage

One of the deceased is reported to have experienced a cerebral hemorrhage – commonly known as a bleed on the brain – while another had a stroke. The type of stroke was not specified but it is likely to have been a hemorrhage stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. Raised blood pressure during long gaming sessions may have been behind the cerebral hemorrhage.

Pre-existing medical conditions

It’s interesting to note that 10 of the deceased had pre-existing medical conditions including asthma, obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure and liver disease/gallstones.

Is this the first esports-related death?

One of the deaths did not occur due to uncontrolled gaming but after two months of intensive training for an esports competition. Could this be the first esports-related death?

The 21-year-old male from Sweden did not die when training or during the competition itself but when he was sleeping afterwards. The researchers wonder whether this change in balance was the trigger, or whether other factors were involved such as a post-competition celebration.

How can you stay safe when gaming?

So, should gamers and parents be worried? Can video games kill you? It appears they can, but the risk appears to be extremely low – one death per 30 million gamers each year. This is much lower than the risk of sport-related death.

However, there are other problems that can affect gamers which, though less serious, are still a cause for concern. When you, or your child, spend hours sitting in front of a screen immersed in games, it’s easy to forget to eat and drink regularly, exercise, sleep, spend time with friends and family IRL, enjoy other activities, and focus on school or work. When the balance swings in favor of gaming, it can have a knock-on effect on your relationships, grades or career, other hobbies, and physical and mental health.

If you or a loved one have an unhealthy relationship with gaming and feel that it’s taking over your life, you may have video game addiction. Take our short quiz to find out.

At Game Quitters, we help gamers and families get control over gaming and develop safer gaming habits. In just 12 weeks, you or someone you care about will be free of gaming problems. We accept both individuals and families onto our program, including gamers currently in denial.

Take the first step today and apply for a Gameplan strategy call to see if you’re a good fit. Limited spots are available.

Keeping your child safe online can seem like a minefield, especially if you’re not familiar with all the latest social media platforms. That’s why we’re writing a series of informative articles about Reddit.

Read on to discover what young people can find on Reddit and how to set up Reddit parental controls.

What is Reddit?

how to stop wasting time on reddit

Reddit is a popular social platform where people can share and create content about whatever they’re interested in. Each topic is known as a subreddit, and posts about the topic can be ‘upvoted’ or ‘downvoted’ by users, depending on whether they like it. If a post gets upvotes it moves up the Reddit rankings and more people can see it. If it receives downvotes it gets relegated and eventually disappears.

Is Reddit safe?

is reddit safe

For many young people, Reddit is a positive experience. It’s somewhere they can find communities of likeminded teens to discuss their passions and interests. It’s also a space to seek support and advice in subreddits such as r/lgbtqteens for young people who are parts of the LGBTQ+ community or r/Anxiety for those experiencing emotional problems.

However, as with all social media platforms, some posts on Reddit are only suitable for people aged 18+. Adult content is marked on Reddit as NSFW. This abbreviation is internet slang for ‘Not Safe For Work’ and is often used to describe posts associated with sex, nudity and pornography. The potential risks of Reddit NSFW make some parents wonder whether the platform is safe and what they can do to protect their child.

How to set up Reddit parental controls: step-by-step instructions

reddit parental controls

Here are 10 steps you can take to help protect your child on Reddit:

  1. Go to reddit.com – your child will need to log into their account.
  2. Click on your child’s username in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Choose ‘User Settings’ on the dropdown menu.
  4. Click on ‘Profile’. Then scroll down to the ‘Advanced’ section and disable the toggles next to ‘Content visibility’ and ‘Active in communities visibility’. Click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the screen. This will help keep your child more anonymous on the platform.
  5. Scroll back up and click on ‘Privacy & Security’.
  6. In the top section called ‘User Privacy’, disable the toggle next to ‘Search engine indexing’. This keeps your child’s profile out of search engine results.
  7. Scroll down to the ‘Messaging Privacy’ section. Click on the dropdown next to ‘Who can message you’ and change it from ‘Everyone’ to ‘Whitelisted’.
  8. Now you can add users who can message your child’s Reddit account. Please note that moderators and administrators of subreddits your child follows will still be able to send them private messages. This is why it’s important to decide which subreddits your child can follow. and which you should disallow. See our How to block subreddits on Reddit article for more information. Then, click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the screen.
  9. Scroll back up and click on ‘Feed settings’.
  10. At the top of the list is ‘Content preferences’. Check that ‘Adult content’ is disabled – it should be by default if your child is under 18. Below the ‘Adult content’ setting is ‘Autoplay media’ which, when disabled, will stop videos and gifs from playing automatically. Click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the screen.

You should check these Reddit parental controls are in place on a regular basis. You can also block specific users on Reddit from following or interacting with your child.

Other ways to help your child stay safe on Reddit

As well as setting up Reddit parental controls, there are other things you can do to keep your child safe on the platform:

Explore Reddit on your own

Set up a Reddit account and spend time exploring the platform to understand the potential risks for your child. Familiarizing yourself with Reddit will better inform conversations and discussions with your teen – see the next point.

Keep lines of communication open

Talk to your child about the communities they visit on Reddit. Have regular conversations about what type of content they post and what is happening in their communities. If you show interest in their online world and keep the lines of communication open, they are more likely to come to you with any worries and concerns.

Encourage other hobbies and interests

To help your child balance their Reddit usage with other hobbies and activities, find out why they are drawn to the platform. If you understand what needs your child is trying to fulfill – relaxation, escapism, socializing, learning about new topics – it will be easier to help them find other interests to meet those needs. See our hobby tool.

Set and monitor screen time limits

Our screen time guidelines will help you manage screen time use in your family. To encourage healthy digital habits, it’s important to set and monitor screen time limits so that Reddit and other social media platforms don’t start to take over your child’s life.

Introduce other parental controls

Look at other ways of keeping your child safe online. As well as setting up Reddit parental controls, broadband, browsers, and app stores also have parental controls to help protect your child from cyberbullying, harmful content and online predators.

Does your child have an unhealthy relationship with Reddit?

You may have other concerns about your child’s Reddit usage beyond their potential exposure to inappropriate content and cyberbullying. Some young people become obsessed with the platform to the point that it starts to take over their lives. School work, relationships and their physical and mental health can suffer as a result and Reddit can even become an addiction.

Sometimes, this happens to young gamers who become increasingly reliant on Reddit. The platform forms part of their gaming experience as they share and comment on video game subreddits with other gamers and increasingly waste their time on Reddit.

If your child has an unhealthy relationship with gaming and Reddit, we have support and resources available at Game Quitters. You can also delete your Reddit account to create a strong boundary for your child.

You can also book a free Gameplan call with us to discuss their situation – limited spaces are available.

Reddit is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms with 50 million daily active users globally 24 24. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-october-global-statshot × . While most interactions are positive, some people are subject to abusive comments, posts and messages from other users. In these instances, it is important to know how to block someone on Reddit.

Step-by-step instructions on how to block people on Reddit

Over recent years, Reddit has improved its blocking functionality to make it more robust. Previously, there were loopholes if you tried to block annoying individuals. Although you could no longer see their posts, they could still see and react to your content. However, after upgrades to the platform, it is now possible to have no communication from them at all.

The only exception is group chats. If you block someone on Reddit, they will still be in any group chats you both belong to. You also will be able to receive invitations for group chats containing blocked users, although Reddit will warn you of their inclusion.

So, if you want to find out how to block someone from following you on Reddit and/or how to block someone from messaging on Reddit, follow our step-by-step instructions below:

How to block someone from their profile

Step 1 – Visit reddit.com and log into your account.

Step 2 – Go to the profile of the person you want to block.

Step 3 – Under their avatar, click ‘More Options’

block username on reddit

Step 4 – Select ‘Block User’.

block someone on reddit

On the Reddit app, click the top-right corner of their profile and select ‘Block User’.

block someone on reddit app

How to block people on Reddit from your user settings

block someone reddit user settings

Step 1 – Visit reddit.com and log into your account.

Step 2 – Go to ‘Safety & Privacy’ in your user settings.

Step 3 – Enter their username.

Step 4 – Add them to your Blocked Users list.

(On the Reddit app, go to your User Settings and click on your username. Under Blocking and Permissions, select ‘Manage Blocked Accounts’. Search for the username of the person you want to exclude, then click ‘Block’.)

Reporting bullying, harassment and threats of violence

Reddit’s Content Policy 25 25. https://www.redditinc.com/policies/content-policy × asks users to respect the privacy and security of other redditors, and refrain from bullying, harassment and threats of violence. It outlines eight community rules that everyone using the platform must follow and explains what happens when these rules are violated. As well as blocking someone who is contravening these rules, Reddit asks that you also report them so that other users are protected.

Has Reddit affected your emotional wellbeing?

toxic reddit users

Have you already blocked someone on Reddit or are you researching how to do it? Whatever your current situation, if you’ve experienced negativity on the platform, you may be feeling anxious and vulnerable.

Coping with online attacks can be challenging – especially if the abuse has been going on for some time. If it has affected your mental health and wellbeing, and you need help, Reddit has partnered with Crisis Text Line. If you live in the US, text CHAT to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. If you live outside the US, Reddit has provided advice on who to contact. 26 26. https://reddithelp.com/hc/en-us/articles/360058756471 ×

Are you concerned about your Reddit use?

Although Reddit is primarily a place for community and belonging, there are people who set out to deliberately cause disruption and offense. These users are in the minority but the more time you spend on the platform, the more likely you are to encounter them. Specific communities on reddit can also be problematic and you may want to block subreddits entirely.

Are you worried about the number of hours you are spending on Reddit? With so many opportunities to post, comment, discuss, learn and connect with likeminded people who share your interests and views, it is easy to become dependent on the platform and waste a lot of time on Reddit.

Our How to Stop Reddit Addiction article explains the warning signs that you may have an unhealthy relationship with the platform.

If Reddit is having a detrimental impact on your life, you may want to consider deleting your Reddit account entirely.

You can also book a free Gameplan call to talk about your issues, especially if you’re also struggling with digital or gaming addiction.

If you’re looking to uninstall Bluestacks step-by-step, then you are in the right place.

Bluestacks is a platform that allows you to play popular games and apps such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Pokemon Go, Subway Surfers, Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, Garena Free Fire, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Roblox.

The platform is available both on Windows and macOS.

In this tutorial we will share how you can uninstall Bluestacks on Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Uninstall Bluestacks on Windows 10

Step 1: Right click on the Windows Icon and choose “Settings”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 2: On the settings page click on “Apps”.

blue stacks uninstall windows 10

Step 3: Click on “BlueStacks 5” then on Uninstall.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 4: On the UAC Prompt click on “Yes”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 5: On the next window click “Uninstall” and “Uninstall” again.

blue stacks screenshot

blue stacks screenshot

Step 6: After that click on “Completed”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 7: Back to the Apps window, search for BlueStacks X and click on Uninstall.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 8: On the new popup window click on “Uninstall”.

Make sure you checked “Delete BlueStacks user data”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 9: You have successfully uninstalled BlueStacks on Windows 10.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 10: To be 100% sure, restart your computer.

Uninstall Bluestacks on Windows 11

Step 1: Right click on the Windows Icon and choose “Settings”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 2: In the Settings click on “Apps” then on “Installed Apps”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 3: Now search for BlueStacks 5, click on the 3-dots then “Uninstall”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 4: Make sure to click Uninstall again:

blue stacks screenshot

Step 5: On the UAC Prompt make sure you click on “yes”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 6: On the next window click “Uninstall” and “Uninstall” again.

blue stacks screenshot

blue stacks screenshot

Step 7: After that click on “Completed”.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 8: Back at the Installed Apps window, search for BlueStacks X, click on the 3-dots and click on uninstall.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 9: Make sure to click Uninstall again.

blue stacks screenshot

Step 10. On the new popup window click on “Uninstall”.

Make sure you checked “Delete BlueStacks user data”

blue stacks screenshot

Step 11: You have successfully uninstalled BlueStacks on Windows 11.

uninstall blue stacks windows 11

Step 12: To be 100% sure, restart your computer.

Now that you have successfully uninstalled Bluestacks, you can explore new hobbies to replace gaming and learn how to overcome your social media addiction if you struggle more with mobile apps.

Are you fed up with the type of content appearing in your r/all list? Or perhaps you are worried about your reliance on Reddit and want to reduce your usage.

One way to stop wasting time on the platform is find out how to block subreddits – whether you are using the old or latest version of the site.

How to block a subreddit from the latest version of Reddit

When Reddit rolled out the new version of the platform in 2018, the ‘filter subreddit’ search box was no longer available on the r/all page. So, how can you block a subreddit from the latest iteration of the site?

Use the old version of Reddit

One option is to revert to the old version of the platform which is available at old.reddit.com 27 27. https://old.reddit.com/ × . Even if you have started using Reddit since 2018, it is possible to access the old site.

You will notice that the old version still has the ‘filter subreddit’ search box on the r/all page which will easily block a subreddit from your feed.

remove subreddits old reddit

However, any subreddits you unsubscribe from on the old site will not vanish from the new version of Reddit – as soon as you log back on, they will be displayed in your r/all list. This applies whether you access the site on a mobile or desktop.

Spam vote the subreddit

It is possible to remove subreddits from your r/all feed on the latest version of Reddit if you spam vote it. However, this is not a particularly effective solution as thousands of other spam votes would be needed for the subreddit to get blocked.

Use a third-party tool

There are various third-party tools that will enable you to block subreddits from your r/all feed, including the Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES) 28 28. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/reddit-enhancement-suite/kbmfpngjjgdllneeigpgjifpgocmfgmb × which is not officially endorsed by Reddit. This app is available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Opera. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to block a subreddit using RES:

res reddit filtereddit

  1. Go to reddit.com
  2. Click on the RES extension button and a drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Choose ‘options’ and the RES page will open.
  4. Click on the ‘filteReddit’ tab in the menu on the left-hand side under the subreddits category.
  5. Switch the ‘filteReddit’ toggle on.
  6. Customize your blocked subreddit settings.
  7. Tick the ‘+add filter’ button in the lower-left-hand corner of the box called ‘subreddits’.
  8. Enter the subreddit you want to block.
  9. Click the ‘save options’ button.

Upgrade your account to Reddit Premium

reddit premium

If you are not keen on using a third-party tool, then the best way to remove any unwanted subreddits is upgrade to Reddit Premium 29 29. https://www.reddit.com/premium × . For a monthly or annual subscription, you can easily block inappropriate or uninteresting subreddits from your r/all feed. Plus, the premium version of Reddit gives access to additional features and benefits.

Delete your Reddit account

Instead of just blocking subreddits, you can also just delete your Reddit account and either start fresh or stop using Reddit for good. You can also set up Reddit parental controls for additional options to reduce your usage.

How to block a subreddit from the old version of Reddit

If you have the old version of Reddit – which was available to users before the platform’s makeover in 2018 – the process of how to block time-wasting subreddits is very straightforward. Simply follow the two steps below to filter out any subreddits you don’t want to appear on your feed.

old reddit block subreddits

1. On the r/all page, enter the name of the subreddit you want to block in the ‘filter subreddit’ search box.
2. Click the + icon and the subreddit will disappear from your feed.

How to block subreddits on mobile

Unfortunately at the moment you can’t block subreddits through the mobile Reddit app. Instead follow the instructions listed above either using Old Reddit or the latest version of the site. In doing so, the subreddits will be blocked on your mobile as well.

You can, however, block someone specifically on Reddit if they are causing you issues on a personal level.

Are you addicted to Reddit?

Are you or a loved one struggling to control the amount of time you spend on Reddit? With so much information available, it’s easy to waste hours on the platform and this can cause problems in other areas of your life.

If the reason you want to know how to block subreddits from your r/all feed is because you are addicted to Reddit, we have coaching and support available at Game Quitters. You can also learn how to stop wasting time on Reddit.

You can also book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation, especially if you are also experiencing digital or gaming addiction.

If you or your child regularly play Roblox, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of getting randomly logged out – typically at a crucial point in the game. Read on to find out more about Roblox login problems and what you can do to stop them happening in future.

Common Roblox login issues

roblox login issues

“Why does Roblox keep logging me out?” If this is a common refrain in your home, our handy guide to Roblox login issues should help minimize interruptions, and make gaming sessions less stressful and more enjoyable.

Here are the main reasons why you may get logged out of Roblox and then struggle to login again:

1. Server issue

One of the most common reasons for players getting logged out is Roblox server issues or maintenance. If the platform’s servers go down while you’re in the middle of a game, it’s highly likely that you will get logged out. And, if the server problems continue, you may not be able to log back in again. Confusingly, it may come up as a password or username problem, even if that isn’t the case.

There are several ways to identify a potential server issue. Firstly, check the Roblox online status page for any issues or outages 30 30. https://status.roblox.com/pages/history/59db90dbcdeb2f04dadcf16d × . If the message says, ‘All systems are operational’, and you are still struggling to connect, visit the Roblox help page which explains the possible reasons for connection problems: firewalls, slow internet connections, empty experiences and bad scripts.

It recommends taking the following steps and if one solution doesn’t work, moving onto the next on the list:

  • make sure you’re using a supported browser
  • check your browser’s security settings
  • check your wireless connection
  • remove or disable ad-blocking browser add-ons
  • ensure the right ports are open
  • configure your firewall and router
  • reinstall Roblox
  • delete your Roblox account and create a new one

2. Password problem

If you can’t detect any server issues, then changing your password on the Roblox mobile app or browser may resolve your login problems. Simply sign out of all sessions then reset the Roblox password using your previously registered email address or phone number 31 31. https://www.roblox.com/login/forgot-password-or-username × .

Once your password has been updated, try logging in again. This quick solution has worked for many other players experiencing Roblox login problems.

3. Violation of Roblox standards

Breaching the Roblox Community Standards 32 32. https://en.help.roblox.com/hc/en-us/articles/203313410-Roblox-Community-Standards × is another reason why some players get logged out.

Roblox admins do not tolerate threats of violence, cyberbullying, harassment, discrimination, stalking, trolling, intimidation, sexual content, depictions of extreme violence, promotion of terrorism or extremist organizations, glorification of suicide or self-harm, and other anti-social, hateful and violent content.

Minor breaches of the community standards can result in a warning or temporary ban. More serious violations will lead to permanent exclusion from the platform.

Roblox troubleshooting tips

roblox troubleshooting tips

If you’ve checked for server and maintenance issues, password problems and potential breaches of Roblox Community Standards and you still can’t log onto Roblox, here are some other troubleshooting tips to try:

Check parental controls

Roblox includes parental controls for parents to use to make Roblox safer for their children. So if you are having trouble logging in to your Roblox account, it may be because parental controls have been set and need to be adjusted.

Check the time and date

Your login problems could be down to something as simple as the time and date on your device being different to your location. If the time and date are incorrect, reset them. You should then log out and log back in again.

Clear your cache and cookies

Try clearing your cache and cookies, then log back into Roblox. Google has step-by-step instructions on how to do it 33 33. https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/32050?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop × . Be aware that this will remove all personal information from your browser such as usernames, passwords, search history, settings and preferences.

Check your browser and or/app is up to date

If you’re having problems logging in to Roblox because your browser or the app keeps crashing, make sure your browser and or/app is up to date. Sometimes, simply installing a Roblox update will iron out any login issues.

Close apps running in the background

If you play Roblox on a tablet or mobile, make sure you don’t have too many apps running in the background, as this keeps the device’s memory busy and consumes lots of resources. Try closing background apps but don’t shut down system apps because this will cause malfunctioning on your device.

More help with Roblox

At Game Quitters, we specialize in helping gamers and families play in a safe and balanced way to maintain your health and well-being.

If you’re struggling with playing Roblox too much – or any other video game addiction then check out our coaching programs.

Overwatch is a competitive first-person shooter game by Blizzard. The original version was launched in 2016 and its sequel, Overwatch 2, released in late 2022. The video game has a popular global esports league with teams in cities around the world. Most people play with no negative consequences, but a small percentage of gamers are addicted to Overwatch or Overwatch 2.

Hector is one of these gamers who has a problem with Overwatch. Here’s what he shared:

Billion dollar companies, getting players addicted to their game and predatory monetization techniques. Yeah, Overwatch 2 is no different.

George is Addicted to Overwatch

George is awake, it’s 3am. He’s just finished another six-hour session on Overwatch. He bought the game at 14 years old after months of saving for it. He quickly fell in love with the competitive team-based style and strategies.

Compared to Call of Duty, which never required much brain power, Overwatch was a hurdle to climb. The Skill Rating (SR) system was a totally new idea to George and gave him a metric to see how good he was compared to other players.

It began as a simple contest to see if he could beat his friend’s SR score. He started in Bronze at 1300 as a PS4 Tracer main, fighting to get better and better in order to rank up. He climbed into Plat, switched to Support, watched XQC, a popular Twitch streamer, day after day, and continued to strive and prove to himself that he really was good at Overwatch.

And that was the root of George’s problem. He stopped playing to enjoy the game, but instead to prove something. He hated it. For years he just played to get better and raise his SR, but the fun had gone a long time ago. He was addicted to Overwatch. Not the game, but the system.

The constant need to prove to himself and others through a meaningless point system that he was good at some video game had taken too much of his life. His free time was dedicated to the game. Time which he could have spent spending getting fit, studying, hanging out with friends in person, or working and earning money.

Overwatch became a constant losing fight against himself. The toxic players, the throwers and the smurfs. George finally had enough and gave up. He uninstalled the game and got on with his life.

George was able to quit because he recognized his behavior was becoming a problem. He had started moving along the gaming continuum – a spectrum from healthy at one end to harmful at the other. To see where you are on the gaming continuum and whether your gameplay is a cause for concern, take our video game addiction quiz.

The Overwatch battle pass monetization model

overwatch 2 battle pass

Although the original version of Overwatch has rewards and features that are designed to hook players like George, Overwatch 2 is potentially more addictive. Let’s look at why people play Overwatch and Overwatch 2, and how it can become compulsive.

For the 60 million people who enjoyed its predecessor, Overwatch 2 is a free upgrade to a sensational game that promises steadier updates and new content, but this free upgrade comes at a cost. Blizzard has released a battle pass monetization model for Overwatch 2, similar to games like Fortnite, Valorant and Apex Legends.

Battle passes, loot boxes and other micro-transactions are controversial, but despite complaints from the public, they are still here. Why? Because they work. Every time a new season of FortniteOverwatch, or another game that uses these types of transactions is released, the game experiences a massive number of players flocking to play. And who benefits? The company’s bottom line.

Video games are not created to be bought, played and enjoyed anymore, but to make gamers keep playing, keep coming back and keep spending money. Because of this it’s important to maintain safe in-game spending habits. This can be demonstrated by the Overwatch 2 beta version of the game.

Overwatch 2 beta controversy

overwatch 2 controversy

After the initial reveal of Overwatch 2 in 2019, some gamers experienced the beta version of the game in 2022 and the majority of players had the same response: it was disappointing. Not much fresh content was added apart from a few new characters, one new game mode and some new maps. Overwatch 2 beta felt like Overwatch 1 with a fresh coat of paint, but no actual depth beyond its surface.

It might seem picky to analyze a beta version of the game. However, the actual game was supposed to be released a few months later and usually, a beta version is a unique and somewhat polished representation of the actual game. Overwatch 2 beta seemed more like Overwatch 1.1.

This appears to be a go-to strategy for many game companies nowadays. Make a few changes, add a new look, market the game as revolutionary, a must-buy pre-order and then release a disappointing title full of microtransactions.

Although many gamers are starting to notice this ploy, the majority of players are still hooked to the addictive nature of today’s games and gaming companies know this. Their aim is to study what keeps players gaming for long periods of time and what keeps players coming back. This knowledge allows them to spend as little time and effort on the actual creation of the game and to fully focus on making an addictive design that’s as profitable as possible.

