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.

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 1 1. 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 2 2. Volteface: Drug dealers 'moving from street corners to social media' × .

A 2021 report by Bark 3 3. 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 4 4. 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.

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. So why did he 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 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.

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.

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.

Read More: How to Stop TikTok Addiction

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.

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.

Read More: Video Game Addiction – Treatment, Symptoms, and Causes

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.

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.”

Dive Deeper: What is the Dopamine Theory of Addiction

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

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.

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

fomo jomo

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.

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 and sharing personal photos on social media sites.
  • 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 turn 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.

Read our article for more ideas on how to reduce screen time.

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 video games be banned.

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. 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.

Read our article: I have no friends and I want to change it.

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. She complained about her partner 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.

Depression

Research shows that 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 and isolation became depressed and 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 and regular exposure increases the likelihood that someone will bully and abuse other players in future games.

Find out more about the dark side of gaming culture: 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.

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. Read our Discord app review: a guide for parents.

Other positive and negative effects of video games

The pros and cons of gaming are not just limited to its social effects. There are a range of other benefits and risks too. Find out more about the positive effects of video games and the negative effects of video games.

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 or therapist. These are the most effective ways to treat the adverse consequences of gaming such as social anxiety or depression.

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.

We also have a hobby tool, where you can find activities to develop your social skills and find a sense of purpose, which are important aspects of overcoming the negative effects of video games on your social life.

Other resources include:

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

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. 

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, Fortnite, Roblox, 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.

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. Up to 20% of 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 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, 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 Cravings

Anxiety, Depression

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

Several studies 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 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.

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.

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.

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, 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, League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter Strike, 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:

  • Over two billion people play video games worldwide, and the number is likely to surpass three billion by 2023.
  • 3-4% of gamers are addicted to video games. In a 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis, the global prevalence of gaming disorder was found to be 3.05%. That means there can be as many as 60 million people (or more) suffering from gaming disorder.
  • Between 0.3% and 1% of the general population have symptoms associated with gaming disorder.
  • 8.5% of youths aged between 8-18 suffer from gaming disorder.
  • 49% of all American adults have played video games, but only 10% consider themselves “gamers.”

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.

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.

Statistics by Age

Let’s take a closer look at video game addiction statistics by age.

  • 90-99% of all American children play video games.
  • Between 48% and 56% of young adults play video games regularly.
  • The average age of a gamer is 35 years old, while the average age of a gaming addict is 24 years old.
  • The majority of gamers are within the age bracket of 18 to 34 years old.
  • 8.5% of children and teenagers under 18 around the world may be addicted to gaming.
  • The prevalence of gaming addiction among teenagers has increased by 4% since 2007.

Gaming Statistics by Age

Source: Statista

Statistics tell us that video gaming addiction is by far the most problematic in people aged 34 and younger, with the average age of a gaming addict being 24 years of age. This is cause for concern because the percentage of American children that play video games is now 90% or more of all children. More young people are playing video games than ever before, and they are exposed to the risks of video game addiction.

Although young adults between 18 and 24 years old tend to be the ones experiencing the most harm from their gaming, such as struggling with college or university, they often develop the problem in adolescence.

The problem of gaming addiction among children is so vast in South Korea that the government has introduced a “Shutdown law” which prevents youths of 16 and under from playing video games between 0:00 and 06:00. There are an estimated 600,000 South Korean children suffering from gaming addiction.

One of the crucial challenges we face for the future is preventing and treating gaming and tech addiction in children, which, despite all the efforts from governments worldwide, seems to still be on the rise.

Statistics by Demographics

Distribution of gamers by ethnicity in the United States:

Gaming Demographics by Ethnicity

We can see that there is a clear prevalence of Caucasian gamers in the United States, with 67% of all gamers. 15% are Hispanic, while 12% are African American, and 5% are Asian.

If you take a look at the distribution of gamers suffering from gaming disorder by ethnicity, you’ll find that 69% of all addicts are Caucasian, 13% are Asian, and 18% percent belong to the category of Other.

Statistics by Gender

According to a study from 2015 done by the Pew Research Center, the distribution of gamers between the two genders is almost even – 50% of all gamers are male, while 48% are female.

This distribution by gender might surprise some, as gaming is primarily seen as something that only boys do. 

