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.

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 – dopamine. 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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

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. 1 1. 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 2 2. 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. 3 3. 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 4 4. 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 5 5. 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 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.

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. 6 6. 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?

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. 7 7. 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. 8 8. 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. 9 9. 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. 10 10. 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. 11 11. 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. 12 12. 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. 13 13. 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.” 14 14. 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. 15 15. 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

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.

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 16 16. 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 17 17. 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 18 18. 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 19 19. 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 20 20. 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 21 21. 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 22 22. 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 23 23. 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 24 24. 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) 25 25. 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 26 26. 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 27 27. 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 28 28. 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. 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 29 29. 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.

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). 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 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?

degen sleep schedule

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
  • 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. 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. 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.

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 “a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions, and aggressive affect and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.”

It should be noted that while all violence is aggression, not all aggression is violence. Aggression can manifest itself in different ways and it does not necessarily result in violence. Although violent video games are a significant risk factor for violence and aggression, both are caused by a range of risk factors. It is too easy to say that only video games cause violence or aggression because in many cases, it is not true.

Other risk factors for violence and aggression

angry teen

Violence is caused by a complex set of issues and risk factors, and one of them is video games. The US Department of Justice recognizes that violence, anger and aggression may be emotional or physical, and it is often a result of a combination of different risk factors including:

  • Exposure to violence and antisocial behavior in childhood
  • Influence of violence depicted in the media
  • Poverty
  • Frustration
  • Personal and social stresses
  • External events and situations
  • Biological influences, such as hereditary factors and hormones.

One of the risk factors is video games. However, playing video games alone will not make someone violent; it may increase the risk of aggression, but it will not be the only factor. Instead, research suggests that playing violent video games in combination with the above-mentioned risk factors will increase the likelihood of violence and aggression.

Do all video games cause violence?

video game addiction

Unsurprisingly, violent video games are more likely to cause violence and aggression than non-violent games. For example, games like Doom and Mortal Kombat, that are heavily focused on violence and killing, are “likely to increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior” according to the American Psychological Association. Violent video game use also decreases empathy. When gaming online, it’s easy to see someone as an avatar or username, and not as a real human being.

It is important to note that not everyone playing violent video games will become violent. Those who play these types of games for hours at a time will be more likely to develop violent and aggressive behaviors than those who only play games sporadically. There is even some research that suggests violent video games might help to relieve stress.

For parents wanting to minimize the risks of aggression and violence, non-violent video games such as The Sims or Animal Crossing are good options. These types of games allow players to have adventures and excitement without exposure to violence.

Find out more about the negative effects of video games.

Tips to help parents reduce video-game induced violence

What can parents do to manage the effects of video games and anger problems? Here are some tried and tested tips that will help:

  • Check out your child’s games – Monitor the games your child is playing and remove any with overly violent content.
  • Verify game ratings and age recommendations – If you’re unsure whether a game is violent, do some research. Also check the age rating – if your child is not old enough to play the game, it should not be on their games list.
  • Promote non-violent video games – Up to 85% of all video games contain some form of violence but there are many great non-violent games. Look for games that provide excitement and adventure without too much (or any) violence.
  • Set up rules and stick to screen guidelines – We recommend screen time of no more than two hours a day for under 18s. Keep track of your child’s playing time so it doesn’t exceed this recommendation, especially if the games have some violent content.
  • Discourage isolated gaming – Make sure your child’s gaming console or device is not in an isolated space so you can better monitor what they are playing.

How we can help

If you, or someone you care about, is suffering from video game-induced aggression or violence, we recommend taking our video game addiction quiz and working with a Game Quitters coach or therapist.

For families, we have developed the Reclaim program to help you establish a better relationship with your loved one and promote healthier gaming habits.

For gamers, the Respawn program will help you regain control of your gaming, and any aggressive or violent behaviors.

Other resources include:

It’s Saturday night. Your friend is having a party and you’re invited. An hour before the party, you decide not to go. You text your friend with an excuse and stay at home to play video games instead. Weeks and months go by and you avoid several more parties because you don’t want to miss out on gaming. Eventually, your friends give up and stop inviting you.

However, you now feel lonely and isolated – you miss your friends and regret prioritizing video games. Does this sound familiar?

This article looks at the social effects of video games, including the positive and negative impacts of gaming on social skills. And also what strategies you can use to improve your social skills if you are noticing they are a problem for you.

Get immediate help for a gaming problem. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.

What are the negative social effects of video games?

Excessive gaming can negatively impact social skills due to the lack of face-to-face interaction, the toxic nature of gaming and withdrawal from other social activities. Here are some of the adverse repercussions of unhealthy gaming habits:

Poor social skills

If you play video games too much, you can stop paying attention to your social skills. Developing social skills is one of the most important things you can do in life, but when you spend the entire day in front of a screen, you have few chances to hone that skill. This can lead to a deterioration of social skills, which results in a worse quality of life. We all need social skills, whether it’s to find a job, nurture a relationship or make friends.

Luckily, social skills are like a muscle; the more you use them, the more they will grow. However, if you don’t work on your social skills at all, they will weaken and decline. As with any skill, it will take time and determination, because at first, you might go through a few awkward experiences before you master your social skills.

Social anxiety

Many young people are stuck in the vicious cycle of gaming-induced social anxiety: they don’t develop social skills because they play video games so much, but they can’t socialize properly because they have social anxiety and don’t have the right skills to do so.

People who suffer from video game addiction are more likely to have social anxiety than people who don’t play games excessively. 30 30. https://akjournals.com/view/journals/2006/9/3/article-p617.xml × This is because social anxiety and gaming disorder are closely related and usually affect each other. You might develop social anxiety before getting addicted to video games – or it can happen the other way around.

Many people who suffer from social anxiety will turn to video games as a solution, and as an escape. It will work in the short term as you forget about other people. However, in the longer term, this will have an even worse effect on your social life. Your social anxiety will further deteriorate because you’re not meeting or interacting with other people. If you have social anxiety and you’re addicted to video games, it might help if you speak to a therapist.

Loneliness

Constantly playing video games to the detriment of other interests and activities is a slippery slope. You’ll start to neglect your friends and family which can leave you isolated and unable to re-establish or strike up new relationships.

Some gamers compensate for their loneliness by meeting other gamers online, which can be helpful. However, these friendships are not the same as in-person relationships, so they’re not a long-term, sustainable solution for loneliness.

The key to overcoming loneliness – and using video games as an escape – is gradual exposure. You need to try other hobbies that will allow you to socialize and find new friends in the physical world, even though it might seem intimidating at first.

Relationship breakdown

The social consequences of gaming addiction can be devastating. It can put a huge strain on relationships with family members and friends. Lying about the amount of time spent gaming and neglecting others to play video games compulsively can cause conflict, confrontation and even marriage breakdowns.

One woman posted about this issue on HuffPost. 31 31. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/my-husband-plays-video-ga_b_11493336 × She complained about her husband was addicted to playing video games so much that she was reconsidering the marriage, even though she was pregnant with his child. She explained that she was worried about the future as her husband was withdrawn and in denial about the extent of his gaming problems.

This is just one example of how gaming impacts social skills and can ruin relationships. It might not be your spouse that you’re letting down; it could be another family member or friend, or it could even be a wife addicted to gaming.

Depression

There’s a strong correlation between social anxiety and other social disorders, and depression. Not everyone with social anxiety gets depressed, but depression is often caused by social anxiety. And as excessive gaming can cause social anxiety, it is also indirectly responsible for depression.

If you’re socially anxious and don’t have well developed social skills because of playing video games, you probably don’t go out very often. As a result, you rarely meet new people, try new hobbies or have adventures and this can cause depression because life starts to lose its meaning.

This happened to Anthony, who, after many years of gaming was depressed and isolated and became suicidal. He started seeing a therapist because he was desperate for a change. This helped him to rediscover his passions and purpose in life.

Get gaming under control without cravings, boredom or wasting time on other internet activities through our Respawn Coaching program.

Toxicity

The toxic nature of gaming can cause social problems for people who play excessively. If you have video game addiction, you may well have experienced online toxicity, harassment and hate.

Players sometimes try to rationalize toxic gaming culture as a normal part of gaming. In fact, research has shown that toxic behavior is contagious 32 32. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0747563220300972 ×  and regular exposure increases the likelihood that someone will bully and abuse other players in future games. Learn more about the dark side of gaming culture in our story on how the toxic gaming community made me quit gaming.

What are the positive social effects of video games?

Despite the negative effects of gaming mentioned above, can video games improve social skills? There are a number of social benefits of gaming:

Prosocial games increase prosocial behavior

There are many prosocial games that promote the social aspect of gaming. Some games involve cooperating with other players and talking to them via text or voice chat. This can improve communication skills and encourage social interaction. Three studies conducted in three countries with three different age groups found that students who played more prosocial games behaved more prosocially. 33 33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2678173/ ×

Gaming can be an ice breaker

The social aspect of gaming has grown beyond just playing prosocial games. Gaming can be a good ice breaker in face-to-face interactions and is often a popular topic of conversation among students at school and college. Find out more about gaming and students: benefits and risks.

Scholastic esports teams and clubs

There are an increasing number of scholastic esports teams and clubs being formed which encourage social connection. Although, players are primarily playing online, other team members are likely to be based locally so there are opportunities to meet face to face and game in person together.

Social media apps

There is an increasing convergence between gaming and social media platforms, such as Discord, that make it easy for players to connect and engage. Discord is a free voice, video, and text app that enables gamers to join a group chat with one or more other gamers so they can talk in real time while playing.

How to get help

If you, or a family member, are experiencing any of the negative social effects of gaming mentioned in this article, we recommend working with a Game Quitters coach.

At Game Quitters, we have a program called Respawn, where you will learn how to manage your gaming habits and get your social life back on track.

Screens are everywhere. 

Need to learn something new about a topic you’re interested in? Google it.  Want to talk to your friends? Use Snapchat, Messenger, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp, or Discord Need some time for entertainment to blow off some steam? YouTube or Twitch is your answer.

Today we live in a tech-centric world. The average US adult spends 3 hours and 43 minutes daily on a screen. The number is even higher for children. Using a screen and being digitally savvy has become so important that you’re at a huge disadvantage compared to others if you aren’t. 

So, how do you deal with this if you’re a parent? How do you stop your child from spending so much time on their screens and ensure their screen usage doesn’t negatively impact their life?

It is possible to reduce screen time for children; You need to do it methodically and carefully. Follow our guide below for a step-by-step process.

Why Too Much Screen Time Is Bad For Your Child

screens

 The biggest reason why excess screen time is bad for your child is that it is heavily impacting one or several other areas of their lives, such as:

  • School
  • Social life
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Family relationships
  • Motivation and laziness

Too much screen time is often the consequence of poor school performance. For example, one study has shown that watching television for two hours straight lowers the reading ability for eight and 9-year-olds.

But perhaps even more importantly, screens can take attention away from important tasks, such as studying, reading, learning new things, or doing homework. And the consequence is lower grades and poorer performance (and consequently, being further behind later in life).

Too much screen time is also responsible for a worse (or a lack of) social life. Many children neglect real-life relationships and friendships because using screens is easier and more comfortable. Although technology allows children to connect with friends on messaging apps and video games, it’s important to ensure it’s not detrimental to face-to-face interactions and relationships.

Excessive screen use is also heavily linked to obesitylower levels of physical health, and deteriorated mental health and depression in adolescence. All of these areas are often interlinked with each other; physical health impacts mental health and vice-versa. Read more on the negative effects of gaming.

Why Do Children Use Screens so Much?

Before we dive into the steps of reducing your child’s screen time, you should first understand why it happens in the first place. Knowing what drives excessive screen use will help you cope with your specific situation better, especially if you find one of these reasons responsible for your child’s screen use.

Screens are Addictive

If you follow the world of technology or social media even vaguely, then you probably already know that apps and video games are designed to be addictive.

Developers design their products to optimize engagement. This naturally leads to features that keep as many people as possible hooked and coming back for more. Not only that, games are increasingly designed for users to spend as much money as possible on in-game purchases to maximize profits.

Bullying

Bullying might be another reason why your child is resorting to using screens so much. Social media apps, video games, and other forms of entertainment on screens are much more comfortable and low-risk compared to real life, where bullying exists.

Screens, video games, and apps often become coping mechanisms for children who are bullied or experiencing social challenges in schools.

As a parent, be aware if your child is using games or apps to escape from stress, as they may be experiencing difficult challenges such as bullying at school. 

Boredom

A primary reason your child might be using screens too much is simple – they’re bored and don’t have anything else to do.

The truth is that you, or many other parents, might find it incredibly difficult to motivate your child to do anything else other than play video games.

One factor is that video games address some of the most important needs that your child might have, and they’re so comfortable, so they don’t have the motivation to do anything else.

The key will be finding alternative activities that can replace video games and the needs they address for your child, such as:

  • Socialization
  • A sense of achievement
  • Progress
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity

Problems in School/Life

Video games and screens often become coping mechanisms for real-life problems. For example, some children use screens because they might have anxiety about something they’re looking to avoid in school or life.

Screens are the easiest form of escape for many children. They don’t offer any significant risks, and they’re also accessible, so they use them instead of enduring more problems in the real world.

Of course, that’s not a good long-term solution for this problem. The opportunity here is to focus on the issues in school or life that your child might be facing. That’s why you’ll need to form a closer relationship with your child and learn how to talk to them with empathy, which you can learn more about in our Reclaim program.

Sense of Achievement

 

Video games and apps offer a sense of achievement, too. Killing that new boss, building something inside the game, or getting likes on the social media app feels satisfying, and it starts to replace the achievement you could receive from real-world challenges.

It would help to promote activities in the real world that provide the same sense of achievement as video games or apps do. There are many such activities; you’ll need to help your child discover what they love by trying new things or adding a goal or structure to a new hobby. Use our Hobby Tool to help you find activity ideas.

How to Reduce Your Child’s Screen Time – Step By Step

Now that you know why your child might be spending so much time on their screens, it’s time to take action.

With these steps, you’ll be able to get to know your child better, craft a better and more trustworthy relationship, and help them shift the focus away from screens to other activities.

Understand Your Child

While it might be tough to build a rapport with a child that gets aggressive when you ask them about their screen usage, you must try to do it anyways.

You’ll need to approach this with empathy and understanding. You can start by understanding what games they play and what they like about them. What are their underlying motivations to play? What drives and motivates them? And when you do this, be as understanding as possible.

It’s best to try and talk to them when they’re not playing video games or on their screens. This will be the time when they’re more open to talking. Also, ask them open-ended questions but don’t attack or argue with them; we want to develop a connection, not tension.

Build a Rapport

You’ll want to have as many conversations as you need to with your child about this topic. Showing some interest in an activity they engage in without judgment or arguing is a good start.

The most important thing here is to get them to trust you. And to do that, you’ll need to show a good level of understanding of what is going on in their lives and how you can support them.

You can then gently nudge them toward other activities and even offer to do them together. It can also be helpful if you work with other parents to organize group activities or playdates. Of course, this is only the initial strategy, but depending on the severity of your situation, you may need to use other tactics to get them off their screens.

Create a Plan

Next, you’ll want to determine what your goal is with your child:

  • Do you want to eliminate excess screen time use?
  • Or reduce it? We recommend focusing here first.

At first, you might find it easier if you aim to reduce your child’s screen time. You’ll need to find a structure and plan that works best for you and your family case. To do that, you’ll need to set boundaries and limitations for screen time use.

Consider what will work best for you. For example, setting up daily limits works better for some people, while for others, weekly limits work best. You can try to set up both and implement them for some time to see what works best. Others have found setting up alternate days for screen time use is more effective. Learn more by reading our guide to Screen Time Guidelines by Age.

You might also need to think about how to shut off screens and who will be responsible for that task. For example, your child’s phone is left in your bedroom when it’s time for bed, so they are not distracted and developing poor sleeping habits

Implement Your Plan

Now that you have built your plan, it’s time to implement it.

The first step is to discuss what your family’s media plan will be with your children is also important. Please give them a voice in what they think their limits should be and how you can best work together as a family to be accountable to them. Next, you may want to discuss the consequences of breaking the agreement. If you do, make sure these consequences are meaningful and that you will follow through with them; otherwise, they will not work.

Note that they may experience withdrawal symptoms of excess screen use in the first few days. Please familiarize yourself with these symptoms and acknowledge them as they occur, and have strategies in place to address them proactively as they occur. For personal support for your family, please book a consultation with our team.

The next step will be to find replacement activities to replace screen use. Again, you can use our hobby tool for this, where you’ll find tons of different activities and hobbies that you can try with your child. 

At the same time, you’ll want to deal with the triggers that you have identified that cause your child to use their screen so much. So you’ll still need to monitor the screen use closely and talk to your child regularly, and keep the relationship going that you’ve already established.

Evaluate the Plan Constantly

Now that you have set up the plan and implemented it, it’s time to see how it works. You should know that the plant might not work as you initially intended, so you’ll need to come back to the drawing board and see what is and what isn’t working. We recommend evaluating your plan once per month.

You might change some aspects of the plan. Here, the tips we’ve provided are not cookie-cutter steps but rather general tips that many people have found helpful.

To build and implement a successful family media plan for your family, inquire about our coaching programs.

Conclusion

If you need help with reducing your child’s screen time, then you should know that we’re here to help. We have designed a Reclaim program specifically for parents like you who want to know how to reduce their child’s screen use. 

In this program, you’ll learn how to build a better relationship with your child and manage their screen time use effectively while also implementing the methods we’ve talked about in this article and more.

You might also want to consult with a therapist, especially if comorbid conditions exist, such as ADHD, suicidal ideation, autism, or OCD.

We have other resources you can use, such as:

Video games have been around for more than 30 years. But only in the past 15 years have people started to pay attention to the correlation between video games and mental health.

Excessive gaming is connected to mental health problems such as:

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Suicidal thoughts

On the other hand, some studies show that video games can improve your mental health if you play in moderation – the keyword here is gaming in moderation.

This article analyzes the effects of video games on your mental health and offers suggestions on where you can get help if gaming is impacting your health.

Effects of Video Games on Your Mental Health

When we talk about video games and mental health, you must know that we primarily consider the mental health effects of excessive gaming.

In moderation, playing video games may not have strong negative effects on mental health.

A study by Oxford University shows that gaming in moderation and a controlled environment may improve one’s mental well-being

Some people might find the results of this study surprising, especially considering that many prior studies have linked gaming with negative effects on mental health.

However, one key thing to note here is an isolated study where gamers played the prosocial game Animal Crossing for four hours a day. The truth is that the gaming habits of most addicted gamers are much different. They play other, more addictive games that are also more toxic, and many gamers play for more than four hours a day.

The more you play, the more you may neglect other aspects of your life. And this also means that the more your mental well-being is going to suffer. Furthermore, the negative effects of excessive video gaming on mental health are supported by hundreds of anecdotal stories from our members who have suffered from gaming addiction

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most common effects of gaming on mental health.

Video Games and Depression

Depression is one of the most common comorbidities that gamers have, according to Gonzalez-Bueso et al. from 2018.

This study found up to 89% of problem gamers are also diagnosed with depression in addition to video game addiction.

One of the main questions we have regarding video games and depression is: does gaming cause depression, or are video games the coping mechanism for depression, exacerbating the original mental health problem?

Many gamers we work with develop depression because of their gaming habits. As they start playing video games more and more, they begin to neglect other aspects of their lives. For example, they don’t have as many social relationships and ignore healthy habits such as exercise and diet.

All of that can make you depressed or worsen existing depression.

We also have many cases where gamers use video games to alleviate their symptoms of depression. They turn to gaming as an escape and way to cope with their depression, but in the end, the gaming starts to worsen their depression, not fix it.

Most studies that we have so far show us that excessive gaming can lead to depression and a clear link between the two.

If you want to learn more about video games and depression, read our article about this topic.

Gaming and Social Anxiety

Does gaming cause social anxiety?

Social anxiety is another common comorbidity to video game addiction, so video games might be responsible for your social anxiety. 

If you think about it, it makes sense – the more you play video games, the more you lose contact with your real-life friends, which can, in turn, lead to experiencing more social anxiety.

But the same can be said about social anxiety as can be told about depression. Many people turn to video games because they are socially anxious and struggle with physical world friendships. Games offer them an escape from real life; plus, they can socialize with people online with little to no risk. And when they do that, they start neglecting real-life relationships, worsening their existing social anxiety.

And that’s not a good place to be. 

If you rely on video games and online platforms for socializing, you lose out on the many benefits of having friends in real life. You don’t get to have adventures that you might have in your life, you don’t meet new people, and even if you do, the relationships online may not be as genuine as they are in real life.

Does Gaming Cause Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease and fear that many people get because of their inability to predict what will happen in the future. 

Everyone gets anxious from time to time. For many people, this happens because of school exams, job interviews, or simply before attending an important event. As such, gaming does not cause anxiety.

It can, however, worsen it in some cases.

This can happen if you turn to video games as a form of escapism. Video games can allow you to escape from the real world to forget about the problems you have in real life. 

This can be a great thing if you come home from a long day at work or in school. Video games can allow you to jump into another world where you forget about everything that’s bothering you.

But if this happens too often and if you start neglecting those problems in real life because video games offer you an easier, more comfortable escape, then it can become a problem. Your anxiety will eventually become even worse knowing that you haven’t managed to address those nagging issues you might have in your life.

Eventually, life is going to catch up with you. And when that happens, your problems are going to start accumulating to the point where you can’t manage them successfully any longer, which will result in even more anxiety.

So gaming itself may not cause anxiety, but if you turn to play video games to escape your problems, it can significantly worsen your existing anxiety.

Read more about this in our article that talks about gaming and anxiety.

Lack of Motivation

Playing video games in excess is also responsible for lack of motivation.

We hear from many parents concerned about their child and their lack of motivation to do other things than play video games all day and wonder if gaming is making people lazy

This happens because video games address many of the needs that you would satisfy with other activities such as hobbies. For example, video games allow you to progress and level up your skills, which is one of the core needs of human existence.

Furthermore, video games also allow you to stay social, get creative, and get immersed as they act as this massive time sink. 

The result?

When you play video games too much, you don’t have the motivation to do other things because video games address all of the needs that other activities usually do. 

A good solution for this is to try as many hobbies as possible to replace your gaming habit. You could also try a 90-day detox, which might help you refocus your priorities and do healthy activities that will address the same needs as gaming does for you.

Gaming Causes Poor Emotional Regulation

One of the biggest negative effects of video games can lead you to struggle with regulating your emotions properly.