Need help for Overwatch or Overwatch 2 addiction?

help for gaming issues

Are you worried about playing Overwatch too much or do you know someone who can’t stop playing Overwatch or Overwatch 2?

At Game Quitters, our video game addiction programs, articles and support groups are designed to help gamers and their families turn their lives around.

To find out how we can help, get in touch today to book your free 30-minute Gameplan call.

Addicted to Among Us

Among Us is an online multiplayer murder mystery game that can be played with friends, family or strangers. Since launching in 2018, it has become one of the most popular video games in the world. Most people play with no adverse effects, but a small percentage of gamers are addicted to Among Us.

One gamer for example shared that he decided to uninstall Bluestacks from his computer – which is how you access Among Us – after he became addicted to the game:

“During COVID I reached out to one of my long-time buddies. He told that he would like to play Among Us. I started playing and hanging out with him but the game was so addictive. It started with 30 minutes and then increased to 60 min and then to 90 min and finally reached the three and half hours mark. Hopefully my mistakes help others to avoid the same path.”

What makes Among Us addictive?

Like other video games, Among Us activates the reward center of the brain and the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine. This makes players want to come back again and again to experience the same rush of pleasure and excitement. This is one way that gaming affects the brain of players and can lead to issues such as addiction.

It’s also important to look at the psychology of Among Us. Video games are deliberately designed to be addictive. Every second of color, light, sound, purpose, task, instruction and gameplay is carefully crafted. Game designers know the hooks to use to keep players gaming for as long as possible.

Among Us is fun, sociable, accessible, simple and great to watch as well as play. These hooks are harmless until Among Us becomes addictive. This is when players start to game compulsively, despite the problems it may cause in their lives.

So, how can you find out whether you are playing Among Us problematically? Gaming occurs on a continuum, from healthy to harmful. Read our article about the 9 Types of Gamers to find out where you are on the spectrum and whether there is cause for concern.

You can also take our short test to see if you or a loved one meet the criteria for video game addiction. We have two versions – a video game addiction test for gamers and a test for parents.

Why is Among Us so popular?

among us popularity

There are several reasons why people play Among Us. It surged in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic and is still attracting new players worldwide:

Premise is simple to understand

Players are on a space mission aboard a spaceship, or base, or stranded on a plane. A number of players are crewmates and their job is to complete a series of tasks and the other players are imposters who want to kill the crewmates. The imposters win if they kill everyone and the crewmates win if they do all of their tasks or guess who the imposters are and vote them out.

Highly accessible and easy to play

Unlike video games that require skill or talent, such as Fortnite, Overwatch and Call of Duty, the learning curve for Among Us is very low. However, despite being highly accessible and easy to play, the game does provide opportunities for people who are more skilled to get their fix too. Players enjoy using critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and resilience under pressure.

Social aspect of the game

Among Us can be played with 4 to 10 people. You can either host games or join in games with others while communicating through the chat function. It’s designed to be sociable which can make it feel less like playing a video game and more like hanging out with friends and family. Often gamers are playing Among Us with friends while hanging out on Discord.

Heightened emotional experience

Another reason why Among Us is so appealing is the heightened emotional experience it offers. There’s suspense, anticipation, deception, and the thrill of getting away with murder or being accused of being the imposter when you’re a crewmate. All these aspects make the game fun, exciting and engaging. When you’re wrapped up in your emotions, it’s easy to forget how much time you’ve been playing which we will talk about later in the article.

Murder mystery is a popular genre

Games, books, movies and TV shows with a murder mystery theme have been popular for decades. Bringing that genre into a video game and making it a social experience is a winning combination. Trying to identify who are imposters and who are crewmates with friends, family and others makes Among Us a game that everyone is keen to repeat again and again.

The game is random

Before each game, no one knows who will be the imposters and who will be the crewmates, and this randomness makes it easy to justify one more game to play a different character or for another chance to win. Also, a typical game only takes about 15 minutes so it’s easy to play multiple times until it’s four, five, six, seven, eight hours later and you’ve been playing game after game.

It never gets boring

Among Us is endlessly playable and never gets boring. If you have friends coming and going, new lobbies being created and you’re changing maps, it can completely change the dynamic of the game. Also, the games are short so they don’t take as much energy as playing a match in CS:GO, for example.

It’s a great viewer experience

Among Us is a great viewer experience which is what caused it to become so successful in the first place. When streamers like xQc and Sodapoppin started to play the game, it began to take off because fans enjoyed watching their favorite streamers on Twitch and trying to work out who was lying and who could deceive the other person to ultimately win the game. It became popular not just as a live experience but also on YouTube afterwards.

The game is constantly evolving

In 2022, a virtual reality version of the game was launched – Among Us VR 34 34. https://www.innersloth.com/games/among-us-vr/ × . It offers players the same core components of the original game combined with an immersive, 3D experience. Virtual Reality provides a more immersive experience that can be a risk factor for players to become addicted to Among Us.

Need help for Among Us addiction?

help for gaming issues

If you are or someone you care about are playing Among Us, or any other video game, too much and you want to take a step back and start rebalancing your life, we can help.

At Game Quitters, we have developed two video game addiction programs for gamers and families. Our Respawn program helps gamers stop gaming and live a happier and more fulfilled life, and our Reclaim program is for families impacted by the problematic gaming behavior of loved ones.

To find out how we can help, get in touch today to book your free 30-minute Gameplan call.

Reddit is a social sharing platform which allows users – known as Redditors – to submit links, photos, videos and comments on millions of different topics, called subreddits, that everyone can vote on.

Are you or a loved one spending too much time browsing Reddit? This article highlights the common signs of an addiction to Reddit and explains how to quit or reduce your dependency on it.

What makes Reddit so addictive?

reddit karma points

Reddit can become addictive for the same primary reason as other social media networks such as Snapchatdopamine. Every time a Redditor browses the platform or engages in discussions, the feel-good neurotransmitter is released in their brain. Sometimes described as ‘digital heroin’, dopamine can be hugely addictive as it entices users to keep returning to the platform for more highs. What may start as a quick check of the main news stories can easily turn into hours of clicking, browsing and commenting making it a dangerous app.

One unique aspect of Reddit is karma which reflects how much a user’s contribution means to the community. Karma is measured in points – the total amount of upvotes versus downvotes earned for posts, comments and giving awards. With every new upvote, the brain creates more dopamine-driven feedback loops – rewarding behavior and encouraging further interaction.

Reddit has an endless amount of information to consume. You can participate in discussions or just lurk and browse for yourself. The platform is incredibly diverse which allows you to find any type of community you can imagine. The endless flow of new content allows an individual to receive a lot of variety, so anytime you open the Reddit app and refresh your home feed you will find new content to peak your interests. Thus, leading you to spending more time on the platform than you would like, or is healthy for you. This is similar to binge-watching Netflix or YouTube, but instead it’s binge-reading content on Reddit.

Real-life stories of users addicted to Reddit

reddit icons and hourglass

Although there are no statistics available for Reddit addiction, it is estimated that around 5-10% of Americans have social media addiction. Here is an insight into how some Reddit users are struggling to control their habits and how another has successfully stopped using the platform.

How do I quit Reddit?

“I am a person who constantly wastes time browsing Reddit. Like now for example, it is 3am in the morning and I am still browsing Reddit. How do I stop browsing Reddit so I can have more time for productivity?”

“I’ve learned a lot since joining this site, but I find my life being consumed by it. Every time I sit down at the computer, even if I don’t want to visit Reddit, I repeatedly am sucked in. It’s killing my social skills and my productivity. What is a good way to quit?”

Why I stopped using Reddit

“I feel like Reddit almost shaped the person I was from ages 18-20. It’s like I wouldn’t commit to a view unless the majority of Reddit agreed. I almost based my opinions on the most upvoted comments. About two years ago I started using this site less and less and devoted my time to my hobbies, my girlfriend, and enjoying my life outside of the internet. Now I really like myself and have never felt more content with who I am.”

What defines an addiction to Reddit?

signs of reddit addiction

As Reddit addiction is not a recognized disorder, there is no official definition. However, if you or someone you care about are experiencing some of the symptoms below, you may be addicted to Reddit:

  • Spending hours at a time browsing or commenting on Reddit.
  • Feeling an uncontrollable urge to use Reddit when away from the platform.
  • Needing to spend more and more time on Reddit to get the same high.
  • Trying to control, cut down or stop using Reddit, without success.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms – such as feeling irritable, restless or anxious – when away from the platform.
  • Scrolling through endless subreddits to escape from personal problems.
  • Continuing to use Reddit even when it negatively affects other areas of life.
  • Hiding lengthy Reddit sessions from others.
  • Sacrificing sleep to consume more and more Reddit.
  • Unable to stop browsing Reddit during meals and other activities.
  • Neglecting work, school, family and friends to devote time to Reddit.
  • Losing interest in other hobbies and pastimes previously enjoyed.

10 ways to control your Reddit usage

steps to control reddit usage

Are you wondering how to quit Reddit? Even if you are not addicted to Reddit, it might still be causing problems in your life. If you want to stop wasting time scrolling through subreddits and checking your karma, here are 10 steps you can take:

1. Set a daily Reddit limit

Be mindful about when and why you are scrolling through Reddit. Set a daily limit and stop using the platform when you reach that threshold. Our Recommended Screen Time Guidelines will help you decide on an appropriate amount of time to spend on Reddit each day.

The easiest way to set a daily limit on Reddit is to enable parental controls.

2. Delete the Reddit app

Try deleting the Reddit app from your smartphone and switching to the web browser instead. Restricting access in this way will help you be more intentional about when you engage with the platform. You can also consider deleting your Reddit account itself.

3. Block Reddit from one or more devices

If you often get distracted by the platform at work, you can delete it from your work phone or computer then we recommend to block Reddit on your device itself.

4. Switch to anonymous browsing mode

Use Reddit in anonymous browsing mode (also known as incognito mode) so you have to login every time you check the website. It also means you can’t post, vote or comment which should help you spend less time on the app.

5. Disable Reddit notifications

Blocking notifications from Reddit will make you less tempted to go onto the app. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log onto Reddit
  2. Click on Profile and select User Settings
  3. Go to Notifications
  4. Switch off the Reddit notifications you want to disable

6. Unsubscribe from subreddits

Try unsubscribing from some or all of your subreddits so you are less tempted to keep checking them for new links, discussions and images. You can also block users on Reddit that keep distracting you.

7. Do a Reddit detox

If you are constantly drawn to Reddit, try removing it from your life for a certain amount of time: 24 hours, a weekend or longer. The aim is not to quit Reddit indefinitely but to start using it again in a more balanced way. Find out more in our Ultimate Guide to a Digital Detox.

8. Find other activities

Rather than making Reddit your default activity, find other ways to fill your time. Perhaps listen to a podcast, read a book or take up new hobbies and interests. Get inspired by our 50 Best Screen-Free Activities by Age.

9. Cut out triggers

If you spend hours on Reddit before bed and it’s the first thing you check on waking, leave your phone outside the bedroom. If you scroll through Reddit when you take the bus to school or work, try walking or cycling instead. Small changes can help you avoid the things that trigger your Reddit usage.

10. Visualize yourself succeeding

Imagine yourself not needing to constantly scroll through Reddit, regaining control of your life and feeling proud that you have overcome your dependency on it.

Although these tips are not guaranteed to stop Reddit addiction, they may help you manage your cravings and reduce your risk of developing unhealthy habits.

Get help for digital or gaming addiction

help for gaming issues

If you are struggling to control your Reddit use, despite following our suggestions, you may need professional support. As Reddit addiction is not officially recognized as a disorder, there is no formal treatment. However, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – also known as talking therapy – can be effective at changing unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Sometimes, people who are addicted to Reddit also struggle with digital or gaming disorder. If you or someone you care about are compulsively gaming or using tech, and experiencing negative consequences, contact us to book your Gameplan call.

Discord is a popular app used by gamers for voice, video and text messaging. However, as with video games, some users can become addicted to Discord and use it problematically.

This article explains what makes Discord so addictive, how to recognize if you have a problem and 10 ways to stop spending time on the app.

Why do people spend so much time on Discord?

discord graphic

Millions of people across the world use Discord without any problems but a small percentage of users engage with it in a compulsive and uncontrolled way.

Discord addiction occurs because the app causes the brain to release dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter – which results in the individual experiencing pleasure. This reinforces the behavior and makes them want to repeat it.

As well as flooding the brain with dopamine, there are several other reasons why Discord has the potential to be addictive:

  • It provides a sense of community and for some people it may be the only place where they feel like they belong.
  • For those with low self-esteem, the app can provide attention and validation.
  • Users can remain anonymous which gives people the freedom to express themselves, but this can also lead to toxicity and abuse.
  • It can be somewhere to escape from reality which is particularly attractive for people suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.
  • There is a never-ending supply of entertainment, which can be difficult to resist.

How to know if you are addicted to Discord

discord addiction signs

If you can’t stop spending time on Discord, you may have Discord addiction. Although, the condition is not officially recognized, here are some common signs that you or a loved one may be affected:

  • You devote more time to Discord than anything else in your life.
  • You struggle to go for a few hours without using the app.
  • You have repeatedly tried to reduce or stop using Discord without success.
  • You need to spend more and more time on the app to satisfy your urge.
  • You have a Discord server for almost everything that is important to you.
  • You spend more time hanging out with people on Discord than you do with friends and family in person.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, irritability, sadness) when you are away from Discord.
  • You continue to use the app despite any problems it causes.
  • You lie about the amount of time you spend on it
  • You are unable to play video games without using Discord.

How to stop spending time on Discord

stop discord

If Discord is starting to have a negative impact on your life and becoming a dangerous app, here are 10 ways to reduce your reliance on it:

1. Hang out with friends in person

Are the people you chat to on Discord your real friends? Are they positive and supportive or do they make you feel negative and miserable? Rather than using Discord to socialize, hang out with friends in person who make you feel inspired and happy.

If you must stay on Discord, you may consider joining the Game Quitters Discord server to be around more positive like-minded peers.

2. Disable Discord notifications

There are several ways to disable notifications on Discord whether you want to mute alerts from a specific person, single channel, multiple channels, entire server or switch off all notifications from the app.

3. Remove the mobile app

Try removing the Discord mobile app from your smartphone so it is not so instantly available. Restricting your access to the web app or desktop version should help reduce the number of times you reach for it each day.

4. Set a daily limit

Set yourself a daily limit and stop using Discord when you reach that threshold. Reduce the limit by a few minutes each day. Check out our recommended screen time guidelines to decide on a reasonable amount of time to spend on the app and make that your goal.

5. Try a Discord detox

If you have an unhealthy relationship with the app, try a Discord detox for anywhere from 24 hours to a week. During that time, distract yourself with screen-free activities. The goal is not to break up with Discord for good but to use it in a more balanced way. Read our digital detox guide.

6. Delete your Discord account

If you have tried to cut down the amount of time you spend on Discord without success, it may be time to delete your account. This is also recommended for anyone who is struggling with gaming addiction. Follow our step-by-step instructions to delete your Discord account.

7. Recognize your triggers

Identify any triggers that could make you start using Discord again. Then, work out what you will do when faced with your triggers. For example, if you use Discord when you are feeling lonely, look for other ways to socialize face to face.

8. Do other things

Rather than spending hours gaming and chatting on Discord, find alternative ways to fill your time. Here are some ideas for hobbies and activities that will make you feel excited and energized rather than emotionally drained.

9. Confide in someone

If you are worried about the amount of time you are spending on Discord, confide in a trusted friend or family member. They can provide advice and support as you try to cut down or stop using the app.

10. Get specialist support

If you have tried to control your Discord usage without success and it is affecting your day-to-day life and relationships, you may need specialist help. At Game Quitters, we have support, guidance and resources for digital and gaming addiction – see below.

Need help?

help for gaming issues

Sometimes, people who are addicted to Discord also suffer from gaming disorder, or using Discord can make problematic gaming worse:

“When I see my friends playing online every time I hop on Discord it makes me want to play games.” – Game Quitters

If you or someone you care about are struggling but don’t know what to do, we can help. Our Respawn program will help you get gaming under control and live a happier and healthier life and our Reclaim program is for families affected by gaming.

To find out how we can help you, get in touch to book your free 30-minute Gameplan call.

Are you or someone you know addicted to Twitch? Do you find yourself spending too much time watching streams?

Well in this article we will explain how to know if you are in fact addicted to Twitch and also suggests ways to cut down or stop watching if that is what you want to do.

First, let’s address the basics. What is Twitch? Twitch is a live streaming platform for video game content and other entertainment. Viewers can watch their favorite gamers while communicating with them on the community chat. But Twitch is also about much more than just gaming content and Just Chatting content is also very popular.

What makes Twitch so addictive?

addicted to twitch abstract vector

While watching Twitch can seem harmless, it actually has a significant effect on the brain. Whenever you watch live streams on the platform, dopamine signals in your brain increase. These neurotransmitters are associated with pleasure and when you get a hit of dopamine after watching Twitch, your brain identifies it as a rewarding activity you should repeat. This can lead Twitch to become a dangerous app for kids.

However, these positive feelings are only temporary and when the feel-good dopamine wears off, you can feel compelled to go back in search of more content. As Twitch is so accessible and the content never runs out, it is easy to spend hours and hours watching live streams and interacting on the chat. In extreme cases dopamine used in this way can lead to addiction.

So, is Twitch toxic? For people who watch Twitch from time to time but still have other hobbies and interests, it generally poses no risk. However, for others whose lives become consumed by watching live streams, it is unhealthy and potentially addictive.

How to know if you are addicted to Twitch

ex gamer quote about twitch addiction

As Twitch addiction is not officially recognized, there is no criteria to establish whether an individual is affected. However, like similar social media addictions, if you or a loved one have an uncontrollable urge to watch Twitch streams and devote so much time to the platform that it has a negative impact on your life, these are signs that your usage has become addictive and problematic.

If you are struggling to stop binge-watching Twitch, these real-life stories from members of the Game Quitters community are likely to resonate with you:

I quit League of Legends, but I realized that I’m addicted to Twitch. I could literally sit on my computer from morning to night watching Twitch streams. The bad part is that I want to quit Twitch completely but there are two streamers that I’ve been following for over a year and it’s like you feel like you’ve developed a bond with the streamers. This makes it wayyy harder to quit.”

“YouTube and Twitch are just as bad as gaming. Watching games gives you the same thrill and dopamine rush as playing. Don’t see these as better than gaming because they really aren’t. Don’t say you quit gaming but are still watching Twitch daily. Trust me, I tried this.”

“My mental health reached an all-time low as I spent 12 hours in front of a screen every day constantly keeping up a facade. I felt like I had a standard to uphold to my viewers, and it was draining.”

How to stop watching Twitch

steps to stop watching twitch

If you want to break your Twitch addiction and get your life back, here are some steps you can take to reduce or stop watching live streams.

Understand why you watch Twitch

Work out why you compulsively watch Twitch. Are you drawn to the platform to escape from negative feelings? Do you feel lonely and Twitch gives you social connection? Then try to address whatever underlying issue(s) you are attempting to resolve with watching live streams. This is also important if you spend time watching YouTube too much as well.

Remove recommendations you are not interested in

If you don’t want to break up with Twitch altogether but just want to spend less time on the platform, you can remove content recommendations that you are not interested in. Find out how to remove the categories and streamers you don’t want to watch from the front page.

Switch off Twitch notifications

twitch notification settings

Twitch has a range of notifications which you can manage. To access them, click on your profile picture in the top-right corner and choose ‘Settings’. You can then disable notifications you receive on Twitch, email and mobile when a channel you follow goes live.

Remove the mobile app

Try removing the Twitch app from your smartphone which is more instantly accessible than watching live streams via your web browser, gaming console or TV. This simple action is likely to help reduce the number of hours you spend on the platform each day.

Find other ways to spend your time

Rather than spending hours in a Twitch rabbit hole, find other ways to spend your time. Here are some ideas for replacement activities that will entice you away from the platform – whether you are looking for social, active, creative or mentally engaging hobbies.

Delete your Twitch account

The most effective way to remove Twitch from your life is to delete your Twitch account. You may decide to do this for a day, a weekend or forever. It’s an easy process and we have created a step-by-step guide to help you.

Take steps to avoid triggers

Identify any triggers that could make you start watching Twitch streams again. Then, work out what your default actions will be when you encounter your triggers. For example, if you turn to Twitch when you are feeling low, play some uplifting music or go to the gym instead.

Need help to break your Twitch addiction?

help for gaming issues

Are you worried that you can’t stop watching Twitch? Is it starting to cause problems in your life? If you have tried to cut down or stop using the platform without success, you may need professional support.

Sometimes, people who feel addicted to Twitch also struggle with gaming disorder. If you or a loved one are gaming problematically and don’t know where to turn, we can help. Our coaching program is designed to help individuals and families change unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Get in touch now to book your free 30-minute Gameplan call.

Today’s kids are more distracted than ever and ‘TikTok brain’ is partly to blame. The endless stream of short, fast-paced videos that offer instant – and constant – gratification is leading to shorter attention spans and other negative issues.

This article looks at whether TikTok brain is real and explores how the platform can affect the mental health of young users.

What is ‘TikTok brain’?

a man with smartphone

The term ‘TikTok brain’ is used to describe some of negative aspects associated with the platform including lower attention spans and increased anxiety and depression. Too much time spent on TikTok can become problematic and lead to addiction.

The social media app has made short-form videos increasingly popular with the optimal video length just 21 to 34 seconds. 35 35. https://sociality.io/blog/tiktok-video-length/#1-average-tiktok-video-length × As a result, kids are struggling to focus on a wide range of activities from reading a book or completing a homework assignment to watching a full-length movie.

So, how does ‘TikTok brain’ develop? It is linked to the psychology behind TikTok and its algorithm.

Is TikTok bad for your brain?

brains on tiktok before and after

The TikTok algorithm is interest based, so it shows content that reflects what viewers have previously watched – whether they engaged with it or not. Within a short space of time, the algorithm can detect their hobbies and interests, sense of humor, fashion style, music tastes, sexual orientation, political views and much more. This personalized viewing experience sounds harmless but it can push users down a rabbit hole that can reinforce negative thoughts and behaviors, and bombard them with content that is not always healthy.

Every time users watch a video on TikTok, dopamine is released in their brains in a way that mimics the effects of drugs and there is not much that can compete with this type of stimulation. Young people are more predisposed to addiction because their brain development is not complete until they reach 25 to 30 years old.

So, is TikTok bad for your brain? A study investigating Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok found that personalized videos suggested by the algorithm stimulated the brain’s reward centers more than random videos watched by new users. It also found that brain scans of Chinese college students who watched personalized videos had highly activated areas involved in addiction and some users struggled to control their viewing habits.

How TikTok affects mental health

effects of too much tiktok

For many teens, TikTok is a fun way to stay entertained, informed and connected. However, for others sharing and watching videos for hours on end can be harmful to their emotional well-being. Here are some of the ways that TikTok can affect young people’s mental health:

Increased stress, anxiety and depression

A study of high school students in China who regularly use TikTok found that those with addictive tendencies towards TikTok had higher rates of anxiety, stress and depression 36 36. https://www.psypost.org/2022/01/teens-who-are-addicted-to-tiktok-experience-worse-depression-and-anxiety-and-in-turn-reduced-working-memory-capacity-62416 × than those who use the app less frequently.

Can encourage eating disorders

Some impressionable TikTok users are watching and being influenced by content that normalizes eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, Videos such as “What I eat in a day – under 1,200 calories” encourage an unhealthy relationship with food and portray eating disorders as a lifestyle choice, rather than dangerous mental illnesses.