However, taking a look at gaming disorder statistics by gender, and you’ll find that 94% of all gaming addicts are males, while only 6% are females.

These numbers tell us that while the number of male and female gamers might be the same on a general level, the number of gaming addicts is currently more male-heavy. 

But why does this happen? Why are there more male gaming addicts than female addicts?

This issue might be closely related to how males perceive gaming cues in their brains.

According to this study from 2018, “gaming-related cues elicit higher cravings in male subjects than female subjects.” The study found that males had greater activation in the striatum before gaming and great activation in the medial frontal gyrus after gaming. This tells us male gamers are more likely to get addicted to video games.

Another reason for statistics showing males are more likely to be gaming addicts may be due to selective sampling in research studies. Similar to conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), where females have often been under-diagnosed as they do not display the “typical hyperactivity” symptoms, female gamers may be under-represented in gaming literature as well. 

Statistics by Geographical Location

According to Vladimir Poznyak, a researcher for the WHO (World Health Organization) who focuses on gaming disorder, geographical location has little to no impact on an individual’s likelihood of getting addicted to gaming.

Still, the numbers of gaming addicts will vary by country. In less developed countries of Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America, the number of gaming addicts may be lower than in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia such as Japan, China, and South Korea due to greater access to technology.

However, less developed countries are quickly catching up with global smartphone penetration estimated to be 78% or higher. With technology continuing to accelerate globally, we may see a boom of gaming addicts in the coming years and decades.

There aren’t many statistics that tell us more about gaming disorder and its correlation to location, but these are some of the more interesting ones that are available:

The bottom line is that gaming addiction is present worldwide. In developing countries, mobile gaming addiction is likely to be higher than computer or console game addiction, and the number of gaming addicts in developing countries is anticipated to grow in the years to come.

Video Game Addiction Statistics: United States

The most popular games for American gamers include Super Mario Bros, Angry Birds, Grand Theft Auto series, Call of Duty, Minecraft, Fortnite, Mortal Kombat, and Roblox.

The number of total gamers in the United States is still unclear. Some sources say there are more than 150 million gamers in the US, although that source goes back to 2015. A more recent report from 2020 states that between 64-66% of the general American population play video games to some extent.

With an estimated 150 million to 231 million active gamers in the United States and global prevalence of gaming disorder between 1.96% and 3%, we estimate there are between 3 million and 6.5 million disordered gamers in the United States.

Video Game Addiction Statistics: Canada

The video gaming industry continues to grow in Canada, contributing $4.5 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2019. The vast majority of Canadians (94%) aged between 18 and 34 play video games, including 64% of the entire Canadian population – 23 million Canadians – who play video games regularly.

In 2015, around 19 million Canadians admitted to playing video games regularly or identified themselves as gamers. That number has grown to around 24 million Canadians in 2020, showing that more and more Canadians are playing video games each year. However, in a CAMH study from 2017, almost 12% of all Ontario University students exhibit signs of video game addiction so gaming disorder is also on the rise.

Video game addiction in Canada is estimated to impact between 470,400 and 720,000 people, with gamers at risk of unhealthy play as high as 3 million Canadian gamers.

Video Game Addiction Statistics: United Kingdom (UK)

In 2020, around 36 million Britons played video games regularly. In terms of the percentage of the entire population, that amounts to just slightly less than 50%. 18% of UK gamers spent 6 hours or longer playing video games daily, and about 30% skipped showers to play games. The most represented age group is gamers aged between 13 and 25, and the second most represented group is for people aged between 25 and 34.

Alarmingly, up to 93% of UK children play video games in some shape or form. FIFA, Fortnite, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty are UK’s most addictive games.

However, reports indicate the number of addicted gamers in the UK has tripled because of the pandemic.

With 36 million Britons playing video games regularly, we estimate between 700,000 and 1 million UK gamers struggle with a video game addiction.

Video Game Addiction Statistics: Australia

6 in 10 Australians play video games regularly, which is close to 67% of the entire Australian population.

The prevalence of playing video games is much higher in the younger population. 98% of households with children have a device to play video games on – 9/10 of those households have a child that plays video games regularly, meaning that up to 90% of Australian children play video games.

For all gamers in Australia, the average playing daily time is 89 minutes, which is higher than the recommended limit of 30-60 minutes that are in place for children. The playing time seems to be longer for males, who play video games for 98 minutes daily on average, while females play for 77 minutes on average daily.