Studies show that people diagnosed with Internet gaming disorder are more likely to be aggressive, depressed, and anxious. The main mechanism that leads to those comorbidities is their inability to regulate and control their emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, or other emotions.

That’s because video games are often seen as a way of escaping your emotions. As a result, many gamers, especially young gamers and teenagers, play video games because they may have underlying negative emotions.

However, video games don’t solve their problem and temporarily numb those negative emotions. On the contrary, playing video games excessively will make those emotions even more intense, especially if you play video games every day for several hours.

When you have good control over your emotions, you can control your actions better by controlling your emotional state. Excessive game time can cause you to develop skill deficits, such as regulating your emotions.

Interpersonal Conflict

Video games and gaming addiction are often responsible for interpersonal conflict.

This comprehensive study on the effects of video games and interpersonal relationships shows that video games can harm relationships that gamers have with other people – including family members such as siblings, parents, and other people.

The study also confirms that playing violent video games can have a more pronounced negative effect on gamers’ interpersonal relationships with other people. On the other hand, non-violent games can improve the quality of interpersonal relationships compared to violent games.

In addition, many online games that gamers play nowadays, such as League of Legends , Rocket League, Fortnite, Roblox, Genshin Impact, or Grand Theft Auto, have toxic online communities. The toxicity of these communities can translate to worse relationships with other people. All the anger and frustration gather inside like a hurricane that is released on other people.

So although games can provide social opportunities, sometimes those social opportunities can lead to worse relationships with other people, which can negatively affect other aspects of your mental health, too.

Gaming and Suicidal Thoughts

When video gaming addiction gets out of hand, some individuals may begin having suicidal thoughts.

Many addicted gamers have shared their experience with suicidal thoughts, including Cam Adair, the founder of Game Quitters, who started experiencing these thoughts due to excessive gaming.

These thoughts are common with other people who share their stories on Game Quitters, such as, for example, Jose, who was playing video games from the age of just 8.

The problem with video games and addiction to games is that they can quickly spiral out of control. You start to lose focus and track of other activities in your life and before you know it, playing video games becomes the only thing and your only priority in life. 

If you or another family member or friend experiences suicidal thoughts, contact the Suicide prevention line immediately at 1-800-273-8255.

If you experience suicidal thoughts, then your gaming addiction has already spread through other areas of your life so much that it’s heavily impacting the quality of your life. At this point, treatment is the most viable option.

Does Gaming Have Positive Effects on Mental Health?

Recent studies suggest that playing non-violent video games (in this case, Animal Crossing) can positively affect your mental health.

You may become happier, and you have better relationships with other people as a result.

However, one of the main problems with video games is that many games are violent. Many of them also have toxic communities online, so they can’t have as many positive effects.

In addition, many gamers play games excessively, so they start to experience mostly the negative effects, and they don’t get to see the positive impact that video games can cause.

If you want to experience positive effects from video games, try playing in moderation. You can also try a 90-day detox to change your relationship with video games for good.

Need Help?

If you experience any of the above-mentioned negative effects of video games on mental health, then we encourage you to speak with a therapist near you. This will be the most effective strategy for your problems since you need someone to support you and give you professional tips for coping with your mental health challenges.

In addition, we have designed an in-depth course for gamers called Respawn, where you will learn how to alleviate the negative effects of gaming on mental health and solve your problems with practical strategies.

We also have other resources that you can try, such as:

Fortnite is one of the world’s most addictive and popular games. Every day, millions of players from all around the world sign in to their accounts and play Fortnite solo or with friends.

It’s a well-loved game especially among the younger population – with more than 60% of all Fortnite gamers are 24 or under, which means that a lot of children and youths of ages 18 and under play the game.

This is particularly troublesome considering that there are loot boxes and V bucks that players can purchase to get in-game cosmetic items such as skins for the player and guns.

In this article, you’ll learn how to delete your Fortnite account easily and stop your Fortnite addiction for good.

How to Delete Your Fortnite Account – Step by Step

To delete your Fortnite account, you’ll need to delete your Epic Games account as the game is only accessible through the Epic Games launcher.

Fortunately, it is pretty easy to delete the Epic Games account, so just follow these steps to get it done.

  1. Go to Epic Games on your browser and sign in to your Epic Games account.
  2. Once you’re signed in, go to the top right corner and hover over your account name. Then, once a menu pops up, click on “Account”.
  3. Inside the account page, go to the General tab, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.
  4. There, you will find a section named “Delete Account”. You’ll be able to request the account deletion there if you click on “Request Account Delete”.

    If you decide to delete your account, you’ll lose all of your data and information on Epic Games, including your games, purchases, in-game content, game progress, and other data that was tied to your Epic Games account.
  5. The last step is to enter the verification code you’ll receive after clicking on request account deletion. You should receive an email with the verification code, which you’ll need to enter into the box that looks like this:

    After this step, you’ll have requested the deletion of your account successfully.

Note that it will take 14 days for your account to be fully deleted. In the meantime, you’ll still have the option to reverse the deletion. After that, all of your data from your Epic Games account will be deleted permanently.

We recommend that if you want this deletion process to be fully successful, it’s better to resist the temptation of re-opening your Epic Games account, which can lead to a vicious and never-ending cycle of trying but failing to quit your Fortnite addiction.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help with deleting your Fortnite account, Fortnite addiction, or any other problems you might have regarding gaming addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We have science-based guides and free resources to help you or a loved one including our Parents Guide to Fortnite Addiction.

Fortnite isn’t the only popular game these days and Genshin Impact, Valorant, Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege are other games that capture the attention of millions of young people.

If you appreciate our content and what we do, feel free to share it with other people who might find this article (or other articles) helpful. Our mission is to help as many people overcome their gaming addictions and get their lives back to normal.

Note: If you’re a mental health professional and want to learn more about gaming addiction and treatment, you can do so with INTENTA’s Gaming Disorder training for professionals.

Today, we are bombarded by everything digital.

From video games to emails to memes, there’s a never-ending onslaught of digital input into our lives that we no longer prioritize anything else. As a result, we are slaves to our screens, and that’s not a healthy way of living.

While technology can be helpful to improve our lives, too much of it can also be detrimental to our health, social interactions, and mental wellbeing.

While most people are conscious of this, they don’t know what to do about it. 

Digital detox is a new trend in self-care, which has been on a steady rise since 2016. There’s no clear definition of a digital detox exactly, but it typically entails a commitment to boycotting technology – or specific aspects of technology – for a certain period.

And in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at digital detox, what it is, how it works, its benefits, and how to do it. By the end of this complete guide to digital detox, you’ll (hopefully) learn the following:

  • What is a digital detox?
  • Why do a digital detox?
  • The benefits of digital detox
  • The science behind a digital detox
  • Does a digital detox work?
  • How to do a digital detox

Let’s get started. 

What is a Digital Detox?

A digital detox is an act of removing yourself from technology for some time. 

When you do a digital detox, you will go a certain period without all devices connected to the Internet, including smartphones, computers, TV, consoles, video games, and other types of technology.

The goal of the digital detox is to repair your relationship with technology and get a healthier view of it. The goal is not to completely stop using technology forever but to change how you use it in your life in a more balanced way.

The amount of time people spend with technology is increasing by the day. Many people spend hours a day on it and don’t realize that they’re addicted to it. On average, an adult would spend more than 8 hours per day with technology, according to a survey done in 2020.

That’s why many people feel the need to remove technology from their lives or at least minimize their dependence on it. Doing so will help them evaluate their usage on a deeper level and then change their digital habits.

While tempted to think it’s easier said than done, a digital detox can be simple, and it’s certainly worth a try.

It doesn’t have to be a prolonged stretch or period where you quit technology entirely. You can choose how long you feel comfortable doing a digital detox for anywhere from 24 hours to 1 week.

Some people believe that a digital detox could help them, but they’re unsure how to go about doing it. That’s why we wrote this article. We want to show you how you can detox from technology and find your way back to a healthy relationship with it.

What Do You Do on a Digital Detox?

The first step is to go cold turkey on using technology. This means don’t use it at all for the entire digital detox. Everything from your emails to cable internet should be completely off the table.

It will feel tough at first, and you may feel like you are missing out on many things during the digital detox. 

You might miss your favorite TV shows, the latest video game, or social media apps.

You will also find it difficult to concentrate and do things alone. You’ll be constantly tempted to check your Facebook account or snap a quick selfie with your smartphone because you’re bored.

But that’s the beauty of digital detox – you learn how to live and thrive without these distracting factors. 

You learn how to appreciate yourself and your company, and you also start to cherish the small things in life, such as friendships, events, nature, and the world around you as you’re not sticking your nose in your screen all the time, which distracts you from the beauty that this world has to offer.

The next step is to spend time doing things that are different from what you normally do daily. This includes anything that would help you learn new skills or enjoy yourself in a new way.

You can start by reading, writing, playing with kids, exercising, working on crafts, or even taking up a hobby. If you don’t know what hobby to try, we’ve prepared a hobby tool that can help you find new hobbies when you’re doing a digital detox.

How Long Should a Digital Detox Last?

You can start with whatever length of time you are comfortable with. For example, you can start with 24 hours, and if you see the digital detox working for you, you can continue with it.

Ideally, you’d want your digital detox to last longer. Like anything else, the longer you do it, the more you’ll see results. 

For example, if you are doing a digital detox for one week, you will start to see bigger changes than if you would only be doing it for a day. That’s because your brain will begin to change, and it will start getting rid of the dependencies created by technology.

Turning off all digital technology for a week or longer may seem like a long time, but it isn’t that difficult. You can do it during the day or at night. You can even do it while on holiday if you don’t feel like a digital detox would work in your daily life.

In our Respawn program for gamers, we offer a similar idea of detoxing from video games. In our program, the detox lasts 90 days because that is how long it will take for your brain to rewire the changes caused by gaming addiction

Once you get used to the idea of doing a digital detox, you’ll start noticing how different your life becomes when you no longer have your devices and Internet available. It might be a bit difficult at the start, but once you get into it, you’ll see that it gets easier with time.

Why Do a Digital Detox?

The following are the most common reasons why people do a digital detox. After reading these, if one of them describes you, you should strongly consider doing a digital detox.

1. To avoid distractions

Distractions are everywhere in today’s world, and they can be hard to ignore. But if there’s one thing that technology makes easier, it has to be distractions. While having devices connected to the Internet gives us quick access to information and communication, they also come with guilt feelings because of their potential for distracting us.

You stop focusing on the tasks you need to do. Instead, you turn to tasks that are more pleasurable and more comfortable, like playing your favorite video game, scrolling through social media, or watching another Youtube video.

This makes your work less productive. Technology is so fast-paced that it makes everything easier for us, except for our ability to do work.

2. To unplug from the world

The purpose of unplugging is to detach yourself completely from technology and to live in the present moment, without distractions, to live your life fully and enjoy the little things again, the ones that you didn’t even notice previously.

Additionally, a digital detox could help you get a better image of yourself. You’d stop seeing all the “happy” people on social media, and you’d focus on the things that you love doing more.

3. To set priorities

If you’re not using your time well, who knows what will happen to you? You could become unproductive and lazy. Or maybe you won’t work at all. Or you could even lose your job if you don’t take care of yourself.

But if there’s one thing that technology doesn’t provide us, it’s the ability to prioritize our tasks properly. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of technology for us.

Additionally, when you start focusing on technology too much, you forget about the people around you. The people you love and cherish, your friends – technology becomes your priority, and the relationships start to suffer.

A digital detox can help you shift your priorities towards healthy things again.

Should I do a Digital Detox?

If you think that a digital detox isn’t for you, that’s fine. You can choose to do it, you can choose not to do it, and you can decide never to try it at all. 

But before you decide, think about your relationship with technology. Think about how much time you spend with it every day and how it’s affecting your life. Maybe a digital detox could help you in some way.

Do you think a digital detox will bring positive things to your life? If so, why don’t you give it a shot? You can do it for 24 hours or even for one week. Decide to try it out for yourself and see if it brings positive changes.

Doing a digital detox has next to no negative effects, so giving it a shot surely can’t hurt. However, if you don’t feel any changes after the detox, then you can establish that it hasn’t worked for you as intended.

Here are a few signs that might help you decide that a digital detox is right for you:

  • You feel like you’re wasting too much time on social media, playing video games, apps, computers, or smartphones
  • You don’t manage to complete the tasks you’ve prioritized for the day because you’ve been distracted all the time
  • You feel like your relationships with the people that matter to you have deteriorated because of technology, and you want to repair them
  • Your confidence and mental health is suffering as a result of technology overuse
  • You don’t socialize as often as you did, and you also don’t do physical activities as much as you used to
  • You don’t feel present in conversations and real-life activities and events
  • Take some time to evaluate whether you notice any of these signs and if you do; then a digital detox could be very beneficial.

Negative Effects of Too Much Technology

There is no doubt that technology has improved certain aspects of our lives. For example, we can now order food, clothes and watch our favorite movies without ever having to leave our couch. 

But that also comes with some negative consequences. Because technology is so ingrained in our everyday lives, it’s easy for us to get too comfortable with it. And because we tend to overuse it, we get addicted to it. We begin comparing ourselves with others, and we become obsessed with our phones and social media accounts. 

We find ourselves becoming more anxious, depressed, and exhausted than we did before.

Researchers have found that there’s a strong correlation between using technology and feeling depressed. This negative effect is even more pronounced in teenagers. The Internet can make them feel lonely and insecure because of its overwhelming nature. 

In recent years, more and more people have also suffered from technology-induced anxiety. And this is because these people are glued to the screens of their devices, and they don’t even notice it.

Technology overuse can also decrease your physical health because you spend less time experiencing nature, doing physical activities in nature, or doing sports to keep yourself fit and healthy. This is why it’s very important to find a balance between working online and offline.

Some negative effects of technology overuse include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Weight gain, obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor time management
  • The wrong set of priorities
  • Lack of productivity

Benefits of Digital Detox

The benefits of digital detox are clear. Researchers have found that the consequences of technology overuse can be disastrous, especially for our mental health. 

A digital detox could help us escape this trap and heal ourselves from the damage that has been done.

Here are some of the benefits that you can experience from a digital detox.

Lower Stress Levels

Research shows a strong correlation between stress and technology, especially smartphones. So if you spend a lot of time with your phone, you could be stressing yourself out. 

But if you do a digital detox, you will experience lower stress levels because technology isn’t the only thing that will occupy your time. You will also be forced to spend more time with other people, whether in person or online.

Some evidence suggests using smartphones increases our cortisol levels, which are directly linked with high-stress levels. Cortisol is your body’s main stress hormone, and too much of this hormone can lead to chronic stress.

That’s why putting down your phone and forgetting about technology for some time might help you de-stress and calm down. This benefit can be even more powerful if you practice meditation to go along with your digital detox.

Additionally, when you do a digital detox, you might find yourself spending more time outdoors and doing the activities you love, which will lower your stress levels even more. 

More Productivity

If you’re always reaching out to your phone or working on your computer, then you might not be at your peak productivity.

The truth is that technology makes it tempting to use it all the time. And because of this, people spend their time multitasking while doing other things. So they end up wasting their time online while doing other important activities.

Smartphones and computers cause the so-called “brain drain,” a term used for your smartphone and technology occupying all of your brain’s cognitive ability, which leaves you unable to focus on other tasks appropriately. 

study done by the researchers at the University of Chicago found that the mere presence of your smartphone can lower your productivity significantly. It also found that the more you use technology and smartphones, the less you can focus on other tasks at hand.

That’s why getting rid of your smartphone and other distractions for some time can be beneficial. You’ll learn to be more productive and focus on the tasks that matter even after your digital detox is done.

You’ll Be Healthier

Technology overuse can lead to a lot of problems. With this in mind, you need to find a way to reduce your overall technology use. 

The fact is that technology overuse has a strong correlation with a range of negative health issues, including obesity and poor sleep quality. Using your device right before sleep increases your melatonin levels, which will make it harder for your body to fall asleep. 

Overusing technology can also give you anxiety and depression because you spend so much time with these devices. And because your quality of sleep will suffer because of too much technology, your mental health will also suffer. 

All of these things can lead to poor physical health as well as mental health. With a digital detox, you’ll be able to avoid all of these problems. In addition, your mental and physical health will improve as you will not rely on your devices for entertainment as much. 

In this regard, replacing your technology use with valuable hobbies is important during the detox. For staying healthy, I recommend trying physically active hobbies and those that will keep you occupied mentally.

More Confidence

Social media causes you to compare yourself to others, making you feel less confident about yourself

If you spend a lot of time on social media, you will always see updates and photos from friends and other people. This might make you feel like you’re not as good as they are or that your life isn’t as great as theirs. 

But if you do a digital detox, you won’t be able to compare yourself to others in the same way anymore. Instead, you’ll be able to live your life without constantly comparing yourself to others.

Better Relationships with People Around You

The truth is that the more time you spend on your phone or computer, the less you will pay attention to the people around you. 

This can affect your relationships with family or friends. For example, if you always look at your phone or computer, you will show the people around you that you are not interested in spending time with them. 

However, if you do a digital detox, then most likely, your relationships will improve. You’ll learn to spend time with the people around you because many fun activities do not require technology at all.

A digital detox might also help you build your social skills. You will learn how to spend more time with the people around you without technology, which is very important for being a good human being.

More Awareness

When you do a digital detox, you will become more aware of the little things that make our lives beautiful. Previously, you’d be sticking your nose in your phone all the time without paying attention to the beautiful world around you.

You’ll start noticing the small things like the people around you, the beauty of nature, or the sounds around you. You will get back in touch with the world around you and develop a sense of wellbeing because of it.

Present-moment awareness that you would get from a digital detox can also help you alleviate some mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and cortisol levels. According to a 2019 study, mindfulness could help you become more present during your detox. 

To maximize the effects of your detox, you can start practicing meditation and mindfulness. Both practices can be great for your long-term relationship with technology and video games in particular.

How Does a Digital Detox Work? The Science Behind a Digital Detox

If you’re wondering how a digital detox would work for you on a deeper level, then get ready to dive deeper into the science.

Recently, we’ve published a dopamine series on GameQuitters. We analyzed how video games affect dopamine levels and how dopamine can be one of the main reasons video games are so addictive.

Games increase dopamine levels, so you get a hit of dopamine every time you play a game. As a result, you’ll need more and more to feel satisfied the next time, which can lead to an addiction. Even the structure of your brain changes. It will take weeks and even months of abstinence from video games to reverse the effects.

When you do a digital detox, something similar will happen to your brain. When you get a like on social media, you get a rush of dopamine. When you scroll through your Twitter or Facebook feed, you get a hit. The same happens when you watch your favorite series, movie or even listen to your favorite artist.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released in your brain when you get rewards. It’s the thing that motivates you to seek goals and rewards. It can be released in large amounts when you get certain rewards or when you expose yourself to something that feels pleasurable to you.

For example, dopamine is released in your brain when someone likes your Facebook status, when you watch your favorite TV show, or when scrolling through your social media feed. It’s a part of your reward system and helps us find ways to motivate us to achieve our goals by providing pleasure.

When you get exposed to your favorite video game, the same thing happens. First, you get that pleasurable hit of dopamine. And then, when you’re playing the game, there’s a sort of pleasure cycle that will keep releasing dopamine in your brain and keep you motivated to play more and more. 

You will want to play games just because of the rewarding feeling you’ll experience while playing them and experiencing your favorite parts and moments in-game. The same happens with social media or other types of digital entertainment.

This creates a loop of addiction. You’ll need to experience more and more rewarding moments to get that dopamine hit, which can lead to an addiction.

Digital Detox and Dopamine

That’s where a digital detox comes in. By abstaining from video games or other digital entertainment, you’ll remove your addiction to dopamine.

This can be a great way to cure social media addiction. This is because social media not only increases dopamine levels but also activates the same reward centers in the brain that are triggered when you’re playing video games

Apps on your phone, video games, and even other types of digital entertainment are designed so that they give you hits of dopamine. Whether it’s a like, snap, chat from a friend, share, or another mechanism, most applications and video games are designed to keep you hooked, to keep you coming back, and even to get you addicted.

If you think about it, it’s similar to taking a small hit of a drug only to keep you coming back to the drug, which can get you addicted.

A digital detox helps you break this cycle and rewire your brain’s dopamine dependency. 

When you do a digital detox, you suddenly stop getting those dopamine hits, which helps you break the cycle of addiction. Instead, you are rewiring your brain to get dopamine from other sources like doing your favorite sport, working out, studying, learning a new language, enjoying nature, and other activities that you previously ignored.

A Digital Detox Rewires Your Brain

With a gaming addiction and other forms of tech addiction, your brain slowly starts to change. It becomes accustomed to the dopamine rush you get when you expose yourself to your favorite game, app, or social media.

The reward pathways in your brain start to adjust and find other ways to get that hit of dopamine that helps you keep pursuing your addiction. You don’t need it anymore since your brain found different ways to release dopamine without exposing yourself too frequently. 

The brain’s neuroplasticity allows the brain to adapt and change according to the stimuli it is exposed to.

Many studies have shown that the Internet and social media have decreased our cognitive functions (1,2). One of the most profound changes in our attention span, which has massively decreased due to social media.

Heavy social media users also do worse on tests than light or moderate social media users and require more effort to get the same tasks done. This leads to physical changes to the brain’s part responsible for attention – the prefrontal cortex. The negative effects on attention span are even more negatively pronounced on the developing brain of young people. 

A digital detox can help you rewire those changes to your brain and restore normal brain function. This will help you increase your focus and prolong your attention span, and it can also boost your memory and concentration.

Does a Digital Detox Work?

A digital detox is a great option for people suffering from addictions to video games, technology, and social media. It can be a good way to break the cycle of addiction and help you rewire your brain, and reverse some of the effects of social media and app addiction.

While there haven’t been many studies on the effectiveness of a digital detox, there have been some preliminary findings. For example, a study published in December 2018 showed that after just one week of abstaining from social media, the participants’ stress levels decreased by 68%. However, this was effective only for heavy social media users.

Another study, published in August 2020, found that a digital detox can help you alleviate or avoid the negative effects of social media use. Perhaps more importantly, a study from 2019 by Liao shows that subjects showed a better level of self-regulation after two weeks of digital detox.

All these results tell us that even though not many studies are being conducted, a digital detox can be highly effective if you stick to it strictly.

How to Do a Digital Detox?