Higher risk of suicide

Research has found that 13-year-old teenage girls who used social media for at least two to three hours daily at the start of a 10-year study, and then greatly increased their usage over time, were at a higher risk of suicide as adults. 37 37. https://www.newswise.com/articles/10-year-study-shows-elevated-suicide-risk-from-excess-social-media-time-for-teen-girls × Whereas, for boys, social media use had no obvious effect on their suicidality risk.

Problematic use and addiction

The impact of TikTok dopamine on the brain can lead to the problematic use and, in extreme cases, TikTok addiction. This can have a range of negative impacts including disrupted sleep, neglected hygiene, poor school performance, family conflict and social isolation.

How TikTok is supporting mental health

people using tiktok mental health resources

As an organization, TikTok is taking steps to promote the importance of positive mental health and balance to users.

Well-being Guide for users

TikTok has produced a Well-being Guide 38 38. https://www.tiktok.com/safety/en/well-being-guide/ × where users are encouraged to share their mental health stories, tips and recovery journeys. It includes a reminder of the platform’s safety and privacy controls which can help minimize negative in-app experiences:

  • Account settings – Your child can restrict who can follow and engage with them by setting their account to private. For users under 16, the account is set to private by default.
  • Comments – This feature allows users to decide who can comment on their videos – no one, friends or everyone (the latter option is for users aged 16+ only). It is also possible to switch off comments completely.
  • Not interested – If you don’t want your child to see certain types of video on the For You page, simply press on the video and select “Not interested”.
  • Report – It is possible to report any concerning content to TikTok.

It can also be helpful for parents to understand more of the slang on TikTok that users may use.

Weekly digital well-being prompts

TikTok has also announced the introduction of weekly digital well-being prompts 39 39. https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/investing-in-our-communitys-digital-well-being × for younger users. If anyone aged 13-17 uses the app for more than 100 minutes a day, they will receive a screen time limit tool reminder next time they open the app.

How to reset TikTok brain

character resetting their tiktok brain

If your child is constantly scrolling through TikTok and other sources of cheap dopamine and it is becoming a problem, you may want to help them reduce their reliance on it. Even though they will probably be reluctant to cut down initially, having regular breaks will strengthen the connections in their brain and make it easier to stop again next time.

Here are five ways to manage their screen time and reset their brain:

1. Customize the TikTok app

You can help your child control their TikTok use by setting up Family Pairing – a tool that allows parents and teens to customize the app for a healthier experience. You can use it to:

  • Set a daily screen time limits based on guidelines of what is appropriate.
  • Use restricted mode to limit your child’s access to inappropriate content.
  • Decide who can send direct messages to your child or turn off direct messaging altogether.

2. Use the screen time dashboard

TikTok has a screen time dashboard to help your child manage and reduce their video consumption. It shows how much time they have spent on TikTok – with a breakdown of daytime and night-time usage – and the number of times they have opened the app each day.

3. Restrict access to desktop or laptop only

If your child is still unable to control their TikTok use despite the above measures, you may need to go one step further. Rather than depriving your child of TikTok altogether, you could consider deleting the TikTok app on their smartphone. If they can only access it in a on a desktop or laptop, they will be more mindful of the time they spend scrolling.

4. Have TikTok-free zones

Agree on places around the home where TikTok is not allowed such as at the dinner table and in your child’s bedroom at night. Good sleep is essential for the brain to work optimally and is important for focus and attention.

5. Suggest screen-free activities

Engaging in other hobbies, interests and activities – playing sport, going to the park, meeting friends, being creative – can help reset your child’s brain. Here is a list of the 50 best screen-free activities by age for inspiration.

Need help for social media problems?

If your child is struggling to control their TikTok use and it’s having a negative impact on their mental health and well-being, we can help.

Our coaching program is designed to help young people and their families have a healthier relationship with technology and overcome social media addiction.

Contact us now to book your gameplan strategy call.

Is Gaming a Hobby?

Most people play video games for fun and it’s a harmless hobby. However, for others, gaming can become an unhealthy habit with negative repercussions. So, are video games a hobby that should be encouraged or discouraged?

In this article, we look at what a gaming hobby is compared to what an addiction is, and share alternative hobby ideas for kids, teens and adults.

Are video games a hobby or a waste of time?

Playing video games is the most popular leisure pursuit in the world with over three billion gamers globally.

The majority of people see gaming as a hobby that is entertaining, sociable and a way to wind down. It is one of several interests and activities in their life alongside spending time with friends and family, going to school or work, and their daily responsibilities. But, is playing video games a hobby that is worthwhile or a waste of time?

Gaming can offer many more benefits than other hobbies and pastimes. It is a safe space to fail, build resilience, overcome challenges and explore alternative identities through characters and in-game worlds.

Video games are also a good way to build skills for future careers such as multi-tasking, problem solving, communication and decision making. For young people who play video games as a hobby, there are a myriad of exciting career opportunities in the gaming industry.

However, gaming occurs on a scale, from healthy to harmful – or from hobby to addiction. Where you, or a loved one, are on that scale is all about balance.

Gaming hobby vs addiction

argument about hobby vs addiction

While some people can play with no adverse consequences, others can become drawn into the darker side of gaming. Video games are deliberately designed to be addictive and that is when harm can occur – including gaming effects on the brain.

Gaming can turn from a fun hobby to a destructive addiction if the balance tips and gaming starts to consume your every waking hour.

When you prioritize video games over everything else, your life can start to spiral out of control. It can negatively impact your relationships, education or career, and other interests and activities you once enjoyed. It can also cause physical health problems if you miss sleep, skip meals, forgo exercise and neglect your personal hygiene to keep playing. Many people suffering from video game addiction have co-occurring mental health issues including stress, anxiety and depression.

When gaming turns from a hobby into an addiction it has social implications too. Gamers who once enjoyed playing with friends and family, increasingly try to hide the extent of their compulsive behavior. They often withdraw from social situations and can become lonely and isolated. They start to lose confidence and find it difficult to mix with people face to face.

It is important to recognize when playing video games has moved from a casual hobby to an all-consuming compulsion. Discover the common signs of video game addiction in the What is unhealthy gaming section of this article.

Additionally, understanding how habits (and what evolves from habits, addictions) develop may help you in understanding what causes addictive behaviors due to gaming. One of the key points to take from this is that usually, killing a habit is a Sisyphean task. Habits (and addictions) are a three step process:

  1. The Trigger
  2. The Action
  3. The Reward

The trigger is what makes a person do an action. This may be sitting down on the couch after a long day at school, or seeing a gaming app on your home screen as soon as you unlock your phone.
The action is the task or activity that leads to an eventual reward.
The reward is self explanatory, but it’s important to note that rewards take many forms. This may be from reaching a new level in a video game to the tingling sensation of clean gums after brushing your teeth.

To tackle these addictions, it’s essential to leave the trigger and the reward intact, but replacing the action that is done to obtain the reward. While this may be difficult, some things have been proven to help, such as removing tempations with CBD 40 40. While CBD is still controversial and being studied, it already has promising, peer-reviewed studies backing it up thanks to its Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory properties that aid in removing urges such as video game addiction. × or going for a run. 

Hobbies to replace gaming

hobbies ideas to replace gaming

Do you, or a loved one, want to quit gaming but don’t know what to do with your time instead? You may be worried that nothing else will be as fun and exciting as reaching the next level, climbing up the leader board or opening a new loot box. But there is so much more to life than gaming.

If gaming is starting to take over, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Check out our replacement hobby ideas and choose from over 70 alternative activities. Whether you take up a sport or learn a new skill, a fresh challenge will help you stay mentally engaged, feel a sense of achievement and make new friends. Plus, many of the hobby ideas will get you fit and active, and/or boost your self-confidence and emotional well-being.

We have also put together a list of the best screen-free activities by age. There are suggestions for toddlers, younger children, teens and adults. From role-playing and arts and crafts through to DJing and joining a book club, there is no excuse for being bored or having nothing to do.

For parents of gamers, we have created a list of 60 best summer hobby ideas to keep kids entertained during the holidays. It lists hobbies for relaxation, hobbies for getting active, hobbies that are adventurous, hobbies that teach a skill, hobbies that are creative and hobbies for being sociable. Despite the summer holiday title, many of the activities could be done throughout the year.

Get help to quit gaming

help for gaming issues

If you, or a loved one, are gaming excessively, you may have tried other hobbies to replace gaming but keep getting pulled back to video games. It can be difficult to know where to turn.

At Game Quitters, we have helped thousands of others who were struggling to control their gaming and we can help you too.

It is possible to solve your gaming issues for good and enjoy healthier hobbies and interests.

Get started today. Book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

Gaming is a global phenomenon with 3.4 billion active players worldwide. With players from different countries and backgrounds, the question is are they all the same or are there different types of gamers?

We have identified nine different types of gamers and in this article we will help you understand what your gamer type is, and also what you need to know about it.

As the popularity of video games has risen, so have the number of people with unhealthy gaming habits. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized gaming disorder as a mental health condition. So let’s start by looking at the four different types of gaming behavior.

The four types of player behavior

different types of gaming behavior

Video gaming is an activity that occurs on a continuum, from healthy to harmful. There are four types of gaming on this spectrum: recreational, at risk, problematic and disordered.

Recreational gaming

When gaming is a positive habit, it is a regular part of life – people make time to play video games but still manage to prioritize school, work and other responsibilities.

At-risk gaming

This is when gaming habits start to cause some day-to-day issues that, if continued over time, may result in problems and ultimately escalate into disordered gaming.

Problematic gaming

Gaming becomes problematic if it begins to replace other daily commitments and activities. It can negatively affect the player’s mental and physical health, family dynamics and relationships.

Disordered gaming

Also known as video game addiction, disordered gaming is when a player is unable to control their gaming habits. It is defined as ‘gaming disorder’ in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

All gaming activity can be described using these four types of gaming. Therefore, each of the different types of gamers outlined below fits somewhere along the gaming continuum.

What are the different types of gamers?

Let’s look at the different gamer types to understand what are casual gamers and what is a heavy gamer? In 2015, Joël Billieux and his team conducted a study to identify the traits associated with different types of gamers. 41 41. Billieux, J., Thorens, G., Khazaal, Y., Zullino, D., Achab, S., & Van der Linden, M. (2015). Problematic involvement in online games: A cluster analytic approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 242–250. × They wanted to understand more about the differences between problematic gamers and those who played without any negative consequences.

So, what are the types of gamers they found? They split them into non-problematic gamers – recreational and social – and problematic gamers: the achiever, the escaper and the hardcore gamer.

Casual gamer

casual gamer type

A recreational (casual) gamer has low impulsivity and high self-esteem. Playing video games is usually a hobby they enjoy alongside other interests and activities. Gaming doesn’t satisfy their basic needs and they don’t feel compelled to game in order to escape or feel a sense of achievement.

Social gamer

social player type

This type of gamer has low impulsivity, so they aren’t driven to play compulsively. But, unlike recreational gamers, they have relatively low levels of self-esteem. They play video games for the social experience and enjoy creating virtual characters and the role-playing opportunities this brings. However, in most cases, they are not trying to replace their real-life identity.

“Two of my best friends I know from outside gaming also play with me. My social circle and my gaming is so interlinked.” – Gamer

Mobile gamer

mobile gamer type

A mobile gamer is someone who prefers to game on a smartphone rather than a console or PC. Often they will play games such as Candy Crush or PUBG. Having access to video games 24/7, gives this type of gamer the opportunity to play anytime, anywhere. This could lead to problematic play if they’re unable to control their gaming habits, especially if they play these addictive mobile games.

However, many gamers enjoy the accessibility and convenience of gaming on the go without any adverse consequences. It is therefore likely that mobile gamers fall into each type of gamer category outlined on this blog.

The achiever

the achiever

Achievers are highly impulsive with high self-esteem. They want to excel in the game and are less interested in role-playing, socializing or escaping from real-life problems. As they are highly impulsive, they lack self-control and have trouble resisting the immediate gratification provided by gaming. Their high self-esteem means they don’t play to boost their self-worth, they play because they want to master the game.

“It’s a crave for achievement and recognition and reward. That exact same feeling needs be applied in real life work. That competitive mode. I only played PVP in everything. Except assassins.” – Gamer

Achievers often play competitive ranking type games such as Call of Duty, Valorant, Counter-Strike or League of Legends.

The escaper

the escaper

Escapers engage in immersive gameplay as a coping strategy to relieve negative moods. They play more to escape from real-life difficulties and their low self-esteem than to succeed in the game. It is likely that their gaming behavior is due to an underlying mental health condition or a traumatic life event.

“Gaming has devoured precious time I should have used for studying and was one of the main reasons I dropped out of university. It creates a desire to withdraw into my own world rather than spend time with people who care about me.” – Gamer

The hardcore gamer

hardcore gamer type

The hardcore gamer is a combination of the escaper and the achiever. This type of gamer is mainly motivated by achievement and escapism, but role-playing is also an important part of their gameplay. They have high self-esteem and high impulsiveness which affects their decision making and control. They define themselves through their gaming life and reputation; their sense of self is boosted by their virtual world achievements and status.

Personally, I’m an example of a hardcore gamer. I liked to achieve and see if I could be the best player I could be, but I was also dealing with a lot of real-life challenges and stress and needing to escape and just play for hours and hours and hours and not have to think about what was going on in my real life. The problem was that no matter how much gaming I did, it didn’t fix any of the problems that I was experiencing so things just tended to get worse and worse. Although the achievements I got in the game made me feel like things weren’t so bad. That’s a big reason why I was addicted to playing World of Warcraft and many other hardcore players are too.

At Game Quitters, we have also come across four other types of players: at-risk gamer, problematic gamer, disordered gamer and mobile gamer.

Heavy gamer (at-risk gamer)

A heavy gamer (also known as an at-risk gamer) spends a significant portion of their leisure time gaming without experiencing negative consequences. They are still able to manage their responsibilities – like school assignments, work demands and family commitments – spend time with family and friends, and usually have other hobbies and interests.

They may want to play more but being irritable or moody when they can’t play is uncommon. They sometimes feel like they’re not reaching their full potential, but as long as they keep their gaming under control, it is not problematic.

Some behaviors that may increase the risk of excessive gaming include having few activities besides gaming, spending large sums of money on gaming, heavy weekday gaming sessions, and pursuing esports or streaming as a career.

Problematic gamer

what is a problematic gamer

The main difference between the heavy gamer and the problematic gamer is that they are a type of gamer experiencing negative consequences associated with their gaming habits. Problematic gaming is therefore more severe than at-risk gaming. What differentiates the problematic gamer from the disordered gamer is that their negative consequences have occurred for less than 12 months.

“Both my mental and physical health began steadily declining. I feel irritable and depressed all the time and nothing about life seems fun or exciting anymore, even video games.” –Gamer

Disordered gamer

what is a disordered gamer

At this point, the gamer is addicted. They experience negative consequences from playing video games but feel compelled to continue. This impaired control over their gaming results in functional impairment. A disordered gamer is a type of gamer assessed by a qualified professional and may include formal screenings for WHO’s gaming disorder classification criteria.

Curious about your type of player? Take our video game addiction test for gamers.

Need help?

Do you have a gaming problem? Do you need help to get your gaming under control or are you worried about a loved one’s gaming habits? If so, we can help.

Our Respawn program helps gamers to quit or moderate their gaming habits.

The Reclaim program helps families reduce conflict and manage problematic gaming at home, even if the gamer is currently in denial.

You can also book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

How Gaming Affects the Brain

There is an ongoing debate about the effects of video games on the brain. Some studies suggest that video games help learning and build skills, while others have found they can make players more violent or aggressive. It is evident that the impact of video games on the brain is not clear-cut; they can have both beneficial and harmful effects.

This article examines how video games can change your brain and looks at the positive and negative consequences of gaming. We also share tips on what to do if video games are starting to cause problems.

The psychology of gaming

psychology of gaming

Video games are deliberately designed to be addictive. The gaming industry employs cognitive psychologists, reward psychologists, and computer science and human behavioral scientists as user experience (UX) designers. They apply their knowledge of attention, perception, memory, emotion, reward and learning principles, and psychological vulnerabilities in game design. Every second of color, light, sound, purpose, task, instruction and experience within video games is carefully crafted to keep players (brains) gaming for as long as possible and spending money on in-game purchases.

Professor David Hodgins of the University of Calgary, an addictive behaviors and clinical psychology researcher says “we know that young people are overly involved in gaming and gambling. One common game design feature is intermittent reinforcement, which means there are a lot of rewards but the rewards are unpredictable, so people pursue the rewards in a constant fashion. This is a concept we’ve known since the 1950s.”

What gaming does to the brain

Parents of gamers are sometimes concerned about video games and brain development. They ask us questions like:

  • “Does too much gaming rot your brain?”
  • “Is there a difference between gamer brain vs normal brain?”

Video games can impact the brain in several ways and certain changes are more obvious than others. Here are some of the most common effects gaming can have on the cognition, brain structure and function:

Gaming activates dopamine – the brain’s reward system

gaming and dopamine levels

Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter that’s part of the brain’s reward system. Whenever the brain is expecting a reward from a certain activity, it starts producing dopamine which makes us feel good. This motivates us to repeat the behavior to experience the same rush of pleasure. So, do video games release dopamine?

If gaming is balanced with other hobbies and interests, the brain will receive small doses of dopamine and players will feel happy and motivated. This is a simple effect of video games on the brain. But long and frequent gaming sessions can release such huge doses of dopamine over and over, that the brain will try to stay in balance by shutting down its ability to get dopamine. In response, players often start to play more to try to experience the same thrill, but the brain will compensate by shutting down even more of its ability to get dopamine. Eventually, this cycle will mean the brain doesn’t produce enough dopamine and it will become dopamine deficient.

What are the symptoms of dopamine deficiency? Those who game excessively may start to wonder: “Do video games cause brain fog?” or “Do video games rot your brain?” It is common for sufferers to feel tired, irritable and anxious, and many people struggle to concentrate. Things that used to be interesting seem pointless but it’s gaming that is changing their brains so that nothing feels fun or exciting. They start to game more, not always because they want to play, but to relieve the uncomfortable feelings from having low dopamine. And the vicious circle continues.

It’s related to a biological process called tolerance and sugar is a good example of how this works. A little bit of sugar once in a while is ok, but the more you have the more you want. You end up developing a tolerance to sugar, needing increasing amounts to experience the same effects. This is the same for gaming. The more people play, the more their brains become less sensitive to the effects of dopamine, and it takes more and more dopamine to feel that same pleasure and excitement.

Gaming can cause a fight-or-flight response

Our natural fight-or-flight response is designed to protect us when we sense danger. The body releases hormones that increase our heart and breathing rates and gets our muscles ready to respond. In some situations, it can be a lifesaver by helping us stay focused, alert and able to react quickly.

However, there is a point at which the fight-or-flight response stops being beneficial and starts causing problems. This can happen when playing violent video games. Over time, the brain may think the threats and attacks are real and the game is actually a battle. This can cause the player to react angrily and aggressively. So, if you have ever wondered how violent video games affect the brain differently, it is the fight-or-flight amygdala that has taken over so the player cannot access the logical part of their brain.

Gaming lowers activity in the prefrontal cortex of the developing brain

PREFRONTAL CORTEX ACTIVITY

The prefrontal cortex of the brain – which is responsible for decision-making, judgement and self-control – does not fully develop until the age of 25. This can make young gamers less able to weigh up the pros and cons of immediate rewards, like another few hours spent gaming, against longer-term goals such as revising for their math test next week. This may also explain why some young gamers neglect their basic needs such as food, sleep, exercise and personal hygiene in order to continue playing video games.

Researchers have found that violent games, in particular, can lower activity in developing brains. One study reported that young male gamers who spent many hours playing a violent video game for two weeks had lower activity in important brain areas when trying to control their behavior, compared to adolescents who played no video games over that period. Another study of youth gamers found that playing violent video games for just 30 minutes, immediately lowered activity in the prefrontal cortex compared to the brains of those who played non-violent video games.

Gaming can trigger the release of adrenaline and cortisol

adrenaline or cortisol

Many video games are action packed and intense, and this excitement triggers the production of adrenalin. It’s a natural reaction to help us react faster to situations of perceived danger – such as the risk of dying in a shooting game such as Valorant, Counter-Strike or Call of Duty. When excess adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, it makes the heart pump harder than usual. This increases our blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. After a while, the blood shifts to the limbic system, the part of the brain involved in our emotional and behavioral responses, which can cause brain fog, sometimes called becoming a game zombie.

Gaming can also increase the release of cortisol (known as the stress hormone) in response to perceived threats. If the stress hormone is constantly active due to excessive gaming, it may cause the brain’s neurotransmitters – like serotonin – to stop functioning correctly. This can affect our mood, potentially causing depression; blood sugar, which can lead to the over-consumption of junk food, and sleep quality because it becomes more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why there is a debate about whether or not gaming reduces stress.

Does gaming rot the brain?

Gaming does not rot the brain. When video games are played for fun as part of a healthy range of activities, there is generally no cause for concern. Most of the negative effects of video games are due to excessive use or underlying issues:

  • Physical health risks including repetitive strain injury, headaches, back and neck problems, obesity and heart-related issues
  • Poor personal hygiene, laziness
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related problems
  • Mental health conditions including anxiety, stress and depression
  • Mood swings such as irritability, anger, aggression and violence
  • Family conflict and relationship issues
  • Lack of motivation, concentration and energy
  • Cognitive biases that affect decision-making skills and problem-solving abilities
  • Loneliness and social disconnection
  • Exposure to online toxicity and harassment
  • Poor academic performance and missed career opportunities
  • Loss of interest in other activities.

For a small percentage of players, the negative effects of gaming can include addiction. Take our video game addiction test to see if your gaming habits are potentially problematic.

Positive effects of gaming on brain development

benefits of gaming in moderation

When played in moderation, video games can have multiple benefits on the brain:

Video games can enhance attention

Research has found that areas of the brain involved in attention are more efficient in people who play video games who are able keep their attention focused on demanding tasks. 42 42. Frontiers. "Video games can change your brain: Studies investigating how playing video games can affect the brain have shown that they can cause changes in many brain regions." ×

Video games can increase intelligence

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam found that US children who spent an above-average amount of time playing video games increased their intelligence by approximately 2.5 IQ points more than the average. However, watching TV and engaging with social media had no significant impact on their cognitive abilities. 43 43. Video games can help boost children’s intelligence</a< ×

Video games can improve memory

Gaming can have long-lasting benefits for memory. A study by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona using Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 found that playing video games as a child can improve a person’s working memory years afterwards. 44 44. Video gaming as a child related to improvements in memory ×

Video games can boost learning

Playing action video games has been found to improve learning capabilities. Research by the University of Rochester reported that our brains are constantly building ‘templates’ of the world to make better predictions and playing action video games enables gamers to produce better templates than non-gamers. 45 45. Playing action video games can boost learning ×

Video games can enhance problem-solving skills

Gaming teaches players to keep trying to reach the next level, complete the next quest or get to the top of the leader board. It is a safe space to fail and if they don’t initially succeed, they can try different strategies to achieve their goal. A 2013 study found the more that adolescents playing strategic video games, the better their problem-solving skills and academic grades were the following year. 46 46. More Than Just Fun and Games: The Longitudinal Relationships Between Strategic Video Games, Self-Reported Problem Solving Skills, and Academic Grades ×

Video games can encourage creativity

Sandbox games, like Minecraft, Roblox, Stardew Valley and SimCity, give players the creative freedom to build and explore different worlds. This link between video games and creativity is backed by research from Iowa State University. It found that playing Minecraft without instruction improved participants’ creativity more than watching TV or playing a race car video game. 47 47. Want to boost creativity? Try playing Minecraft Date: ×

Best games for your brain

games for the brain

There are various puzzles and games for the brain designed to sharpen the memory. These games may also be better alternatives than immersive multiplayer video games.