A recent study done by the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Nepean hospital in Sydney revealed that up to 10% of all Australian gamers were addicted to video games.

The age group that is the most likely to be addicted to video games is between 18-34. However, Australia has also seen a rise of video game addicts that are under the age of 18 – around 78,000 Australian children are estimated to be addicted to video games.

In the general population, we estimate between 328,300 and 502,500 Australian gamers struggle with gaming addiction, with up to 1,675,000 at risk of developing a gaming problem.

Video Game Addiction Statistics: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

In recent years, the video gaming addiction problem is a growing concern for the UAE health authorities. The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi (DoH) released a statement where it recommended that children’s gaming time should be kept to under two hours daily.

This recommendation comes as no surprise. Reports of children spending more than four hours a day gaming are cropping up throughout the whole country, which means that stricter measures for controlling video game addiction need to be put in place.

One of the more alarming statistics comes from 2015 when the researchers found that between 56-63% of all children in UAE spend three hours or more daily gaming or doing other activities on their screens.

In fact, 50% of all UAE gamers admitted that they have spent more time playing video games because of the pandemic. In UAE, there is also a sharp increase of at least 15% of new gamers, of which 40% are female gamers.

The vast majority of gamers in the UAE (70-74%) are mobile gamers, while many gamers also play console and PC games. An even more problematic statistic is that up to 91% of all UAE gamers have spent money on in-game purchases in the last six months, which shows an alarming correlation between gaming and gambling.

We all know about the negative consequences of Covid lockdowns and the mental health of people all over the world. More people spend more time in front of screens, which also includes more people playing video games.

And this trend is also visible in UAE. Up to 50% of people spend more time gaming during the lockdowns – of which, the majority of them are mobile and console gamers.

There are also more people watching gaming streams in UAE. Up to 68% of all gamers also watch live streams of other people playing video games, which leads to other potential mental health problems and an increase in the likelihood of playing video games again.

UAE continues to be one of the top 100 markets for the video gaming industry, and the number of gamers is still on the rise, especially after covid lockdowns. Mental health experts from UAE are warning about the increase in video game addiction in the country.

One of the biggest obstacles to mental health professionals in the UAE is a lack of awareness when it comes to gaming addiction. More needs to be done in spreading the word about the pitfalls and dangers of this addiction, especially among parents of children who play games regularly.

With over 7 million gamers in the UAE, we estimate between 137,200 and 210,000 Emiratis are struggling with gaming addiction.

If you are passionate about supporting the UAE with its gaming problem, please contact us for details on INTENTA’s initiatives in the UAE.

Covid-19 Video Game Addiction Statistics

Covid-19 and Gaming

We know that Covid-19 and its lockdowns have had a profound effect on the number of gamers around the world. The gaming industry has seen a 63% increase in games sold because of the pandemic.

These are the official numbers for video game addiction during Covid-19:

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the number of people addicted to video games. Gaming, gambling, loot boxes, mobile gaming, and excess use of screen time have soared sharply over the course of the pandemic.

Video Game Addiction Help

Want to know more about gaming addiction and how to overcome it? Then join us here at Game Quitters, where we provide video game addiction articles every week, along with additional resources for gamers, families, and loved ones.

More Video Game Addiction Articles

Welcome to our guide on How to Stop Playing PUBG (PlayersUnknown Battleground). If you find yourself playing PUBG too much, or you are concerned about a loved one, then we will show you step-by-step how to get control back.

PUBG, also known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is one of the most popular Battle Royale games. For many, it was the game that started the craze around the Battle Royale genre, which includes popular games like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends.

PUBG is one of the most popular games on Steam, with 500,000 monthly active users. Its mobile version, called PUBG Mobile, has close to 1 billion downloads across mobile platforms. The desktop and console versions of PUBG are available to be bought for a low price of $30. The free-to-play PUBG Mobile version of the game, which includes in-app purchases, has been addictive to some players.

The problem became so bad that PUBG Mobile was banned temporarily in India and Bangladesh amid all the concerns regarding PUBG addiction.

If you’re looking for ways on how to stop playing PUBG, or if your child is struggling with it, then you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find practical steps to stop playing PUBG in this article.