If you feel like you’re in dire need of a digital detox, it is quite easy to get started. The most important thing to note here is that you should not compromise the quality of life just to do the detox, as you can still use certain aspects of technology that you might need for work or school, for example.

A digital detox might be as simple as putting your phone away for your meal or a few days to more complex like quitting technology altogether for a few days or even weeks.

If you’re looking to dive deep and start your digital detox, here are the steps you can take to complete it successfully.

Step 1: Break Down Your Goals for a Digital Detox

If you’re going to embark on a digital detox, then you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from it. 

This might be something as simple as abstaining from your phone for one hour every day to be more productive. Or it might be something more complex like quitting social media and all the apps that make it possible entirely.

Based on your goals, you’ll be able to set up your digital detox more effectively. For example, if your goal is to completely quit or limit social media usage, then deleting your apps and maybe even deleting your accounts might be more effective than just turning off notifications.

Step 2: Turn off All Notifications

If you turn off your notifications, you will be able to stop receiving messages, emails, or other notifications on your phone or laptop. You can also turn off the sound of your phone’s ringtone so that you won’t be interrupted by it.

This will help you prevent getting distracted by your phone or another electronic device, even when you’re not using it. So many people tend to check notifications on their devices that they don’t get a notification from it.

Step 3 (Optional): Remove Social Media Apps From Your Phone

If you have multiple social media apps installed on your phone, you might need to remove them. After all, they can give you a dopamine hit even when you’re not using them, so they are very addictive and might cause depression if left unchecked.

Removing social media apps from your phone might seem like a radical move. Still, it’s necessary if you feel like you’re checking your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram way too often and unnecessarily.

However, you don’t need to take this step if you don’t feel the need to. For example, if you feel like you can control your phone usage without deleting your apps, you can also detox that way.

Step 4: Be Mindful of Your Technology Usage

I have already noted that practicing mindfulness while doing your detox can be beneficial. Before you start your detox, you should aim to keep track of your technology usage and make sure that you’re aware of when you’re doing it. Only that way will you be able to control it effectively.

Once you get used to using social media constantly, you do it instinctively. As a result, you will inevitably find yourself opening up your social media apps without you even realizing it. Before you know it, you’ll be stuck on your Twitter or Facebook feed for hours daily.

If you practice mindfulness, you’ll be able to control your mind better. For example, you’ll have the ability to say no to digital entertainment when you feel a craving. 

Step 5: Track Your Usage

A good way to make sure that you’re not using your device as much as you did previously is to use apps to track your phone usage.

iPhone users already have this option built-in on their devices, but if you don’t have it, there are many great apps that you can use. Good examples of apps include Social Fever, My Addictiometer, and OffTime.

Step 6: Find New Hobbies and Activities to Fill Your Time

Now, one of the most important things during your digital detox will be to create better habits. And by this, I mainly mean replacing your digital usage with activities that are beneficial for you and the activities you love doing.

You’ll find that all of a sudden, you will be left with hours daily when you’re not using social media and other forms of digital entertainment. As a result, you might find yourself bored, which is, in fact, one of the main reasons why you might have been using your phone so much.

The activities you could add to your daily schedule include exercise, meditation, and reading. This will keep you physically fit and give you a chance to be more mindful and present in your everyday life. It will also fill your time with new experiences that you might not have thought of.

To keep yourself busy and active, you will need to find activities that you love doing. Of course, there are countless other hobbies and activities that you might like. It might be a hobby that you once did and loved but left because you didn’t have time to do it any longer.

If you’re not sure what hobby you should try, check out our hobby tool. With it, you’ll be able to find a good activity for yourself even if you’re not sure what you like doing.

Step 7: Create a Plan After Your Detox

One of the best things about a digital detox is that you’ll be able to create a life for yourself where you will be free of the need to use your phone or another device so much.

Before you just conclude your detox and start your life back again, it’s important to take some time to create an outline of how you want your life to be.

Ideally, you’d want to stay free of the overuse of social media and digital entertainment – after all, that is one of the main goals of a digital detox.

By the end of the detox (depending on how long you make it), your brain will get used to getting stimulations from other sources, and it will not be as dependent on your phone or other devices as much.

This creates an opportunity for you to create a more satisfying life without social media, video games, or phone addictions.

Additional Tips and Tricks for Your Digital Detox

Here are some additional tips and tricks that can help you during your digital detox.

  • Turn off your phone if you need to. This can be a great method if you don’t have another way of completely refraining from using your phone.
  • Set up reminders. You also might want to set up reminders on your calendar or phone not to use social media apps or other apps that you might want to refrain from.
  • Practice mindfulness. Now, this is an optional thing because not everyone will want to do it, but mindfulness can help you out during the process. The process of mindfulness will make you far more aware of your actions and your digital consumption, which can help you steer clear of it.
  • Tell your family and friends about your detox. If you use your devices to talk to your friends or family often, it might be helpful to let them know that you’re doing a detox. This will help you avoid some relationship issues that might happen if you suddenly stop responding to them if you’re not using your phone as much.
  • Have faith! Last but not least, you need to stay consistent with your detox even when things start to feel tough. Inevitably, you will feel cravings to play your favorite game or take just one look at your Twitter feed, but doing that can easily set you back to where you started.

Need Help?

A digital detox can help you with your gaming addiction or another type of digital addiction, as long as you stick to it. Some studies have proved it, and many people have had great success with it. The longer the detox is, the more successful it will be.

It’s okay if you don’t feel good along the way and you need help. However, if you don’t have anyone to talk to, consider talking to a therapist. We have a database of excellent therapists worldwide so that you can contact one close to your location.

Additionally, here at Game Quitters, we have prepared many guides and resources that you can use to help you. Most of the content is for quitting playing video games, but you’ll find many tips and tricks that you can apply during your digital detox. 

If you suffer from a gaming addiction (or other digital addictions), we’ve also prepared many other guides and free resources on Game Quitters. These include:

If you appreciate our content and what we do, feel free to share it with other people who might find this article (or other articles) helpful. Our mission is to help as many people overcome their digital addictions and get their lives back to normal.

Note: If you’re a mental health professional and want to learn more about gaming addiction and treatment, you can do so with INTENTA’s Gaming Disorder training for professionals.

If your child likes to play Roblox, then you might be worried about the game’s safety. If that’s the case, then you’re one of the hundreds of concerned parents who contact us to ask how to enable Roblox parental controls.

While the game does have some potential dangers, it can be relatively safe – but only if you make sure that it is safe for your child to play Roblox.

Luckily, Roblox includes parental controls for parents to use to make the game safer for their children.

And in this article, we’ll show you how to enable Roblox parental controls, what they are, and how to make the game safer for your child.

What are Roblox Parental Controls?

Roblox parental controls are offered inside the game to make the game safer for children, especially for children under the age of 12.

roblox parental controls

Inside your Roblox account on your computer, you will be able to access these settings in the Settings section of your account. They are known under the name of Account Controls, and these will enable you to make your Roblox account safer.

Here, you will set up a PIN, w

hich will restrict access to these controls. Every time someone would like to access these settings, they would need to enter the PIN. This can help you restrict access to these settings to your child if you don’t want the settings to be changed.

With the account restrictions in place, you will be able to control the following things on the Roblox account:

  • What games can your child play,
  • What type of content can they see (if you turn the controls on, only the child-safe content will be shown),
  • Who your child can contact,
  • Who can contact the account in question,
  • Who can message or chat with the account,
  • Who can invite the player to new games, see their inventory, and interact with the player,
  • Who can change the account restriction settings.

With these settings in place, you will have more control of your child’s playing time with Roblox. As a result, you’ll be able to avoid the most common pitfalls of Roblox, such as overextended playing time, spending money on Robux, and other common problems that you might be experiencing.

In the next section of the article, we’ll provide you with a complete guide on how to enable Roblox parental controls, how to change them, and how to use them to make the playing experience safer for your child.

How to Enable Roblox Parental Controls

Follow these steps to enable Roblox parental controls and change them along the way as you see fit.

The key here is knowing that these controls exist and how they work, so you’ll have more control over how your child consumes Roblox.

Step 1: Log in to Your Account and Go To Settings

The first step you’ll need to take is to log into your (or your child’s) Account. 

To do that, go to the Roblox website (or the mobile phone site, if you’re using a mobile device), enter the credentials of the account, and log in.

Once logged in, you’ll want to go to Settings. You can do that by clicking on the cogwheel icon in the top right corner of your screen and click on Settings.

roblox parental controls

After you have clicked on Settings, you will be presented with the following screen:

roblox parental controls

From here, you’ll be able to change multiple settings about your Account, including the parental controls. 

The parental controls can be accessed both in the Security and Privacy tabs of this page. Follow the next step to see what changes you can make to make your child’s account safer.

Step 2: Enable 2-Step Verification and PIN

The next step you can take is to enable the 2-step verification of your Account and enable the PIN.

The first one is optional, but it is almost necessary to enable the PIN to make these settings unavailable for your child.

By activating the PIN, you’ll restrict access to the parental control settings. Every time someone would like to access these settings, they would need to enter a PIN of your choice. This way, you can disable access to these settings for your child.

To do that, go to the Security tab of the Settings screen. 

roblox parental controls

Then, toggle on the bar under Account PIN (next to Account PIN is currently disabled). Once you toggle it on, you will be presented with the following screen:

roblox parental controls

Here, you will be able to set up the 4-digit PIN that you would need to enter every time someone would like to access the parental control settings. This step is crucial because it will restrict access to the parental control settings.

For now, keep the Account Restrictions disabled, as you’ll still want to make some changes to the account’s privacy settings.

Step 3: Make Changes to the Privacy Settings

So now that you have set up the PIN that you can use to access the parental controls settings, you can start making changes to what the Account can and cannot do.

To access these settings, go to the Privacy tab on your screen.

roblox parental controls

Here, you will be able to change who your Account can contact, who can contact the Account, who your child can speak to, who can invite them to games, message them, chat with them, and join them inside the game.

This can be an important step since you’ll want to make sure that your child doesn’t contact scammers and people looking to exploit your child’s Account. Unfortunately, many people are looking to take advantage of your child’s account, so make sure you know that.

Now, if you want to make completely sure that your child doesn’t come across any dangerous people, you can keep all the contact settings to “No one.” This will make the Account impossible to reach.

However, if your child has friends on the platform, you might want to tweak these settings a little bit.

For example, you can change the settings so that only the Account’s friends can message your child, chat with them, see their inventory, and invite them to games.

roblox parental controls

A more lenient approach is to let your child contact Friends and Users I Follow, which can still be a safe option.

You will need to tweak these settings a bit and find what works for you and your child. Take some time to alter the settings and make sure you take into account how your child plays the game and how many friends (if any) they have inside the game.

Step 4: Enable Parental Controls

Once you are happy with the changes you’ve made, you can lock in the parental controls by enabling them.

To do that, go back to the Security tab of your Settings, and toggle the button next to Account Restrictions to “on.”

enable roblox parental controls

This will lock in the settings you’ve just set up, and they can now only be altered if you know the PIN of the account. So every time someone would like to make changes to these settings, they would need to enter the PIN you’ve set up.

If you would like to make further changes to the account restrictions, you’d first need to turn the Account Restrictions off and then change the settings.

Once you’re happy, you’ll need to turn the restrictions back on. To do that, you’ll need to enter your PIN again to confirm the changes. 

How to Keep Your Child Safe When Playing Roblox

Parental controls and Account Restrictions can be highly effective in controlling who your child interacts with and what kinds of games they play.

However, there are still many other potential pitfalls of Roblox along the way. Luckily, you can control most of them to ensure that your child stays safe when playing the game.

These are some tips and tricks to help you control your child’s Roblox consumption and avoid or control a potential Roblox addiction.

Limit Playing Time

If your child keeps on playing Roblox too much, the most important thing will be limiting the playing time.

It can be hard to do that; after all, the game is available on every platform conceivable. So make sure that your child is not playing the game more than two hours per day, as per the screen time recommendations.

One of the challenges will be getting your child to spend more time on their hobbies instead of playing Roblox (or other games).

If you need ideas of what hobbies your child can try, you can check out our hobby tool – this tool will help you find the right hobby based on your child’s interest.

Keep Track of Spending

One of the most important things you can do to make your child safer is controlling the spending inside the account.

Once a week, you should keep track of the spending inside Roblox. You can do that by going to the Billing section in your Account.

enable roblox parental controls

Here, you’ll be able to see all of the transactions on your child’s Account, and you’ll be able to stop them should you get unexpected charges on your card.

For example, this 11-year old girl kept spending real-life money on Robux, the in-game currency of Roblox. She spent 2400 British Pounds without her parents ever realizing it. 

You need to be vigilant with this and make sure that your child is not doing the same. Check the spending of the Account at least once a week.

Keep Track of Messages

Another important area where your child will need some guiding will be the messaging and interaction with other people inside the game.

The game is built on social interaction, and finding new friends and meeting strangers are encouraged. This can be great for meeting new friends, but you might also come across some strangers looking to take advantage.

Bullying is common, and so is the toxic nature of other players. This can affect your child, so you might want to frequently check the account’s interactions in question.

Make sure that you constantly check the following areas of the Account:

  • The Account’s messages
  • The Account’s friends

enable roblox parental controls

You can find these areas on the left-hand side of the main screen. If you see something unusual, you should immediately report the account in question and restrict your account’s access to the said account.

To block a user you want to block, click on the account in question and click the three dots next to its name. You should find an option to block the user there.

how to enable roblox parental controls

Familiarize Yourself with the Dangers of Roblox

As a parent, you must keep on top of all the latest trends and changes inside the game.

This way, you’ll be able to stay ahead and make sure that your child is playing the game safely. 

We’ve prepared an article where you can review all the potential pitfalls and dangers of Roblox. In this in-depth guide, you’ll be able to find what areas of Roblox can be dangerous and how you can avoid them.

Need Help with Roblox Addiction?

Roblox is a very addictive game. It is one of the most popular games with kids nowadays because it can be played anywhere and by anyone.

If you want to know how to overcome Roblox addiction, we’ve prepared an in-depth guide on how to do so at Game Quitters.

If you need more help as a parent to control your child’s gaming addiction, we’ve also prepared a scientifically backed program called Reclaim. In this program, you will learn how to deal with your child’s addiction, establish a healthy relationship with them, and improve other relationships in your family.

Alternatively, you can also speak to a video game addiction therapist.

We’ve also prepared many other guides and free resources on Game Quitters. These include:

If you appreciate our content and what we do, feel free to share it with other parents or people who might find this article (or other articles) helpful. Our mission is to help as many people overcome their gaming addiction and get their lives back to normal.

Note: If you’re a mental health professional and want to learn more about gaming addiction and treatment, you can do so with INTENTA’s Gaming Disorder training for professionals.

What is Roblox?

If you’re a parent of a gamer that plays Roblox, you might be wondering: what is Roblox, and how does it work? What is all the hype about it?

In this article, we’ll address all questions you might have about Roblox to get a clearer idea about this game.

What is Roblox?

Roblox is an online gaming platform that allows players to create games and play other people’s games. Roblox is not a single game but rather a collection of user-created games that happen in 3D worlds.

The main difference between Roblox is that the games inside Roblox are not created by the gaming company but rather by the game’s users.

Users of Roblox can both create their games and play the games created by other users. These games can include simple 3D worlds to more complex worlds where gamers have to solve puzzles, overcome obstacles, and solve quests to complete the games.

Gamers love this platform because it provides them with constant novelty and a good way of making friends and meeting strangers. 

Roblox is one of the most popular games currently. It has almost 200 active monthly users, which ranks it among the most played and popular games at this moment.

However, due to its addictive nature, Roblox addiction is more and more prevalent. 

We constantly get an alarming amount of inquiries from parents about Roblox, so we created this article to help you better understand what Roblox is and how you can deal with it.

How Does Roblox Work?

what is roblox

Roblox requires new users to sign up and create new profiles. To do that, a new user would have to use their email and create a password with a username, which they would then use to log into their account.

Once the user is logged in, they can start customizing their character. Character customization is one of the most appealing features of Roblox. 

Each player can create their Socialization character, which they will then use to play games on Roblox. 

Of course, kids want to have a character that stands out the most, where Robux comes in. Robux is an in-game currency in Roblox that allows users to buy cosmetic items for their character, which they can then use in games.

You can purchase Robux with real-life money, especially if children are exposed to this feature. For example, this 11-year old girl spent a whopping 2400 British Pounds on Robux without her parents knowing.

After the character is customized, players can start to play games inside Roblox. There are hundreds of games to try out, and these games are created every day. As a result, there is a never-ending supply of games, making the game always feel fresh.

Users of Roblox can also create their games. In addition, they are allowed to use various features that they can insert into the world to make it more interesting or appealing.

Why is Roblox so Popular with Kids?

Roblox is one of the most popular games in the world at the moment. It has almost 200 million monthly active users, and 67% of all users are children under 16. 

This statistic shows us that the game is most popular with children, even though it is officially branded as a 13+ game. Many children under the age of 13 play this game nonetheless, thanks to non-existing age checks.

The main reasons why Roblox is so popular with kids include the following factors.

Socialization

The biggest factor that makes Roblox so popular is socialization. If you play Roblox, you’re seen as a cool kid. There’s peer pressure to play the game, and the prospect of meeting new friends on Roblox is also very appealing. 

Socialization is encouraged on Roblox, which is not necessarily a bad thing, although your kid might encounter some questionable people along the way.

Many scammers and people are looking to exploit children on this platform, so you will want to be very careful who your child socializes with on Roblox.

Free to Play and Available on Most Platforms

Another big reason why this game is booming at the moment is that it’s free to play, and it’s available on almost any platform imaginable.

The base game itself is free to play, although there are various elements inside the game that need to be bought if you want to access them. This is where Robux comes in, the digital currency used inside Roblox, to purchase these elements.

Also, you can play this game almost anywhere you might be. It’s available on computers, phones, tablets, and gaming consoles (Xbox One). 

And because the restrictions for playing the game are so low, anyone can download it and start playing it.

Read: In-Game Spending: Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Never-Ending Novelty

There’s always something new going on with Roblox: new games, new people to meet, new apparel to buy for your character. 

The influx of constant new games is also appealing. The game never feels stale because users are always creating new worlds to try out.

When people play Roblox, they are hit by an immense amount of stimuli. There are so many things to do and try out that the game will never feel boring, and this is one of the main reasons children can spend hours and hours on Roblox. It’s created to be addictive.

Roblox Inspires Creativity

In addition, Roblox encourages creativity, which is not a bad thing in itself, of course. 

Each user can create their own game and world while also trying out the games created by other users. 

There is a sense of freedom with the game creation engine, which gives your child the possibility to create games and worlds using their imagination.

The problem comes when your child starts to play Roblox excessively. While it is nice that your child can have this creativity, it can also cause your child to get addicted to Roblox. In this case, Roblox starts to become a harmful activity.

It’s Customizable

Every Roblox player can create a character that they’ll use inside the game. When creating a character, they can use various features and elements to make it unique.

When players play games inside Roblox, they can use this character to play them. And having the character that stands out the most is, of course, attractive to children. This leads to many kids spending real-life money on Robux, allowing them to buy these elements for customization.

It’s Addictive

There is no denying that Roblox is designed to be addictive.

So much so that China is now banning several features of Roblox for Chinese children because they’re seen as addictive.

Some elements inside the game are also inappropriate for kids because they include sexually explicit content or inappropriate content for underage players.

Is Roblox Safe for My Child?

Roblox can be safe to play for your child, but you will need to set up a few restrictions along the way.

You need to realize that Roblox can be highly addictive. Unfortunately, there are also many other pitfalls of Roblox that your child can fall into, so you’ll need to monitor their use of Roblox closely.

If the game is played while your child is supervised and if you enable parental controls inside Roblox, then the game can be safe to play. However, it can be harmful if you let your child play the game excessively and allow them to socialize with strangers and spend money in-game.

The main reasons why Roblox can be unsafe for children include:

  • It can be addictive
  • Many scammers and strangers are waiting to take advantage of your child
  • Your child might spend money without your supervision inside the game
  • There is some explicit content that is potentially not safe for children
  • No chat filters are available, which means bullying and exposure to inappropriate content are still possible.

How to Make Roblox Safe for My Child?

Roblox can be a safe game to play, provided that you keep constant track of your child’s playing time and their behavior inside the game.

These are a few tips to keep your child safe from the negative effects of Roblox.

  1. Limit the playing time of Roblox to 2 hours at most daily
  2. Track your child’s messages and chats constantly
  3. Track your child’s consumption of Robux inside the game
  4. Enable parental controls inside Roblox
  5. Set up rules of how and when your child can play Roblox
  6. If necessary, delete a Roblox account if you feel like it is harming your child’s life and development

Need Help with Your Child’s Roblox Consumption?

If you’re worried about how much your child plays Roblox, then you need to know that it’s normal to feel like that. We get many questions and requests from concerned parents who are wondering how to stop their child from playing Roblox so much.

If you feel like your child has developed a Roblox addiction, then you can try our scientifically-backed resource for parents called Reclaim. In this program, you’ll learn how to communicate with your child and set up rules so they’ll be able to stop playing Roblox so much and so often.

You can also talk to a therapist about the issues you and your family face when it comes to your kid’s Roblox addiction.

Alternatively, we also offer many other resources at Game Quitters, such as:

Is Roblox Safe for Kids?

With more than 40 million daily active users, Roblox is one of the world’s biggest and most popular gaming platforms. 

The majority of the population that plays Roblox are children aged between the ages of 6 and 16. Up to 67% of all players of Roblox belong to this age category.

Is Roblox safe for kids to play? 

This is an important question that many parents are asking. Since we get this question often from concerned parents, we will address it in as much detail as possible in this article.

What is Roblox?

is roblox safe

To begin with, let’s take some time to explain what exactly Roblox is and how it is played.

Roblox is an online entertainment platform that allows its players to create their games and share them with other users. At the same time, players can play games created by other users, adding a sense of novelty to every game.

The game is available on almost any platform imaginable – Xbox One, smartphones, computers, tablets, you name it.

So the game’s goal is to create a game that’s as fun as possible, and that gets the attention of as many other users as possible.

The games inside Roblox are always changing since they’re created by users constantly. So each day, you could play a new game. This never-ending novelty is perhaps the biggest point of attraction for kids. 

As for what kinds of games are created inside Roblox, you’ll find a lot of variety. But almost all games require players to navigate through obstacles and maps created by other users with their character, which can also be quite challenging since you’re competing against other players as well.

Why is it so Popular with Kids?

what is roblox

There are several reasons why Roblox is so popular with kids.