Sudoku

This logic-based number puzzle improves memory and concentration. There are different levels of difficulty so you can find the right level of challenge.

Wordle

Wordle provides a small hit of dopamine (only one puzzle is released each day), uses problem-solving skills and can provide social interaction if you share your result on social media.

Jigsaws

Jigsaw puzzles use both the left and right-hand side of your brain. As well improving problem-solving skills and visual-spatial reasoning, they are a great stress reliever.

Chess

Playing chess on a board rather than online is a good way to have a screen break. It is proven to be an excellent cognitive exercise that boosts logical reasoning and memory.

Crossword puzzles

Regularly completing crosswords can help improve focus and attention. A study in the Journal of the International Neuropsychology Society found that crosswords may delay the onset of memory loss in people with dementia. 48 48. Association of Crossword Puzzle Participation with Memory Decline in Persons Who Develop Dementia ×

By choosing the right games to play you can gain benefits from gaming on your brain instead of negative ones.

How to reset the gamer brain

help for gaming issues

When you find yourself or someone you love struggling with excessive gaming or social media use, you may wonder how to reset their brain back to normal. The key may be simpler than you think.

As described above, the dopamine theory of addiction states that addictions increase dopamine to an extent that once the stimulus is removed, our body may be unable to replicate the same amount of dopamine naturally. Therefore, the key towards overcoming an addiction is to restore the ability of the body to create dopamine through natural means, without the stimulus someone is addicted to.

For example, for someone who has what is now described as TikTok brain, they may benefit from a dopamine detox.

A dopamine detox involves abstaining from all addictive activities that raise your levels of dopamine higher than natural. A digital detox includes abstaining from activities such as social media, video games, smartphones and gambling. You’ll abstain from instant hits of dopamine and replace them with healthier activities that produce dopamine such as exercise, time in nature and face-to-face interactions.

For a dopamine detox to be most effective, a recommended time of 90 days works best, however benefits can be found in shorter detox periods as well. For more information, read our guide on how to do a dopamine detox.

If you are concerned about your gaming habits, or you think a loved one may have gaming problems, we can help.

  • Our Reclaim program is specifically designed to help families reduce conflict, manage problematic gaming and learn how to control gaming and screen time.
  • Our Respawn program helps gamers detox from gaming and get their live back on track.
  • Book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

There is still a commonly held perception that gaming is a waste of time. Many non-gamers – especially parents, teachers and the media – have a one-dimensional view of video games and only consider the negative aspects of gaming. So, do video games make you lazy and are video games unproductive?

For many gamers the opposite is true. The drive and focus learned from playing video games can be channeled into other areas of their lives. It can give young people valuable tools and skills to succeed in their studies and pursue exciting career goals.

This article looks at both sides of the debate to help gamers and parents understand how to maximize the benefits of gaming and minimize the risks of gaming.

How video games can make you lazy

Playing video games for fun does not make you lazy. However, gaming to the detriment of all other hobbies, activities and interests can be problematic. It can lead to a lack of motivation and general apathy in other areas of life. But this isn’t just limited to video games. Anything that consumes your every waking hour – such as working, exercising, gambling or drinking – will have the same negative impact.

Gaming is a great recreational activity when played in moderation, but excessive gaming can make you neglect school, work and other responsibilities. Do you sometimes ask yourself: “Why do I feel lazy after playing video games?”

Gaming warps your perception of effort and reward

Video games are a structured way of engaging in an activity. When you put effort into a video game, you are quickly rewarded – by reaching the next level, getting a new weapon or moving up the leader board – and it’s easy to feel a sense of instant gratification.

But outside of gaming, the world doesn’t work in the same way. You may have to put in a lot of effort to receive anything back which can feel disheartening. Ariel, a member of the Game Quitters community was working hard to get a job, but turned to games as a crutch to escape feelings of rejection:

“I was getting really frustrated with submitting resumes and applications to companies and never hearing anything back, so the resentment grew and grew, and I would heal that resentment by playing video games.”

Gaming is highly accessible and convenient

We have 24/7 access to video games now that many of us have a smartphone in our pocket. Whereas other things outside the gaming world often take more time and are less fun. Convenience and accessibility are big factors in making us lazy when faced with other responsibilities and activities.

Gaming is a safe place to fail

If you fail at a video game, you can restart and try again. However, in real life, failure can be permanent and irreversible. For example, if you fail an exam, you may be unable to retake it. Plus, your actions come with a lot more risk.

In the virtual world, if you annoy another player, you can change your name or character. Whereas, if you upset someone in everyday life, it can damage your reputation or future prospects. Gaming comes with less risk which is another reason why some people are unmotivated to reduce their screen time.

Another Game Quitters member shares that “there was a safety in computer games that I could not replicate with anything else: the safety of the new game or reload button, where if things didn’t go exactly how I wanted them to go I could just redo it, and nothing of the previous failures would remain.”

Gamers can develop avatar attachment

Sometimes gamers with depression or low self-esteem relate more to their avatar than their real-life identity. The more validation they get for their gaming activities, the less time they want to spend as themselves. They retreat more and more into gaming which can be perceived as lazy by others who don’t understand their motivation.

Gaming is a sedentary activity

The more hours spent hunched over a screen, the more you are likely to continue that behavior as it will become a habit. Over time your body will become used to it and you’ll feel less motivated to do anything besides gaming.

How video games affect your motivation

list of benefits of gaming

Although video games can make a minority of people lazy and unmotivated, the opposite is true for the majority of players. In fact, gamers are some of the most highly motivated, hardworking and dedicated people around. Anyone spending the same number of hours each day studying or playing traditional sport, would be applauded and encouraged, whereas esports players are not perceived the same way. Gamers are incredibly committed to their craft, and they deserve respect and recognition too.

The positive effects of gaming include improved problem-solving and logic, hand-to-eye coordination, multi-tasking, cognitive abilities and teamwork. These skills can be channeled as a force for good to help gamers achieve their goals in life. Whatever they want to accomplish – starting a business, learning a language, traveling around the world or anything else – the energy, focus and drive developed through gaming will stand them in good stead.

A video game scholar and game designer, Jane McGonigal, believes that “games provide a sense of waking in the morning with one goal: I’m trying to improve this skill. There is a routine and daily progress that does a good job at replacing traditional work.” 49 49. NYT: Why Some Men Don't Work ×

How to stop gaming excessively

If video games are making you feel unmotivated and lethargic, you may continue gaming to cope. However, it’s important to remember that you are not lazy or weak. Video games are designed to be addictive and they release huge doses of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. In fact, a study found that the amount of dopamine released while playing video games is like an injection of amphetamine. 50 50. Nature: Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game ×

Here are three practical steps to help you, or someone you care about, get more motivated:

  1. Prioritize movement and exercise – you will feel happier and more energized, and it will give you a break from the screen.
  2. Be intentional about when you play and when you don’t. Decide on your limits and stick to them. Setting a timer or alarm can help monitor your gameplay.
  3. Focus on your goals outside of gaming – use the skills games have taught you like strategic thinking and problem-solving to pursue your real-life dreams.

If you, or a loved one, are still struggling to do anything other than play video games all day, we can help.

  • Our Reclaim program is specifically designed to help families reduce conflict, manage problematic gaming, and learn how to control gaming and screen time.
  • Our Respawn program helps gamers detox from gaming and get their lives back on track.
  • Book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

TikTok has soared in popularity over recent years and for Gen-Z it’s an increasingly important part of their cultural landscape. As its popularity has grown, so have the number of TikTok sayings used on the platform. Some of these expressions are unique to TikTok, while other slang is spilling onto other social media sites. Inevitably, a number of TikTok phrases are also starting to infiltrate everyday life, leaving many parents flummoxed.

It is not just words and phrases that are baffling parents, there are also TikTok abbreviations, acronyms and emojis to decipher. If you’re the parent of teens and often wonder “What does it mean?” when they are using TikTok slang, we can help. Our A-Z guide explains the most common slang terms used on the platform and includes a comprehensive TikTok abbreviations list.

TikTok slang meanings

abow meaning tiktok

Here are some of the most common phrases on TikTok decoded:

Abow – Similar to wow, damn, or OMG and is used to express shock or disbelief

Accountant – Sex worker or stripper

ALR – All right. The #ALR hashtag is used on videos to get more views

AS – Adult swim. #AdultSwim or #AS hashtags are used when creating short clips known as ‘bumpers’ in the style of the US Cartoon Network late-night programming block, Adult Swim

ASL – Age, sex, location. Not a new phrase, but it is used on TikTok to mean ‘as hell’

ATP – This abbreviation has a couple of meanings on TikTok: ‘at this point’ and ‘answer the phone’

Baka – Means ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’ or ‘fool’ in Japanese. Mainly used by Anime and Manga fans

Banger – Awesome, great – often used when talking about music

Bones Day or No Bones Day – Jonathan Graziano films his dog Noodle waking up each day and posts it on TikTok. If Noodle stands up, it’s a Bones Day, if he flops back down, it’s a No Bones Day. In short, Bones Days are good days. No Bones Days are bad

Brain emoji 🧠 – Oral sex

BBL – Brazilian butt lift. Used when TikTok users share before and after pictures of cosmetic surgery

BMS – Broke my scale (attractiveness scale). Used when commenting on videos about someone’s physical appearance

Bussin – To describe something really good or delicious in Gen-Z slang

Caught In 4k – To capture someone’s reaction to a situation

CEO – To be called a CEO of something means you do that thing a lot or are good at it

Chair emoji 🪑 – Used instead of a laughing face emoji to show something is funny

Cheugy – Uncool and untrendy

Crop – When someone comments ‘crop’ on a video, they are asking the user to reload the video so it’s not obscured by anything such as a like or share button

DC – Dance credits. Used in TikTok captions alongside the name of the person who came up with a dance to give them credit for it

Devious lick – A trend that involves posting pictures of stolen goods or drugs

DNI – Do not interact. To show that content is not meant for anyone under the age of 18. Also used when someone doesn’t want to interact with people who support or post certain things

DTB – Don’t trust boys or don’t trust bitches

Face card – Used on different social media platforms to mean that someone is and always will be very attractive. Users post selfies with captions such as “face card always valid” or “face card never expired”

Finna – Getting ready to do something

Fingers touching emoji 👉👈 – Shy or nervous

Fire (or lit) – Crazy or cool

FR – for real. If someone asks if you’re ‘for real’ they are wondering if you’re being serious or truthful

Fruity – Someone who belongs to the LGBTQ+ community

FYP – For you page. An individual landing page displaying videos that TikTok thinks you might like based on your personal algorithm

Glow up – A physical or mental transformation

GYATT or GYAT – Short for ‘goddam’ and used when a guy sees a girl he finds attractive. Often mentioned on Twitch streams

Heather – From the Conan Gray’s song, Heather. The singer “wishes they were Heather”, who is desirable and everyone wants to be her. In TikTok lingo, to say, “You’re such a Heather” is a compliment

Hogging – Competition between guys to hook up with the fattest girl at a party

Hot girl summer – Living your best life: having fun, looking good, feeling confident and not caring what others think

IB – In a TikTok caption, this acronym means the video has been ‘inspired by’ another video

Karen – A demanding or aggressive woman

KLM – Calm, meaning fine or ok

Live rent-free in my mind – A person or a thing (often a catchy song or video) stuck in your head

Looted – Good style or fashion sense

Mid – Average or mediocre

Mutuals/Moots – People you follow on social media who follow you back

No cap – Means you’re not lying

NSFR – Not safe for Ramadan. Used as a hashtag on certain videos during the month of Ramadan

OOMF – One of my followers

Pick me girl – A popular girl who craves attention, especially from the opposite sex

PFP – Profile picture

POV – Point of view. Used in captions when a video shows the viewer’s perspective of a certain situation

Pushing P – Means something is positive

Ratio – When a comment has more replies than likes, which is usually not a good thing

RT – Retweet. Someone agrees with something so much, they would retweet it on Twitter

Shadowbanned – When content is blocked by TikTok without your knowledge

Sheesh – An expression to show you are shocked or impressed by something

Simp – Being so besotted with someone that you would do anything for them

SMH – Shaking my head. Used to show disappointment

Sneaky Link – Hooking up with someone in secret. Their identity is known as the ‘sneaky link’

Straight TikTok – The mainstream side of the app

SW – Sex worker

Tea / Spill the Tea – Gossip

TikTok Brain – The term ‘TikTok brain’ is used to describe some of negative aspects associated with the platform. The endless stream of short, fast-paced videos that offer instant and constant gratification is leading to shorter attention spans – with kids struggling to focus at home and school – and, in some cases, addiction.

TFW – That feeling when

Valid – Something that is very good or of a high standard

Vibe check – Judging someone by the vibes you get from them – they either pass or fail the vibe check

W – Used in gaming and sport to mean ‘win’ or to congratulate someone on their success

YT – Not an abbreviation for YouTube but a TikTok slang term for ‘white’. Used to refer to a person’s skin tone

#xyzbca – A jumble of letters with no specific meaning that’s used as a hashtag on TikTok in a bid to get more video views

4Lifers – People who will always be in each others’ lives

1437 – I love you forever

Other Gen Z slang

teen slang meanings

TikTok isn’t the only platform where kids have their own slang these days. Other social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram have their own unique terms and phrases. Unique language also extends to TV shows such as anime and video games such as Roblox.

Spending too much time on TikTok?

Although TikTok is a popular social media platform, it can be highly addictive and lead to individuals struggling with TikTok addiction.

Many users – particularly teenage girls – are spending too much time compulsively consuming content to the detriment of other interests and activities, their education, relationships, and mental health and well-being, leading to what some experts call TikTok brain.

In this article, we take a closer look at TikTok to help you understand more about the app, the risks involved and why TikTok is so addictive.

If you’re still struggling to communicate with your teen, despite reading our TikTok slang guide, and you’re worried about their gaming or social media use, we can help.

Get immediate help for your loved one’s TikTok and social media use. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Every year, millions of students arrive at university with the dream of obtaining a degree and securing a future for themselves. While most students graduate and progress into successful careers, others do not, with up to 33% of undergraduate students dropping out 51 51. https://educationdata.org/college-dropout-rates/ × . So how does gaming affect learning in students?

There are a variety of reasons why students fail out of college or university including homesickness, being academically unprepared, financial constraints, personal issues, lack of motivation, laziness, and no guidance or mentoring, but the modern student has another phenomenon to navigate: video games.

This article looks at how popular gaming is at on college campuses and explores the ways video games can positively and negatively affect learning and academic success. If you are a concerned parent, there are tips on how to support your college gamer and help them develop healthy gaming habits.

How popular is gaming at college?

stats about video game play in college

Most students today are gamers with 92% playing regularly and 35% playing most days 52 52. https://www.ygam.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/research_full_report-FINAL-Online-220819.pdf × . On average, 75% play more than 20 hours per week and over 40% report playing more than 30 hours.

An increasing number of colleges and universities are embracing video games with the rise of esports – 175 US higher education institutions offer varsity esports programs 53 53. https://www.ncsasports.org/college-esports-scholarships/varsity-esports × with full or partial scholarships and are members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).

However, despite the multiple benefits of gaming and esports when played in moderation (see below), video game overuse has been shown to be a high-risk activity that can negatively impact academic success and 48% of student gamers agree that gaming keeps them from studying 54 54. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2003/07/06/let-the-games-begin-gaming-technology-and-college-students/ × .

How many college students are addicted to video games?

man texting a friend at college about not going to class

Here are some statistics about video game use and unhealthy gaming habits among young American adults:

  • More males (aged 18-29) play video games than females: 77% versus 57%.
  • 9% of people aged 18-24 are preoccupied with playing video games.
  • Over 5% of young adults experience withdrawal symptoms when not able to game.
  • More than 8% of people aged 18-24 are unsuccessful when trying to control the amount time they spend gaming.
  • Over 3% of young adults have lost or jeopardized a relationship, job or educational opportunity as a direct result of their gaming activities.

Jakes’s story

As a Canadian high school student, Jake was a functional addict. His gaming was problematic and did affect his grades but he still enjoyed playing sports and had a wide circle of friends.

That was until he went off to school at the University of Guelph and away from his family in Toronto. Faced with the anxiety of a first-year college student, Jake used gaming to cope with school and personal issues.

Without his parents monitoring his play, Jake began gaming all night and missing classes. He started to lose weight and stopped showering as much. He hit rock bottom during his second year when he missed the registration cut-off date and was on the verge of being evicted from his residence hall because he was no longer technically a student. That is when he sent an email to his mother asking for help. When she arrived at his dorm, she says he was “pale, shaking and smelled foul.”

He moved back home to begin his video game recovery and, with the support of his family and a counsellor, turned his life around. Today, he hasn’t played a game for five years, instead spending his time on new activities and a job he secured with a software company. He has also graduated from college – unlike when he failed before because gaming was affecting his learning.

The gaming cycle explained

gaming addiction is on the rise

Jake isn’t alone. Over 85,000 people search for help on the Game Quitters website every month. Read other real-life stories of gaming addicts. The typical person seeking support is a male college student aged 18-24 years old who has become caught in the gaming cycle.

The gaming cycle works like this: roughly 9% of students develop problematic gaming in high school but are often able to cope with gaming and academic requirements 55 55. https://drdouglas.org/gclslfk2011ft.html × . Classwork in high school is typically easier than college work, living at home enables more parental supervision, and gamers have been proven to perform significantly better in terms of reasoning and short-term memory 56 56. https://greenlab.psych.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/280/2017/07/Memory-abilities-in-action-video-game-playersMcDermott-Bavelier-Green-2014.pdf × which affects learning and helps them perform well academically.

The transition to college is a different story.

College students usually have less parental supervision, more independence, increased academic responsibilities, and a change in social environment which all lead to increased levels of stress. The student gamer often turns to video games as a way to escape. Instead of doing their college work, they game. They get further behind in class causing more stress and they escape further into games to cope with their anxiety. This creates a cycle of academic self-destruction.

To make matters worse, two in three students say they tend to keep issues or problems to themselves 57 57. https://www.ygam.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FINAL-research_full_report-PRINT-READY-5.pdf × . The main reason for not seeking support is stigma 58 58. https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10292/7726/DriverJ.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y × and even if a student does ask for help, they may be turned away. Many student affairs departments are overwhelmed after the rise in mental health issues experienced by young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How gaming affects learning and academic success

esports player struggling to graduate

Gaming can positively and negatively impact learning and academic performance depending on the level of engagement. Too much of anything – including playing video games – can be a bad thing. Moderation and balance are key.

The benefits of gaming for academic success

Playing video games is not always harmful. It can be a fun and enjoyable activity with multiple academic benefits including:

  • Increased interest in STEM subjects
  • Improved problem-solving skills and logic
  • Greater multi-tasking ability
  • Faster and more accurate decision-making
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Greater brain efficiency
  • Memory enhancement
  • Improved cognitive abilities.

A recent study 59 59. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1875952121000094 × measured the differences in academic performance between students who played video games and students who did not. It found that gaming can positively affect educational outcomes. Students who spent equal time playing video games and studying still achieved high grades. The researchers reported that many students adopted a ‘work hard, play hard’ approach and rewarded themselves with gaming time for studying.

The risks of gaming on educational outcomes

When gaming takes over a student’s life, and the line is crossed between intentional and compulsive use, it can have serious consequences:

Find out more about the negative effects of gaming.

A US study explored video game addiction and college performance among male first-year students. It found that video game addiction was negatively correlated with expected college engagement and grade point average (GPA) 60 60. http://publish.illinois.edu/zhengqi2/files/2016/05/source2.pdf × . This suggests that as video addiction symptoms increase, student involvement in college life and academic performance decrease.

How to keep healthy gaming habits in college

When gaming is a positive habit, it can be a regular part of college life, without gaming affecting learning. Here are some strategies individuals can use to develop and maintain healthy gaming habits:

  • Limit gaming to certain times and use a schedule to keep it in balance.
  • Do not game in class.
  • Have other interests and activities besides gaming – see our hobby tool for suggestions.
  • Socialize with other students in person.
  • Minimize blue light as it can interfere with sleep – use blue light minimizing glasses or blue light filter on your screens.
  • Stop gaming an hour before bed.
  • Get plenty of sleep. If your student accommodation has one room for sleeping and gaming, use an alarm to monitor your gaming time.
  • Choose video games that are positive experiences – be mindful of toxic play and the temptation to overspend.
  • Drink plenty of water, limit caffeine, eat healthily and avoid junk snacks.
  • Take regular breaks to move around, preferably outside.
  • Avoid hunching over the screen – try to play with a straight back with your monitor at eye level.
  • Shut your eyes for a couple of minutes every hour to relax your eye muscles.
  • Review how much you’re playing each week and adjust it if necessary.

How to know when gaming is an issue

mom learning to spot the signs of gaming addiction

It can be tricky to differentiate healthy from unhealthy gameplay, as there is not one single factor to determine video game addiction.

Instead, there are several warning signs that, when presenting together, can signify problematic behavior.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s preoccupation with video games, the signs listed below will help you gauge if there’s a problem. Your loved one can also take our video game addiction test.

Signs of healthy video game use

  • The individual is open and honest about the amount of time they spend playing video games.
  • The individual has full control of their video game activities.
  • The individual is able to stop or reduce the amount they play if it starts to cause problems.
  • The individual does not lose sleep to continue gaming.
  • The individual stops playing to eat, shower and do other daily tasks.
  • The individual is able to focus on their job or education.
  • The individual has time to spend with family and friends.
  • The individual has other hobbies and interests.
  • The individual can fully immerse themselves in a game and then easily return to the offline world.
  • The individual is not overly bothered if their video game is interrupted.
  • The individual will not spend money they can’t afford on video games.

Signs of unhealthy video game use

  • The individual is unable to control their gaming activities despite attempts to stop or reduce play.
  • The individual continues to play video games even though it has a negative effect on their life.
  • The individual needs to spend an increasing amount of time playing video games to get the same level of pleasure.
  • The individual is restless and irritable when unable to play.
  • The individual is constantly thinking about their next gaming session.
  • The individual lies about how much time they spend playing video games.
  • The individual uses gaming to escape from everyday life.
  • The individual is sleep deprived due to regularly playing at night.
  • The individual skips meals, neglects their personal hygiene and avoids other daily tasks to continue playing video games.
  • The individual prioritizes video games over other hobbies and interests.
  • The individual misses educational or career opportunities.
  • The individual withdraws from spending time with friends and family.
  • The individual gets angry or annoyed if their video game is interrupted.
  • The individual will get into debt to buy the latest video games and/or through in-game spending.

Where to find support

asking for help is not a weakness

Left untreated, video game addiction and any associated mental health issues can have a lasting impact on your child’s education, career prospects, and physical and mental well-being. However, help is available to get their life back on track.

On-campus support

Most universities and colleges have free, or low cost, student counseling services that provide on-campus mental health support. You can usually find out what is available and how to access help in the counseling service section of the university or college website. When making an enquiry, it is important to check that the therapists are trained in gaming issues.

Many campuses have an on-site student health center that offers a range of front-line medical services. If any student is showing physical signs of video game addiction – such as migraines, back pain, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome or exhaustion – they can assess the problem and signpost to the appropriate medical and/or psychological support.

Off-campus support

If you are struggling to find specialist help for video game addiction on-campus, Game Quitters has coaching programs, resources and support groups for students and parents.

You can also read our guide: How to quit gaming in college.