What is PUBG, and How Does It Work?

pubg addiction

PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds) is a Battle Royale game that pits 100 players against each other. The game’s goal is to outlive your competitors. 

You start the game on an isolated island without any equipment. Then you collect as many weapons, gear, loot, and resources as possible to help you survive and defeat the other players.

In addition, there is a “zone of survival,” which shrinks every few minutes, bringing other players closer to your position, making it more difficult to survive.

What Makes PUBG So Addictive?

Although PUBG is a game that appears harmless at first, there are specific game design features that can cause addiction and negative effects to some players. 

  1. It’s competitive. The biggest attraction of PUBG is its immersive nature. Competing in a Battle Royale mode against 100 other players creates a rush and thrill to win. When you come close to winning, you want to try again, creating a “just one more game” mentality. The challenge and competition are a big reason why PUBG attracts players.
  2. It’s social. There’s also the team mode in the game where you can play with other players. You can make new friends and play with them on the team, working together to win. Although playing with friends can be a benefit of gaming, it also increases the amount of time you play, leading to negative consequences in other areas of your life.
  3. It has loot boxesLoot boxes are standard in modern games, and they’re a primary reason for gamers developing gambling problems. For example, one 15-year old Indian player stole his father’s credit card to purchase $700 worth of in-game loot.
  4. You can progress. In addition to building up your skills to win more games, you also have levels within the game. With each increasing level, you earn new rewards, encouraging new and existing players to keep playing and collect those rewards. The game appeals to skilled players differently than novice ones. “For example, PUBG mobile has crates with rich resources land every cycle. It is easy to pick if it lands on the flat land, while difficult to pick when landing on the roof. The novice players miss it, while experienced players use strategies to jump on the roof to get it.”

Signs & Symptoms of PUBG Addiction

If you or someone you know is addicted to PUBG, you might be experiencing PUBG addiction symptoms and signs. 

Some of the most common signs of this addiction include:

  • No control over gameplay
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Continuing to play despite the negative impact
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not playing
  • Neglect of other areas of life
  • Mental and physical health problems

If you experience these symptoms, it might be appropriate to consider talking to a therapist. Alternatively, you can use the following steps to stop playing PUBG.

PUBG Addiction Questionnaire

Concerned about your gaming? Take the Video Game Addiction Test.

The following nine questions can help you better understand if you are experiencing a PUBG addiction or if you should stop playing so much. For each question, answer Yes or No, and keep track of your answers. 

  1. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about PUBG even when you’re not playing or planning when you can play next?
  2. Do you feel restless, irritable, moody, angry, anxious, bored, or sad when you try to cut down or stop playing PUBG or when you are unable to play?
  3. Do you feel the need to play for increasing amounts of time, or to spend increasing amounts of money to get the same amount of excitement you used to get?
  4. Have you felt you should play PUBG less but cannot cut back on the amount of time you spend playing?
  5. Have you lost interest—or reduced participation—in other recreational activities due to PUBG?
  6. Have you continued to play PUBG even though you experienced negative consequences? Common negative effects of gaming include not getting enough sleep, arguing with others, and neglecting essential duties?
  7. Have you been deceptive or lied to family, friends, or others about how much you play PUBG? 
  8. Do you play PUBG to escape from or forget about personal problems or to relieve uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, anxiety, helplessness, or depression?
  9. Have you risked or lost a significant relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity because of PUBG?

Now it’s time to add up your answers. For every question, you answered, “Yes,” add a score of 1. If you answered yes to three or four questions, you might be at risk of a gaming problem. If you answered yes to five or more questions, you might have a problem, and we recommend seeking professional support.

How to Stop Playing PUBG

how to quit pubg

Here are practical steps on how you can stop playing PUBG and get your life back on track.

Step 1: Find Your Root Cause

There are many reasons why people play video games.

If you can find out exactly why it is that you keep coming back to PUBG, what the root cause is, then it will be much easier to address that and stop playing PUBG so much. From our experience, some of the most common reasons for playing PUBG include:

  • Temporary escape
  • Novelty
  • Competitiveness
  • Mastery
  • Risk-taking
  • Socialization
  • Measurable progress

What are your gaming motivations? What are the primary reasons why you play PUBG? The more clear you can be about this, the more you can redirect your motivations in other areas. For example, if you play PUBG to escape from personal problems, you can find new ways to manage stress.