  • It allows you to connect with other players. Roblox is a social game where players connect, try each other’s games, and make new friends. Many kids also play because their peers play Roblox.
  • It is free to play. The base game is free to play, but there’s also an in-game currency called Robux, allowing players to spend money on in-game apparel and items. We’ll talk more about this later on.
  • Never-ending novelty. There are always new games to try because they’re created daily by other users. The game’s design never feels boring because there’s always something new for you to try. 
  • Competitive. The game can be quite competitive since you’re playing against other users to get the best score possible on a particular map.
  • You can get creative. Another reason why Roblox is so popular with kids is because it allows them to be creative when they create their games. When played in moderation, Roblox can bring some positive effects on your kid’s creativity. Also, the better the game is, the more users will play it, which gives users an incentive to keep creating new games.
  • Customization. Each player can customize their character to their liking. This allows users to use different costumes for their characters as they play the game. However, this can be a double-edged sword since many of these customizations can be paid with real-life money through Robux.

Is Roblox Safe for Kids?

Now, to the question that many parents are asking: is Roblox safe for kids?

Roblox is generally safe for kids, provided that parents do everything possible to control their child’s activity in the game. 

But we often get questions from frustrated parents that want to know how to stop their kid from playing Roblox. First, you need to know that Roblox is an addictive game for the reasons we’ve mentioned above, so as a parent, you’ll want to make sure that your kid plays Roblox as safely as possible.

The game is available on every platform imaginable so that kids will have access to the game almost anywhere. And even though the official age requirement for playing the game is 13+, there are little to no controls for checking the age of players. This allows players that are even younger than 13 to play the game.

You’ll need to make sure that your child’s consumption of Roblox doesn’t lead to an addiction. Unfortunately, children are more susceptible to becoming addicted to this game. This is why, as a parent, you’ll need to have control over your child’s usage of this game, or else it could easily become an addiction – and there are other dangers as well.

If you’re interested in how to make Roblox as safe as possible for your kid, then read on. We’ll address this later in the article.

Now, let’s take a look at how Roblox can be potentially dangerous for children. This is crucial to help you understand the potential pitfalls of this game and how you can avoid them.

How Roblox Can be Dangerous for Kids

There are many ways Roblox can potentially be dangerous to kids if you don’t control the use of the game.

  1. Social interaction with unknown people – now, you might be thinking that social interaction in an online game can not be that bad. After all, your child will be meeting new friends and meeting up with existing ones. That’s great, but sometimes, these interactions can lead to unwanted events. Many scammers, predators, and others are looking to take advantage of the naivety that some children who play these games still have.
  2. In-game currency – Robux, the in-game currency of Roblox, is used to purchase customization items and other types of features inside the game. More than $1.5 billion has been spent on Robux up until 2020, and the spending is only increasing. The need to spend real-life money on Robux is amplified by influencers and YouTubers who brag about spending thousands of dollars on Robux to get some advantages in the game. And children are more susceptible to spending Robux, so you’ll want to control your child’s spending rigorously in Roblox.
  3. Addictive nature – Roblox is addictive. We get messages from concerned parents all the time complaining about how much their children play Roblox. It’s easy to get sucked into the game for hours on end since there is a never-ending novelty. There’s always something new happening inside the game.
  4. Inappropriate content for underage kids – some of the in-game content is inappropriate for children under 16. This might be primarily because of the sexually explicit nature of the content. Even though the game is meant for children over 13, many types of content are not suitable for children.
  5. Bullying and toxic nature of the game – lastly, we must also mention the possibility of bullying in Roblox. Children experience bullying in games like Roblox, so you must report bullying immediately if you see it. 

Combine all these things, and you get a potentially dangerous mixture of unwanted features of Roblox. While the game might seem harmless on the surface, there are many hidden facets of the game that only get uncovered if the game is played consistently and for longer periods.

Not only can Roblox be addictive, but it can result in other problems, as well. First, there’s the danger of socializing with strangers, which can expose your child to scams. Second, the in-game currency might tempt your child to spend your hard-earned money on in-game purchases, which you can swiftly avoid by blocking all such transactions.

How to Make Roblox Safe for Kids

If you want your child to enjoy Roblox safely without having to worry about Roblox addiction or other pitfalls that come with this game, then you’ll want to make the gaming environment as safe as possible for your child.

These are the main techniques that you can use to make Roblox safe for kids.

Know the Dangers of Roblox

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that you know how Roblox can be potentially dangerous to your child.

Playing any game excessively can lead to an addiction, but Roblox is potentially even more addictive than other games for children.

Knowing how Roblox can potentially be dangerous for your child is important since you’ll be able to stay one step ahead of your child and the dangers of Roblox.

Use Parental Controls

roblox safety tips

For this, you’ll need your child’s login information to access the parental controls. The most important thing is having the login information, which will allow you to make Roblox safer for your child.

Once you know the login information, follow these steps to use the Roblox parental controls:

  1. Log in to the Roblox account in question
  2. Click on the gear icon in the top right corner
  3. Click on Settings, and then go to privacy
  4. Change the Contact and Other Settings to make your child’s usage of the game safer.

Here, you’ll be able to change who your child interacts with inside the game, who can message them and chat with them, and who your child can contact. This is important to avoid potential scammers or bullies inside the game.

You can also enable the account PIN under the Security page. This PIN will prevent your child from making changes to the account that you don’t want them to make, such as the changes to parental controls.

Monitor Your Child’s Account Regularly

Another important step is to monitor the account regularly to ensure that everything is as safe as possible.

The most important areas of the account that you want to check include:

  • Chat and friends
  • Private messages and group messages
  • Friends and followers
  • Items and transactions (Transaction history in particular)
  • Games, sounds, and other items inside the account
  • Games played recently

Check all of these areas of the account regularly to see if there’s something unusual going on. Checking this at least once a week will let you stay on top of your child’s consumption of Roblox, and you’ll be able to avoid the pitfalls of Roblox before they happen.

Alternatively, you can make sure to check these settings even more frequently, which is even more important if you notice signs of Roblox addiction in your child.

Read our guide on In-Game Spending: Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Restrict the Playing Time

You’ll want to make sure that your kid doesn’t play Roblox too much. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children between the ages of 6-16 should not be allowed to use their screen for longer than two hours for entertainment daily.

So if you want to make sure that your child doesn’t develop a Roblox addiction, you’ll have to monitor your child’s Roblox playing time.

This means that you will have to limit Roblox usage to two hours a day at most, which can be quite tough since the game is available everywhere.

The best way to ensure this is to encourage your child to find other replacement activities such as hobbies.

With these hobbies, you will be able to fill the time for your child that they would otherwise spend playing Roblox. It’s best to encourage active hobbies where your child can get creative and meet other children simultaneously, which are all features that Roblox offers for gamers.

Need Help with Making Roblox Safe?

If you’re a concerned parent of a child that plays Roblox (or wants to play it), we can help you out. We’ve prepared a full guide on keeping your child safe from various gaming addictions, including Roblox addiction. To do that, we’ve created an in-depth program with scientifically backed resources called Reclaim.

On our site, we also offer hundreds of additional resources that you can use to help you deal with Roblox and other gaming addictions. This includes free articles, videos, and guides that you can use to help you and your family cope with the gaming addiction.

In addition, we also offer other guides, resources, and courses that might interest you:

If you’re a mental health professional and would like to learn more about gaming addiction, check out INTENTA’s gaming disorder training for professionals.

On May 25, 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) added gaming disorder to their list of diseases – ICD 11.

The WHO stated that the main reason for including the gaming disorder on their list was the ever-growing body of evidence that shows gaming disorder causes functional impairment to someone’s life

“…the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behavior.”

Globally, gaming disorder is estimated to impact 3% of gamers. We have put together a set of detailed video game addiction statistics for you, including how the issue affects different countries. 

For individuals struggling, there are video game addiction withdrawal symptoms you can be aware of regarding psychological health. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Intense cravings
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Boredom
  • Headaches

Video Game Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Gaming disorder is treated as a mental health condition. However, it can be a disorder of our brain’s reward system.

According to the dopamine theory of addiction, playing video games causes a quick release of dopamine. This causes our reward system to be flooded by a sudden rush of dopamine, which makes us feel pleasure and happiness.

When we play games for prolonged periods, this can create a dopamine imbalance. Other activities don’t provide us with the same amount of dopamine, which leads us to play more and more games to feel the same levels of satisfaction we once did. In this scenario a dopamine detox may be effective to reverse these challenges.

In the long-term, this creates a dependence on video games to feel pleasure. Although video game addiction is not a physical dependence, most video game addiction withdrawal symptoms will be psychological. 

Below we will share more the common symptoms you may experience when you stop gaming.

Irritability and Aggression

Irritability and aggression are two common symptoms gaming addicts experience when they stop playing games.

Because they can no longer access their favorite source of entertainment, they’ll start to feel edgy and irritable about it. In some cases, the irritability goes to such an extent that the individual gets aggressive with people around them.

“My son has been without games for one week, and he attacked me last night. He body-slammed to the floor. I hit my head and now feel like I might need to visit the hospital. This shit is out of control. It just takes their minds. He’s only 13.”

If you or your child starts to experience these symptoms, it’s important to have a safety plan. It’s normal to feel irritable and even angry, but aggression or violence should be treated seriously. Contact your local emergency department immediately if violence occurs.

Intense Cravings

When you stop doing something that you love doing, you’ll start to crave it. The same goes for video game addicts, only that the cravings can be so intense that the addicted person will be prepared to do almost anything to get another game.

These cravings are caused by the imbalance of chemicals in our brain – most importantly, dopamine. For example, when we play video games, increased amounts of dopamine are released 34 34. Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game × , caused by the hyperarousal of our brains.

Video game addiction causes individuals to crave games after they stop playing them. They start to seek entertainment and pleasure from these games, and if they can’t get it, they begin to feel irritated or even aggressive.

Watch: How to Stop Gaming Cravings

Anxiety, Depression

As we’ve already mentioned, most of the video game addiction withdrawal symptoms will be psychological.

Several studies 35 35. The Association Between Mobile Game Addiction and Depression, Social Anxiety, and Loneliness ×  have shown a possible link between gaming addiction and depression. In addition, they’ve established that the more intense the gaming addiction is, the higher the likelihood of severe depression will be.

Then there’s also the aspect of social isolation and gaming addiction. Because most gaming addicts are deprived of real-world social connections, they start to feel depressed 36 36. The Cognitive Psychopathology of Internet Gaming Disorder in Adolescence ×  because of this as well.

Depression and sadness are not to be confused, though. Sadness is a temporary state of mind, while depression is a clinical diagnosis and it requires treatment. Sadness should start to disappear after 2-3 weeks after quitting gaming, but if it persists and other symptoms such as irritability are present, then you should talk to a therapist.

General anxiety and social anxiety are not uncommon, too. Once the gamer stops playing video games, they’ll often start to feel depression and anxiety, which were set in stone during the addiction already. When they stop playing games, these two withdrawal symptoms begin to get amplified.

Boredom

According to members of our community, most of them tend to spend at least four hours a day on video games. Additionally, many spend four additional hours on other types of entertainment, like binge-watching Netflix or YouTube or spending too much time on Reddit.

When video games are no longer a distraction, it creates a deep hole in their schedule. All of a sudden, their main daily activity is taken away. As a result, hours of daily time are freed up, and it often happens that the person has no other activities to replace the gaming activity.

Gaming is a challenge; we like to be challenged, and suddenly, you lose your main source of challenge. As a result, you start to lose a lack of purpose, and you don’t know what to do next in life.

It’s normal to become bored because of a lack of video games. The solution for this is simple: find other activities to replace your gaming. You can use our hobby tool to find some great hobbies that you’ll enjoy doing. 

Headaches

Headaches are not as common as other symptoms, but they often happen. Many members of our community report having severe headaches after stopping gaming.

Insomnia and even nightmares are also commonly present in addition to headaches. Now, headaches after quitting gaming should not persist very long – usually, they should go away after about a week after stopping.

I know when I quit gaming, I had a bunch of nightmares about me playing, and it’s a weird experience, but they will go away eventually.

Watch: Is It Normal To Have Dreams and Nightmares About Gaming?

Other Severe Symptoms

Sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms are so severe that you might start feeling like there’s no help.

You should know that overcoming addiction is a huge process to go through. As you stop playing, big changes start to happen in your brains, which begin to cause these withdrawal symptoms.

In some cases, it might even cause thoughts of suicide. If that’s you, please talk to someone about this, whether your friend, teacher, parent or therapist. It’s best to let your feelings be known and seek help immediately.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255 

Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

About Video Game Addiction Withdrawal

Regardless of how long the withdrawal symptoms last or how intense they are, it’s important to focus on embracing them as they happen.

It would be best if you learned how to navigate them instead. Some symptoms might last for much longer than just a few weeks. For example, some people still feel cravings for playing games years after quitting playing.

So the best way to cope with the withdrawal symptoms is to embrace them as they happen at the start and then learn how to navigate your life despite them.

How Long Does Video Game Withdrawal Last?

Everyone’s a bit different, and the types of withdrawal symptoms and why they’re happening will be unique for you, but there’s a few things I can share about this. 

The first is that withdrawal symptoms tend to spike initially after you stop for the first 84 hours, and then they begin to dissipate over time

Now, how long this will take is hard to say. Still, generally, boredom, for instance, usually takes about three weeks before you start to experience other activities as being engaging and fulfilling in the same way. 

Overall, the biggest gains and benefits tend to happen in the first 30 days of not gaming, and then things become just more normalized in your life.

How To Overcome Video Game Withdrawal Symptoms?

So how can you navigate the video game withdrawal symptoms?

Step 1: Give yourself some space from gaming. This means that you’ll want to uninstall all of your games and delete your accounts if necessary. You’ll also want to delete your games from your phone, unsubscribe from gaming subreddits, and use blockers to block all gaming content. It might even mean taking a step away from your gamer friends. We have a list of tutorials on deleting your accounts here.

Step 2: Create and improve your coping strategies. It would help if you learned how to cope with the withdrawal symptoms as they happen. You might want to find replacement activities and hobbies. Also, find other ways to relax: meditate, do yoga. You could also go for a walk, listen to podcasts or music you find relaxing, or read books.

To feel the sense of progress, you make in games, you should start new hobbies or learn new skills. These should keep you motivated and challenged throughout the process.

Step 3: “This too shall pass.” Know that most of these symptoms are temporary and will go away after some time. After that period, you can start enjoying the little things in life again. No matter how intense the symptoms are, they’ll be gone. Just stay focused and strong. You’ve got this!

Get Help When You Need it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if or when you need it! You can talk to your friends and family about your problems or someone you trust, or a therapist.

At Game Quitters, we have created a full guide on overcoming your video game addiction symptoms – it is included in our guide called Respawn, where you’ll also find other tips and strategies for overcoming your gaming addiction.

We also have other guides and content that you can use, including:

If you’re a mental health professional and would like to learn more about treating gaming addiction, visit INTENTA for more information.

Is Gaming a Waste of Time?

Gaming is hugely popular. There are over 3 billion gamers worldwide and growing every year. But, with so many hours spent playing video games, people wonder, is gaming a waste of time?

Watch: Is Gaming a Waste of Time?

It’s never been easier to play video games. You can play games pretty much everywhere – on a bus on your phone, at home on your PC or console, and even while on holiday on your Nintendo Switch.

Based on our internal statistics, members of our community spend 3-4 hours gaming daily on average while also spending another 4 hours daily on social media or other types of digital entertainment.

That’s 8 hours spent a day solely on entertainment!

Does that sound familiar?

If so, you might be asking yourself an important question: is gaming a waste of time? 

My Story

If you’re not familiar with my story, I was addicted to playing video games for ten years, and after hitting rock bottom, I decided to quit and move forward in my life. 

And since then, I started this website to bring together people who feel similar and want to get their gaming under control. We help people do that through awareness, resources, programscoaching, and advocacy.

I need to state before we begin I’m not against gaming. I don’t think that all gaming is bad, and I want to shed some light on how we can have a more productive or positive relationship with gaming if that’s something that you’re choosing to do and if you want to move on, then we can support you to do that as well. 

Why Are You Gaming?

The first question you need to ask yourself is, why are you gaming? What is the purpose of your gaming habit?

95% of gamers out there are casual gamers – and if that’s you, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re gaming and whether your gaming is aligned with your goals and the kind of person you want to be. 

Now, if you’re a casual gamer, there must be at least one reason why you’re gaming. But, of course, if your goal is becoming a professional gamer and earning a living that way, then gaming might not be such a huge waste of time.

Watch: Why People Play Video Games

Some of the most common reasons why people play games include:

  • To have fun and be entertained
  • Game mastery
  • To release the tension from stress
  • To socialize online
  • Competition
  • Progress

To answer whether gaming is a waste of time, you must take a moment to consider why you play games.

While it is impossible to be productive every single hour of the day, you must choose healthy habits to achieve your goals.

For example, if the main goal of your gaming is to relax and kill time, gaming can be a decent activity – provided you play in moderation.

However, online games can also be an additional source of stress with the toxic communities and the competitive nature of these games. In that case, is gaming helping you achieve your goal, or is it making it even worse?

Gaming Comes with Trade-Offs

So if you now have a rough idea of why you’re playing games, it’s important to know that every activity comes with trade-offs. Some activities have bigger trade-offs than others.

Gaming, for example, can have negative consequences even if you do it for relaxation, especially if you do it excessively.

  • You can become addicted
  • Gaming can be stressful if it’s competitive
  • You start neglecting your health and mental health
  • Your relationships begin to suffer
  • You start becoming toxic because of toxic online communities

“Over my life, I averaged between 40-60 hours gaming per week. Some days I gamed 16 hours a day on the weekend, and particularly during holidays. Since quitting, I’ve started multiple e-commerce businesses, made huge fitness gains, and been heaps more social. Rarely I might get a small urge to play a game, but honestly, it’s rather insignificant.” –Game Quitters Member. 

Read: The Pros and Cons of Gaming

Not every activity will be great at achieving your goals.

For instance, if your goal is to relax, you can opt to socialize in real life, play guitar, or read a book. Others like going to the gym. Of course, gaming can also work for relaxation, but it comes with far bigger trade-offs than some other activities we’ve mentioned.

When deciding if gaming is a waste of time, you need to consider your gaming habit’s ROI (Return on Investment).

The example I would give is that I love to DJ, and DJingng is an immersive activity. I get to see my skill improve. I get to have fun. I get to relax and be creative. 

But if I needed to stop DJing and go for dinner with my girlfriend, I would do that very easily and come back to it. If I’m deejaying, I’m able to do it in more moderation. I’m able to do it just a couple of hours a day or not even every day. 

Whereas with gaming, I have this feeling that I want to game more and more and more. It’s never enough. No amount of time is satisfying. I want to play more and more.

Watch: Every Hour Counts

Is YOUR Gaming a Waste of Time?

I’m not particularly eager to generalize. However, it would certainly be harsh to say that ALL gaming is a waste of time. 

It is nice to be entertained. As we’ve already mentioned, our members spend 8 hours a day on average getting entertainment from digital sources, including gaming. And that’s a lot of time to be entertained.

But consider the trade-offs of these activities, including gaming: you’re neglecting your friends, family, your mental and physical health, as well as your career. If that’s the case for you, then gaming is a waste of time – just like any other activity with the same trade-offs would be to this extent.

“I booted up my computer. It was Friday, and I had a lot of work to do, but hey, I kept the whole weekend free, so it’s okay. I can start my work tomorrow and play a game now. Before I knew it, it was 5:00 AM.

On Saturday I wouldn’t start on my university work either. I ate “brunch” at 2:00 PM and skipped dinner. I went to sleep at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning and consequentially woke up at 2:00 PM. By then, I figured that my homework wouldn’t get done anyway, so I fired up my game. At 7:00 AM on Monday “morning” I finally had a moment of clarity.” –Game Quitters Member.

It would be best if you have a sense of balance when it comes to your activities. 

Yes, it would be best if you still had entertainment, but you also need to deal with real-life and get other stuff done, like paying bills, staying independent, or staying healthy. So if you’re still living in your mom’s basement and spending four or five hours playing games every day while having nothing else going for you in life, then it’s time to take a step back and consider if this is the sort of life you want to be living. 

Is gaming helping you achieve your goals in your life? Is it aligned with your aims and your vision for life? Or is it hurting your mental health, causing you not to exercise and eat a healthy diet?

Read: I Quit Gaming For 1 Year

If that’s you, that’s okay. I’m not here to judge you or shame you but to support you and call you forward. The best way to take a break from gaming is to hit the restart button from our experience.

Start with a 90-Day Detox

If you feel like your gaming is a waste of time and you’re starting to experience more trade-offs rather than positive effects, then it’s time to turn things around.

We recommend that you start with a 90-day detox. It’s the most effective strategy you can implement today to start seeing results in just a matter of weeks. Read our success stories here.

A 90-day break from gaming gives you a chance to learn more about your relationship to gaming, including the benefits and risks of playing. In addition, without the distraction of gaming, you have more time to develop healthy habits and improve your lifestyle.

Along the way, you’ll learn that there are many other activities that you can do instead of gaming to achieve your goals. In addition, you’ll start to find love in other activities, even everyday activities that you previously took for granted, like walking.

It would be best if you did not replace gaming with mindless browsing on YouTube or binge-watching Netflix. If you want to avoid wasting time gaming, then be careful not to waste time on TV and other entertainment. Focus on being productive instead.

Watch: How to Stop Consuming Content

Instead, you have to consider other, more healthy activities that you could use to replace gaming. Ideally, these activities should still achieve the same goals as gaming did before you started the detox.

If you need ideas, we have a hobby tool that you can use to find new activities. There are a ton of new ideas you can try. The key is to keep trying new things until you find a few that stick.

Be determined and persevere through the challenges.

Need Help to Quit Gaming?

is gaming a waste of time

At Game Quitters, we help gamers like you get gaming under control, either by moderating or by stopping altogether if you feel like gaming is a waste of time.

Our programs and coaching services are proven to solve gaming problems. Gaming doesn’t need to impact your life negatively. It’s possible to get it under control.

We have a list of video game addiction therapists near you if you are looking for therapy or a professional to speak to.

If you’re a mental health professional and would like to learn more about gaming addiction and how to treat it, check out INTENTA, where you’ll find specialist training and additional resources.

The dopamine theory of addiction is the staple of modern psychology for treating addictions, including video game addiction.

The theory of dopamine addiction may provide insight into how the regulation and release of dopamine are crucial for treating and understanding why gamers develop gaming problems.