Our Parent Coaching program is recommended if your loved one has lost control of their gaming habits and you need a strategy to get their life back on track. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Establish a stronger relationship with your child.
  • Discover how to respond to difficult situations and reduce conflict.
  • Improve communication and connection at home.
  • Build confidence in your parenting skills.
  • Enhance your problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.
  • Create a calmer and happier home environment.
  • Learn self-care techniques.
  • Understand the stages of video game addiction and recovery, and how to cope with relapse.
  • Have a professional as part of your parenting team.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK A GAMEPLAN CALL

How to support a college gamer

parent supporting a college gamer

If your child is showing signs of video game addiction, you may be wondering how to help them regain control of their gaming habits. It may seem tempting to simply remove all access to gaming devices and the internet.

However, enforcing a complete detox is not practical if they are living away from home at college or sustainable as their brain will have become accustomed to the rush of dopamine induced by gaming and they will experience withdrawal symptoms as a result. While the long-term solution may be to quit gaming, the short-term goal should be to reduce the amount of time they play video games in small increments – this is known as harm reduction.

Here are some ways you can help them gradually reduce their reliance on video games:

  • Educate them on what gaming does to the brain.
  • Get involved in the roommate selection process and try to avoid choosing a roommate who is a gamer.
  • Limit the games paraphernalia they take to college – leave video games, gaming PC, large monitor/screen at home.
  • Draw up gaming/study timetable together so there is a healthy balance of both.
  • Do not fund their gaming habit – refuse to pay for game subscriptions and micro-transactions and set limits on their phone data plan to stop large downloads.
  • Suggest they get a part-time job to fill their free time with something other than gaming.
  • Encourage them to join non-gaming clubs and societies to expand their social circle and extracurricular interests.
  • Consider a gap year if classes are being failed and use that time to seek support and help them regain control of their gaming habits.

Even if your child’s situation seems hopeless now, it is possible to turn their life around. Read this inspiring story of how one student gaming addict turned his life around.

Every generation has its own drug slang but today’s teens have a whole new language. Drug slang emojis are used as a secret code for messaging about illegal substances online. These colorful icons may look harmless which means that parents can easily overlook them.

What’s more, they are designed to avoid detection by law enforcement and the algorithms used by social media sites. Without adequate protections in place, the responsibility for monitoring teens’ online activity largely falls on parents.

This article reveals the hidden meanings behind common emojis used to buy or sell drugs to help parents understand what their teens are saying to friends and strangers online. For non drug-related emojis, learn these other 45 emoji slang meanings.

The prevalence of teen drug use and online exposure

Since the swinging sixties, many teenagers have experimented with illegal substances and this generation is no different. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported these drug use stats among children and teenagers 61 61. CDC: Teen Substance Use & Risks × :

  • About half of 9th to 12th grade students have used marijuana
  • 20% of 12th graders have accessed prescription drugs without a prescription
  • By 12th grade, about two-thirds of students have tried alcohol
  • Around 40% of 9th to 12th grade students have smoked cigarettes.

However, for today’s teens, social networking platforms are making drugs more normalized and readily available. Youth are particularly vulnerable to what they see online as they are highly susceptible to peer pressure and celebrity influencers. A UK study found that one in four young people aged 16-24 years old had seen illegal drug advertised on social media: 56% saw them advertised on Snapchat, 55% on Instagram and 47% on Facebook 62 62. DM for Details: Selling Drugs in the Age of Social Media × .

On the ground, UK Lochee Labour councillor Michael Marra believes TikTok in particular to be contributing to the city’s drug crisis, he said: “The purchase of drugs from online forums and through social media is a growing problem. Parents will be particularly concerned that apps such as TikTok, so commonly used by young people, are being exploited in this way.”

A 2021 report by Bark 63 63. Bark: Annual Report 2021 × into children and technology analyzed over 3.4 billion messages across texts, email, and 30+ apps and social media sites. It found that 5.35% of tweens and 93.31% of teens had engaged in online conversations about drugs and alcohol. Bark noted a 21.2% increase in alerts for drugs and alcohol compared with 2020. These alerts can range from messages about prescriptions, to videos showing children taking illegal substances.

Parents should be aware that the threat of drugs no longer lurks on street corners. Using messaging apps and social media sites, they can be bought at any time and delivered straight to the door as easily as ordering a pizza. To keep this ease of access under the radar, a totally new language of drug slang emojis has been developed.

Popular drug slang terms

This drug slang glossary reveals the hidden meanings behind some seemingly innocent emojis that teens are using to access drugs online:

🥧 — Batch of drugs

💊 — Prescription pills, drugs in general, or heroin

🔌 — Drug dealer

🤑,👑,💰, 💵, 🔌 Dealer advertising they sell / deliver

🚀, 💣,💥 — Drug potency

⚗️ — A bong

💨, 🚬 — Smoking a joint

⛽ — High-quality drugs, or to be intoxicated

🔥 — To ‘blaze’ a joint or to be ‘lit’, meaning intoxicated

🌿, 🍁, 🎄, 🍃, 🥦, 🍀,🌴 — Marijuana

❄️, 🥥, 🤧, 🔑, ⛄, 🎱 —  Cocaine

💉, 🐉, 🐎, 🎯 — Heroin

💎, 🏔, ❄, 🧪 — Crystal meth

🍄 — Magic mushrooms

💊, A-,🚆 — Adderall

💊, 🍫, 🚌 — Xanax

💊, 🔵, 🅿️, 🍌 — Percocet and Oxycodone

🍼, 🍇, 💜, 🔮 — Cough syrup

🍬, ❤, ⚡, 🤯, ❌ — MDMA and Mollies

Combination emoji drug slang

📦 🪂 – Package arrived

💯pk – 100 pills

⛽ 🚗 📱 – Mobile / delivery

The above drug slang dictionary is intended to explain the most popular emojis used to represent illegal substances. It is not a definitive list because new drug emojis are being added each year as dealers try to evade detection.

What can parents do?

screen free activities for toddlers

In February 2021, 16-year-old Sammy Berman tragically died from a drugs overdose after taking a lethal dose of fentanyl bought from a dealer on Snapchat. Since then, his mother – American therapist Dr Laura Berman – has been sharing information about the drug-related emojis teens use to help parents decipher their kids’ coded messages through various platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Roblox and even through anime series. Dr Berman is urging people to sign an online petition to allow parental monitoring tools on every social media platform.

While it is important for parents to be aware of the double meaning of some emojis, they should not instantly jump to conclusions if their teen is posting cake or broccoli icons. Parents should monitor their teen’s social media activity and emoji use, and look out for any outwards signs that may suggest they are involved in illegal drugs use. According to the Drug Enforcement Association 64 64. DEA Emoji Drug Code × (DEA) these signs may include:

  • Behavioral changes such as withdrawing from friends and relatives
  • Change in friendship group; hanging out with people who may come across as questionable
  • Spending an increasing amount of time using emojis to communicate on text messages or social media with people other than friends and family.

The DEA recommends that parents regularly talk to their children about the dangers of drugs. If a parent notices that their teen is using emojis to communicate with someone they do not know, they are strongly advised to have a serious conversation about their online activities.

To further enhance your understanding of teen culture and how to help them stay safe, learn these 130 teen slang words and phrases.

It is also recommended for parents to enable parental controls on platforms such as Reddit and games such as Roblox to provide a safer experience for their children.

Although emojis appear cute and innocent, for many teens they have hidden meanings that may represent explicit or risky behavior. Therefore, we have created this article for parents to better understand emoji slang meanings and how to keep teens safe online.

What are emojis?

what are emojis

Emojis are modern day hieroglyphics. These small visual symbols are a quick and easy way to inject humor and emotion into messages. They replicate the tone of voice, facial expressions and body language used in face-to-face communication.

Invented by a Japanese cellphone company in 1999, there are now nearly 4,000 emojis available with more added each year. Millions of people worldwide use them every day in texts, chats and emails and they are increasingly being employed in advertising campaigns and video captions. One of the main benefits is that emojis transcend cultural and language barriers.

Even though many parents regularly use emojis, they may be unaware that some seemingly innocent symbols can have a double meaning. For example, emoji meanings on Snapchat and TikTok are often more explicit than the emojis meanings iPhone lists. Some emojis can also be used as drug slang.

These small icons are a secret code for teens that create a sense of community with peers. Many of them are fun and harmless but others can be explicit and mask risky behavior. It is useful for adults to understand the alternative definitions in order to watch for warning signs that young people are being bullied or sexually harassed online and may need support. We have created an emoji dictionary to help you decode the double meanings.

Emoji slang guide

emoji slang guide

Here are some of the most common emoji slang used by teens so parents can understand what they may be saying when chatting, gaming or streaming. Please note: many of the definitions below are x-rated and some have multiple meanings.

🍆 or 🍌 — Penis

🍑 — Bottom

🥴 — Drunk, hungover or sexually aroused

🥵 — Means ‘hot’ in a sexual sense

😵 — When someone has seen something x-rated

🙃 — Used to express annoyance

🚛 — Large and/or shapely bottom

🌮 — Vagina

🤡 — Describes something that is foolish

👻 — Ghosted (ignored or dumped with no explanation)

🧢 — Symbolizes a lie

📬 — Can be used to mean sex

👉👈 — Shy, nervous – usually in the context of flirting

👉👌 — Sexual intercourse

🐫 — The act of sex (humping)

🔥 — Indicates someone is attractive or sexy

🧿 — Represents warding off the evil eye

🧠 — Oral sex

💦 — Ejaculation

🎪 — Erection

👅 — May indicate sexual activity, especially oral sex

⏳ — Used when someone has an hourglass body

🥶 — Often used in response to a nasty comment, meaning “That was cold”

😈 — Feeling frisky or naughty

👁️ 👄 👁️ — A response that means “It is what it is”

🧚‍♀️✨— Denotes a sarcastic, mean-spirited tone

🍃 — Marijuana

🐙 — Virtual hug

🍒 — Breasts or virginity

🍇 — Testicles

💓 — Depending on the color, heart emoji meanings can vary from declarations of love to jealousy, dark humor or sorrow

🦋 — Having a crush or falling in love – represents butterflies in the stomach

🎞️ — Someone wants an x-rated movie

🖥️ — Someone wants an x-rated chat

📸 — Flashing or taking sexting to the next level with nude pictures

🍝 — Represents nudes

👀 — Used when sending or receiving nudes

🤤 — Desiring someone sexually – often used in response to nudes

🙆— Can be used to signal a woman’s orgasm

💳 — Often used on TikTok to express wanting something shown in a video

💯 — Stamp of approval

🔨 — Sexual activity

🐍 — Someone is a back stabber

🌶️ — Inappropriate or risky content

🌽 — Porn

Further Reading: 130 Teen Slang Words and Phrases Decoded

Need help with your teen’s tech use?

girl addicted to tiktok

Even when parents have grasped the double meanings above, there can still be ambiguity. Sometimes seemingly sinister emojis can be innocent and vice versa. And emoji meanings from a girl to boy and boy to girl can vary. It is worth talking to your teen before jumping to conclusions.

If you’re still struggling to engage with your teen – despite gaining an insight into their world – and you’re concerned about their gaming or tech habits, we can help.

At Game Quitters, we’ve developed the Reclaim program to help families reduce conflict, manage problematic gaming and get their gamer back. And our Respawn program helps gamers quit or moderate their gaming habits.

You can also book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

Joe Rogan is a stand up comic, UFC commentator, martial arts fanatic and most importantly the most successful podcaster on the planet, with over 200m podcast downloads each month.

But did you know that he used to be addicted to video games?

Watch this video to find out all about it:

What Joe Rogan thinks about gaming

If you’ve been following Joe Rogan for a while, you’d know that he is a serious advocate for living a healthy lifestyle, training hard and eating well.

His daily routine involves fasted cardio, up to 3 hours of weight lifting, yoga twice a week, martial arts training and sometimes hunting wild meat. With such a lifestyle it’s no wonder that Joe Rogan is not a fan of video games.

In fact, he has come under fire many times before for expressing his views on gaming. In episode 1514 of JRE he contrasted video games to Jiu Jitsu.

His argument was that by someone spending the same efforts training BJJ rather than playing video games, in 3 years of time they can become successful. But by playing video games – they get nowhere.

He said: “You [could be] doing something exciting and fun, or you could just be playing video games.”

Some big names in the gaming scene such as Dr.Lupo and Ninja disagreed with that view. Saying that games are great in moderation, have awesome communities and that most gamers are not wasting their time as there are loads of career opportunities these days such as: game coaching, content creation and monetizing in-game economies.

What Joe Rogan thinks about esports

joe rogan esports

Despite having a negative outlook on gaming, Joe Rogan does recognise the success it can bring to the best players. In JRE 1404 when discussing video games, Joe states that professional gamers should get more recognition from their parents and society in general.

He says that professional gamers provide entertainment for people, and they have to execute strategy and skill on the highest level which requires mastery of yourself.

But most people don’t see professional gaming that way as the actions performed are not physical.

For example good golf players can earn millions and be respected on the highest level, while professional gamers don’t get the same level of recognition, simply because what they are doing is in the digital realm.

He goes on to say “We’re also brainwashed to believe that video games are for losers”.

So, Joe believes that professional gaming is as respectable as any other sport, but as a hobby it’s a waste of time as it’s easier to progress in life from physical hobbies such as martial arts, sports, etc.. 

Dive Deeper: What is Esports? (Professional Gaming)

Joe Rogan’s gaming addiction story

joe rogan gaming addiction

But now let’s talk about Joe’s gaming addiction… In episode 1404, Joe mentions that gaming is completely fine if you’re already successful and don’t have to worry about work.

How much is Joe Rogan worth?

Joe’s net worth is estimated at $120m, more money than most people will ever see in their entire lifetime. For comparison, PewDiePie has a networth is estimated is under $10m.

So why did Joe Rogan have to cut out gaming? In episode 1666 when interviewing Counter-Strike pro Jordan “nOthing” Gilbert, Joe elaborated on his issue.

Joe loved first person shooter games like Quake and would play 8 to 10 hours a day.

Frustrated with his slow internet, he even made the decision to upgrade to a package that cost over $10,000 a month!

“I wish I could just play for like one hour and stop, but I cannot… Because, at one hour, I start getting a better feel of where my cursor’s going, when I’m moving the mouse around. I get a better understanding of strafe jumping and where to aim with my rail gun, can’t do it. I get too excited. I get too locked in.”

Joe Rogan’s comments on his gaming experience were pretty clear, when he plays it becomes an addiction and that is probably why he has such a big issue with playing video games as a hobby. 

Due to their manipulative nature it doesn’t take much for a gaming hobby to develop into a 30-50 hour a week habit before you notice. And once that happens, other areas of life take a hit:

  • your school and work performance suffers
  • you become isolated from friends
  • you experience increased conflict with your family
  • you have less motivation to take care of your physical health

As much as gaming can be fun at times, it’s not worth it if it causes issues in other parts of your life.

As Joe says, “three years later you could just be that same kid, playing video games wasting your time.”

Dive Deeper: Are Video Games Designed to Be Addictive?

And with millions of players out there it’s very hard to make it as a professional gamer, the trends are constantly changing so in 3-5 years time when you master the game, the industry has probably moved on to a fresher title.

Need help to control gaming?

control gaming

If you, or a friend or family member, are experiencing any negative effects of gaming, we have several resources that can help:

You can also book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

We are often contacted by parents who are concerned that gaming is taking over their child’s life. However, there are many positive aspects of video games when they are played in moderation. It’s all about balancing screen time with other hobbies and interests.

This article explains how to help your child develop healthy gaming habits and gives screen-free activity examples that will appeal to kids of different ages including toddlers, kids, tweens, teens and adults.

Gaming or tech use out of control? Get immediate help for you or your loved one’s problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

What is healthy gaming?

gamers

Healthy gaming is when your child has a good gaming-life balance. They are physically active, socialize offline with friends and family, prioritize schoolwork and have other hobbies apart from playing video games. When the balance tips and gaming starts to take over, your child is likely to develop unhealthy habits – they may skip school, neglect their personal hygiene, eat junk food, wake up in the night to game and drop activities they used to enjoy.

To help your child develop and maintain healthy gaming habits, talk to them about what motivates them to play video games. Our 15 Reasons People Play Video Games article will help you steer the discussion. If you understand why your child likes gaming so much – for relaxation, escapism, excitement, competition, socializing – it will be easier to help them find non-screen activities to fulfill those needs.

Check out our screen time guidelines which advise that toddlers should avoid all screens except video calls, kids aged 2-5 years have one hour of screen time per day, no more than two hours of daily screen time for 6-12-year olds and the same limit for teenagers (excluding school use). You also want to avoid these dangerous apps for kids. To encourage healthy gaming habits for kids, it is important to set and monitor screen time limits at home. Your child may ask: “How can I have fun without screens?” or even “What are non-screen activities?” We have plenty of ideas to inspire them.

Screen-free activities by age

So, how do you entertain kids without screens in our tech-centric world? Here are some suggestions for toddlers, younger children and teens:

Screen-free activities for toddlers

screen free activities for toddlers

  1. Singing songs and nursery rhymes – Young children love music and movement. Singing songs and nursery rhymes together is a great way for them to develop their language and communication skills. See if there’s a baby rhyme time at your local community center or library.
  2. Read to your toddler – Listening to stories will give your toddler a feel for the sounds and rhythms of language. Looking at the pictures will stimulate their imagination. A book before bedtime – or any time of the day – is also good for their emotional well-being.
  3. Sensory board – A sensory board (also known as a busy board) will give your toddler hours of entertainment and help develop their fine motor skills. Attach everyday household items to a large board – buckles, zippers, knobs, handles, wheels, flaps, locks— the options are endless.
  4. Playdough – Whether you buy it or make your own (and the ingredients are very cheap), playdough gives toddlers the opportunity to get creative and develop their hand-eye coordination. It also improves dexterity in their hands and fingers, which is useful for learning to write and draw as they get older.
  5. Painting – Toddlers enjoy finger painting, potato printing, marble rolling, leaf painting and just unleashing their creativity on a blank sheet of paper. Not only is painting fun, but it can also help to develop concentration, and hand-eye coordination and control. Playing music as they paint will create a calm and relaxing environment.
  6. Hide and seek – If your child has been sitting in front of a screen, it’s a good idea to choose an activity that will get them moving. Hide and seek also encourages them to use their imagination and helps develop problem-solving skills as they work out where their friend, sibling or toy is hidden.
  7. Obstacle course – This is an activity that will help your toddler burn off some energy inside or outdoors. Find objects they can run to, jump over, crawl through, walk on and wind their way around. Take turns so that they can practice understanding and giving instructions.
  8. Playing with water – Toddlers love playing with water – in the bath, paddling pool or plastic bowl. Use bottles, funnels, jugs, straws, spoons, tubes and anything else that is unbreakable. Never leave a young child alone when playing with water – they can drown in less than 5 centimetres (2 inches) of water.
  9. Dressing up – This is a perfect rainy-day activity. Dressing up doesn’t always need to involve expensive, shop-bought items. Create a collection of old hats, scarves, shirts, dresses and other accessories and props. In pretending to be different characters, your child will develop their imagination and be able to express their emotions.
  10. Hands-on games – Engaging your toddler in hands-on games – such as threading cotton reels on string, stacking blocks, sorting shapes and doing simple jigsaw puzzles – is not only fun, but it will also the help develop their problem-solving and fine motor skills.

Screen-free activities for 2-5-year-olds

screen free activities for 5 year olds

  1. Exploring outside – If your child is reluctant to switch off the screen, getting outside is a great distraction. Whether you visit the local park or go for a walk in the woods, they will love having the freedom and space to run about. Getting outdoors will help develop their independence and self-confidence.
  2. Den building – Kids love video games that offer action and adventure. Building a den will give them the chance to have their own adventure. With just a few sheets, blankets, and cushions they can be transported from their home to another world. Or they can get busy outside and build a den in the garden.
  3. Role-playing – Try role-playing together in different scenarios such as a shop, hospital, dentist, vet, post office, hotel, building site – or simply pretend to be other characters and have a conversation on a toy phone. Acting out real-life roles builds confidence, creativity and communication skills.
  4. Treasure hunt – If your child is bored, a treasure hunt (also known as a scavenger hunt) is bound to get them excited. It does take a little planning to make clues and hide objects but it’s an inexpensive activity you can do at home or outdoors. Plus, it helps develop their problem-solving skills and gets them active.
  5. Memory tray – Put familiar toys and brightly-colored objects on a tray and cover them with a cloth. Give your child one or two minutes to memorize the items. Then, re-cover the items and see how many they can remember. It’s a great way to improve their attention, concentration and focus.
  6. Baking – Young kids love baking. Not only is it a fun activity, but they will enjoy a tasty treat at the end. There are lots of simple recipes available online – cupcakes or cookies are ideal. If you don’t have the time or inclination to bake, simply buy something ready-made, mix up or buy some icing, and let your pre-schooler get busy decorating.
  7. Coloring – If you’re looking for an activity that will keep your child quiet and occupied for a while, coloring is a good choice. There are plenty of low-cost coloring books available and online printables that can be downloaded for free. Whatever your child is into – dinosaurs, fairies, unicorns, cars, animals – you are bound to find something they like.
  8. Puppet making – Help your pre-schooler make a hand or finger puppet out of a sock. All you need is some paper to stick on as eyes, nose, mouth and ears. You can then use it for role-playing games, hide and seek or you could even make a little theatre and put on puppet show for friends and family.
  9. Create a collage – This simple craft activity involves pasting pictures from newspapers and magazines, photos, pieces of material or leaves onto a sheet of paper. Creating a collage will help kids at the upper end of the age range practice their cutting skills. It’s also a fun way to develop your child’s awareness of colors and texture.
  10. Make musical instruments – Noisy activities are always popular with young kids. It’s easy to make musical instruments out of things you have at home. For example, an empty plastic bottle filled with rice or pasta makes a great shaker or use a tin can, cardboard box or saucepan to make a drum.

Screen-free activities for 6–12-year-olds

screen free activities 6 to 12 year olds

  1. Reading – If your child plays video games for escapism and excitement then reading is a great way to get them immersed in other worlds and adventures. Make sure they read physical books, not online ones, for a break from digital devices.
  2. Geocaching – There are several video games that involve searching for hidden treasure. Geocaching is an exciting, offline alternative. Simply download the app and your kids can follow clues to find containers hidden in different locations. It’s fun, exciting and gets them outside and active.
  3. Mountain biking – If your child likes adventure, mountain biking is an ideal activity. Get them involved in planning a route and explore different places on two wheels. It’s great for family bonding and/or socializing with friends. Plus, there are multiple physical and mental health benefits.
  4. Martial arts – There are many popular martial arts video games so encourage your child to learn the skills themselves. There are different types to choose from – including Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Judo – whether they want to have fun, learn self-defense, be competitive or make new friends.
  5. Skateboarding – While skateboarding will get your child offline and outside, it has several similarities to gaming: the freedom to explore, learning new tricks, being in the moment and hanging out with like-minded friends. Plus, skateboarding releases endorphins in the brain which can reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
  6. Camping – Whether it’s building a den in the house on a rainy day or pitching a tent outside, camping is a great way for kids to reconnect with family and friends without digital distractions. New experiences and challenges will stimulate them mentally and physically.
  7. Arts and crafts – Many children play video games to be creative – Minecraft for example allows players to build anything they like. Similarly, art and crafts is an excellent outlet for imaginative ideas and inventiveness. It can also be relaxing, therapeutic and a way to de-stress if there has been conflict in the house because of your child’s gaming habits.
  8. Board games – If your child likes the competitive nature of video games then many board games will tick the same box. They are a great option for an afternoon with friends or family with different genres available, from casual to hardcore strategy.
  9. Playing with Lego – Kids enjoy using virtual building blocks in games like Minecraft to create towers, castles and other structures. With Lego they can construct whatever they want out of physical bricks – the only limit is their imagination.
  10. Visiting a theme park – For thrill-seeking kids, the opportunity to visit a theme park is likely to entice them offline. It’s a fantastic day out with family or friends and will enable your child to explore, have an adventure and be immersed in a fictional world.