Step 2: Find Replacement Activities

Now that you know why you play PUBG, you’ll want to find replacement activities for the reasons why you play. It is also essential to fill the time you usually play PUBG with new hobbies.

For example, if you play PUBG for the sense of competitiveness and achievement, then finding an activity such as playing a sport or developing a new skill may be beneficial. Or, if you play PUBG as a social outlet, consider activities to help you socialize, such as after-school programs and group classes.

If you need help to find new hobbies to help you stay away from PUBG, we’ve prepared a list of hobbies for you. Using our new hobby tool, you can filter activities based on achievement, creativity, social, low cost, and offline. 

Step 3: Delete PUBG or Steam

The next step is simple: To help you quit playing PUBG, delete it from your computer and phone. You can also find it helpful to delete Steam altogether.

Deleting the game from your computer or phone will not be enough to stop you from playing, but it will make it easier and reduce your cravings to play.

If you’ve tried to quit before and been unsuccessful, you know how easy it is to install the game and start playing again. The key is finding replacement activities that you’ll do after you quit playing PUBG so that you won’t feel the need to come back to the game.

You don’t have to commit to quitting forever. We suggest starting with a 90-day detox and then re-evaluating whether you want to go back and play in moderation or if you want to quit for good.

Step 4: Stay Strong!

Quitting PUBG will not be an easy task, especially if you’ve been playing for a long time. You’ll need to find the mental resilience to stay away from even installing PUBG on your computer or mobile phone, even if you get urges.

Here are great tips for coping with the tough times that may come your way:

  1. Know that overcoming your PUBG addiction or gaming addiction is possible. If you need proof or some encouragement, read our success stories of former gaming addicts who have created a better life for themselves.
  2. When you feel an urge, be patient. Cravings will come and go like the waves of the ocean. If you can, try and get out of the house, go for a walk, get some fresh air, and reconnect with nature. You can also try to turn your time into something productive, whether it is a hobby or maybe a business you’ve been considering for some time. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to seek help! Talk to your friends, parents, or relatives about your struggles. You can also join our forum, where you can connect with other like-minded peers on a similar journey as you. 

Need Help? PUBG Addiction Treatment

If you feel like you need help with your PUBG addiction, then we’ve designed a program called Respawn. It will help you with the correct steps to overcome your gaming addiction and regain control of your life. Thousands of gamers just like you have successfully quit gaming with the help of the program. Imagine what you can achieve by being more productive instead of wasting your time playing video games. 

Concerned about a family member that suffers from PUBG addiction? Our Reclaim Family Program will help you and your family regain control over gaming.

For professional help and treatment, speak to a video game addiction therapist.

Welcome to our guide on How to Stop Roblox Addiction. If you find yourself playing Roblox too much, or you are concerned about a loved one, then we will show you step-by-step how to stop playing Roblox and get control back.

Roblox is available on most platforms, including PC, tablets, mobile, and consoles. Roblox is rated E10+ by the ESRB, which standards for Everyone 10 years and older. Although the game contains Fantasy Violence, most gameplay should be suitable for kids. In the U.K., Roblox is rated PEGI-7 despite its occasional bloody themes.

More than 40 million people play Roblox daily, and 67% of players are under 16. Roblox appeals to a younger audience, yet over five million daily players are over 25. 

Although millions of people play Roblox for fun, some players develop a problem. Excessive gaming has caused parents to look for answers on how to stop their children from playing Roblox so much. 

Suppose you have tried to stop your son or daughter from playing Roblox or implemented account restrictions without success. In that case, this article will help you.

What does it take for the Roblox addiction to go away?

  1. Understand and recognize why your child plays Roblox so much
  2. Rebuild trust and rapport between you and your child
  3. Create a practical plan for your family, including new activities
  4. Find support from peers and professionals

Below we will detail each step to stop your child from playing Roblox and turn their attention to other, more productive activities instead.

Why Roblox is So Addictive to Children

roblox game design

Addiction to Roblox (and other similar games like Fornite or Minecraft) is most common with children, especially those under 16. Teens and adolescents are at risk of developing gaming problems because they lack brain development for executive functioning and self-control.

Although Roblox appears to be a harmless game where kids can use their creativity, there is also a lot of adult content inside the game that is inappropriate for children. Parents need to set up parental controls and monitor their gameplay to keep them safe.