Dive Deeper: How Dopamine Impacts Gaming

It’s important to understand how our brains respond to the stimulus of video games. In many ways, the mechanism of a dopamine release when playing video games is similar to the dopamine release experienced with drugs and other addictive substances. However, more research is needed to investigate this further.

In this article, you’ll learn what we know thus far as to the following questions:

  • What is the dopamine theory of addiction?
  • How does dopamine relate to drug addiction?
  • How does dopamine relate to gaming addiction?

What is the Dopamine Theory of Addiction?

dopamine theory of addiction

According to Melis et al. 2005, the dopamine theory of addiction is classified as:

“In brief, the hypothesis contends that decreased dopamine function in addicted subjects results in a decreased interest to non-drug-related stimuli and increased sensitivity to the drug of choice, leading to propose that restoring dopamine function might be therapeutically advantageous.”

Or, if we summarize it in more simple terms:

Addictions increase dopamine to such an extent that once the drug or the stimulus is gone, our body is unable to replicate the same amount of dopamine naturally. Therefore, when someone is addicted, only the drug or the stimulus someone is addicted to can raise dopamine to the required levels.

Therefore, the key towards overcoming an addiction is to restore the ability of the body to create dopamine through different means naturally, without the drug or the stimulus someone is addicted to.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in our brains responsible for the feeling of pleasure. Our body produces it when we feel pleasure, and it is then transmitted to nerve cells. 

Dopamine affects different bodily functions, including learning, motivation, heart rate, blood vessel, kidney function, sleep, mood, lactation, movement, attention, and nausea.

When someone is addicted, their natural ability to produce dopamine is disturbed. They are only able to produce sufficient dopamine when they take the drug, drink another glass of alcohol, or play another round of their favorite video game – or else they suffer from withdrawal symptomsThe theory applies to all types of addiction.

History of Dopamine Theory of Addiction

Since the mid-1950s, scientists have learned that addictions are caused by the disruption of dopamine production in the affected person’s brain.

Olds, Milner & Their Rats

The first discovery of a reward system in the brain came in 1954 when Olds & Milner conducted a study on rats to determine where dopamine is produced in the brain.

Olds and Milner started the experiment by putting rats in a large-levered Skinner box. This box was set up so that it included a lever that the rats could press. When the lever was pressed, the rats would receive electrical stimulation to the septic region of the brain, which is known as the pleasure center.

The experiment included “acquisition” and “extinction” periods. The acquisition was when rats pressed the button, and they received electrical shocks. The extinction period was when the electrical current was blocked, even if the rats pressed the lever.

The results?

The overwhelming majority of lever presses happened during the acquisition phase when rats received an electrical pulse into their pleasure center.

However, when the current was turned off, the rats stopped pressing the lever. They no longer felt the need to press the lever because the reward wasn’t there. 

The rats experienced pleasure when they pressed the lever, so they kept pressing it.

What made the rats press the lever to get the electric current, even if it was stronger, was that it was hitting their reward center in their brains. It’s the same center responsible for making us feel happy when we eat or have sex.

This experiment was the first major milestone that today helps us learn how addictions work through dopamine.

Further Studies and Imaging Breakthrough of 1994

The 1954 study changed the way mental health professionals started to see and treat addictions. The focus shifted towards altering the dopamine neurotransmitter function for treating addictions.

Researchers continued right where Olds and Milner left off. Some of the more important studies and experiments dune after 1954 include:

  • A positive reinforcement study from the 1970s found that drugs provide positive reinforcement for dopamine release, which confirmed that stimulants such as drugs could increase dopamine creation.
  • Researchers also found that blocking dopamine receptors decreases the effects of some drugs.
  • Another important discovery came from Sardinia, where researchers found that addictive drugs release dopamine while non-addictive drugs do not.

However, one of the most important discoveries came in 1994 through imaging studies as technology evolved.

Through imaging studies (12), researchers found that several drugs and stimulants released dopamine in our brains, such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Ketamine
  • Cannabis
  • Amphetamine

These studies further supported the dopamine theory of addiction. As a result, more people acknowledged this theory, and mental health professionals started to shift their addiction treatment towards dopamine recovery.

The research on dopamine in addictions is still being conducted. However, there is more mounting evidence that drugs – and now digital stimulants such as video games – also produce dopamine.

More recent studies (one from 1998 and one from 2012) found that the level of dopamine release in our brains (in the ventral striatum) when playing video games is similar to when we take psycho-stimulant drugs. 

Dopamine and Drug Addiction

dopamine and drug addiction

Dopamine is crucial for the creation of addictive habits.

It has long been believed that dopamine release when taking drugs directly released the euphoria that we experience shortly after taking drugs.

However, more recent studies show that dopamine is likely a reinforcing agent for taking more of the drug. It makes an addicted person crave the drug more. Once we go through a pleasant experience, dopamine is released. 

Shortly after taking drugs, we experience intense euphoria, and the reward circuitry in our brains is activated. That is also when dopamine starts getting released, which causes neural changes that make it easier to repeat taking the drug. Unfortunately, this creates addictive habits that are hard to control.

When someone is addicted to drugs, it becomes increasingly harder for them to experience pleasure. Natural activities that produce dopamine, such as a healthy diet or sex, no longer produce the necessary amounts of dopamine, so they feel flat. Instead, only larger doses of drugs will satisfy the addicted person, ultimately leading to an overdose.

Now, you might be thinking: why are you talking about drug addictions when this site is about gaming addiction?

The answer is that many drug addictions act similar to gaming addiction in terms of dopamine production. Thus, the dopamine theory of addiction is also applicable to video game addiction, which we’ll talk about in a bit more detail later on.

Overcoming Drug Addiction

Addictions cause changes in our brains, which makes it even harder to overcome the drug addiction (or any other addiction, for that matter, including gaming addiction).

When someone stops taking drugs abruptly, the body can no longer naturally produce the same dopamine levels. This can lead to severe symptoms of drug withdrawal, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bad mood
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Low energy
  • And several others

Many of these symptoms are similar to symptoms of low levels of dopamine. The reason addicts experience withdrawal symptoms after not taking the drug for several days is that the body can no longer produce dopamine to the same levels as before. Also, the body is learning how to cope without these drugs physically.

To reverse these changes in our dopamine production levels, we’ll need to do strict drug detox. This can take several weeks or months, and the results will only be visible if the detox was rigorous enough. 

Caution: A drug detox should always be done with the supervision of a professional. Please seek help if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one.

You’ll see that drug addictions are quite similar to video game addiction in this regard – gaming addicts also frequently experience anxiety and depression, which might have something to do with low levels of dopamine when not playing games. However, more research still needs to be done on this topic.

Dopamine and Gaming Addiction

dopamine and gaming addiction

And now, for the crucial part: how do dopamine and gaming addiction relate to each other?

When we play video games, our brains release large amounts of dopamine. These levels are similar to the dopamine levels when we take drugs like amphetamine or methylphenidate. 

Our reward circuitry in our brains is flooded with dopamine when we play games. Of course, this is only a short burst of dopamine, but enough to make us feel pleasure and excitement when we play video games. These bursts of dopamine after a game can be comparable to the dopamine release when taking drugs.

The rush you get when you want to kill the next boss in the game or face an enemy is similar to when taking drugs. Your heart rate will increase, and your focus will stay solely on the game – everything else becomes unimportant at that moment. This can be a flow state.

Sound familiar?

The brain of a gaming addict will get used to this extra dopamine that it gets from video games. Thus, it will no longer produce dopamine on its own when we don’t play video games. This can lead to all sorts of mental health problems, just like drug or alcohol addicts experience these symptoms.

Some of the most common mental health problems that gaming addicts experience when they don’t get their dose of games include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Bad temper
  • Low energy and motivation

Understanding how video games alter dopamine levels in your brain is crucial for mental health professionals and the treatment for video games. Most importantly, these studies show us that video games act similarly to drugs in terms of dopamine changes and that similar strategies could be used to cope with gaming addiction (more on this later).

How Video Games Affect Our Brains

In addition to altering dopamine levels in our brains, video game addiction can also have other consequences for the brain.

One study from 2014 conducted by the Zhejiang Normal University in China shows that video games decrease gray matter in our brain. This increases problems with decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation. 

In addition, excessive screen time and gaming can affect your ability to sleep. Several studies (12) that screen time use before going to sleep can negatively affect one’s ability to fall asleep. This can have severe consequences on the life of the individual – particularly young adults and kids.

Young adults are also the most likely to get addicted to video games. This is because the prefrontal cortex is not yet fully developed until the age of between 25 and 30.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for impulse control, judgment, and decision-making. This makes it crucial for controlling our urges when it comes to playing video games. One possible explanation for why video game addiction predominantly affects kids and young adults is that their prefrontal cortex hasn’t fully developed.

Other changes to our brain include:

  • Everyday pleasures no longer excite us because they don’t provide as much dopamine as gaming.
  • Everything else becomes boring, but games are super exciting and irreplaceable.
  • Because of changes to our frontal cortex, our willpower starts to go away.

How to Overcome Gaming Addiction

how to increase dopamine

One of the most effective strategies to overcome gaming addiction is to quit gaming cold-turkey for 90 days.

The 90-day detox from gaming is powerful enough to revert the changes to our brains because of our gaming addiction. 

When we’re addicted to video games, our dopamine production levels drop naturally. That is because video games provide enough dopamine to keep us satisfied, while other activities that would normally offer dopamine become irrelevant. 

The most important mechanism for overcoming gaming addiction is to revert this from happening. 

It can take up to 90 days or more for our brains to restore natural dopamine production

After this period, you will experience pleasure in everyday things that you didn’t when addicted to video games. You will also no longer feel the need to play video games to satisfy your cravings.

From my personal experience, the first two weeks of the detox will be the toughest. However, it gets slightly easier as time progresses, but you’ll also need to occupy yourself with hobbies. If you don’t have a hobby or things to do to replace your gaming habit, look at our hobby tool and find something that suits you.

Ideally, the hobby should be something that you like doing. For example, if you like sports and socializing, you might want to try out a team sport. However, if you prefer individual hobbies, then there are many choices on this list as well.

Video Game Addiction Withdrawal 

In the first few days and weeks of the detox, in particular, you might experience withdrawal symptoms from video games

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Cravings and compulsions to play games
  • Mood swings, irritability, and other mood problems
  • Depression, anxiety, and apathy are also normal
  • Headaches
  • Lack of willpower

Most of these symptoms are linked to changes in our dopamine levels. Because our body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of dopamine on its own with the stimulus (video games), these symptoms will pop up in the first few days and weeks after starting the detox, in particular.

Know that if you experience any of these symptoms, it is completely normal. It won’t be easy at first, but it will be rewarding in the long term.

If you feel like you can’t cope with the symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us or talk to a therapist near you

Need Help?

Overcoming gaming addiction can be as tough as overcoming another drug addiction. Video game addiction causes long-term changes in our brains, which become unable to produce sufficient dopamine levels without video games. 

If you or someone close to you is suffering from loot box addiction, help is available. We have a team of specialists who can support you to get back on the right track and improve your mental health and well-being. 

Our Game Quitters Programs can help educate you with practical strategies to overcome gaming problems:

You can also speak to a video game addiction therapist. We have therapists worldwide, including professionals trained specifically on the link between gaming and gambling and how to help someone overcome a loot box addiction or spending problem.

For professionals who want to understand better the convergence of gaming and gambling and how to treat gaming disorder, check out the INTENTA Gaming Disorder Clinical Training.

Loot boxes are blurring the lines between gaming and gambling. In this article, you will learn what loot boxes are, the hidden dangers of loot boxes, and stories from people with loot box addiction.

Loot boxes first appeared in games in the early 2010s. Today they are featured in most games, particularly free-to-play games, as a means of monetization.

Most games use loot boxes to sell cosmetic items only, but some developers use loot boxes to give players that pay for them an advantage over other players – creating a so-called “pay-to-win” scenario.

But what exactly are loot boxes, how are they designed, and why are they dangerous for gamers?

What are Loot Boxes?

Loot boxes are virtual goods that contain items and rewards for players to enjoy. These items can be cosmetic items, which improve the player’s character or give a player an advantage to win.

Players can either buy loot boxes with virtual currency (purchased using real money) or earn loot boxes through gameplay. This mechanic encourages players to play more often and for longer periods because the more they play, the more they can get. Alternatively, if time is limited, they can spend money to bypass in-game time requirements.

Sometimes items inside these loot box chests are locked and need to be unlocked with a key, as with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. A key is purchased with real money to open a loot box earned through gameplay.

Items within loot boxes come in different rarity levels, from basic items to rare and even legendary ones. The more rare an item, the more money you may need to spend to win the item, or the expensive it may be to purchase on third-party marketplaces. Rare items can often be sold for thousands of dollars.

steam marketplace

Some games allow you to sell or even bet items you’ve earned or purchased on third-party marketplaces for real money, leading to a toxic culture of gambling inside games that offer loot boxes through skins gambling and esports betting. Some countries, such as the UK, have called for loot boxes to be classified as gambling, which could, hopefully, help solve the problem.

Loot Box Prevalence

Loot boxes started appearing in games in the late 2000s, mostly in games that were free to play as a monetization strategy.

However, the inclusion of loot boxes elevated to a whole new level with Star Wars: Battlefront, a game developed by Electronic Arts.

Star Wars: Battlefront cost the full price for a triple-A game, yet it still included loot boxes that gave some players an advantage over other players. Of course, players soon rebelled against the game and the developer, forcing them to drop loot boxes a few years later.

This is just one of the instances where loot boxes are causing controversy. Of course, EA is at the forefront of this phenomenon, but nowadays, almost any game that comes out follows a similar strategy.

Loot boxes are present in the vast majority of modern games, including:

  • 58% of all video games on the Google Play store
  • 59% of top iPhone games
  • 36% of games on the Steam store
  • 1% of Android games aged 12+
  • 9% of iPhone games aged 12+.

Furthermore, loot boxes are in 93% of all games rated 12+, and 40% of all gamers have opened loot boxes in their gaming history at least once. These statistics show the extent of loot boxes in video games and their risk for young people vulnerable to gambling problems.

12 out of 13 studies conducted on gaming and gambling regarding loot boxes show a tangible link between the two. These studies also show that loot boxes act as a “psychological nudge” that encourages people to buy more boxes and gamble in real life.

Loot Boxes are Designed to be Addictive

The prizes that come from loot boxes are random. In this regard, they are similar to slot machines and other gambling products because players risk money for a chance of getting a reward. 

Loot boxes affect your brain similar to how slot machines do (Whyte, 2019):

  • Prizes are distributed randomly
  • Values of prizes are variable
  • Similar audio and visual cues
  • Provide uncertainty which keeps players going.

Loot boxes appeal to individuals who are psychologically vulnerable and are open to the idea of gambling and buying loot crates.

With the development of technology and social media, gaming companies have gotten better at targeting vulnerable players. For example, some game developers will use social media data to detect which players are open to buying in-game content and their particular interests to cater to those interests and make them more interested in buying.

In addition, some companies like Yodo1, for instance, use algorithms to find “whales” who would spend money on loot boxes. This algorithm finds people willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars on loot crates, maximizing profit for the game company. Yodo1’s CEO Henry Fong shared that “the accuracy at picking potential whales after 14 days was about 87%. We think we can get it up to about 95%.”

The Link Between Gaming, Gambling & Loot Boxes

gaming and gambling

According to a study by Zendle et al. from 2020, loot boxes connect problem gaming and compulsive gambling.

The study found that while loot boxes were just one of the mechanisms that tie gambling and gaming together, it is one of the most effective ones. Out of over 1000 casual gamers who participated in the study, 18% opened loot boxes and played games compulsively, suggesting a link between the two.

Several indicators tell us that problem gamers are the ones who are also the most likely to engage in compulsive in-game gambling as well.

One indicator is that the gaming industry focuses more on individuals who play games excessively and already engage in addictive behaviors. As a result, they see them as the most likely to purchase loot boxes and other features of in-game gambling.

Industry experts see the “crucial 5% of gamers” who spend between $70 and $100 per month on loot boxes as the ideal audience to focus on. As a result, gaming companies will focus their marketing efforts on this 5% of gamers, leading to worse potential gaming and gambling problems.

However, despite many studies on this topic, it is still a new area, and more research is needed to show a definitive link between gaming and gambling.

FIFA Loot Boxes

fifa loot boxes

One of the most notorious games loot boxes is FIFA, a soccer game created by Electronic Arts.

The game contains a mode called Ultimate Team. In this mode, players compete against other players by assembling a roster of virtual players. The better players on your team, the better your chances of winning. Virtual players are obtained from card packs, which are a loot box mechanic in FIFA. 

Because you obtain players through randomized card packs, it creates a “pay-to-win” environment where players can buy top players through loot boxes, leading them to spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on these boxes. As a result, many players will decide to keep purchasing additional card packs to try and secure better players if they have not received the players they want yet.

About 38% of all gamers have admitted to spending real-world money on gaining an advantage in FIFA – some have spent more than over $80,000, while one player has admitted to spending over $280,000 on FIFA points for loot boxes. That’s insane!

Electronic Arts have been accused of bypassing gambling laws through their loot box mechanic.

For example, countries like Belgium and Germany are banning loot boxes, and one of the main reasons they cited was FIFA’s notorious loot boxes, which these governments see as a form of gambling.

Gamers and critics often also mention Electronic Arts doesn’t focus on other modes anymore because they’re not profitable for the company, which the company is not afraid to admit. For example, FIFA Ultimate Team makes up 27% of overall company revenue for Electronic Arts – this is a staggering amount! FIFA and its Ultimate Team is thus the prime example of the negative impacts of loot boxes on games and their players.

Dangers of Loot Boxes

“My addiction was slot machines, which is regulated in my country. And after years of being addicted, I got free, and stopped. Loot boxes started it all over again. It has exactly the same dopamine trigger, and the same programing of a slot machine. The cool colors, and sound effects please the addicted.” -Mo Kalifi

Game developers will deny that loot boxes are dangerous. However, all evidence is pointing in the other direction.

Research, carried out by the University of Wolverhampton (Close & Lloyd, 2021) and the University of Plymouth in the UK, found that:

  • 93% of children regularly play games, and 25-40% have made a loot box purchase.
  • Around 5% of loot box purchasers spend more than $100 per month (or the local equivalent).
  • Almost one-third of these top 5% of spenders fall into the “problem gambler” category.
  • 12 out of 13 studies on the topic have established “unambiguous” connections to problem gambling behavior.
  • The higher a player’s involvement in loot boxes, the higher their score on problem gambling symptoms.

Game companies target loot boxes to a specific demographic, predominantly young males with a higher likelihood of gaming disorder. As a result, loot boxes are becoming an increasing problem.

Loot Box Addiction

Loot box gambling is becoming normalized through video games, and developers are exploiting gamers who are vulnerable.

Stories of individuals struggling with loot box addiction are featured often in the media and our Game Quitters email inbox.

Jonathan Peniket, a college student in England, shared that he spent money opening packs with the BBC. After he “got lucky a couple of times,” this led to him spending more and more money over four years, seeking the same buzz he felt before.

“As time went on, I was becoming increasingly secretive about it. I would buy a voucher from a High Street shop and hide it in my room, so my parents wouldn’t find out how much I was spending. I was spending £30 at a time, then £40, then £50. By the time my card began to block my transactions, I was throwing £80 into the game four or five times a night. I had blown almost £3,000.”

Another story comes from a family who discovered their kids emptied their bank accounts playing FIFA when they spent nearly £550 in three weeks buying player packs. Even after spending £550, they still never got their favorite player, Lionel Messi.

Parents should be careful and monitor in-game spending by their kids. For practical tips for your family, read our guide on In-Game Spending: Tips to Keep Your Family Safe.

Overspending on loot boxes is such a large problem that a study from the Royal Society of Public Health found over 1 in 10 young gamers get into debt by buying loot boxes. They also found 15% of young gamers had taken money from their parents without their permission to purchase loot boxes.

Loot box addiction applies to college students and young gamers, and gamers of all ages. For example, George Proud spent nearly £700 on loot boxes in a single month. He shared that “over time, you will gamble money away trying to get the item you want.”

In Singapore, stories of loot box addiction have been found, with one gamer spending $20,000 of his parents’ money on mystery boxes.

Help for Loot Box Addiction

If you or someone close to you is suffering from loot box addiction, help is available. We have a team of specialists who can support you to get back on the right track and improve your mental health and well-being. 

Our Game Quitters Programs can help educate you with practical strategies to overcome gaming problems:

You can also speak to a video game addiction therapist. We have therapists worldwide, including professionals trained specifically on the link between gaming and gambling and how to help someone overcome a loot box addiction or spending problem.

For professionals who want to understand better the convergence of gaming and gambling and how to treat gaming disorder, check out the INTENTA Gaming Disorder Clinical Training.

This article will share the seven most addicting mobile games to be aware of and what makes them so addictive.

Smartphones revolutionized the gaming industry. You no longer need a console or computer to play video games, and instead, they are accessible in your pocket.

Related: 9 Most Addicting Games in the World

Mobile gaming is one of the largest platforms for gaming. Estimates say there are 2.2 billion mobile gamers globally, which amounts to roughly 28% of the entire globe’s population. A large portion of this population – up to 1.4 billion – comes from China.

We’ve seen big gaming franchises move into the field of mobile games as well – Call of Duty, PUBG, Pokemon, and several others.

Mobile games can be highly addicting. Unfortunately, some people spend too many hours playing games on their phones to the detriment of other areas of their life. Prevalence studies have found between 1.96% and 3% of gamers are impacted by gaming disorder and up to 10% are at-risk of developing problems. Learn more video game addiction statistics.

The Most Addicting Mobile Games

Garena Free Fire

garena free fire

Garena Free Fire is a battle royale game developed for mobile devices first, which is a slightly unusual approach in Battle Royale games.

In 2019, it received an award for being the most downloaded game and the most popular game on the Google Play Store, which may have been due to a lack of alternative Battle Royale games available for download.

But even with the coming of other Battle Royale games to mobile devices, this game stayed at the top, with over 1 billion downloads as of July 2021. 

Why is Garena Free Fire Addicting?

Garena Free Fire is addictive because you can compete against other people while also being friendly to your phone in terms of graphical demands.

It’s accessible to a wider audience of players due to its low system requirements while also providing good enough graphics to be fun.

It’s also a massive time-sink since you have to stay in the game for several minutes, and one game can last up to 30 minutes if you stay in the game late.