Screen-free activities for teens

screen free activities teens

  1. DJing – Music is a form of escapism for many teens so DJing may well appeal as an off-screen activity. Like gaming, DJing offers a way to be creative, sociable and get lost in it for hours. Plus, positive, upbeat music can relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
  2. Casual or extreme obstacle courses – Adventures races like the Color Run, Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race will give teens a similar sense of excitement, competition and adrenalin rush to video games. As well as taking part on the day, they will need to get physically fit which will mean getting offline to exercise in the run up to the event.
  3. Events, concerts and meetups – Encourage your teen to get out of their bedroom and meet new people at local events, concerts and meetups. If there is nothing that appeals to them, suggest they set something up – it could even be a face-to-face meetup with other gamers.
  4. Volunteering – Gaming can be a solitary activity if your teen doesn’t enjoy multiplayer games, so volunteering in the local community is a good way to meet other people. It will give them a sense of purpose and help them feel happier and less isolated.
  5. Airsoft/paintball – If your teen loves first-person shooter games (FPS), like Fortnite , Valorant, Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, they will enjoy playing airsoft and paintball. Both are competitive team ‘shooting’ sports filled with action, adventure and excitement.
  6. Exercise class – Playing video games is a sedentary activity so an exercise class is a good way for your teen to spend time offline. There are many different classes available from pilates, zumba, dance and yoga, to circuit training and bootcamps.
  7. Running – A great way to start exercising and getting outside is running. It is accessible for people of all fitness levels whether your teen begins a couch to 5K program, starts training for a half or full marathon, or simply runs for fun either alone or with friends.
  8. Recreational sports team – Gaming can sometimes be lonely so joining a recreational sports team will help your teen make new friends in a fun and casual way. Check out what is available in your local area – dodgeball, volleyball, softball, ultimate frisbee, bowling etc.
  9. Cooking – When gaming, teens sometimes skip meals or choose junk food as a quick and easy option. That’s why cooking is such a useful off-screen activity. They will develop a life skill, learn about healthy eating and it will encourage family mealtimes.
  10. Part-time job – If your teen has a part-time job they will get a regular break from gaming as well as earning money. A job will provide structure in their life outside school, develop their team building skills and boost self-confidence.

Screen-free activities for adults

california surfer

As a parent, it’s important to remember that every time you scroll through social media, binge-watch a Netflix series or check messages on your phone, you’re setting an example for your child. They are much more likely to embrace other hobbies and activities if you model healthy screen time use. Here are some ideas of screen-free activities for adults:

  1. Learn a language – If you’ve always fancied learning another language, there has never been a better time. Whether you want to join a class or learn at your own pace at home, there’s a wide choice of learning styles and languages available. Have fun, gain confidence and practice your new linguistic skills on your next holiday or business trip!
  2. Join a book club – If you love reading, joining a book club is a great way to enjoy a wider variety of genres, discuss the plots and characters with like-minded people, and expand your social circle. If there isn’t a book club near you (check at your local library or book store), consider setting one up.
  3. Listen to podcasts – Whatever you’re interested in – current affairs, true crime, comedy, drama, health and fitness – there’s a podcast for you. Put on some headphones and listen while you are walking, running or commuting to work. It will help you switch off and relax.
  4. DIY project – Getting stuck into a DIY project will not only save you money, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment afterwards. Start with something small, such as putting up a picture or hanging a shelf, and then progress to a bigger project like restoring a dresser or painting a room.
  5. Fishing – If you spend a lot of time sedentary and indoors, fishing has excellent physical and mental health benefits. It is a good form of exercise – you need to use your neck, arm and leg muscles when reeling in a fish. Getting outside also helps you relax and relieves stress, away from the pressures of everyday life.
  6. Start a new sport – Keeping fit and active is a great way to model healthy behavior to your kids. It’s easier to stay motivated if you enjoy what you’re doing. So, if you’re stuck in a rut, why not take up a new sport? Whether you fancy trying golf, tennis, badminton, basketball, swimming or something else, find out what’s available where you live.
  7. Join a choir – There are lots of different choirs and musical societies to choose from, so you’re bound to find one that appeals. Joining a choir will enable you to meet new people and escape your usual routine. As well as attending regular practice sessions, you’ll also travel to different venues for performances.
  8. Cycling – Getting on your bike is a good way to start exercising. Choose the terrain and distance to suit your fitness level. There are also indoor options available – from static exercise bikes at home or the gym, to spin classes which are fairly intense but lots of fun.
  9. Gardening – You don’t need a big outdoor space to take up gardening. You could start with some indoor plants, a window box or balcony. If you have a larger plot, it can be great fun planning what you’re going to plant – growing your own flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs can be hugely rewarding.
  10. Group fitness class – Exercising on your own can get boring. That’s why group exercise classes like yoga, pilates, zumba, HIIT and circuit training are so popular. Working out with others is good for motivation, you’re much less likely to skip a group fitness class than the gym. It’s also sociable and enjoyable.

Our hobby tool has more ideas. Feel free to share it with other parents who ask: “How do you entertain kids without screens?” Or “What do you do on your screen-free day?”

Need help?

If you’ve tried to interest your child in these screen-free activities without success and need help getting their gaming and screen time under control, book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

As soda is made from potentially habit-forming ingredients, like caffeine and sugar, it can become addictive and cause a number of physical and mental health problems.

Are you or a loved one drinking too much soda? In this article we look at the signs and health impacts of soda addiction, as well as how to prevent or stop it.

Gaming out of control? Get immediate help for you or your loved one’s gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

What is a soda addiction?

what is soda addiction

Is soda the first thing you think about in the morning? Do you constantly crave soda throughout the day? Do you drink soda at every mealtime and often in between? If so, you may have a soda addiction.

Soda addiction (also known as soda dependency) involves consuming excessive amounts of soda without being able to moderate your intake, despite negative health consequences.

Although soda addiction is not officially recognized as a disorder, it is a type of food addiction that releases the same feel-good hormone in the brain that can cause drug and alcohol addiction.

Signs of soda addiction

warning signs of soda addiction

Soda addiction has many symptoms in common with alcohol or drug addiction such as cravings, lack of control, tolerance and withdrawal. Here are some common signs that you or a loved one may be addicted to soda:

  • Constantly preoccupied with thoughts of drinking soda.
  • Experiencing strong cravings for soda that are difficult to resist.
  • Needing to consume larger quantities of soda to feel the same level of pleasure.
  • Often drinking more than intended.
  • Having a thirst that can only be quenched by soda.
  • Repeatedly trying to control, cut down or stop drinking soda without success.
  • Hiding soda consumption from others.
  • Feeling guilty after drinking soda.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms such as a headache, irritability or difficulty concentrating when unable to have soda.
  • Suffering from physical health problems like tooth decay and unwanted weight gain.
  • Experiencing mental health issues including depression and anxiety.

If these signs of soda addiction resonate with you, see the ‘How to stop soda addiction’ section below.

What makes soda so addictive?

why soda is addictive

There are three main reasons why soda can be addictive.

Potentially addictive ingredients

Soda has just the right amount of sugar, caffeine and carbonation to make the body crave more.

One 12 oz can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar – that’s the equivalent of about 10 teaspoons. It produces a rush of sweetness that triggers a release of dopamine, the brain’s reward system. In fact, research has found that sugar can be more rewarding than cocaine.

Caffeine is another soda ingredient that can be addictive. It is a stimulant that speeds up messages between the brain and the body which can lead to increased energy and alertness. High consumption can cause irritability, restlessness and insomnia whereas withdrawal symptoms include headaches and poor concentration.

The fizziness of soda can also be addictive. The carbonation adds a small amount of acidity and when combined with sugar, it intensifies the ‘high’.

Habitual behavior

Drinking soda can become associated with everyday activities such as eating meals, watching a movie, scrolling through social media or playing video games. These occasions can feel incomplete without drinking soda.

Personal taste

Many people prefer the sweet, fizzy taste of soda to water and other beverages. So even when different, healthier options are available, they will always choose soda.

How soda effects your health

soda health effects

Drinking soda as an occasional treat is unlikely to be harmful, whereas excessive consumption can have adverse side effects. How soda addiction impacts your health varies from person to person but here are some of the common physical and mental health risks:

  • Tooth decay
  • Unwanted weight gain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Obesity
  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Anxiety
  • Depression.

How to stop soda addiction

break soda addiction

If you are concerned about your drinking habits and want to know how to consume less soda, here are helpful tips to help prevent or stop soda addiction:

Reduce your soda consumption

It can be difficult to stop drinking soda all at once. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, gradually cut down the amount of soda you are consuming. Start by drinking one then two less cans a day to wean yourself off it, building up to going for a whole day without soda. Eventually, you may choose to only drink soda when socializing with friends or at weekends.

Drink plenty of water

The best soda alternatives are still or sparkling water. Try to drink as much water as you do soda. Add mint, cucumber or fresh fruit to make it more flavorsome. Keeping hydrated with water – which has no calories, caffeine, sugar or additives – will quench your thirst, fill you up and stop you consuming so much soda.

Stop using soda as a reward

Often people use soda as a reward which can trigger dependence by promoting a high dopamine response to the drink. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself – just replace drinking soda with a healthier behavior that addresses the same need.

Choose a substitute for soda

Plan ahead for how you will respond when you get the urge to drink soda. Perhaps you could try breathing exercises, go for a walk or find a replacement activity.

Cut out triggers

If you drink soda when watching movies, don’t do the cinema for a while. If you always order a soda when you get a takeout, prepare food at home. Make it easier on yourself by avoiding the things that trigger your soda cravings.

Visualize yourself succeeding

Imagine yourself not needing soda to feel happy, regaining control of your life and enjoying your success.

Although these tips are not guaranteed to stop soda addiction, they may reduce your risk of developing it.

Need help to build better habits?

build better habits

If you or a loved one are addicted to soda and the above advice has not helped, consider talking to a health professional or therapist. We have a database of therapists worldwide so you can contact one close to where you live.

As soda addiction is not a recognized disorder, there is no formal treatment. However, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective at targeting problematic thought patterns that can cause unhealthy behaviors such as drinking excessive amounts of soda.

Sometimes, people with soda dependency also struggle with gaming or digital addiction. They spend hours playing video games or scrolling through social media, despite negative consequences. If you or someone you care about is addicted to gaming or tech, get in touch to book a free 30-minute Gameplan strategy call.

YouTube might seem like a harmless form of entertainment, but compulsively watching videos can negatively impact your education, career, relationships and mental wellbeing.

Domingo Cullen explains how binge-watching YouTube videos became his “drug of choice”:

“I would sit entranced, swelling my command of thoroughly useless information as YouTube gently wove its spell on me, drawing me deeper and deeper into its pixelated underworld. As one video finished, another one on a similar topic loaded, sucking me in for another five or 10 minutes. Half hours became hours became half days. And outside my window, the world whizzed on…”

Does this sound familiar?

In this article, we take a closer look at what makes the video-sharing platform so addictive and suggest effective strategies to help you or a loved one have a healthier relationship with YouTube.

Tech use out of control? Get immediate help for you or your loved one’s YouTube problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Who uses YouTube?

youtube statistics

YouTube is a free video-sharing and social media platform. Since its launch in 2005, and subsequent sale to Google in 2006, it has become the world’s second most-used social media network after Facebook.

Here are some statistics about the platform and who uses it:

What makes YouTube so addictive?

addicted to youtube

Although there are no specific YouTube addiction statistics available, it is estimated that 330 million people worldwide will potentially suffer from problematic internet use in 2022 and up to 10% of people in the US could have social media addiction.

In order to understand how YouTube is designed to be addictive, we only need to look at its algorithm. The algorithm behind an app can be one reason it becomes dangerous. The sophisticated technology recommends videos based on your viewing history to entice you to keep watching. This can make it difficult to know when to stop as the content never runs out. According to YouTube’s product chief, 70% of what is watched on YouTube is based on algorithm recommendations.

Although, YouTube addiction is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the compulsive use of YouTube is often described as a behavioral addiction. Unlike addiction to drugs or alcohol, behavioral addictions do not involve a substance. However, the desire to experience a ‘high’ from the behavior – in this case binge-watching videos – can be just as strong.

Warning signs of YouTube addiction

warning signs of youtube addiction

As YouTube addiction is not an officially recognized condition, there is no agreed criteria for problematic use. However, here are some common warning signs that you – or someone you care about – may be addicted to YouTube:

  • Spending hours at a time watching YouTube videos, thinking about videos or planning to watch videos.
  • Feeling an uncontrollable urge to watch YouTube videos when away from the platform.
  • Needing to spend more and more time on YouTube to find the same thrill.
  • Trying to control, cut down or stop watching videos, without success.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms – such as feeling irritable, restless or anxious – when away from YouTube.
  • Turning to YouTube to escape from personal problems.
  • Continuing to watch YouTube videos even when it has adverse consequences.
  • Hiding YouTube viewing habits from others.
  • Sacrificing sleep to watch just one more video.
  • Unable to stop watching YouTube during other activities.
  • Neglecting work, school, family, friends or other important life areas.
  • Losing interest in all other hobbies and pastimes.
  • Quickly reverting to YouTube overuse after taking a break from the platform.

How to stop binge-watching YouTube

Even if your binge-watching isn’t a full-blown YouTube addiction, it might still be causing problems in your life. If you want to stop wasting time on the internet, here are some steps you can take:

Clear your YouTube history

As explained above, to keep you wanting more, the YouTube algorithm combs through your search and watch history to recommend videos it thinks you would like. The best way to stop it is to delete this information. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to clear your YouTube history.

Set a daily YouTube limit

Check out our recommended screen time guidelines to help you decide on a reasonable amount of time to spend watching videos each day. Then, set a daily limit so you stop using YouTube when you reach that threshold.

Switch on the take a break reminder

On YouTube settings, there is a ‘take a break’ reminder to help you manage your usage. It will pause the video until you dismiss it or resume playing the video. For users aged 13–17, the take a break reminder is switched ‘on’ but for users aged 18+ or over, the default setting is ‘off’. Find out how to set a take a break reminder.

Turn off auto-play

The auto-play feature on YouTube bombards users with a constant stream of videos. You can turn off auto-play by using the toggle option on the watch page. This may make it easier for you to step away when a video finishes. Here are instructions for turning off auto-play on different devices.

Try a digital detox

If you keep finding yourself pulled back to watching videos, try a digital detox for 24 hours or longer. The goal is not to step away from YouTube forever but to use it in a more balanced way. Read our digital detox guide.

Delete the YouTube app

If a digital detox is not possible, try deleting the YouTube app on your smartphone. Restricting access to your desktop or laptop will help you be more intentional in your use and reduce the amount of time you spend mindlessly watching videos.

Delete your YouTube account

If none of the above approaches are working, and YouTube is still disrupting your life and causing distress, you may need complete abstinence. Learn how to delete your YouTube account.

Find new activities

Find other ways to fill your time so you aren’t tempted to spend hours binge-watching videos. Our hobby tool has over 70 ideas to inspire you.

Need help to break your addiction to YouTube?

If you or a loved one are addicted to YouTube, or have any other social media addiction, expert help is available. Our coaching program is designed to help individuals and families regain balance with technology.

Get in touch today to book your gameplan strategy call.

“Sometimes I got to bed at like 1am because I’m trying to complete a level. I just want to get to the end before I stop but it can go on and on… if I have to get up early then I can’t.”

Does this sound familiar? Are you or a loved one sleep deprived through gaming at night? If it has become a negative cycle and you don’t know where to turn, we can help.

This article looks at why some gamers lose sleep to gaming, the symptoms of sleep deprivation and tips to fix your sleep schedule if night-time gaming is adversely affecting your life.

It’s possible to fix your sleep schedule, even if it’s reached the depths of degen. Soon you will wake up well rested and motivated for the day.

Gaming out of control? Get immediate help for you or your loved one’s gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Why do some gamers suffer with sleep deprivation?

Some gamers play video games late into the night and may get less sleep than they need. They may delay their bedtime to keep playing, wake in the middle of the night while their parents are asleep (in the case of young gamers) or rise early before school or work to play.

Gamers with friends in different time zones may justify playing at irregular hours to socialize with them or be on an esports team and have to practice at certain times. They may also feel compeled to play “just one more game” to complete a level of achievement or end on a win. Before they know, hours have passed and it’s the middle of the night – people with ADHD and executive function issues, in particular, may not track time well.

The mental stimulation of video games and the blue light of screens can interfere with sleep patterns and melatonin (the sleep hormone) production, so gamers don’t feel sleepy at bedtime. However, the later they play, the later they wake which can impact on school or work. It can lead to sleep deprivation and a degen sleep schedule which can have a major impact on all aspects of their health and wellness.

But what is a dengen sleep schedule? A degen (or degenerative) sleep schedule involves having an irregular sleep pattern where someone is often awake from midnight to 6am. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines on the recommended number of hours of sleep per night needed by each age group.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation

adults sleep deprived

Unhealthy sleep habits can have a profound effect on overall health and well-being on a day-to-day and potentially long-term basis. They can lead to the following physical and mental health problems:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability and anger
  • Poor school or work performance
  • Lower life expectancy
  • Burnout
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression.

Sleep deprivation is not the only negative consequence of excessive gaming. If you are concerned about your gaming – or a loved one’s gaming habits – take our short online quiz to find out if you (or they) meet the criteria for gaming addiction.

8 ways to fix your sleep schedule

rested gamer

Here are some tips for resetting your sleep schedule if it has become unbalanced due to excessive gaming at night.

1. Set a sleep schedule

Choose a set bedtime and wake-up time and stick to them every day. By following a regular schedule, your body clock will develop a new routine and healthier sleeping habits. Over time, you will know the best time to sleep; you will be ready to go to bed, have an uninterrupted night’s sleep and wake up refreshed.

2. Remove all devices from bedrooms

Removing all screens (TV, tablets, smartphones, computers) from bedrooms will greatly improve sleep as they can stimulate the brain for several hours. The whole family can try this as an experiment for a week. Keeping devices that connect to the internet out of bedrooms also increases children’s online safety and parental control of content.

3. Create a relaxing sleeping environment

Make your bedroom conducive to a good night’s sleep. Turn off devices a minimum of one hour before bed and keep them outside the bedroom. If you live in a noisy area, white noise can help you drift off to sleep (fan, air conditioning, white noise machine) or get some earplugs. Ensure the room temperature is just right – not too hot and not too cold – and you have a comfortable mattress to sleep on.

4. Skip daytime naps

If you or a loved one are staying up late to game, it can be tempting to nap during the day. If you are trying to build healthy sleeping habits, this is the wrong approach. Daytime napping can cause grogginess and make it more difficult to sleep at night. If you get the number of hours sleep per night recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there should be no need to nap in the day.

5. Get daily exercise

Regular daily exercise is a good way to improve your sleep quality, and general health and well-being. According to the Sleep Foundation, moderate to vigorous exercise can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, lessen broken sleep at night and help alleviate daytime tiredness. However, exercising in the evening can overstimulate the body so avoid working out one to two hours before bedtime.

6. Eat early

As well as setting regular bedtime and wake-up times, having meals around the same time each day will also get your body into a regular routine. Try to eat your evening meal at least two to three hours before bed and watch what you eat– food with a high fat content might disrupt your sleep because it can take longer to digest.

7. Avoid late-night caffeine and alcohol consumption

Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks or alcohol when gaming in the evening. As a stimulant, caffeine can take up to 12 hours to wear off so try to restrict caffeine consumption to the morning. Drinking alcohol before bed can also cause disrupted sleep and make you feel tired the next day (regardless of how many hours sleep you’ve had) because it prevents you from reaching the rapid eye movement (REM) restorative stage of sleep.

8. Establish a calming bedtime routine

Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help you wind down after an evening of gaming:

  • Follow the same hygiene habits – take a bath or shower, brush your teeth
  • Focus on calming activities such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation
  • Write down your thoughts in a journal
  • Read a book
  • Listen to relaxing music.

Still need help?

level up irl

If you or a loved one have tried these healthy sleeping tips without success, book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

Other specialist support and resources from Game Quitters include:

Video gaming is the most popular form of entertainment worldwide among children and adults alike. People play video games to connect with friends, overcome challenges, explore alternate worlds, develop interesting careers and just for fun.

However, gaming is an activity that occurs on a spectrum, from healthy at one end to harmful at the other end.

In this article, we look at the positive and negative effects of gaming and share some healthy gaming tips for kids, teens and adults.

Gaming out of control? Get immediate help for you or your loved one’s gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Video game statistics

video game statistics

There are over 3 billion gamers globally which means that almost 40% of the world’s population plays video games.

Most people have a healthy relationship with gaming and it is one of many interests and activities they enjoy. However, around 10% of gamers are at risk of playing problematically – which means that gaming has a negative impact on their life. Research finds between 2-3% of gamers globally struggle with a video game addiction.

Let’s take a closer look at video game use among adults and young people:

As the number of gamers worldwide continues to rise, there will be an associated increase in people with video game addiction. That’s why developing healthy gaming habits is crucial.

What is healthy gaming?

healthy gaming

Healthy (or positive) gaming is when people play video games as one of many activities in their life. They spend time with family, go to work or school, have real-world friends as well as online friends, and enjoy other interests besides gaming.

Gaming follows a predictable pattern we call hook, habit and harm. A gamer likes playing video games, they are hooked by the fun, stimulation, challenges, sense of conquest, skill-building, friendships and social aspect of playing with others. Modern video games are specifically designed to hook a young person’s brain to want more and more of it. And that is when harm can occur. Read our article on the pros and cons of gaming.

When gaming is a positive habit, it is a regular part of life – people make time to play games, but they still manage to get school or work and other responsibilities done. There are several notable benefits from playing video games in moderation. Find out about the positive effects of gaming.

What is unhealthy gaming?

fighting over gaming

For some people, their gaming habit begins to create harm in their life. It starts to become a greater priority, cutting into time spent doing other activities. It can negatively affect their mental and physical health, family and relationships. They may be eating poorly, not sleeping well, not exercising regularly or getting outside. Other harms include anxiety, low moods, irritability and depression. Socially, some gamers become more isolated and anxious and have difficulty making friends and interacting with others in the physical world.

Here are some common signs that playing video games has turned into an unhealthy habit. A gamer may:

  • Lose interests in sports, lose interest in friends, lose interest in school or work or hobbies
  • Make gaming a priority above everything else and talk only about video games
  • Lack motivation for anything but gaming
  • Be moody, irritable, depressed or anxious
  • Show no interest or joy in anything
  • Withdraw from family and friends
  • Develop poor eating, sleeping, hygiene habits – may stop brushing teeth or showering or stay up all night to game
  • Consume a poor diet
  • Use excessive caffeine or other stimulants to game
  • Have physical aches and pains such as headaches or back strain
  • Skip classes or work, or drop out of school or work
  • Have conflict with family members about time spent gaming or how it is affecting them.

Sometimes, a gamer may have tried to cut down but be unable to stop or reduce their gaming. They may be lying about their gaming or hiding when or how much they game. Some wake up to play through the night, drink high caffeine energy drinks or other stimulants and suffer the knock-on effects of sleeplessness through the day. Find out more about the negative effects of gaming.

Healthy gaming tips

gamers

Are you concerned about the amount of time you spend gaming? Is your child or teen showing signs of video game addiction? Here are some tips to help you and your family develop healthy gaming habits.

Healthy gaming habits for kids

Parents should be responsible for setting rules and limits for their child.