Roblox also contains specific game design features that can make Roblox more engaging and addictive for some players. Here are some of the common motivations for play:

Creativity

Children need creative tasks to help them with their personal and mental development. Video games do have a role to play in that aspect.

When played moderately, video games can foster creativity in children, which will be beneficial for their development.

Roblox has an abundance of creative tasks. From creating new maps to finding ways to overcome obstacles inside the game, you’ll need creativity to beat the levels in the game.

Roblox appeals to players who want to have fun and be creative at the same time.

Challenge and Novelty

In Roblox, each player can create games and maps for other people to try and play, making it a challenge in and of its own.

When you play games and complete challenges like this, your brain releases dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter in your brain that enables you to feel happiness and pleasure.

Beating challenges (and other players) can become addictive quickly, especially for players who enjoy achievement and competition.

In addition, gamers experience constant levels of novelty inside the game, fulfilling our need for variety. There are always new games, maps, and characters to try, making the game feel like an ever-evolving entity that never stops providing entertainment.

The Social Aspect

Children need regular socialization to grow and develop.

In Roblox, players can find shared areas inside the game to hang out, complete challenges, and form relationships with other players.

In addition, Roblox can be a place to hang out with others without the danger of being bullied or mistreated. That’s why games like Roblox can provide a safe alternative to socialize and find new friends for children.

Let’s not forget the impact Covid-19 has had on our younger generation and the socialization of children. Games like Roblox are now one of the primary spaces for young people to socialize.

Warning: Roblox is known as a dream playground for child predators. Make sure your child’s avatar does not include any identifying information and that you discuss safety precautions with them.

In-Game Purchases

Lastly, we cannot ignore the in-game purchases in Roblox.

Roblox is free to download; however, it contains in-game purchases using their virtual currency Robux which you obtain with real money.

“Players can use Robux to obtain new clothes, accessories, and gear for their avatar. They can also purchase special abilities, bonus in-game content, and access to certain user-created games.” -Patricia E. Vance.

The developers of Roblox make spending inside the game as easy as possible. Due to the game’s social nature, players can feel peer pressure to spend money when their friends do.

Children can spend insane amounts of money inside the game quickly, often using their parents’ credit cards. Recently we received an email from a concerned parent whose child spent $3500 on in-app purchases in Roblox. We’ve heard hundreds of similar cases over the years.

Roblox Addiction Test – Signs & Symptoms

roblox addiction test

If you’re worried about your child’s addiction to Roblox, these are some of the main signs and symptoms you should be looking out for:

  • Nagging to play more Roblox
  • Unable to moderate or limit play
  • Prioritizing Roblox over regular life responsibilities
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Reduced attention span and difficulty with focus
  • Lack of motivation for other activities
  • Anger, fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions
  • Neglected physical health
  • Conflict with family

Suppose you are experiencing five or more of the signs or symptoms above. In that case, you may have a problem with Roblox and should seek professional help.

Concerned about your gaming? Take the Video Game Addiction Test.

How to Stop Roblox Addiction

how to quit roblox

Son addicted to Roblox? Try these steps to stop their Roblox addiction for good.

Step 1: Understand Why Your Child Plays Roblox So Much

Often when we work with families and their children with gaming addictions, the first step we’ll go through is understanding their child and why they play Roblox so much.

Some of the most common reasons we’ve found include:

  • Negative emotions such as sadness, depression, fear, anger
  • Bullying – games can give a sense of belonging to your child, especially if they are bullied in school
  • Boredom
  • Lack of replacement activities to challenge your child
  • No friends or their only friends are virtual
  • Identity and cultural reasons

Of course, these are just some of the main reasons we often see when parents contact us about their children and their gaming problems.

Related: 15 Reasons Why People Play Video Games

You’ll need to talk to your child to find out more specifically what is causing your child to play Roblox so much. This information will provide invaluable insight into any of their unmet needs or underlying issues.

Tips to prepare for your conversation:

  • Find the right time to ask these questions (ideally not during a gaming session) 
  • Convey genuine interest and curiosity
  • No judgment! Remember, gamers often feel stigmatized and shamed
  • Be an active listener and consider taking notes

Questions you can ask:

  1. What games do you play? What platforms do you play on?
  2. Which games do you like best? What is the difference between them? 
  3. What do you like about them? (e.g., competition, social, exploration)
  4. How do they feel while they’re playing?