Read More: Why Are Some Games More Addictive than Others?

Candy Crush Saga

candy crush addiction

Candy Crush Saga is one of those games that seems so fun to play yet so harmless, but you still find yourself playing hours and hours without realizing it.

The game offers a quick escape from reality, which can help you “ease” the boredom of waiting for a doctor’s appointment, waiting for your bus to arrive, or simply passing the time at home.

For some individuals, their Candy Crush addiction is so extreme that playing Candy Crush leads to significant problems in their life. For example, this woman lost her job and her boyfriend because she played Candy Crush for 18 hours a day or more.

We’ve prepared a guide on how to quit playing Candy Crush Saga for good.

Why is Candy Crush Saga Addicting?

Candy Crush Saga offers three different components that make it highly addictive:

  • It provides an instant escape from reality.
  • It’s fun yet challenging.
  • It appeals to casual gamers.

Since the game aims to attract everyday gamers, many people over 35 play this game.

PUBG Mobile

pubg mobile

Now to one of the biggest and most common games we encounter when dealing with mobile gaming addiction – PUBG Mobile.

Created by Tencent, PUBG Mobile is one of the most downloaded games in history, receiving over one billion downloads. The smaller brother of PUBG – or Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, was first released for PC but was later made available for consoles and mobile.

It’s a battle royale game where the concept is to live longer than the other players and survive by looting and finding gear to equip yourself to survive.

Why is PUBG Mobile Addicting?

PUBG Mobile is free to play, which means that gamers prefer to play the game’s mobile version instead of buying the full version.

Secondly, it’s part of the PUBG brand, which in itself is a huge appeal to all gamers around the world. 

It’s also highly competitive, as gamers report “getting the rush of adrenaline” when they face their opponents or when they’re one of the last people to survive inside the game.

Call of Duty: Mobile

call of duty most addicting mobile games

Call of Duty: Mobile is similar in a lot of ways to PUBG Mobile. 

This game is a battle royale game developed for computers and consoles and later released for mobile devices.

The game is free to play and easily accessible for gamers all over the world. Even though the game “only” has 300 million downloads as of 2021, it’s still one of the most addicting mobile games out there.

Why is Call of Duty: Mobile Addicting?

Being a part of the Call of Duty brand – one of the most popular franchises in the gaming industry – makes the game appeal to a wide and loyal fanbase.

It’s completely free to play and can be played by almost anyone, giving players the chance to taste the game without having to spend extraordinary amounts of money.

It’s addictive because it has fast-paced action and appeals to players with a desire for competition. The game offers an escape from reality while on the go, and it’s easy to play one game after another.

Clash of Clans

clash of clans

Clash of Clans advertises on social media platforms like YouTube. You might have already seen an ad for this game and wondered what the rage is all about.

Related: Follow Game Quitters on YouTube for more great content!

Besides the powerful marketing campaign, Clash of Clans is hugely addictive. It keeps players coming back because it offers a progression system meant to keep you hooked to the game.

Players build villages and attack each other, which adds a sense of socialization to the game.

Why is Clash of Clans Addicting?

Clash of Clans allows you to use your creativity. You’re able to build a village just like you want to have it, which will enable you to place traps and build defenses where you need them strategically.

It also offers progression for players, so you’ll get a sense of satisfaction after you reach a new level of progress. And if you don’t like waiting for the upgrades inside the game, you can also pay for them. 

Subway Surfers

subway surfers

Subway Surfers is another one of those games that seem to be harmless yet hugely addictive.

One of the main problems with this game is that it is played mainly by kids, yet it offers in-game purchases that lure gamers to spend money in the game to earn some advantages or visual updates.

For example, one mother complains that her child spent $250 on in-game purchases in this game, which is hugely problematic.

Why is Subway Surfers Addicting?

It offers a temporary escape from reality and is an easy game to play while you don’t have anything else.

It’s easy to spend hours playing this game, and once you can’t go over a certain level inside the game, spending money to overcome this problem seems like a good solution.

Pokemon Go

pokemon go most addicting mobile games

Lastly, let’s mention Pokemon Go, which is also one of the most downloaded games globally, with over a billion downloads worldwide.

Now, the popularity of this game stems back to 2017 and 2018, but many people still play this game regularly.

It offers a novel concept to collect new Pokemons using your GPS, so at least it forces gamers to walk while playing the game.

Why is Pokemon Go Addicting?

Pokemon Go offers a completely new concept for playing games, as it forces you to move around while collecting pokemon inside the game.

The more you collect, the better you are and the more players you can beat.

Need Help with Mobile Game Addiction?

If you or a loved one are struggling with mobile game addiction, then we are here to support you with several resources.

If you’re looking to stop your Playstation addiction for good, then one of the best ways to do it is to completely delete your Playstation account.

You may have tried other things to end your Playstation addiction, such as deleting games or deleting profiles, and perhaps none of it works. 

You might have even searched online to find ways of how to delete your Playstation account, but all you found was how to delete profiles – which is not the same thing.

From our experience, the first and most effective step towards stopping a gaming addiction is to completely erase an account so that you can’t come back when you feel the cravings.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to delete your Playstation account so that you can begin your journey towards an addiction-free life.

How to Delete Your Playstation Account – Step By Step

The process of deleting your Playstation account is fairly simple, just follow these steps.

  1. Head over to the Playstation Support site.
  2. In the search bar right in the middle, enter “Close account” and hit enter.

  3. Next, two search results will appear based on your search. Click on “How to close your account for Playstation network”.

  4. Next, click on “Contact us” on the next page that opens. Note that you’ll need your sign-in ID and your Online ID for closing your account in the next steps.

  5. After clicking on “Contact Us”, a help page will appear where you’ll need to choose the right category for your query. You’ll need to go to Account & Security > Change Online ID & Other Account Questions.
  6. Below this tab, you’ll find a list of options for contacting Playstation support. Pick Live Chat

  7. After choosing Live Chat, you’ll need to enter some details about yourself and your account, such as your Name, PSN Sign-in ID, and PSN Online ID.

  8. Enter your information and click on “Request Chat”. You should then enter a virtual waiting room, so you might need to wait a few minutes for a chat agent to become available. NOTE: Live Chat is only open between 8 AM – 7 PM PT, so make sure you access Live Chat in that time period. Some regions also don’t offer a live chat option, so you might need to call Playstation support.
  9. When an agent becomes available, tell them you want to close your account. You might need to provide some further details, but at this point, the agent should guide you through the process.

What Happens After Deleting Your Playstation Account

After you have entered all the information and the chat agent has helped you with account closure, it might take up to a few days for Playstation to delete your account.

Deleting your account is a permanent thing, so there are a few things you should know when you close your account:

  • You won’t be able to use your account’s User ID if you decide to open a new account
  • You’ll lose access to all the content you’ve purchased on the deleted account, as well as the funds on your wallet
  • You’ll also lose access to any subscriptions you’ve made on your account.

Closing your account is the first step towards overcoming your gaming addiction. Now that you don’t have a Playstation account anymore, you’ll need to find a hobby or two to replace the time you’ve spent playing Playstation games.

Although deleting your Playstation account is a good step, you also own a lot of games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, Genshin Impact and Roblox that you will want to delete your accounts for as well.

If you need further help with overcoming a gaming addiction, check out Respawn our program for Gamers, or Reclaim – our program for families. You can also speak to a video game addiction therapist near you.

For more content like this, visit the Game Quitters blog where you’ll find loads of useful information and instructional content just like this article.

In this tutorial we will help you delete your Candy Crush account and unlink Candy Crush from Facebook as well.

Candy Crush addiction is one of the most underrated addictions in the gaming industry. The game has an average of 300 million monthly users, is available for free on Facebook, through browsers, and on mobile, and is seen as a time-killing activity.

It’s the sort of game you’d play while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or on your morning commute to work. Harmless, right?

Well, not so much. Of all players, around 430.000 players play the game for six hours or longer every day, while people are spending thousands of hard-earned dollars on in-game purchases daily. 

The problem is so deep that King.com (game dev) had to testify in front of the UK Parliament because of its addictive measures.

One of the best ways to stop your Candy Crush addiction in its tracks is to delete your account completely.

Step by Step How to Delete Your Candy Crush Account

Here’s how to delete your Candy Crush (King.com) account.

  1. The only way to delete your Candy Crush account is to contact customer support and request account deletion. To start with this, log in to your King.com account.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the first page, and click on “Contact Support”.
    delete Candy Crush account
  3. Go to the bottom of the page again and click “Contact Us
  4. After clicking on that button, a new page will open where you’ll need to enter all the details into the form.
    delete Candy Crush account
  5. Enter your email, your name, choose the game (Candy Crush Saga), choose the King.com platform, select Privacy under the topic, and “Permanently delete my account” as a subtopic.
  6. Submit the request and wait for the support to contact you to complete the deletion. You might need to send a few additional documents or information if the support asks you to.

Note that it might take some time (a few hours to a few days) for the support to respond, so the deletion might also take you a few days to fully complete.

How to Delete Candy Crush from Facebook

To delete Candy Crush from Facebook, follow these steps.

  1. Log in to your Facebook account
  2. Scroll down to Settings & Privacy
  3. Click on the drop-down menu and select “Settings
  4. Open Apps and Websites
  5. Search for the Candy Crush icon from the apps, and then click on it
  6. Click on the remove button to completely remove it from your Facebook account

Need Help?

If you’re still stuck and need help with the process, feel free to contact us. If you need help with overcoming your Candy Crush addiction, feel free to try out our program for Gamers called Respawn; or for families check out our program called Reclaim. Alternatively, you can try talking to a video game addiction therapist.

If you’re looking to delete your Call of Duty (Activision) account then congratulations on finding this tutorial and taking your first step towards a better life.

Call of Duty is one of the world’s biggest gaming franchises. Warzone, which is currently the most popular COD game, has over 100 million active players, making it one of the most played games in the world.

And with that, Call of Duty addiction is causing problems for gamers of all ages. It’s one of the most common games people reach out for help.

So in this article we will walk you through step-by-step how to delete your Call of Duty (Activision) account.

How to Delete Your Call of Duty (Activision) Account

Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to fully delete your Call of Duty (Activision) account. You can, however, delete the personal information in your account and submit a request to Activision.

How to Request Personal Information Deletion on Activision

If you decide to request personal information deletion with Activision, then you’ll be deleting the information you’ve put under your account in Activision forever.

All the personal information that’s associated with your account will be deleted forever, and this process cannot be reversed. Note that because of this, you might not be able to access some or all functions of the account.

You also won’t be able to view or download personal information in the future for your account if you decide to take this step.

Please note that Activision might also not accept your request to delete your personal information if they find that your request is unfounded or repetitive.

With that in mind, let’s get into the steps of deleting your personal information from your Activision account.

  1. Log in to your Activision account, and then click on Profile in the top right corner
  2. Then go to Preferences, and scroll all the way to the bottom of your screen
    how to delete your call of duty activision account
  3. On the bottom of your screen, you should see a small section that says “Deactivate Activision Account and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Game Data”. You can’t click on that, but you should then click on “Privacy & Data Protection”.
  4. This should open the Privacy & Data Protection page. Once you’re there, click on “Submit a New Request”.
    how to delete your call of duty activision account
  5. Select the country of residence and accept Activision’s terms, and then click on “Proceed to Privacy and Data Protection Portal”.
  6. Under Select Request Type, choose “Delete my Personal Information (Right to Erasure)”
    how to delete your call of duty activision account
  7. Next, you’ll need to select for which account you want to request the data erasure. You can choose from Activision or COD Mobile. Select Activision, and type in your email and your password to proceed.
  8. Accept Activision’s terms and confirm that you’re not a robot
  9. Lastly, a window will pop up warning you what will happen if you delete your information. To complete the process, click on “Delete my Personal Information”.
    how to delete your call of duty activision account

After that, your request will be processed and you’ll be notified by email if the process is complete. Your information will be deleted permanently if the request is granted.

That’s it! If you want more content like this, visit the Game Quittersblog, read the Game Quitters forum to talk to like-minded people, or try out our program for Gamers called Respawn, which is aimed at helping people overcome their gaming addiction. For families we have a program called Reclaim.

In this article, we’ll guide you through a step-by-step process of how to delete your Xbox Live account.

Xbox Live is one of the biggest gaming platforms in the world, with over 100 million monthly users as of December 2020 – and rising. Xbox is a popular console amongst gamers and families.

The idea of deleting your Xbox Live account might fill you with dread. After all, you’ve ground hours upon hours in games, bought new games, subscriptions, DLCs, and in-game cosmetic pieces, which makes it even harder for you to delete the account. But if you truly want to quit playing games, then you need to make a commitment – and some sacrifices along the way.

Deleting your Xbox Live account is a good place to start, especially if you or someone close to you is addicted to Xbox.

Step by Step How to Delete Your Xbox Live Account

Before Deleting Your Account

Before you completely delete your Xbox Live account, you should know that once you request deletion, it’s gone forever – and that includes all your games, funds, subscriptions, and everything you have on the account.

For this reason, it might be wise to check a few things on your account if you don’t want to lose them.

This includes:

  • Check your subscriptions and cancel them
  • Use your remaining balances on your account, including Skype balances if you have them
  • Create auto-reply messages if people want to message you saying that you’ve closed your account. You can do that in Outlook.
  • Turn off Reset Protection on all Windows devices you own, otherwise, your device might become unusable as a result.

Now you’re ready to start deleting your account.

How to Delete Your Xbox Live Account

To delete your Xbox Live account, simply follow these simple steps.

 

  1. Go to Xbox Live and sign in to your account
  2. After signing in, click on your account’s image and then select “My Microsoft Account”
    delete xbox live account
  3. After accessing your Microsoft account, select the tab at the top of the interface called “Your Info”
    delete xbox live account
  4. Under “Your Info”, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, where you’ll need to click on a link that reads “How to close your account”
    delete xbox live account
  5. A new window will appear where you can start deleting your account. You can choose whether you want your account deleted in 30 or 60 days. Make sure you read all the information here and take the steps necessary to start the deletion.
  6. The last step will be to mark your account for closure. Read carefully through each bullet here to make sure that you know what you’re going to lose as you delete the account. You’ll also need to mark all the bullets in this tab and state your reason for account closure. To complete the process, click on “Mark account for closure” at the bottom of the page.

 

After clicking that button, you’ve now successfully closed your account. After 30 or 60 days (depending on your choice), your account will become inactive and it will get deleted completely.

That’s it! Congratulations, you’re now well on your way towards overcoming your gaming addiction.

For more content like this, read our Game Quitters blog, participate in the forum, or check out our program on how to control your gaming called Respawn. For families we have a program called Reclaim.

Deleting your Minecraft account is a relatively simple process. But it will depend on what type of account you have for playing Minecraft:

  • Mojang account
  • Microsoft account

Recently, Microsoft has been pushing towards creating Microsoft accounts for new Minecraft players. 

But if you’ve bought Minecraft a few years ago, then it’s highly likely that you still use a Mojang account and its credentials to access your Minecraft account.

In this article, we’ll show you how to delete your Minecraft account – both for Mojang and Microsoft account owners.

How to Delete Your Minecraft Account Step by Step

If You Have a Mojang Account

If you still use a Mojang account for playing Minecraft, then it’s likely that you’ve owned the game for a few years now. Still, it is easily possible to delete your Mojang account to stop playing Minecraft for good.

  1. Go to Mojang.com and log in to your Mojang account using your account’s credentials
  2. Click on “My Account” in the top-right corner, and click on “Settings
  3. Scroll to the bottom of your screen where you should see “Want to delete your account? Learn how”. Click on Learn how.
  4. Next, you’ll see a new screen that will allow you to request account deletion. To do it, click on “Request account deletion” at the bottom of the page.
  5. You should then receive an email from Mojang with further instructions to complete the deletion. Click on the activation link that’s been sent through the email.
  6. Enter your requested information to complete the account deletion, and click on Delete my account.

After that, your account should be deleted fully. You won’t be able to log back in shortly after this, as the process is irreversible.

If You Have a Microsoft Account

Microsoft accounts are more common nowadays for Minecraft users, and here’s how to delete one permanently if you’re looking to quit playing Minecraft.

  1. Sign in to Minecraft using your Microsoft account
  2. Click on “Change account settings on Microsoft.com” (also found in the Profile section)
    delete minecraft account microsoft
  3. Once inside our Microsoft account, click on “Your Info” at the top of the screen
    delete minecraft account microsoft
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom, and click on “How to close your account
    delete minecraft account microsoft
  5. Take the next steps as instructed on the next page. If you’ve already done the steps, select how long you want to wait before the account is deleted (30 or 60 days) and click on “Next
    delete minecraft account microsoft
  6. Tick all the boxes in the next step, select a reason why you want to delete your account, and then click “Mark account for closure”.
    delete minecraft account microsoft

After this, it will take 30 or 60 days (depending on what you selected) for your account to be closed. During this period, you’ll still be able to recover your account if you want, but after the 60 or 30 days are gone, the changes will be irreversible.

Read Next: How to Quit Minecraft

quit minecraft

In our guide on How to Stop Playing Minecraft. If you find yourself playing Minecraft too much, then we will show you step-by-step how to stop and start being more productive in your life.

If you’re looking to read more content like this and learn more about gaming addiction, we have a ton of resources for you. We also have two programs for a guide for gamers to stop gaming called Respawn and also a guide for families to help gain control back Reclaim.

Welcome to our guide on How to Stop Binge-Watching Netflix. If you find yourself watching Netflix too much then we will show you step-by-step how to get control back.

You’re at home for the evening, and you’re bored to death. You don’t know what to do, so you log in to your Netflix account to find a series to binge. There are thousands to choose from with multiple seasons and episodes including gaming and esports documentaries.

You start watching the first episode of your new series, and you’re immediately drawn to the story and the characters of the show. The episode ends, and you decide to watch another episode and another, and now you realize it’s already 3 AM. 

How is it already 3 AM!? You’ve got to wake up in three hours for work or school!

Sound familiar?

Watching Netflix might seem like a harmless form of entertainment, but binge-watching Netflix is a rapidly rising form of tech addiction. More than 200 million people have a Netflix account worldwide, including 74 million people who regularly watch Netflix in the US and Canada.

“Netflix & Chill” has become a worldwide phenomenon and meme-worthy dating tactic. 

Are you looking to stop binge-watching Netflix? Then keep reading; we’ve got effective strategies to help you take control back.

Why People Binge-Watch Netflix

The most common reasons for binge-watching Netflix include:

  • Escape from reality. Netflix is a modern method of escapism. You can escape into a new world of your favorite show, series, or movie without having the slightest care about the natural world for just a few hours. Escaping can be a way to relieve stress or boredom.
  • Boredom. If you have nothing else to do, watching Netflix becomes your default mode of entertainment. It’s easy to use your computer, laptop, smartphone, TV, or console to open Netflix and start your show. It doesn’t require a lot of effort and can keep you busy for hours.
  • It’s seen as a positive thing. Binge-watching is seen as a positive thing by 73% of respondents in a Netflix survey. However, the truth is that the company considers binge-watching as its primary business model. It is designed to get you hooked on a show, so you keep coming back to Netflix time after time to watch again.
  • Netflix is addictive. Not many people talk about this (or don’t want to), but binge-watching Netflix can be highly addictive. For example, when an episode ends, Netflix will ‘autoplay’ the next episode in under 15 seconds. Often that 15 seconds will be faster than you can even find the remote on the couch. Thus, when a new episode starts, you may experience FOMO (fear of missing out) and justify watching “one more” because the episode has already begun. 

So what can we do to escape from the clutches of binge-watching and Netflix addiction?

Self-Control is the Key

study conducted by Brevers and Turel from 2019 analyzed strategies to control social media use and their effectiveness against excess.

The study found there are two main ways we can use self-control to stop excess social media use, and the same approach can be highly effective at stopping binge-watching and Netflix addiction:

  • Reactive
  • Proactive

Reactive methods of self-control are the methods that we can implement at the very moment when an urge is created to watch Netflix. These methods include positive self-talk or straightforward self-control you can implement in a few seconds when an urge occurs.

Proactive methods are long-term approaches to habitual change, such as changing or choosing situations for using social media or Netflix. These methods focus on changing your habits, so urges don’t present themselves as often. Strategies may include finding a new hobby, changing your lifestyle, or creating a schedule for your day.

The study found that the majority of people that try to quit social media use reactive, in-the-moment methods that are considerably more difficult to implement (due to the emotional triggers and cravings) – but this does not mean reactive strategies are not effective. It simply means that proactive methods are considered more effective, although they are also slightly more difficult to implement over a more extended period.

Strategies of Self-Control

There are two types of self-control: reactive and proactive. Within these methods are five specific strategies you can try to implement. We recommend starting with proactive approaches and then use reactive methods if urges are still showing up.

Here is a list of proactive strategies you can implement:

  • Turn off non-urgent notifications
  • Turn off autoplay
  • Block access to apps at specific times or entirely
  • Use grayscale on your phone to reduce appeal and stimulation

Here is a list of reactive strategies you can implement at the moment:

  • Prioritizing your tasks for the day (work > social media)
  • Remind yourself of the importance of tech-life balance
  • No checking social media until tasks are complete

The methods you’ll use to stop binge-watching Netflix will depend on what type of person you are, how well you can deal with self-control, and how deep your addiction is. 

To summarize, building better long-term habits and being less involved in bad habits will be far more effective than being good at stopping short-term urges

This will include replacing your binge-watching activity with other activities such as new hobbies. If you watch Netflix in the evening, then you might need to turn off your computer, phone, or internet connection altogether to try and stop your destructive habit of binge-watching.

Even though most people focus on short-term solutions, the best way to stop binge-watching Netflix is to start with long-term, proactive methods and only use reactive methods if needed.

How to Stop Binge-Watching Netflix – Step by Step

Let’s take a look at how you could stop binge-watching Netflix based on the studies and research we’ve gone through above, step by step.

Step 1.1: Delete Your Netflix Account & Apps

The first step you’ll want to take if you’re going to quit Netflix entirely is to delete your Netflix account and all the apps from your phone and other devices.

This is going to be the first step towards stopping binge-watching Netflix completely. Now, if you still want to watch some Netflix shows occasionally, then you might want to skip this step and instead focus on blocking your access during specific times of the day.

You can also try out a 90-day detox, which is highly effective for stopping a gaming addiction and proving to be highly effective for Netflix addiction.

Step 1.2: Disable Internet Access & Notifications

If you’ve decided to skip the first step, then this is where you can start your journey towards stopping binge-watching Netflix. 