  • Have gaming in a communal area of the house, not their bedroom
  • Ask your child to explain what they are playing to check it’s age appropriate – ideally, get involved in their gameplay
  • Find out who your child is playing with
  • Make sure they get schoolwork and other responsibilities done before gaming
  • Suggest games that move the body, like dance apps
  • Make sure your child plays other games in addition to video games
  • Encourage them to get outside and play
  • Stop gaming an hour before bed
  • Keep them hydrated with water
  • Have limits – the recommendation is 30 minutes on weekdays, one hour per day on weekends
  • Make sure your child understands safety rules – no giving out personal information on chats.

Healthy gaming habits for teens

Gaming limits and rules should be agreed by parents and teens.

  • Get schoolwork and other responsibilities done first, before gaming
  • Take breaks to move around and stretch
  • Keep gaming in a communal area of the house
  • Make time to socialize with real life friends
  • Make daily physical activity or sports a priority, go outside for a walk every day
  • Stop gaming an hour before bed
  • Stick to your limits – decide how much you will play, then set an alarm and stop when it goes off
  • Stay hydrated with water and limit caffeine and stimulants, avoid junk snacks
  • Understand safe gaming – no giving out personal information online.

Healthy gaming habits for adults

  • Limit your gaming to certain times and places, use a schedule to keep it in balance
  • Keep gaming out of the bedroom to avoid disrupting sleep
  • Use an alarm to let you know the time is up if you tend to ‘lose yourself’ in the game
  • Choose games that are positive experiences instead of negative ones, especially with toxic play and overspending
  • Minimize blue light from screens by using blue light minimizing glasses or modes on your screens, as blue light interferes with our sleep schedules
  • Keep hydrated and take breaks to stretch and move
  • Limit caffeine and stimulants while playing
  • Eat healthily and avoid junk snacks.
  • Review how much you’re playing every week and adjust it accordingly

Need help to control gaming?

control gaming

If you or a loved one have tried these healthy gaming tips and still need help, book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

At Game Quitters, our Respawn program helps gamers detox from gaming and get their life back on track. Our Reclaim program helps families reduce conflict and manage problem gaming.

Other resources include:

Video games can be a fun and harmless activity when played in moderation. It’s all about encouraging healthy gaming habits for kids. But what is healthy gaming? A key aspect of healthy gaming is ensuring your child enjoys a balance of hobbies and interests. That means taking regular breaks from screen time.

But how do you entertain kids without screens and what is the best hobby for a child that loves gaming?

Gaming or tech use out of control? Get immediate help for you or your loved one’s problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

How do I keep my child entertained in the summer?

kids paint

With the school holidays stretching ahead, you may be wondering what to do in the summer to entertain your kids. We are often asked: “What are non-screen activities that will appeal my child?”.

We have listed a range of summer hobbies examples below that are good replacement activities for video games. You may be wondering: “What can an 11-year-old do when bored at home?” or “What can a 10-year-old do in the summer?” However, rather than show the summer hobbies by age, we have set them out in categories as some activities will appeal to kids of different ages.

60 summer hobbies for kids

Our list of 60 hobby ideas below will help you entice your child away from video games over the summer. Our hobby tool has even more suggestions.

Hobbies for relaxation

kids reading

1. Reading

Reading is the ultimate form of escapism. It’s a great way to discover new worlds and connect with the characters away from screens.

2. Colouring

Colouring is a relaxing and creative hobby that appeals to kids of all ages. It’s easy to get started and can be focussed on something they are interested in.

3. Story writing

Story writing is a way for kids relax, calm their mind and express their feelings. It can also be fun as they develop storylines that tap into their interests.

4. Yoga

Yoga is a relaxing hobby that has physical benefits – it develops strength and flexibility – and is also good for mental well-being.

5. Meditation

Paying attention to the current moment through meditation can help improve sleep, increase attention span, reduce stress and anxiety, and build mental resilience.

6. Gardening

With so much time spent on screens, gardening is a great way for the digital generation to connect with nature. Growing fruit and vegetables is particularly rewarding.

7. Knitting

Knitting can help kids to unwind and it’s an easy skill for beginners to learn. This practical hobby produces results (hats, scarfs, bags) that provide a sense of achievement.

8. Walking

Getting outside in nature will help your child unplug and de-stress. It also has multiple physical health benefits.

9. Listening to music

Discovering new bands and artists, and getting immersed in their music will appeal to kids of all ages.

10. Journaling

Journaling is very relaxing and therapeutic. It can help your child reflect on their life, relieve feelings of anxiety and practice gratitude.

Hobbies for getting active

kids running

11. Running

Running is one of the easiest keep-fit hobbies to start. All your child needs is a pair of trainers and somewhere to run.

12. Dancing

There are many types of dance and many ways to get involved – whether it’s a dedicated dance class or moving to some tunes at home.

13. Mountain biking

There’s not much your child needs to go mountain biking – just a bicycle, helmet and some ideas of different routes to explore. This is a fun activity to do with friends.

14. Skateboarding

Skateboarding has quite a steep learning curve but it’s easy to practise and when your child starts to make progress it can be incredibly rewarding.

15. Weightlifting

Kids can start with body weight exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups and squats, then move on to a simple dumbbell workout.

16. Roller skating

All your child needs are some roller skates, protection and somewhere safe to practise. If they start slowly, they will soon be whizzing around.

17. Swimming

Swimming is a great summer activity for all the family. It’s something you can do indoors and outside whatever the weather.

18. Rock climbing

You don’t need to live near mountains for your child to take up this hobby. Many towns and cities have indoor climbing centres that offer instruction.

19. Group fitness class

Taking part in a group fitness class is a fun and sociable activity. There is something for everyone – pilates, circuit training, spin classes, water aerobics, bootcamps.

20. Martial arts

Your child may be interested in learning martial arts if they play this genre of video games. Find out what’s available in your area – Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Judo are popular.

Hobbies that are adventurous

geocaching

21. Geocaching

Geocaching combines the excitement of discovering somewhere new with thrill of hunting for treasure. Simply download a geocaching app and off you go!

22. Camping

Whether you set off on a family camping trip or your child pitches a tent in the garden, camping will show your child there’s more to life than video games.

23. Hiking

If your child is reluctant to go hiking, invite one of their friends along. It’s more fun exploring new places, climbing trees and playing hide and seek when they have company.

24. Escape room

Completing challenges and solving clues to escape from the room make this a fun and high-adrenalin activity for your child and their friends.

25. Airsoft/paintball

If your child enjoys first-person shooter video games, they will love playing airsoft and paintball – both simulate gun combat with mock weapons.

26. Road trip

Wondering what do you do on your screen-free day? Getting out of the house on a road trip – even if it’s not far from home – is a good distraction from video games.

27. Theme park

Next time your child asks, “How can I have fun without screens?” a theme park visit is a good option. There are rides and attractions to appeal to all ages.

28. Adventure races

Extreme obstacle courses like Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race will give older kids something to train for as well as a great experience on the day of the event.

29. Abseiling

Abseiling is a great activity for kids of all ages. They will experience an adrenalin surge as they make their descent and a huge sense of achievement afterwards.

30. Orienteering

Orienteering combines outdoor adventure with map reading and navigational skills. It is can either be a competitive sport or a fun activity.

Hobbies that teach a skill

kids volunteering

31. Volunteering

If your child is bored over the summer, volunteering is a good way to fill their time. As well as getting involved in the community and learning new skills, it will boost their self-confidence.

32. New instrument

Whether or not your child already plays an instrument, the summer holidays are a good time to start learning a new one as there is lots of time to practise.

33. New language

Learning a new language can be extremely rewarding. Find out what interests your child – they may be inspired by their favourite food, film or next holiday destination.

34. Coding

Coding is a sought-after skill that often starts as a hobby. There are many online resources that cover the basics of HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

35. Drama

If your child lacks confidence, they could start with acting exercises at home and then progress to a drama workshop or acting course.

36. Woodworking

Perhaps a family member could help your child get started on a simple woodworking project or they could do a course to learn the basic skills.

37. Cooking

Cooking is a great life skill to learn and the possibilities are endless – from trying new recipes to creating something completely unique.

38. Chess

If your child likes the competitive aspect of video games, they are likely to enjoy learning to play chess. It’s a game of skill that can provide hours of entertainment.

39. Public speaking

Public speaking is a highly useful life skill. If your child loves gaming, they could demonstrate their knowledge and expertise by talking about video games.

40. Summer job

A summer job will give your child a regular break from video games. They will learn new skills, earn some pocket money and meet new people.

Hobbies that are creative

scrapbooking

41. Scrapbooking

Creating a scrapbook will while away hours of time over the summer. It’s a relaxing hobby that focuses on something your child is interested in.

42. Blogging

If your child likes writing and enjoys sharing their ideas and opinions, blogging is a good choice of hobby. It’s easy to get started and there are plenty of blogging platforms around.

43. Painting

Painting (or drawing or doodling) is a way for your child to express themselves. It’s a hobby they can do anytime at home or as part of a class.

44. Sewing

Sewing (or embroidery or crocheting) can be highly creative. It requires concentration which can be a good distraction if your child sometimes feels anxious or stressed.

45. Photography

Photography is a highly accessible hobby because most kids have a smartphone in their pocket which is suitable for learning the basics of photography.

46. Writing music

If your child enjoys playing an instrument and can read music, they may want to start writing their own music. You can find free software online such as MuseScore.

47. Baking

Baking is a fun and creative activity to do at home. Your child can conjure up a host of sweet and savoury treats independently or supervised, depending on their age.

48. Graphic design

Graphic design is a hobby that is easy to get into at home. There is plenty of free graphic design software available online to get your child started.

49. Crafting

Crafting can be very relaxing while still requiring concentration and focus. There are lots of craft kits available or your child could use materials you have at home.

50. Lego building

Lego offers endless hours of entertainment for kids of all ages. They can build whatever they want – the only limit is their imagination.

Hobbies for being sociable

kids djing

51. DJing

DJing is a good replacement activity for gaming as it has several similarities – there are limitless tracks, it can be highly sociable and it will fill any amount of time.

52. Events, concerts and meetups

Get your child out of their bedroom and socializing with other people at local events, concerts and meetups.

53. Book club

If your child loves reading, joining (or setting up) a book club is a great way to socialize and connect with others over a shared interest.

54. Board games

Board (or card) games are a great way to spend time with friends and family with many different types of games available.

55. Recreational sports team

Joining a recreational sports team will help your child make new non-gaming friends. Check out what sports are available in your local area.

56. Starting a club with friends

If you can’t find any clubs or activities that interest your child locally, perhaps they could set one up with some friends.

57. Magic tricks

Performing magic tricks is a fun way to entertain friends and family, and perfecting the tricks and illusions is a good screen-free activity.

58. Bowling

Bowling is a sociable hobby and a good way for your child to make friends. When players are not on the lane, they are usually sitting and chatting with teammates.

59. Coaching

If your older child is good at a sport or activity, they could share their skills and knowledge with other people.

60. Starting a band

If your child sings or plays an instrument, they could team up with others to start a band – writing their own music or performing songs from other artists.

Need help?

If you’ve tried to interest your child in these summer hobbies and they still only want to play video games, book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

Anime TV shows and movies, and manga graphic novels and comics are experiencing a surge in popularity as streaming services like Netflix are making the genre accessible to global audiences. People are attracted to the action-packed storylines and insights into Japanese lifestyle and culture.

However, there is a dark side to this cultural phenomenon as an increasing number of people are becoming addicted to it.

I love anime, and am certainly not ashamed of enjoying it in healthy amounts. But I find myself lying and keeping the extent to which I watch shows secret from even my close friends. Sometimes I only get a few hours of sleep at night, and go into work exhausted and perform badly because I was watching anime until late the night before.

In this article, we take a closer look at anime and manga to help you understand why they can be so compulsive and how to overcome addiction.

Get immediate help for you or a loved one’s anime or manga addiction. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Different types of anime and manga

types of anime

The art of anime originated in Japan in 1917 but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the artist, Osamu Tezuka, (known as the godfather of manga) developed it into the hand-drawn animation we know today. In the 1990s, anime started to become recognized outside of Japan and since then it has become increasingly popular worldwide.

Although manga and anime are visually similar, they are two distinct mediums – manga are graphic novels and comics, while anime (abbreviated from animation) refers to TV shows and movies. Anime also has its own anime terms. There is a blurring of lines though as some of the more popular manga graphic novels have been adapted into anime such as Dragon Ball and Devilman Crybaby.

There are five types of anime and manga for different ages and genders – kodomomuke, shonen, shoujo, seinen and josei:

  • Kodomomuke – popular with younger children of both sexes who enjoy the sweet and simplistic stories.
  • Shonen – aimed at boys aged 8 to 18 years old. Typically, they are action-packed and feature a young male protagonist.
  • Shoujo (or shojo) – targeted towards tween and teenage girls due to the romance-centered stories and plots.
  • Seinen – suitable for young males aged 18+ because they tend to have more violent content in the storylines which include action, adventure, sci-fi and horror.
  • Josei – for older females aged 18+ as they are a mature version of shoujo due to the more realistic portrayal of relationships.

In Japan, the birthplace of anime, many people are addicted to watching anime or reading manga graphic novels. In fact, there is a term for people with anime addiction – they are called ‘otaku’. A 2013 survey found that 42.2% of Japanese teenagers described themselves as a type of otaku. Outside of Japan, anime and manga addiction is also a growing problem.

Why is anime so addictive?

anime addiction

The most common reasons for becoming addicted to anime and manga include:

  • FOMO – There is often a continuing storyline, with each episode ending on a cliff-hanger. When a new episode starts or book gets released, you may experience FOMO (fear of missing out) and feel compelled to watch or read ‘just one more’ to see what happens next.
  • Escapism – Coping with everyday life can be difficult for teenagers so they find it attractive to escape into anime where the characters, settings and plots are a good distraction. However, using anime or manga to escape from reality and/or relieve stress, anxiety and depression can be become addictive.
  • Boredom – If you have nothing else to do, watching anime or reading manga novels is an easy way to fill hours of time. However, this can have negative repercussions including sleep deprivation, family conflict and a decline in school grades.
  • Social connection – For people who struggle to make friends in the physical world, anime offers a sense of community. You can join parties, conventions and communities with others who are passionate about anime and get deeper into the subculture.
  • Streaming services are addictive – Watching anime on streaming services, like Netflix, can be highly addictive because when one episode finishes, Netflix will ‘autoplay’ the next episode which makes it difficult to switch off and walk away. Plus, there are dozens of new shows coming out every season so there is always something new to watch.

Dive Deeper: How to Stop Binge-Watching Netflix – 2 Methods

Have you ever asked yourself: “How do I stop my addiction to anime?” or “How do I stop my addiction to manga?” If so, read on…

Signs of anime and manga addiction

manga addiction

Here are some warning signs that you or a loved one may be addicted to anime or manga:

  • Experiencing an uncontrollable urge to binge-watch anime or read manga novels.
  • Needing to spend more and more time on anime/manga to find the same level of pleasure.
  • Attempting to control, cut down or stop anime/manga use without success.
  • Getting so emotionally attached to the characters and story that you feel irritable, restless or anxious when away from it.
  • Using anime/manga to escape from stress, anxiety or depression.
  • Devoting so much time to anime/manga that it has a negative impact on other areas of life such as school, work and/or relationships.
  • Neglecting all other hobbies and interests you used to enjoy.
  • Lying to cover up the amount of time you are spending on anime/manga.
  • Quickly reverting to excessive use after a period of abstinence.
  • Experiencing the physical consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and excess screen time (or reading time) such as eye strain, migraines, sleep deprivation, backache, obesity and poor personal hygiene.

How to overcome anime and manga addiction

Do you want to stop binge-watching anime? Are you worried that you may be addicted to manga? These effective strategies will help you regain control:

  • Set yourself a time limit or a certain number of episodes/pages per day – check out our recommended screen time guidelines.
  • Consider taking a complete break from watching anime or reading any manga for a certain period of time – it could be a day, a weekend or longer.
  • Use anime or manga as a reward. Get other tasks done first.
  • Turn off autoplay on Netflix or other devices you use to watch anime.
  • Remove fan sites from your browser favorites.
  • Stop attending anime/manga conventions.
  • Cut back on buying anime and manga merchandise.
  • Find new activities to fill your time. Use our hobby tool for inspiration.

Still need help?

If you or someone you care about has tried the above strategies and nothing is working, we can help. At Game Quitters, there are many great resources you can access to get your life back on track:

You can also get in touch to book a gameplan strategy call to discuss our coaching programs.

For most people, Instagram is a fun way to share and comment on photos and videos. However, some users – particularly teenage girls – are spending too much time compulsively scrolling while neglecting other interests, schoolwork, relationships, and their mental health and well-being.

In this article, we take a closer look at the social media app to help you understand more about the risks involved and why Instagram is so addictive.

Get immediate help for you or a loved one’s social media addiction. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Who uses Instagram?

instagram statistics

Instagram is a free photo and video-sharing platform. Since its launch by Apple in 2010, and subsequent sale to Facebook in 2012, it has become the world’s fourth most-used social media network after Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp.

There are currently over 1.1 billion monthly users worldwide and this figure is projected to increase to nearly 1.2 billion monthly users in 2023.

According to a Global State of Digital 2022 report, the majority of Instagram users are Millennials and Gen Z:

  • 13-17 years old – 8.5%
  • 18-24 years old – 30.1%
  • 25-34 years old – 31.5%
  • 35-44 years old – 16.1%
  • 45-54 years old – 8%
  • 55-64 years old – 3.6%
  • Over 65 years old – 2.1%.

Across all age groups, the gender split is fairly even: male users – 50.7% versus female users – 49.3%. However, this is not the case in every age category, for Instagram users aged 35+, women outnumber men.

The average user scrolls through the platform for 53 minutes every day which equates to eight months of their life spent on Instagram. 63% of Instagram users check the app at least once a day and 42% open the app multiple times.

Although there are no specific Instagram addiction statistics available, it is estimated that 330 million people worldwide will potentially suffer from problematic internet use in 2022 and up to 10% of people in the US could have social media addiction.

What makes Instagram so addictive?

social media addiction

Several ex-employees of Apple, Facebook and Google have revealed that Instagram is designed to be addictive. It uses sophisticated and data-driven methods to entice users to spend as much time as possible on the platform because this generates more advertising revenue. One former Instagram addict explains how “fighting a habit can be very hard, especially if there is an army of programmers, behavior scientists as well as data analysts working against you.”

App developer Peter Mezyk explains that “the success of an app is often measured by the extent to which it introduces a new habit.” He reveals that developers use a three-pronged approach when designing an app: sufficient motivation, an action and a trigger. Instagram ticks all three boxes. This is a way that apps are specifically designed to be dangerous for kids. The motivation comes from the reward system triggered by scrolling through photos and videos – it releases the feel-good neurochemical dopamine that can leave us craving more,. The action comes from being able to open the app and interact with it straight away. And the trigger comes in the form of smartphone notifications and the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Dive Deeper: The Dopamine Theory of Addiction

For some people, like bestselling author Laura McKowen, Instagram can become as addictive as drugs or alcohol. McKowen published an article in The New York Times about how she was addicted to Instagram. Her life became increasingly consumed by the app to the point that it started to harm the relationship with her daughter and boyfriend, so she decided to quit the platform. She describes “the buzz of fear in my stomach, the clutch of anxiety around my throat, the endless procession of negative thoughts, the fractured texture of my attention.”

How Instagram impacts mental health

mom addicted to social media

Research has shown that Instagram is associated with positive and negative effects, depending on how it’s used.

According to the Pew Research Center, most teenagers report that social media helps them feel more connected to friends and provides emotional support.

However, Facebook’s internal studies, published by The Wall Street Journal, reveal that Instagram has made body image issues worse for one in three 3 teenage girls.

The American Psychological Association says that “studies have linked Instagram to depression, body image concerns, self-esteem issues, social anxiety, and other problems. By design, the app capitalizes on users’ biological drive for social belonging—and nudges them to keep on scrolling.”

Signs of Instagram addiction

instagram addiction warning signs

What are the signs that you are addicted to Instagram, or your son or daughter is addicted to Instagram? Here are a few red flags to watch out for:

  • Feeling an uncontrollable urge to check and scroll through Instagram.
  • Needing to spend more and more time on Instagram to find the same level of pleasure.
  • Attempting to control, cut down or stop using the app without success.
  • Feeling irritable, restless or anxious when not using Instagram.
  • Turning to Instagram to escape from personal problems.
  • Devoting so much time to Instagram that it has a negative impact on other important life areas.
  • Unable to stop scrolling through Instagram during other activities.
  • Losing interest in all other hobbies and pastimes.
  • Quickly reverting to excessive Instagram use after a period of abstinence.

The way social media apps, such as Instagram, affect your brain even has a term now called TikTok brain.

Get immediate help for you or a loved one’s social media addiction. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

How to stop Instagram addiction

If you, or someone you care about, is showing signs of Instagram addiction here are some tips to help break the scrolling cycle:

Stop sharing photos and videos

Although Instagram is not just about sharing content (it’s also about seeing what other people have posted), cutting out one of these reasons for scrolling will reduce your time spent on the platform. That’s because if you haven’t shared any photos or videos, you won’t be tempted to keep checking for likes and comments.

Turn off your phone

You may start the day with good intentions not to check Instagram but it’s very tempting to reach for your phone when you receive notifications. However, if you switch off your phone for the day, it’s much easier to ignore it. Choose a non-workday and let close friends and family know an alternative way to contact you in an emergency. You will be surprised how liberating it is to be able to focus on other activities without any distraction.

Delete the Instagram app

If it’s not possible to switch off your phone for a whole day, try deleting the Instagram app on your smartphone. Restricting access to your desktop or laptop will help you be more intentional in your usage and reduce the amount of time you spend mindlessly scrolling and commenting.

Use the ‘Take A Break’ feature

Instagram has recently launched a new ‘Take a Break’ feature to help users spend less time on the app. It gives you the option of receiving notifications to take a break from Instagram after a certain amount of time. Here are instructions for setting it up.

Set a daily Instagram limit

Check out our recommended screen time guidelines to help you decide on a reasonable amount of time to spend on Instagram each day. Then, set a daily limit so you stop using the app when you reach that threshold. Find out how to set a daily Instagram limit.

If you are also addicted to other social media apps such as TikTok you will need to set limits for them as well.

Find new hobbies

Find other hobbies or activities to fill your time so that Instagram isn’t the default whenever you are bored. Our hobby tool has over 70 ideas to inspire you.

Get expert help

stop instagram addiction

If you, or a loved one, are suffering from Instagram addiction, help is available. Our coaching program is designed to help individuals and families regain balance with technology.

Get in touch today to book your gameplan strategy call.

Millions of people around the world use social media every day but how does a seemingly harmless hobby become an addiction?

An ever-increasing array of social networking sites are available on which to post, like, comment, share or follow – from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.

While social media is a great way to connect with friends and family, watch videos and discover a world of information, for many people it can have negative repercussions including a fear of missing out (FOMO). This can make some people feel that others are leading more fun and interesting lives, which can trigger feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem that can eventually cause more serious mental health issues.

This article lifts the lid on social media addiction – what it is, how to identify it and where to get support if you, or a loved one, are struggling.

Get immediate help for you or a loved one’s social media addiction. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

What is social media addiction?

why social media is addictive

There is currently no official diagnosis of social media addiction. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) from the American Psychiatric Association lists it as a “condition for further study”. However, compulsive social media use is widely recognized as a behavioral addiction that is becoming increasingly common and gaming disorder was officially recognized in 2019.