Step 2: Rebuild Your Relationship with Your Child

Gaming issues often lead to increased conflict between parent and child. To help your child stop gaming so much, you will need to rebuild rapport and trust. 

As a parent, you need to be the person your child can trust and speak to about the problems they are experiencing. Although their gaming may be excessive, it is happening for specific reasons. Being a safe space for your children to be open about it will help a lot.

Yes, you might want to delete Roblox from your child’s computer, phone, or console, but this may only be a temporary fix. You’ll need to go deeper and address the underlying issues causing your child to resort to playing Roblox so much.

Is it because they experience bullying at school? Or it might be because they’re bored and they have nothing else to do? Or is it because their friends play the game, and your child needs to play it to stay “in” their group of friends?

Suppose you want to know how to improve your relationship with your gamer and get them to trust you. In that case, we have an excellent resource for families and parents called Reclaim

Step 3: Create a Practical Plan

After you’ve identified the underlying problems behind your child’s Roblox addiction, it’s time to create a plan towards a better life for your child.

Your plan must be practical for your family and realistic for you to implement. Otherwise, your plan is doomed to fail from the start.

In this plan, you’ll need to cover the following:

  • What are the “Targets of Change” you want to see? How will you know your plan is successful? Do you want improvements to their behavior and attitude? A greater focus on schoolwork? More help around the house?
  • What support and resources do you have available? Who’s responsibility is it to monitor?
  • Are you reducing problematic play or eliminating Roblox completely? What are the limits, and are you setting up parental controls?
  • What replacement activities can you set up to help address the void created by not playing Roblox so much?
  • Optional: Delete Roblox from all devices and set up restrictions in the Roblox account.
  • Also, be aware and limit the use of platforms that might be encouraging your child to play Roblox or other games, such as Discord, YouTube, or Twitch.

The plan will depend on whether you want to stop your child from playing Roblox entirely or limit and reduce negative behaviors associated with it.

You must include your child’s perspective in the plan, as their involvement and participation will have a significant impact on whether your plan is successful or not. Sometimes parents forget to ask, “What do you think you need for this to work?”

The next step will also be to implement and stick to the plan. We encourage you to evaluate your plan every three weeks and make adjustments as needed. It may be emotionally draining at times, so make sure you also take care of yourself in the process.

We recommend including self-care habits such as mindfulness/ meditation, practicing gratitude, spending time in nature, regular exercise, creative hobbies, and positive self-talk and affirmations.

Step 4: Find Support!

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people such as friends, family members and find communities online, such as the Game Quitters Parent Support Group.

You can also start working with a video game addiction therapist near you. 

At Game Quitters, we’ve created a signature program for families to reduce gaming problems called Reclaim. Inside the program, you’ll learn how to implement the strategies we’ve talked about in this article in more detail and use proven methods that have worked with hundreds of other clients we’ve worked with before.

Welcome to our guide on How to Stop Playing Candy Crush. 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.

Candy Crush Saga is one of the most popular mobile games of all time. Over 250 million people play the game on their phones while commuting or just killing time at home after work.

Candy Crush addiction is a problem that is often overlooked and not spoken about openly. Perhaps that’s because Candy Crush seems like such a harmless app at first glance – but it can quickly become a big problem without you even noticing.

The game is a mix of Tetris and a Las Vegas slot machine. Completing levels feels satisfying, so you keep going until you realize you’ve spent HOURS playing the game.

This mum was so addicted to Candy Crush she played 18 hours a day. Her play was so excessive that it led to losing her boyfriend, job, and thousands of dollars: “It’s broken up our family, pushed my son’s dad away, and, even then, I couldn’t stop.”

So how do you stop playing Candy Crush and do better things with your time? Keep reading.

The Psychology Behind Why Candy Crush Is so Addictive

candy crush addictive design

Credit: King

Candy Crush Saga is the fifth highest-grossing app on App Store and the third highest-grossing app on Google Play Store. In terms of monthly active users, Candy Crush “crushes it,” placing in the top 10 in almost every possible category.

But why is it so popular and addictive?

Many people play Candy Crush as a temporary escape from reality. The game is simple, easy to learn, and easy to play. This simplicity is also why the game appeals to older demographics who grew up with games such as Tetris and Bejeweled.