You might still want to watch some shows, but you want to watch them in more moderation than before. If that’s the case, you’ll need to use reactive self-control methods, but know that this can be more ineffective than using a more proactive approach.

Here are some things that you can try in this step:

  • Turn off all Netflix notifications on your phone
  • Turn off Netflix autoplay
  • Set a daily time limit as to how long you can watch Netflix
  • Use an internet or app blocker that will disable your access to Netflix after a certain period
  • Consider using airplane mode if you use your phone for watching Netflix

Step 2: Prioritize Other Tasks Over Netflix

If you’ve been binge-watching Netflix for some time now, then you know that Netflix can eat up your valuable time that you’d otherwise use for doing other, more meaningful tasks.

A good form of self-control is to prioritize other tasks instead of watching Netflix. Then, once you have finished your tasks, you can watch Netflix without so much stress. Be sure to set a limit of how long you will watch for and stick to it.

It is essential that you keep a good balance between life and tech, so making sure that you complete your work or other tasks before watching Netflix is crucial.

Once you start watching Netflix, you fall into your comfort zone where you start to accept you’re going to binge-watch and that you’ll complete your tasks tomorrow/after. It’s best not to go down that already beaten path again because you know it’s not good for you!

Step 3: Find Out Why You Binge-Watch Netflix & Find Replacement Activities

You’ll want to find out why you watch Netflix so much, and then you’ll want to find activities that address those needs and do them instead of watching Netflix.

The most common reasons for binge-watching Netflix include:

  • Boredom
  • Escapism
  • Entertainment
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO)

You should aim to replace binge-watching Netflix with other activities that address the exact needs.

If you need a form of entertainment before you go to sleep, for example, you could try reading a book instead of binge-watching Netflix. 

If you’re looking for escapism, try a new hobby like writing, painting, listening to podcasts, or learning a new language. The possibilities are endless.

The key to overcoming your Netflix addiction is in creating long-term, better habits

You can still use in-the-moment methods to your binges, but these are not always going to be sustainable long-term. For long-term solutions, then you will need to build better habits and a more sustainable lifestyle.

Need Help?

If you still feel like you’re stuck with binge-watching Netflix, then we can help you out. Here at Game Quitters, we have many great resources that you can check out if you feel like you’re not making any progress:

Interest in esports and gaming is rising rapidly each year. 

Just over a decade ago, it seemed impossible there would be a job titled “professional gamer.” Today thousands of gamers earn a career in esports, and people worldwide have jobs in the industry at large. Professional gamers achieve stardom by showing their skills as they paint their personality through their playing style, like modern Michelangelos.

As esports and gaming are increasingly popular, filmmakers and investigative journalists have begun covering the phenomenon in documentaries.

This article will showcase the best esports documentaries, the best gaming documentaries, and also documentaries covering video game addiction.

Best Gaming and Esports Documentaries

Free to Play

“Follow three professional video game players as they overcome personal adversity, family pressures, and the realities of life to compete in a $1,000,000 tournament that could change their lives forever.”

Free to Play is perhaps the most popular gaming documentary Netflix has to offer. The documentary covers the lives of three professional gamers and paints a more detailed picture of how it is to be a professional gamer these days.

You’ll learn about the stories behind these players and how they became popular as pro gamers. You’ll also discover that life isn’t always easy for them, especially since there’s still a stigma towards professional gamers.

The documentary focuses on the game Dota, but even if you don’t follow the game, it’s still one of the best gaming documentaries out there.

Watch Free to Play here or on Netflix.

State of Play

“Steven Dhoedt’s documentary on professional Starcraft: Brood War has three different areas of focus: The life of the game’s most successful competitors, the aspiring pro gamer, and the culture of fandom surrounding the top players.”

Gaming in South Korea is blowing up. Every year, thousands of Koreans flock to Seoul to watch the best professional gamers from South Korea compete against each other in esports tournaments.

One of the more popular titles for pro gamers in Korea is Starcraft. State of Play documentary dives deeper into the lives of some of the top South Korean professional gamers. It also portrays nicely how professional gaming teams operate and what it takes to become a top professional player these days.

The documentary also covers the struggles professional gamers go through, especially their mental health. You will also learn more about individual players at the top of their field. 

Watch State of Play here.

The Smash Brothers

“Offering an intricate, unfiltered look into seven of the game’s most defining players at the time.”

The Smash Brothers is a 9-episode gaming documentary series that focuses on the world’s most popular and most successful Super Smash Brothers gamers during specific periods of the game’s history.

The documentary is an unfiltered look into one of the most popular esports. While the documentary is entertaining, it also provides valuable insights into the lifestyle of professional gamers while they are competing against each other. 

With nine episodes to watch, you will certainly enjoy one of the best gaming documentaries out there.

Watch The Smash Brothers here.

League of Legends Origins

“Academy Award-nominated Director Leslie Iwerks explores the history of the community that has made League of Legends one of the most-played PC games in history.”

Are you a big fan of League of Legends? Then watching this documentary is almost a must.

In the documentary, you will learn how League of Legends went from being a development project by a small team to becoming one of the most popular games in the world loved by millions.

You will also learn how the developers created the original characters of the game, how new champions ones born, and the thinking process behind the map and aesthetics of the game.

Watch League of Legends Origins on Netflix.

High Score

“Traces the history of classic video games, featuring insights from the innovators who brought these worlds and characters to life.”

Want to know what it took for the game developers to create the first video games ever to exist? Then Netflix’s High Score documentary could be a great one to watch for you to binge watch.

In the documentary, you will learn about problems developers faced to create functional games meant to entertain. Game development hasn’t always been a straightforward process, even though we take much of it for granted today.

You will also learn more about classic games like Pac Man and Doom, which were the earliest best-selling games. Both games are still revered today as two of the most iconic game titles in gaming history.

Watch High Score on Netflix.

GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon

“In 1998, a single video game forever changed the world. The game was StarCraft. It would go on to become the foundation of esports and the force behind the online streaming medium Twitch.”

StarCraft is one of the game titles that changed the gaming industry forever. It was one of the first games to start competitive gaming via BattleNet, and the release of StarCraft II in 2010 kicked things up a few levels higher.

BlizzCon is today one of the most significant gaming events in the world. Every professional player, including StarCraft players, dreams of playing in this competition, where they get a chance to earn millions of dollars in prize money.

The documentary mainly focuses on South Korean players and their need to change the gaming world before it’s too late.

Watch GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon here.

All Work All Play

“This is a documentary about the life and struggle of people for becoming professional gamers.”

It might seem as though the life of an average professional gamer is easy, but it doesn’t come without struggles.

Even the best players in the world have their problems in their personal lives. This documentary offers a fascinating insight into the life of an average professional gamer.

Watch All Work All Play on Netflix. 

Best Video Game Addiction Documentaries

If you’re interested in watching documentaries about video game addiction, then these titles might interest you.

Game Over: The Story of Cam Adair

In 2018, the World Health Organization recognized Gaming Disorder as a mental health disorder. 

In the documentary called Game Over, you’ll learn about the story of Cam Adair, the founder of Game Quitters. It’s an inspirational story of overcoming gaming addiction that will give you hope that anyone can succeed.

You’ll see that there is life beyond just gaming, and discovering a life that’s worth living is entirely possible. Even if you play 12-16 hours a day as Cam did at one point in his life, it’s possible to stop this destructive behavior with a little bit of effort.

Hooked: A W5 Investigation by CTV

Video games are so compelling because they are designed to hook players. Unfortunately, even though there are benefits of playing video games, the potential negative consequences far outweigh them.

Video game addiction is impacting millions of young people around the world. And with the pandemic, the number of people addicted to video games has risen to new heights. The documentary examines video game addiction and its consequences on people and communities.

Silent Addiction

This video game addiction documentary focuses on the need to recognize gaming addiction as a global mental health problem.

One of the main concerns about video gaming addiction is that it’s brushed away and not taking seriously, even by mental health professionals. Many addicted players also don’t want to talk about it. That’s why it’s called a silent addiction.

Silent Addiction is a documentary that will open your eyes to the importance of talking about gaming addiction and dealing with it as openly as possible.

Learn more about how gaming impacts the lives of people worldwide by reading our video game addiction stories.

Video games have become one of the world’s favorite pastimes. There are almost 3 billion gamers worldwide in 2021, with gaming prevalence continuing to grow every year.

Gaming is not without controversy, though. Critics of video games will stress that the cons of video games outweigh the pros, while those who support video games will say the opposite.

Objectively, there can be positive effects of video games when played in moderation. However, there can also be negative effects when played excessively.

It’s best to look at the pros and cons of video games through your personal experience and remember that the key is gaming in moderation.

Pros of Gaming

Although research is still ongoing on the pros and cons of video games, some studies thus far have shown the following benefits when an individual plays video games:

  1. Improved cognitive functions
  2. Problem-solving skills and the use of logic
  3. Hand-to-eye coordination
  4. Faster and more accurate decision-making
  5. Improved eye for details
  6. Social activity and teamwork

These pros of video games might help you with tasks that you do every day, but they might also be applicable for jobs where you require a great deal of attention and concentration, such as working as a surgeon, driver, or programmer.

On the surface, these pros of video games look appealing. Still, it’s important to remember that these positive effects of video games come with a catch: they can be far outweighed by the cons if gaming becomes an addiction.

These are the pros of gaming. You can read our full article about the positive effects of video games here.

Games Improve Cognitive Functions

Video games have shown to improve your cognitive abilities, such as:

  • Visuospatial ability (the ability to recognize objects around you and estimate the distances between them)
  • Increased processing speed
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Mathematical intelligence

For example, a study from 2018 included 170 participants. In the study, one group was made up of gamers, while the other group was non-gamers.

Both groups received the same questionnaire with questions and assignments that would test their cognitive abilities. The group of gamers showed better results in almost every field of the test.

Games Improve Problem-Solving Skills and Logic

Video games involve a lot of critical thinking, problem-solving, and the use of logic. 

As a gamer, you have to work your way through the game by using specific skills to achieve the game’s goals.

Gamers have more grey matter and better brain connectivity than non-gamers, resulting from extensive playtime requiring problem-solving skills.

Developing these skills in video games may translate into better job performance or improved performance in school.

Improved Hand-to-Eye Coordination

Playing video games improves your hand-to-eye coordination, making you more capable of performing tasks that involve coordination of your eyes and your hands.

These tasks can include everything from everyday tasks such as driving, typing, or performing manual tasks with your hands to professional skills like performing surgeries.

These improvements were confirmed by a study from 2007, which involved laparoscopic surgery trainees that also played video games. The study found that surgeons who played video games regularly had higher accuracy and could complete tasks faster than non-gamers. 

Faster and More Accurate Decision-Making

Another pro of gaming is the ability to make more accurate decisions in a much quicker fashion.

Players of video games will tell you that several games prompt you to make your decisions quickly based on the information you receive from the game itself. Fast-paced games, in particular, contributed to a gamer’s ability to make quick decisions.

Some games, especially competitive ones where you play against other players, can be punishing if you make a wrong decision. For example, the game Call of Duty involves fast-paced action, and you need to make the right decisions at the right time to win.

Again, this skill can be crucial in several fields of work, such as in the army or in the hospital, where you need to make fast and accurate decisions based on the facts and information you have, especially when you have limited time.

You See More Detail

Video games and eyesight quality is still a hotly debated topic. Some studies tell us that excessive screen time causes eyestrain and might even hurt your eyes. In contrast, other studies show us that video games can improve your ability to see details in your sight, especially in your periphery.

Studies that show excessive screen time is harmful find you may experience negative effects such as eye strain, headaches, loss of focus flexibility, nearsightedness, and even retinal damage.

On the other hand, playing video games might improve your ability to see more details in your eyesight, especially in your periphery. This development of your eyes might help you drive better and perform various tasks that include driving.

It’s essential to stay within the recommended screen time guidelines for all ages since too much screen time may cause damage to your eyes. However, if you play games in moderation, you might even be able to see some positive effects on your eyesight.

Games Promote Social Activity and Teamwork

Video games can promote teamwork and social engagement with other players, making it a modern form of socialization for kids and young adults.

Some games can force you to cooperate with other players, making video games a beneficial exercise for team-building and establishing social connections with other players.

Also, several games present the opportunity to make new friends and connect to them in ways that no other medium does, including the chance to meet people from all over the world.

However, excessive playtime can lead to increased isolation and loneliness, which are linked to mental health problems like depression and social anxiety. Although gaming is a social outlet for many individuals, and making new friends from different cultures is possible, a balance of in-game contacts and real-life friendships is crucial.

Cons of Video Games

Despite several benefits of playing video games, there are also many disadvantages of video games that might impact the quality of your life.

These are the most common cons of video games:

  1. Video games can make you addicted
  2. Elevated risk of aggression
  3. Games replace real-world problems
  4. Some games promote gambling
  5. Decreased physical and mental health
  6. Lack of focus and concentration

As good as the positive effects of games might be, the negative effects of video games can outweigh the pros if you develop a gaming addiction. 

Video Games Can Make You Addicted

The first and the biggest problem with video games is that they can make you addicted.

Video game addiction is a rising problem and likely to increase in the future. The World Health Organization has recognized gaming disorder as an actual mental health condition, and global prevalence is around 3-4% of gamers. Considering that there are about 3 billion gamers globally, the number of addicted gamers is estimated to be between 90 – 100 million.

One of the main reasons behind the pandemic of video game addiction is that video games are designed to be addictive. They provide instant gratification and encourage gamers to keep playing every day. Players who play every day may even receive bonuses and special rewards in encouraging them to play even more.

But the concept of addictive video games is even more complicated. They manipulate several aspects of our psychology, such as:

  • Progression of our in-game character, which replaces real-life personal development
  • Loot boxes, microtransactions, and in-app purchases encourage you to keep spending more money 
  • Socializing virtually with other players replaces real-world friendships and connections
  • In-game mechanics that link gaming to gambling

Once a video game becomes an addiction, it will far outweigh all the pros of video games. It will impact your professional life, personal development, and interpersonal relations.

If you feel like you or someone you know is addicted to video games, feel free to try some of the programs and resources we have on Game Quitters:

Elevated Risk of Aggression

Several studies (123) have shown that video games are a risk factor behind aggression. 

However, the studies also found that video games are not the only factor behind this aggression. Video games might increase the risk of aggression in an individual in combination with other factors.

There’s also a stigma around video games promoted by the media, which says that video games are violent and promote violence. But it’s far too easy to pin this problem down solely to video games, although they can be a contributing factor.

Although the link between video games and violence is still hotly contested, many parents report increased aggression in their children when playing excessively, including damaging property. Therefore, parents should be mindful to ensure their children play age-appropriate games and seek professional support if they experience increasingly aggressive behavior.

Games Can Replace Real-World Problems

One of the main problems with playing video games too much is that they neglect other key areas of one’s life, such as one’s personal or professional life.

It’s a safe place to fail, and it presents an easy way to escape real-world problems. Although escaping from stress is not necessarily bad, the problem occurs when gamers start to neglect other critical aspects of their real life.

When that happens, it might be time to consider limiting your playtime, replacing it with other activities, and dealing with your life problems.

Some Games Promote Gambling

Modern video games are linked to gambling through loot boxes and microtransactions that promote compulsive spending.

Gamers who suffer from gaming addiction can also develop a gambling addiction, exacerbated by the seeming ease of access to gambling-like mechanics inside modern games. Many of these games are played by kids, meaning that children have access to gambling mechanics using real-life money. Parents report discovering hundreds or even thousands of dollars spent on their credit cards without their knowledge.

Gamers Can Develop Physical or Mental Health Issues

Excessive game time can lead to physical and mental health issues, which include:

  • Depression and social anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Muscle loss and fat gain
  • Dehydration
  • Exhaustion

It’s important to take a closer look if you develop any of these symptoms; you may want to consider video game addiction therapy if you do.

Lack of Concentration

Spending a long time in front of a screen playing games can impact a gamer’s ability to focus and concentrate on other tasks such as school, work, college, or study.

Games demand a lot of attention to detail and concentration. But, unfortunately, we’re only able to focus for a certain amount of time daily, and the more time you spend gaming, the less attention you will have for other tasks.

Conclusion

The pros and cons of video games are interlinked and will differ from one gamer to another. There are some positive benefits of games when played in moderation. However, there are also negative effects if played excessively.

You should always be aware of the cons of games, and if you notice the first signs of these cons developing, you should consider moderating your gaming or seek help to prevent further problems with gaming addiction.

Playing video games can have positive effects and benefits, when played in moderation.

The most notable positive effects of gaming include:

  • Improved cognitive abilities
  • Improved problem-solving skills and logic
  • Increased hand-to-eye coordination
  • Greater multi-tasking ability
  • Faster and more accurate decision-making
  • Enhanced prosocial behaviors
  • Better eyesight (attention to detail)
  • More physical activity with games that promote physical activity (VR, mobile games)
  • And other benefits.

The Top Positive Effects of Video Games

These are the main benefits of playing video games that you should know about.

Improved Cognitive Abilities

Video games improve some of your cognitive abilities – especially your visuospatial skills and concentration.

Visuospatial ability is your ability to recognize and remember objects and the relations between those objects. This skill can be essential for everyday tasks such as driving, finding your way in a city, or making sense of a map or objects around you.

Spatial ability is also important in several fields of study, including mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, meteorology, and architecture.

This is one of the key positive effects of video games that might be beneficial for students and professionals, but will also serve gamers well in everyday life.

Enhanced Problem Solving and Logic

A recent study from 2015 from Australian and Chinese research teams showed that gaming improves problem-solving skills and logic.

Researchers performed fMRI scans on 27 professional gamers and found they had more grey matter and “heightened connectivity between certain subregions in the insular cortex”. In practice, this translates to enhanced cognitive abilities, which include improved problem-solving skills and logic.

Many gamers play games that require a great deal of planning, strategic thinking and using logic to achieve goals within the game, so it makes sense that they will have enhanced development in areas of the brain dedicated to problem solving and logic.

Increased Hand-to-Eye Coordination

Another positive effect of gaming is increased hand-to-eye coordination.

A study from the University of Toronto in 2014 found that people who play games regularly have better sensorimotor skills than those who don’t play video games.

These skills are key for faster learning and adoption of tasks that require hand-to-eye coordination, such as bike riding, typing, or other tasks that require you to coordinate the movement of your hands with the movement of your eyes.

The study included 18 gamers and 18 non-gamers; both groups had to perform a simple task on their screens that involved following green dots with the mouse. At first, there seemed to be no major differences between the two groups.

However, as the test carried on and it got repetitive, the tests showed that gamers performed with more speed and more accuracy than non-gamers.

Games allow you to develop an ability to learn sensorimotor patterns and movements faster and more efficiently, which may help you with tasks in the physical world.

Greater Multi-Tasking Ability

Games have shown to improve your multitasking ability.

This is one of the most notable benefits of gaming because it provides you with the ability to perform your daily tasks better and more efficiently, and also complete many tasks at the same time.

Many games force players to perform several tasks at the same time – especially action games. For example, you have to look at the enemy on the screen, keep track of your health, ammo, and other stats, as well as move your character. You might also be speaking on a microphone with your teammates and friends.

With all of the fast paced action and hyper-stimulation that modern games provide, gamer’s may improve their multi-tasking ability.

Faster and More Accurate Decision-Making

Researchers from the University of Rochester found that video games can help you make decisions faster and more accurately, which can translate into better decision-making ability in real life.

The study also found that if you play action games, in particular, you’re more likely to make faster and more accurate decisions over non-gamers, and even over players that play slow-paced games.

When presented with a problem, action game players were up to 25 percent faster than players of slow-paced games, and their decisions were also more accurate.

This skill can be valuable in areas of work where fast decision-making is crucial such as on the battlefield, or in a hospital, and gamers are primed to make these decisions faster and more accurately.

Enhanced Prosocial Behaviors

Even though excessive gaming can make you antisocial, there are many games out there that promote the social aspect of gaming.

Some games involve cooperating with other players and talking with them through text or voice chat, which can improve your ability to work with other people and have better social interactions, even when playing games.

The social aspect of gaming has also grown beyond just playing prosocial games. For example, gaming may be a popular conversation topic amongst students at school. There are also scholastic esports teams and clubs being formed, along with a convergence between gaming and social media platforms such as Twitch and Discord.

Although gaming is increasingly social, it is important to maintain a balance of face-to-face interactions and physical world friendships.

Better Eyesight

A study from 2012 conducted by Timothy J Wright and Daniel P Blakely found that people who play games are able to see more detail, especially in the periphery of their eyesight.

This is especially true for gamers of first-person shooter games where extracting information from your visual periphery is crucial for spotting enemies or dangers.

This ability to see more detail in your eyesight and in the periphery of your eyesight translates to better performance in everyday tasks such as driving.

With that said, it is important to give your eyes a break from screens, ideally for a few minutes every hour of use, as excessive screen time may cause eye irritation and eye strain.

Higher Accuracy and Faster Completion of Tasks

Video games may improve one’s ability to perform tasks that require accuracy quicker and with higher accuracy.

A study by James C Rosser Jr et. al. from 2007 examined laparoscopic (abdomen) surgeon training and included young surgeons that play video games to see what effects gaming would have on their ability to perform surgeries and other medical tasks.

The study found that surgeons who played video games in the past or recently had 37% fewer errors and completed the task 27% faster than non-gamers. Their accuracy also improved with more playtime. The study found that even with more modest playing time (3 hours a week), gamers performed better than non-gamers.

This study, along with others we have shared, suggests gamers do better at tasks that require speed, accuracy, and hand-to-eye coordination.

Some Video Games Promote Teamwork

Video game players play many games that include cooperating with other members of the team to achieve the goal of the game. Some of the more popular games include Team Fortress 2, Roblox , League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter Strike, Rocket League and several others.

In a study conducted by Brigham Young University, teams that played video games together for 45 minutes performed up to 20% better than teams that were involved in other forms of team-building exercises.

This suggests gaming may be a good way to develop chemistry amongst team members when used as a team-building exercise. The study also shows that some games do have the potential to improve an individual’s ability to cooperate with other team members, which is a valuable skill to have in today’s job marketplace.

More Physical Activity

Playing games that promote you to stay active might improve your physical health, especially when compared to games where you remain sedentary the whole time.

Take VR games as an example. The vast majority of these games will have you moving around or at least standing up, which is already better for your health than playing games where you remain seated.

Gamers also find VR gaming more immersive and satisfactory than traditional gaming, so it’s only a matter of time before VR games become the norm in the next few years or decades.