Unlike addiction to drugs, alcohol and nicotine, behavioral addictions do not involve a substance. However, the desire to experience a ‘high’ from the behavior – in this case scrolling through posts, images and videos – can be just as strong, especially if the app is particularly dangerous.

Social media addiction is usually characterized by an uncontrollable urge to log onto social media and continue to engage in the activity for extended and frequent periods of time despite the damage it may cause to relationships, work or school responsibilities, and physical and mental health.

Clearly not everyone who uses social media will develop an addiction. But as social networking sites becomes increasingly accessible to more and more people around the world, there is likely to be an associated rise in the number of people suffering from social media addiction.

Why is social media so addictive?

In order to understand why social networking sites can be so addictive, we need to look at how social media affects the brain.

Whenever you use social media, the brain releases dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter. As a result, the dopamine makes your brain recognize social media as a rewarding activity that you should repeat again and again. Over time, the brain becomes reliant on this type of stimulation as the positive feelings experienced when using social media are only temporary and the dopamine rush soon wears off. So, the brain needs more and more social media use to induce the same feelings of pleasure – there’s even a term now called TikTok brain.

The constant stream of likes, comments, shares, views and emoticon reactions from social networking sites cause the brain’s reward pathways to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction seen with alcohol or drug use. Stanford psychiatrist, Anna Lembke, describes the link between drugs and ‘digital dopamine’ when describing the addictive potential of social media:

“Just as the hypodermic needle is the delivery mechanism for drugs like heroin, the smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine for a wired generation. The hypodermic needle delivers a drug right into our vascular system, which in turn delivers it right to the brain, making the drug more potent. The same is true for the smartphone; with its bright colors, flashing lights and engaging alerts, it delivers images to our visual cortex that are tough to resist. And the quantity is endless. TikTok never runs out.”

Sometimes, social media is used to relieve stress, loneliness or depression. However, the more you turn to social networking sites as escapism, the more the negative consequences of social media will worsen loneliness or stress. This pattern of behavior can become increasingly destructive over time. Undoing the damage done to the brain because of addiction to social media can take months to correct.

Social media statistics: scale and usage

social media statistics
Source: Hootsuite’s Digital Trends Report 2022

These statistics offer a fascinating insight into the scale of social media usage and how overreliance on social networking sites can be a cause for concern.

  • 4.62 billion people now use social media – 58.4% of the world’s population. Globally, the number of social media users has grown by more than 10% (424 million) in the last year.
  • It is projected that the average adult will spend 6 years and 8 months of their life on social media.
  • The average daily time spent using social media in 2021 was 2 hours 27 minutes (up from 1 hour 37 minutes in 2013).
  • More than 210 million people worldwide are estimated to have suffered from addiction to social media and the internet in 2017. Allowing for increase in social media usage since then, it is estimated that around 333 million people globally are likely to experience problematic social media use today. In fact, some experts think that up to 10% of people in the US could have social media addiction.
  • 9% of US online users report feeling “completely” addicted to social media, with 30% feeling “somewhat” addicted. The percentage of people addicted to social media is highest among those aged 23-38 with 15% feeling “completely” addicted and 37% feeling “somewhat” addicted.
  • Young people who spend five hours each day using their phones are almost twice as likely to have depression than people who spend only one hour a day online.
  • Young, single females are more likely to be addicted to social media than any other group.
  • Almost half of teenagers (45%) check mobile devices after going to bed and around a quarter (23%) check their mobile device more than 10 times a night.
  • FOMO (fear of missing out) is experienced by 56% of social media users who are afraid of missing out on events, news and important status updates. The most common contributors of FOMO include Facebook (72%), Instagram (14%), Twitter (11%), and Pinterest (8%).
  • Young people feel under pressure to portray their ‘best life’ on social media and are concerned about how others will react to their posts: 32% worry about the number of likes they receive on a post, 40% often compare themselves to others on social media and 36% are concerned about receiving hurtful or negative comments.
  • Discord has 250 million registered users as it has become the social playground and fabric for most are teenagers.

Warning signs of social media addiction

mom addicted to social media

For most people, social media is a fun activity but for others it can become an unhealthy obsession. How do you know when your social media use – or the behavior of someone you care about – has become problematic? Here are some common warning signs that your relationship with social media may be spiraling out of control:

  • Frequently thinking about social media and planning how and when to use it next.
  • Needing to spend more and more time on social networking sites to find the same level of pleasure.
  • Attempting to control, cut down or stop spending time on social media, without success.
  • Feeling irritable, restless or anxious when unable to use social media.
  • Experiencing unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms when social media use is restricted or stopped.
  • Using social media to forget about or cope with personal problems.
  • Engaging with social media so much that it has a negative impact on work or school.
  • Unable to stop scrolling through social media during other activities such as eating out with friends, watching a movie at the cinema or even while driving.
  • Losing interest in all other hobbies and pastimes.
  • Quickly reverting to excessive use of social media after a period of abstinence.

Get immediate help for you or a loved one’s social media addiction. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

The link between social media and mental health issues

Does time spent on social media always have negative mental health implications or can it be beneficial for our well-being?

According to a review of studies, excessive social media use is associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction for a minority of people. This is because the overconsumption of social media can make them feel isolated and socially excluded if they think that their life is not as exciting or fulfilling as other peoples’. Another study shows that young people who spend more than two hours a day on social networking sites are more likely to have poor mental health with high levels of psychological distress and suicidal ideation. This can be especially true for people on apps like Discord, TikTok and Reddit.

However, other research suggests that social media use is not always harmful. A large-scale study published in the journal Psychological Science found that the relationship between screen time and mental well-being works in a concept known as the ‘Goldilocks hypothesis’. This concept uses the same analogy as the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy tale – where moderation in screen time rather than porridge (not too hot, not too cold) and beds (not too hard, not too soft) is ‘just right’. The research found that high levels of daily screen time (2+ hours), especially on weekdays, was linked to lower levels of well-being. However, it also found that very low (or no) daily screen time was also linked to lower levels of well-being. The optimum well-being was associated with just under an hour a day spent online.

How to achieve a healthier balance with social media

happy teens

If you, or a loved one, want to reduce the amount of time you spend mindlessly scrolling and posting on social networking sites here are some tips:

  • Education is key. Just as parents talk to their kids about stranger danger, safe sex and avoiding drugs, you should be discussing social media usage too. It’s not just about the negative impacts of excessive use, it’s also teaching them about cyberbullying, sexting, appropriate emojis, and sharing personal photos on social media sites. You might even need to learn common TikTok terms and phrases.
  • Delete all social media apps from your smartphone so you won’t be tempted to open up the endless flow of information and feedback. Restricting access to your desktop or laptop may help you be more intentional in your use and reduce the amount of time you spend on social media overall.
  • If you aren’t prepared to delete all social media apps immediately, at least reduce your screen time by turning off or use ‘do not disturb’ on your smartphone at school or work, during mealtimes, when spending time with friends and family, and definitely while driving.
  • Switch off notifications on your social media apps some or all of the time so it doesn’t become a constant distraction.
  • If you aren’t ready for complete abstinence from social media, allow yourself a certain amount of time on social media sites each day. Our screen time guidelines for children, teens and adults will help you decide on a reasonable limit. You may find it helps to set a timer so that you stay on track.
  • Leave your smartphone, tablet and computer out of your bedroom. If you currently use one of them to wake you up in the morning, buy an alarm clock.
  • Find replacement hobbies or activities that are not technology related. Our hobby tool has over 70 ideas to inspire you.
  • Arrange to see your friends and family in person, rather than on a screen, whenever possible.
  • Try to have regular breaks from social media to stay in control and reduce your dependency on it. Take small steps to start with – perhaps an hour or a half day – then build up to a full day, weekend or avoid checking it when you’re on vacation for a complete digital detox.

Get expert help

Reducing screen time can be an effective way of cutting down on social media use before it becomes harmful. However, if your addiction to social networking sites is deep rooted, you may need professional support.

Social media addiction is treatable and many people have successfully recovered. Our coaching program is designed to help individuals and families establish a healthier relationship with technology.

Get in touch to book your gameplan strategy call to discuss how to stop social media addiction and regain control of your life.

Struggling with a wife addicted to video games? In this article we will share how to know if your wife has a gaming problem, stories of others in similar situations and how to get help to save your relationship.

Not everyone who spends hours playing video games has a gaming problem. There’s a difference between a hobby and a problem – but the two can become blurred. What may start as a way to unwind after work or putting the kids to bed can become an unhealthy habit.

Due to the addictive nature of games, it can be tempting to play for hours into the night. Over time this pattern of behavior can become a vicious circle: being tired and irritable the next day, so using gaming to relax the next evening.

This article has real-life stories of wives who have become addicted to video games and shows the devastating impact it can have on the gamer and their close relationships.

Get immediate help for your wife’s gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Warning signs of a gaming problem

wife gaming

Here are some warning signs of gaming addiction that indicate your wife’s gaming may have crossed the line between loving to play and having to play:

  • Constantly thinking about gaming
  • Feeling sad, restless and irritable when not playing
  • Needing to spend more and more time gaming to satisfy the urge
  • Being unable to cut down or stop playing
  • Neglecting other hobbies and activities previously enjoyed
  • Lying about the amount of time spent gaming or playing in secret
  • Feeling constantly tired and getting headaches or hand pain from too much screen time and use of controllers
  • Having problems at work, school or home because of time spent gaming
  • Not prioritizing washing, eating and sleeping
  • Continuing to game despite problems
  • Gaming to relieve bad moods and feelings.

What can I do if my wife is addicted to video games?

It’s important to recognize that not everyone who spends a lot of time gaming has a video game addiction. However, if you’re concerned about your wife’s gaming habits, you can suggest our video addiction test to find out if she meets the criteria for problematic use.

If she doesn’t want to take the test, explain how much pain her gaming is causing you and how it’s impacting your relationship. Gently point out the effect it’s having on your family life and other activities you used to enjoy together. Ask her why she is spending so much time gaming. Is it to escape an underlying problem or stressful situation? If so, is she able to talk about it? People addicted to video games rarely see what’s going on outside their virtual world, so she needs to understand the harm her gaming is causing.

Your wife may not immediately recognize the consequences of her actions. It may take a while for her to process your conversation and that’s perfectly normal. Give her the space she needs and let her come to the realization on her own. Then you can seek help together.

Deep Dive: The Stages of Changing Unhealthy Habits

Stories of wives with gaming problems

Gaming problems can put a huge strain on relationships. We often get messages from concerned husbands saying:

  • “Why does my wife play video games so much?”
  • “Is my wife addicted to video games?”
  • “Video games have ruined my marriage.”
  • “Nothing I try is helping my spouse with gaming addiction.”

If you don’t know what to do and where to turn, these real-life stories may inspire you to get help.

A husband’s story

female gamer drinking alcohol

We recently heard from a husband whose wife is addicted to gaming. He explains how she logs on as soon as she wakes up and stays online until 2.00-3.00am because many of the people she games with are international. She just about manages to hold down a job but time spent with her friends and family is practically non-existent. She even games during vacations and on birthdays and anniversaries. This has created conflict and the more arguments it causes, the more she turns to video games.

Household chores – which they used to share – are either ignored or take an inordinate amount of time. If she does the laundry, she folds with one hand while continuing to game. Her husband told us he feels more like a slave than a partner as he tries to fill the void and keep some semblance of normalcy for their teenage sons. However, they spend hours gaming too although not to the same extent. They still make time for sports and schoolwork.

His wife recently tried to cut down on gaming – as she has lower back pain from sitting for extended periods – but it lasted less than a day. Her husband is in despair and doesn’t know what the future will hold. As she is increasingly consumed by gaming, they have little in common. He feels lonely and frustrated. What are the games giving her that he is unable to? He used to think she was lazy but he now understands it is an addiction and she needs professional help.

Sound familiar? Get immediate help for your wife’s gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

A wife’s story

This story from a member of the Game Quitters community lays bare the potentially destructive nature of video games.

“I’m a gaming addict, mother of two boys and a stay-at-home mom. The addiction got worse when I became a mom at 21 and suffered from post-partum depression.”

Instead of getting help for her depression and gaming addiction, she spent hours playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Her husband is also a gamer but plays in moderation.

She told us that she has no friends and gaming has become an increasingly important part of her life:

“I’ve been a gamer since I was five and I’m now 28 years old. I’m scared of not playing because I get bored easily, so finding something that’s just as stimulating is hard.”

After managing to stop for a short while and turning to art to fill the void, she relapsed: “I got sucked back into playing League of Legends, Black Ops 2 and a bunch of other games. I stopped drawing altogether because I felt that what’s the point in trying to teach myself to draw when it just takes too long. Trying to balance playing video games with my life seems hopeless so that’s why I relapsed.”

She has a new baby and worries how playing video games will affect her interaction with him: “Will I forget to feed him? Will I get frustrated when he starts crying and interrupts my gaming session?”

She wants to stop playing but feels trapped: “I sent in a ticket to Riot to delete my League of Legends account and they gave the option of either deactivating or deleting. I haven’t decided yet because I don’t know what would happen to me if I ended up deleting my account. All I know is that the progress I made two weeks ago would be gone. I’d have to start all over again. I hate this, I hate myself and the negativity I put myself through on a constant basis. This is just a vicious cycle. I’m lost in my own head.”

Get expert help for your wife’s gaming addiction

If these stories resonate with you, we can help. At Game Quitters, we understand how gaming impacts relationships and how gaming can harm your marriage.

Book a Gameplan call today to discuss your situation and get gaming under control. Limited spots are available.

There is a widely-recognized process through which people can overcome addiction and other unhealthy habits. It is known as the ‘stages of change’ or ‘transtheoretical model’. The key to achieving and maintaining a change in behavior is to find a way to stay motivated.

In this article, we look at the various stages of change to show how working through each element in the process can help you, or a loved one, cut down or quit video games.

What is the transtheoretical model (TTM)?

transtheoretical model (TTM)

In the late 1970s, two researchers – Prochaska and DiClemente – examined the experiences of two groups of smokers. The first group was those who managed to quit on their own, while the other group was those who required treatment. They wanted to understand why some people were capable of quitting on their own.

It was determined that ultimately people stop smoking if they are ready to do so, which sounds obvious. But, through their research, they discovered that changing behaviors doesn’t happen quickly. Instead, it is a gradual process that happens in a cycle.

Therefore, what has become known as the ‘transtheoretical model’ (TTM) or ‘stages of change’, was born.

What are the stages of change?

There are six stages of change in the model: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and relapse.

These stages can be represented as a cycle. In theory, people should go through them in order. However, in reality, people bounce between different stages, go backwards and forwards and can even be in more than one stage at a time.

For each stage there are specific strategies to help someone, such as you or a loved one, understand where you are in the process and move onto the next stage.

These stages of change examples show how changes in addictive behaviors can be encouraged and managed.

Precontemplation stage

You do not consider your behavior to be a problem. You may be in denial because you have not yet experienced any negative consequences. People around you – friends, family members or a therapist – may have commented that your gaming is a problem, but you think it’s fun and are not interested in cutting down or quitting. However, harmful repercussions will eventually arise and push you towards the contemplation stage.

Contemplation stage

You are starting to think about changing, reducing or quitting gaming but you are still undecided. You might be thinking about the benefits of changing your habits and ready to hear some strategies for managing or quitting. You might be open to non-judgmental information rather than confrontation. At this stage, it can be very useful to make a list of the pros and cons of gaming.

Preparation stage

You have moved forward to planning and preparing for carrying out changes. You may be researching strategies to reduce or quit gaming and getting support. You might be telling friends of your plans and may be looking for help online, or for a support group or forum.

Action stage

This is the stage where real change starts to happen as you develop new behaviors. Embracing and engaging new habits takes effort. But you can talk about your ‘old habits’ in a negative way and measure your progress at changing. This stage is typically a stressful time so you will need support and new ways of coping with stress. However, it can also be an exciting time as you regain control of your life and start a new chapter.

Maintenance stage

You are upholding the intentions made during the preparation stage and sticking to the behaviors introduced in the action stage. It can be a challenging time. After a while, you may become complacent and begin to think that a small ‘cheat’ on your old behavior is no big deal. Life’s problems may tempt you back into old harmful ways of coping with stress. This is the stage at which you must keep practicing recovery actions and new healthy behaviors or risk relapse into old habits.

Relapse stage

This additional stage is included to recognize that for many people, there will be lapses or relapses before they can remain firmly in the maintenance stage. Relapse can be difficult and painful, and devastating for those close to you to witness, but must be understood as part of the process.

The outcome of the stages of change addiction process is highly individual. Some people will be able to cut down and control their video game use without harmful consequences. Whereas for others, total abstinence will the only way to keep their addiction under control.

Celebrate each small victory

When you make these changes, you should reward each small victory. For example, if you are choosing to take a 30-day break from gaming, you can cross another day off the calendar, watch your progress and give yourself a small reward for each successful day. Even if the reward is just high fives and praise, a celebration of each small victory will help keep you on track to success.

Need help?

The stages of change model can help you overcome your gaming addiction, or another type of digital addiction, as long as you reach and stay in the maintenance stage.

If you need help getting gaming and screen time under control, book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.

While gaming is a harmless activity for most people, it can become a problem and you may find yourself wondering if your husband is addicted to video games.

Is your husband staying up late and playing into the night? Is it creating a vicious circle where they wake up tired and irritable the next day, and then spend more hours playing video games to relax? If so, you’re not alone.

In this article we look at true stories of husbands hooked on gaming and explain how it’s possible to quit video games if they are harming your relationships.

“Gaming kept me from spending time with my wife. Since I’ve stopped our relationship has improved a lot.” –Caleb

Get immediate help for your husband’s gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

Warning signs of a gaming problem

unhappy marriage gaming

Not everyone who spends hours playing video games has a gaming problem. Here are some warning signs of gaming addiction, or someone you care about, may have crossed the line between loving to play and having to play:

  • Constantly thinking about gaming
  • Feeling sad, restless and irritable when not playing
  • Needing to spend more and more time gaming to satisfy the urge
  • Being unable to cut down or stop playing
  • Neglecting other hobbies and activities previously enjoyed
  • Lying about the amount of time spent gaming or playing in secret
  • Feeling constantly tired and getting headaches or hand pain from too much screen time and use of controllers
  • Having problems at work, school or home because of time spent gaming
  • Not prioritizing washing, eating and sleeping
  • Continuing to game despite problems
  • Gaming to relieve bad moods and feelings.

Are you concerned about your gaming or wondering: ‘Is my husband addicted to video games?’ Take our video addiction test to find out if you, or your loved one, meet the criteria for problematic use.

Stories of husbands addicted to gaming

Video game addiction can have a devastating impact on the lives of the gamer and those around them, especially spouses or partners. We’re often contacted by people saying:

  • My wife left me because of video games
  • Video games ruined my marriage
  • My husband plays video games instead of helping with the kids and chores.

If you’re wondering how to talk to your husband about their gaming addiction, these three real-life stories may help you broach the subject.

From fun hobby to divorce – the wake-up call I needed

divorce due to gaming

A member of the Game Quitters community has shared his battle with video game addiction. He can’t remember the first few years of his children’s lives due to prioritizing gaming and regrets missing out on memorable times: “I knew I was making a negative impact on my family and realized there was no way for me to manage my time with gaming because I didn’t have the self-control.”

Things went from bad to worse as his life became increasingly consumed by gaming: “What really sent my marriage and relationship to my family into freefall was choosing to switch from day shift/second shift rotation at work to straight nights for the sole reason of being able to have more time to game through the day.”

Sadly, his marriage didn’t survive but it was the wake-up call he needed to quit gaming: “It took something so catastrophic such as my divorce to make me realize how much I missed out and ignored in life. I lived in a virtual world and ignored reality.” Today, he is in a new relationship and working to keep his gaming under control. Read the full story.

Discharged and divorced – my road to recovery

This story from the US shows the damage that excessive gaming can cause: “What started as a harmless hobby, transformed into a life-destroying addiction. One that ultimately led to me getting discharged from the military and having a marriage ending in divorce.”

He recognizes that video games were the root of his problems: “Gaming was always my number one priority. Over my wife, my child, and the countless jobs I had squandered away.” Determined to turn his life around after the divorce, he committed to three months of ‘gaming detox’, sold his gaming equipment and ditched all technology: “I didn’t even use my smartphone during this time. Friends had to fill out my job applications on their own computers.”

He is now able to play in moderation and has a supportive girlfriend: “Life is so much bigger and more rewarding than what any game can offer you. I’m living proof that you can overcome your addiction and really create a life worth living.” Read the full story.

I think my husband has gaming addiction but he’s in denial

We’re contacted by many spouses who don’t know where to turn. This story is typical of someone who refuses to recognize they have a gaming problem. His wife says: “He doesn’t play every day but even if he’s not playing every day, he’s constantly watching streams or game play videos. On the weekends he starts playing at like 11pm and then will go to bed at like 3am or 4am.”

She continues describing his preoccupation with gaming: “He built his own PC and has gotten a laptop that’s good for gaming… Whenever I visit my parents and I’m not home, he ends up spending most of that time playing… Lately he’s been obsessed with the PS5 and playing Call of Duty.”

But despite this, her husband refuses to recognize that he is addicted to gaming: “He vehemently denies it every time I bring it up and refuses to see that there is an issue. His gaming habits have caused many fights and I feel like he’s in total denial and gaslights me constantly and says I’m exaggerating.” Read the full story.

How Caleb improved his marriage by quitting gaming

Tired of feeling like a slave to games and wanting to finally get control for good, Caleb joined our coaching program in December. 94 days later, he’s free.

Instead of gaming, Caleb is now spending more time with his wife, engaging in new hobbies like board games, making extra money and learning to cook. “My priorities have shifted” he says.

His wife has noticed the positive differences too:

  • He’s more present in their relationship
  • He’s more relaxed and less stressed
  • He’s no longer “always in a rush” to get home so he can game a bit longer

For Caleb, he had been gaming for 15 years. But he’s 31 now and he wanted something different for his life. He had quit drinking and smoking weed… but his bad gaming habit was still around.

That burden is no longer weighing him down. He’s free!

“Gaming is not a substitute for the adventure of real life.” –Caleb

Help for your husband addicted to video games

Do these stories resonate with you? Is your relationship being destroyed by gaming? Concerned your husband is addicted to video games? You’re not alone and we can help.

Book a Gameplan call to see if our coaching program is a good fit for your husband to get gaming under control. Limited spots are available.

We are often asked: “Do video games cause violence?”.

Research shows that video games, especially violent video games, are a risk factor for violence. However, they are often not the only cause of aggression but a contributing factor. Other factors include poor family relations, poverty, social stress, frustration and negative childhood experiences. When combined with one or more of those risk factors, playing video games can cause violence.

In this article, we look at the link between video games and violence and provide tips to help parents deal with video game-induced aggression.

Video games and violence: is there a connection?

school shooters video games

In April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado. The pair subsequently took their own lives. The tragedy sparked a fierce debate over gun control laws, bullying and violence in video games as the two high school students enjoyed playing Doom, a video game licensed by the US military to train soldiers to kill. Many people asked at the time, should they be banned due to the effects of video games on the brain.

This event was one of the first acts of aggression to be blamed on video games. Since then, other school shootings, massacres and violent incidents have been automatically attributed to video games by the media. These news stories play on the fears of responsible parents and increase the shame and stigma attached to gaming. But are the links between video games and crime justified?

The idea that being exposed to violence causes violence is not new. It was heavily debated in the 1960s, 70s and 80s when aggressive rock music, horror movies and violent TV shows were often blamed for crimes and violence. So, are video games really to blame or is the answer more complex?

What does the science say?

gamer violence science

Research shows that video games, especially violent video games, are an important risk factor for aggression and violence. A 2015 review by the American Psychiatric Association found