Other Benefits

In addition to all the main positive effects of video games, there are also some other effects that many gamers report, including:

  • Non-native English speakers are able to learn English faster using video games,
  • Games require you to persevere with your task to complete the goal of the game, which means they build up your perseverance,
  • Video game players are also able to concentrate better and for longer periods than non-gamers,
  • Other benefits include better pattern recognition, strategic thinking, risk-taking abilities, and management.

The Bottom Line

Gaming can be a positive and beneficial experience, when played in moderation. To experience the positive effects of video games, it can be helpful to identify your motivation to play.

If you play games in moderation, for fun and recreation, you may experience many benefits. However, if you play games excessively to escape real-life problems, then you may begin to experience problems from your play, and in extreme cases, develop a gaming disorder.

Playing games can have both negative and positive implications on your quality of life so it’s important to be aware of your play and keep it in balance.

If you, or any of your loved ones, are experiencing any negative effects of gaming, we have several resources at Game Quitters to help you out:

In 2020, there were an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, and the number is still rising. This rise in the popularity of video games has led to a significant increase in people experiencing the negative effects of video games. 

Although not all gamers experience negative effects from gaming, and those effects vary from person to person, many do. Video game addiction statistics find roughly 2-3% of gamers can become clinically disordered. 

Some of the most common negative effects of video games include:

  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Physical health atrophy
  • Exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Obesity and heart problems
  • Aggression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Social anxiety
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Interpersonal conflict

Negative Effects of Video Games

The bad effects of video games can impact your physical and mental health, or often times both. It’s essential to understand that each person may experience symptoms differently but nonetheless gaming disorder is known to produce a range of symptoms as described here.

As with most addictions, excessive use of video games is often the reason you experience these symptoms. The more you play, the more you neglect other key aspects of your life: your social life, your career, your family, your mental well-being, and your physical health.

We can split the harmful effects of playing hours and hours of video games every day into two main categories: negative physical effects and negative mental/emotional effects.

How Gaming Affects Physical Health 

Spending hours every day sitting in front of a computer playing video games can have severe implications for your physical health.

When you spend most of your time sitting in front of a screen absorbed in games, it is easy to forget to eat regular meals, drink water, exercise, and take care of your overall health.

As Matt, a sufferer of gaming disorder who overcame it, shares:

“I was tired of playing games for 18-24 hours straight from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon and then 16 hours on Sundays. I was tired of going home after work and playing for 6 hours, and not sleeping. I was tired of feeling numb afterward and turning to porn to feel a little more alive. I was tired of not eating three meals each day.”

Some of the most common negative physical effects of gaming addiction include:

  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Dehydration
  • Physical health atrophy
  • Poor concentration
  • Heart problems
  • Obesity

And these negative physical consequences symptoms of gaming will also start affecting your mental health. It’s important to note that both are interconnected.

Poor Sleep Hygiene

Inadequate sleep is a common phenomenon for gamers. For example, take Jack from Michigan, who said the following of his sleep habits:

“Looking back, it’s pretty clear I had a problem. I started sleeping less and found myself not enjoying life as much. As a result, I became depressed and anxious.”

If you neglect sleep every day, it will eventually carry over to other parts of your life. You won’t be able to stay focused in other areas of your life like school, work, or even everyday life, which will inevitably affect your performance in those areas of your life.

Hours of gaming daily often result in less sleep, especially if you play later at night or with gamer friends from different time zones. It’s easy to play “just one more game,” which results in “just one less hour of sleep.” Excessive gaming can lead to poor sleep hygiene and other adverse physical health effects.

Sleep deprivation also leads to impaired memory and relationship stress, significantly diminishing your overall quality of life.

Adequate sleep is essential for overall health. Depending on your age, at a minimum, experts advise you to sleep between 7 to 9 hours per day, but if you play games well into the night, this is nearly impossible. It can be challenging to function normally when you only sleep a couple of hours or do not sleep at all.

Dehydration and Poor Diet

When you play games for several hours straight, you forget to eat, drink, and keep yourself healthy. Without the proper nutrients and water, your body will not be able to function correctly. 

You’ll experience headaches from dehydration, and a poor diet will lead to muscle loss. Long-term, a poor diet may even lead to more profound negative health consequences, such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and in extreme cases, cancer.

If you forget to eat three meals a day or drink at least 2-3 liters of water due to your gaming habits, you will experience harmful side effects.

Physical Health Atrophy, Muscle Atrophy, Obesity, Heart Problems

The less you move and exercise, the more your body will start to suffer. Typical examples are weight gain, muscle loss, stiff joints, and poor posture.

Regularly sitting in the same position for the entire day can have other severe consequences for your physical well-being, such as chronic headaches and neck and back problems.

And while video gaming has a relatively low correlation with obesity, it’s also important to note that around 1% of all gamers will suffer from it due to excessive gaming. Obesity can also lead to heart problems and heart-related disorders.

For example, one of the most well-known professional League of Legends players, Jian Zihao (also known as Mad-Dog or Uzi), has recently quit video games due to his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and other health-related problems from a fatty diet and lack of exercise. He attributed these health consequences to excessive gaming.

“I regret to inform you all that I am making the decision to retire. The doctor has told me that if I continue, there could be serious complications. Thank you to my fans for your support and companionship all these years.”

Poor Concentration

Gaming demands focus and concentration; it demands your full attention. However, the more you play or become preoccupied with gaming, the more difficult it is to concentrate on other tasks such as your schoolwork or career.

A symptom of gaming disorder is called “pre-occupation,” which means you find yourself constantly thinking about games when you’re not playing and experience difficulty focusing on other tasks. 

As Jason shares in How Quitting Gaming Helped Me Get Into Grad School, “When I was not gaming, I was thinking about gaming, and when my girlfriend was talking to me, it was getting harder and harder to focus. After 20 hours of gaming in a weekend, I knew that I had become addicted again.” 

Since he stopped gaming, Jason has found it easier to focus and be productive. We have a limited amount of energy, focus, and concentration to use each day. Use yours wisely.

How Gaming Affects Mental Health

Physical and mental negative effects of video games go hand-in-hand. When your physical well-being suffers, so does your mental well-being.

As Vadim, a gaming addiction sufferer for 22 years, describes how his physical and mental symptoms were connected:

“At some point, it got so bad I needed to quit university so that I could recover. But I couldn’t do it for very long. I wasn’t healthy, I had almost no friends, and gaming became my coping mechanism. As a result, I was very depressed and lonely.”

Aggression

Playing violent video games does not increase an individual’s levels of hostility. 

Several studies have shown that when we play video games, our amygdala calms down, which leads to the suppression of our feelings.

After excess use and gaming addiction, you can feel restless and aggressive, and aggression is also one of the withdrawal symptoms of gaming disorder. 

Poor Emotional Regulation 

Emotional regulation is the ability to be in control of your emotional state. Although you don’t always have control over the emotions you experience, you do have control over how you respond to them. When you have good emotional regulation, you can exert influence over your actions despite your present emotional state.

Studies show that excessive gaming can lead to poor emotional regulation. Poor emotional regulation contributes to mood problems such as anxiety, depression, and aggression. 

Depression, Social Anxiety

There is debate on whether gaming directly causes depression and social anxiety, as the studies on this matter are not yet fully complete.

However, research such as Tortolero et al. from 2014 found a link between video games and depression. The study found that playing video games for more than 2 hours daily significantly increased the risk of depressive symptoms in gamers.

Participants in our case studies report the link between gaming disorder, depression, and social anxiety. They share significant improvements to their overall mental health once they stopped gaming excessively and overcame their addiction. 

For example, Matt says this about his battle with gaming-induced depression:

“Shame and regret are two of the biggest negative emotions you can feel, and they often contribute to relapse and emotional spirals into deeper depression and anxiety.”

Other studies have also found that excessive gaming can lead to lower self-esteem, which can also be a contributing factor in depression and social anxiety.

Although we can not state that gaming causes depression or depressive symptoms, it is well established that neglecting one’s physical and mental well-being for prolonged periods, as gamers often do, leads to mental health issues.

Lack of Motivation and Dopamine Addiction

Lack of motivation to engage in activities other than gaming is a common problem that gaming addicts report. Gaming is a hyper-stimulating activity that can be more engaging than activities you can find in the physical world.

This issue may connect to how your brain responds to the dopamine rush you experience playing games. When you play games, your brain starts to produce significant amounts of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that induces the feeling of pleasure.

Thus, when you play for prolonged periods, your brain may get used to the rush of dopamine and high levels of stimulation, leading to no longer finding less stimulating activities interesting. When gaming becomes the only activity your brain finds pleasurable, a lack of motivation to participate in other activities is a natural outcome.

Unfortunately, even when you stop playing games, it may take time for your brain to re-calibrate and for you to enjoy experiences that include less excitement.

Suicidal Thoughts and Other Comorbidities

In more severe cases, gaming addiction can result in suicidal thoughts and other comorbidities. 

Cam Adair, the founder of Game Quitters, found himself having suicidal thoughts during his gaming addiction. They began due to bullying and depression but were exasperated when playing video games for up to 16 hours a day. Although gaming provided an escape initially, it eventually led to further withdrawal from life. When hope for “real life” was lost, his suicidal thoughts became more common.

Cam’s experiences are shared by other gaming addicts as well.

José began gaming at 8-years-old with free-to-play MMOs. When he became a teenager, he would wake up late, skip classes, skip showers, and play video games. They were like a literal drug he’d take to numb himself. “I was ashamed to be seen (and smelled) in my state, so I went out of my room less and less. I became a shut-in, and the only thing I did was gaming.”

Individuals and families of people suffering from gaming disorder should take suicidal thoughts and ideation seriously. Treatment is required.

If you start to have suicidal thoughts, speak to a professional therapist or someone you trust, such as friends or relatives. Contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Anthony from Philadelphia also started to have suicidal thoughts, and that’s when he decided to turn things around:

“I felt I had been wasting my life in a virtual world while the real world was out there waiting for me. So when I started to experience suicidal feelings, I knew I needed help.”

Read his story of how he overcame gaming addiction after having suicidal thoughts, and you’ll see that there’s hope for you if you have similar feelings. Never give up!

If you are experiencing these negative physical and mental effects, you might be suffering from gaming addiction. Here are some ideas for how to conquer it.

How Can I Overcome My Gaming Addiction?

If you feel like you’re experiencing the effects or symptoms of gaming addiction, then the best place to start is acknowledging that you have a problem.

Although overcoming gaming addiction takes time and a lot of dedication, the reward is that you’ll get your life back. Think of all the possibilities and improvements that would occur once you remove gaming’s harmful effects in your life.

  • If you need inspiration, read some of the case studies of gamers that have successfully quit gaming.
  • Take this short quiz to see if you have a gaming addiction or are experiencing negative effects of video games.
  • If you need a step-by-step guide on quitting video games, we have an in-depth guide for gamers called Respawn. For families, we offer Reclaim, a step-by-step guide for helping your loved one reduce negative aspects of gaming.
  • If you want personalized attention, you can supplement Respawn and Reclaim by working with a therapist or a coach. Working with a therapist or coach is an effective way to overcome gaming addiction and reduce the negative impact on physical and mental health. 
  • Game Quitters is an educational resource, support community, and advocacy organization for those who want to quit playing video games or learn healthier gaming habits. We work with parents, gamers, teachers, and professionals worldwide to promote research and provide evidence-based programming oriented towards the prevention and treatment of gaming disorder.
  • Game Quitters offers access to an online community of gamers that have been through it all. We have hundreds of free videos and a community forum where like-minded gamers come together and discuss their issues.
  • If you are a mental health professional who needs training, get started today in the INTENTA Gaming Disorder Clinical Training.

We live in a tech-centric world. As a result, it is becoming harder and harder to go about our daily tasks without looking at a screen.

For example, you send messages and communicate using your mobile phone, you do most of your work or school on your computer, and then spend time on your phone, tablet, or computer to unwind. 

Technology can be great when we use it to complete tasks, communicate, or for leisure. It can aid us greatly in several aspects. However, as with most things in life, too much of something is never good. 

Negative effects of excessive screen use include sleeping problems, behavior and educational problems, obesity, and trouble concentrating. People of all ages (including the youngest) are affected and need limits regarding screen use. 

That’s why we’ve prepared screen time guidelines by age. Our recommendations will equip you to manage screen time use in your family.

How to Define Screen Time

When evaluating your family’s screen time, you’ll have to consider that not all of the screen usage will be negative, and some of it will be necessary.

In general, we split screen time usage into two main categories:

  • Active – this is the time we spend using our screens to learn, do creative tasks, video calls, or tasks that involve using our brains extensively. This type of screen time can be highly productive and can replace some of the previously done activities without screens.
  • Passive – passive screen time is “vegetative” time in front of our screens. It’s the absent-minded scrolling on social media or Google, watching videos on YouTube, playing repetitive games, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and so on. It’s the low-effort type of screen usage that doesn’t benefit our brains.

When it comes to screen time guidelines, the most important thing is to have a healthy balance between active and passive screen time. Ideally, active screen time should be a priority over passive screen time.

Suppose you’re finding it tough to cut down on your child’s time using screens. In that case, a good tip is to encourage them to do more active tasks using their screens, such as learning new things such as a new language, watching educational videos, or completing activities that involve creativity and thinking. They could also socialize with friends through video calls.

Screen Time Guidelines by Age

screen time guidelines by age

Here are the screen time recommendations by age chart.

Limiting screen time should start early in your child’s development. In early childhood, a child’s brain is rapidly changing. So pay close attention to how much screen time you are providing your child.

For children up to 6, you must teach them about mindful technology use as a parent. Start this education early, including teaching them about the dangers of excessive screen use and how to keep a balance. As a family, you should have reasonable screen time limits.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), these are the following screen time guidelines for children:

  1. Age 2 and under – avoid media use, except for video calls. Early childhood is an important time for ensuring that your child grows up into a healthy child later on. Their brain structure is changing rapidly, and using too much technology can have adverse effects later on. That’s why minimal to no screen time is recommended for this group age, except for video calls.
  2. Age 2 to 5 – one hour or less of active screen time. Ensure that your child gets quality, active screen time and little-to-no passive screen time at this stage. Also, limit screen use to one hour at most and ideally not at the same time.
  3. Age 6 to 12 – limit screen use to a healthy amount, no more than two hours of screen time at most. Establish positive habits and encourage active screen time. Adequate sleep time (8-12 hours), unplugged downtime, and activities that involve socialization should be encouraged.
  4. Teens – limits should be set up for passive screen time such as playing games, social media use, and watching videos repeatedly. As a parent, you need to make sure that your teen(s) are physically active and do other activities offline, especially social activities.
  5. Adults – less than two hours of screen time for recreation. The more you use screens for work, the less you want to use them for entertainment. 

Remember, these are rough guidelines that you should prioritize at an early age. As your child grows older, it will be harder to control media use. You’ll need to set up routines and strict rules for screen use and encourage a healthy lifestyle. 

Screen Time Guidelines for Teens

screen time guidelines for teens

The statistics about the screen time use of teens in the US are alarming. On average, teens spend around 9 hours a day on their screens for entertainment, which is well over the recommended limit of about 2 hours of screen use for entertainment, excluding school use.

The amount of screen use has also been increased due to the pandemic when social interaction possibilities and other types of leisure were limited. In addition, teens, and children, were forced to do school from home, increasing the amount of screen time required every day. As a result, maintaining screen time balance became harder.

To avoid adverse effects associated with excessive screen time, develop screen time limits in your household. These limits should include where, when, and how much screen time is allowed, including reasonable limits on passive screen time, such as video games or YouTube watching.

Additionally, it’s crucial to monitor screen use for school or homework and ensure during that time, no other types of on-screen activities are occurring.

Screen Time Guidelines for Adults

screen time guidelines for adults

The screen time recommendation for adults is two hours for entertainment and leisure activities, such as watching videos, social media use, and other passive screen time activities.

This recommendation excludes the time you spend on your screen for work or school. In the UK, the average screen time for adults is around 6 hours and 30 minutes, which is also consistent for the US and the rest of the developed world.

Weekly, this translates to around 45 hours per week. Of course, we have to consider that many people use their screens for work, leading to more hours of screen time use.

However, most people included in the survey report using their screens (mobile, laptops, tablets) for entertainment, which means there are more opportunities to reduce screen time than people may think.

Excessive screen time will also have adverse effects for adults, just like it does for children and adults. For example, it can result in obesity, eyesight problems, sleeping problems, anxiety, depression, neck and back problems, and more.

But perhaps even more importantly, if you use your screen excessively as a parent, it will also impact your child’s screen useResearch shows excessive screen time use in parents drastically increases the likelihood their children will use their screens excessively.

As a parent, you set the example for your child, even when it comes to screen time. If you spend too much time with your screen, your child will see it as something normal, resulting in excessive screen time use in children.

If you’re a parent who wants to reduce the time your child spends on their screens, then you’ll need to address your screen time use first

You’ll need to set a good example for your child and set expectations on balancing their screen use. For instance, encourage healthy, physical activities and diet, enough sleep, and active types of screen use that we’ve discussed above.

Screen Time Guidelines During Covid-19

screen time guidelines for covid19

During Covid-19, the recommended screen time for entertainment is two hours at most.

Covid-19 has increased screen use among people of all ages, including adults. For example, 44% of parents of children of all ages report that their child has spent more than four hours of their time on their screens, which is significantly more than they did before the pandemic.

But too much screen time has also become a problem for adults during Covid-19. Many people work from home – up to 30% more than before the pandemic. And when we work from home, it gets increasingly harder to control our screen time. Switching from your work to check social media or news is easier than it is at work, which can make you less productive and increase your screen time significantly.

So, how can we combat the excess screen time during Covid-19?

  • Set up a working schedule. When you work, set boundaries and limits to avoid distractions, such as social media, video games, or other types of passive screen use.
  • Put away your phone. It can be a good idea to have your phone far away in another room while you work, or even have it turned off. 
  • Take short breaks. If you’re finding it hard to concentrate and your mind seems to wander away as you work, set up short five-minute breaks every 30-50 minutes to improve your focus.
  • Accept that you’re going to have to use technology. If you’re working from home, you’re going to have to use your screen for work. Just make sure you get the most out of it as possible.

How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

It’s hard to give a straightforward answer on how much screen time is too much for adults; the only clear way to observe this is to watch the effects of screen time on you and your health.

Excess screen time (six hours and more) puts you at a higher risk of depression, this study finds. On the other side of the spectrum, limiting social media use to only 30 minutes per day can decrease loneliness and depression. 

An excellent way to find a balance between quality screen time and passive screen time is to listen to your body; is too much screen time affecting you negatively regarding your mental and physical health? Some of the most common negative effects of excessive screen time include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Insomnia and poor sleeping habits
  • Eye strain and headaches
  • Neck and back pain
  • Reduced physical activity levels and obesity
  • Addictive behaviors (video games, gambling)

Aim for less than two hours of entertainment using your devices. This limit can be beneficial if you do your work on your computer, which is when you’ll want to limit the time you spend on your screen passively and increase the time you spend using your screen actively, such as for work.

How to Limit Screen Time?

Limiting screen time is essential. It is crucial to avoid gaming addiction, depression, anxiety, poor sleep habits, and other adverse effects connected to excessive screen use.

Whether it’s for you or your child, there are specific measures you can take to decrease the time you spend on your screen. Remember the earlier you start implementing these measures, the more likely you will avoid problems associated with excessive screen time or poor screen time habits later in a child’s development.

  • Set up rules for screen time use in your home. You’ll need to define when, where, and how screens are allowed. For example, you could set up a rule to disallow screen use during meals, such as dinner or lunch. 
  • Limit activities that involve using a screen. Make sure you and your child limit activities that include screens unless they are essential. You’ll want to replace these activities with other activities that promote physical and mental health. For example, provide physical copies of books for your child instead of using digital ones.
  • Promote active screen use and limit passive use. Begin by replacing passive activities on the phone, such as social media use or watching videos, with active learning and creative activities.
  • Teach your child early. You have to accept that some technology will always be present, and you can’t get away from it. Instead, provide early education about managing technology and screen time. Teach your child that phones and tablets are not toys and should be used with intention.
  • Ensure you or your child gets enough sleep. Sleeping habits often get compromised because of excess screen time. Make sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep every day and that your child also gets 8-12 hours of sleep at least. It can be helpful to have screen time limits, such as no screen time two hours before bedtime and no phones in their bedroom.
  • Encourage physical world friendships and social activities. Another important aspect of limiting screen use will be to promote social activities that involve seeing friends in physical life, not just through screens. While video chats can help foster new friendships, we still need a level of physical connection with other people.
  • Stay on top of trends. New apps are coming out all the time, whether it’s TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, or others. Be aware of which apps are popular and encourage your child to spend more time on screens than they should.

Find help. If you need assistance, it can be helpful to speak with a therapist or licensed professional who specializes in gaming and screen time issues. Alternatively, try our Reclaim program for families, where we help your family manage excessive gaming and screen time, including setting up a Family Screen Time Agreement.

Video game addiction is a growing problem in modern society. While some people are not aware of it, others call video games “the new drug.”

In 2019, the World Health Organization recognized “Gaming Disorder” as a mental health condition. It will be officially added to the International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11, in 2022.

Unfortunately, video game addiction hasn’t always got the attention it deserves with mental health experts and research funding focused on other disorders – such as gambling and substance abuse.

Even though the field of video game addiction research and treatment is not yet fully understood and developed, there are many high-quality papers and studies into video game addiction statistics, demographics, and prevalence rates that provide us with valuable insight into the depth of the problem.

Let’s take a look at the most interesting video game addiction statistics.

General Video Game Addiction Statistics

Here are some key video game addiction statistics:

If you take a look at the general video game addiction statistics, you can see that millions of people worldwide suffer from gaming disorders. The conservative estimate of addicted gamers is around 60 million. How do you know if you or a loved one are addicted to gaming? Take the video game addiction test.

Gaming as an activity is continuing to grow every year. In 2015, there were 1.9 billion gamers; in 2021, there are an estimated 2.81 billion gamers, and the number is anticipated to surpass 3 billion by the year 2023. This tells us the number of gamers suffering from gaming disorder is also going to grow each year.

Over the last ten years, we have heard from thousands of gamers worldwide sharing their stories of video game addiction and supporting each other to get better. If you are reading this you need to know, you are not alone!

Statistics by Age

gaming stats by age

Let’s take a closer look at video game addiction statistics by age.