Candy Crush is designed to be easy to win at the beginning while becoming more challenging with each new level. Hours seem to pass by as you get so immersed into the game and its progression system that you start to neglect other aspects of your life you should be addressing. Instead of Candy Crush being a fun game to get a break from the day, it’s become a distraction.

There is always another level to complete. And the more you progress, the more difficult it can become to resist the next challenge.

Another problem with Candy Crush addiction is that it seems to afflict young adults and adults of the age over 35 most. So most Candy Crush players see themselves as casual gamers or not even gamers at all. Yet, they may be addicted to the game.

Symptoms of Candy Crush Addiction

candy crush addiction symptoms

So how do you know if you have a Candy Crush addiction? Here are the most common symptoms that you may be seeing or experiencing:

  • Preoccupation with Candy Crush – you find it difficult to focus on anything other than the game, including school or work.
  • You have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t play, including boredom, mood swings, irritability, and cravings.
  • Higher tolerance – you need to play more and more or spend more and more money to satisfy your needs.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop playing Candy Crush or to moderate your play
  • Lying to loved ones or family members
  • Loss of interest in other hobbies or activities
  • Neglecting relationships with other people or family members
  • Playing the game to escape negative feelings

In extreme cases of Candy Crush addiction, you may even experience a severe physical injury. For example, this 29-year-old Candy Crush addict experienced chronic left thumb pain and loss of active motion from playing Candy Crush too much. He had to undergo surgery to repair his thumb!

Suppose you are experiencing five or more of the symptoms above. In that case, you might be suffering from Candy Crush addiction and should seek professional help.

Concerned about your gaming? Take the Video Game Addiction Test.

How to Stop Playing Candy Crush

quit candy crush

Follow these steps to gain control of your Candy Crush addiction.

Step 1: Identify Why You Play

Why do you play Candy Crush so much?

Is it because you have nothing else to do and you are bored? Is it because you’re escaping real-life problems and neglecting them? Or it might be because you need the sense of achievement and progress that you get with the game?

Candy Crush addiction (or any video game addiction) is a complex problem that might consist of several reasons why gaming addiction develops in the first place.

The first step is discovering why you play so much and then find replacement activities in your life that help you feel the same (we’ll talk about this later on).

Step 2: Delete Candy Crush

The next step is to delete all instances of Candy Crush (or Candy Crush Saga) from your mobile devices and your social media accounts. Deleting your accounts can feel intimidating, but it will make it much easier to stop playing so much.

  • Delete the game from your phone.
  • Delete all instances of the game you have on your computer or social media accounts such as Facebook.
  • Deactivate your Candy Crush account (if you have one). Here’s how you can do it.

If your partner or child has a problem with Candy Crush, we do not advise deleting it from their mobile devices or social media accounts. However, we can provide you with personalized guidance on speaking to your partner or child about your concerns and working with them to end their problematic playing.

Although deleting the game from your phone and computer will be helpful to stop your Candy Crush addiction, it might not be enough for you to stop playing it.

Step 3: Find Replacement Activities

If you previously spent hours of your day playing Candy Crush, you’ll now need to find a way of how to replace that playtime with real-life activities. New hobbies will help you avoid boredom and cravings. 

To complete this step, you’ll need to go back to step one and consider why you play the game in the first place.

Then, you’ll want to find replacement activities that address the needs of your Candy Crush addiction addressed.

For example, if you play Candy Crush because of its progression system, replace it with a skill-based activity such as learning a new language or musical instrument.

If you can’t think of what to do if you get bored, we’ve prepared an extensive list of hobbies to try out. Alternatively, you can try out our hobby tool and see if you can find something that fits you.

Step 4: Stick to It!

The next step is to stay committed. It might sound easy, and it will probably get tough at some point, but you’ll have to remember why you want to quit playing Candy Crush in the first place.

It might be a bit easier if you stick to a carefully designed program to help gamers just like you quit gaming. You can try a 90-day detox and see how it goes. Ninety days is usually enough to rewire your brain and stop a bad gaming habit.

If you are a parent reading this, a 90-day detox may not be practical for your circumstances or your child. Please book a consultation with our team to build a personalized plan for your family.

Another strategy you may benefit from is creating a schedule for your day to lay the foundation for your recovery. Focus particularly on the times you typically spend playing Candy Crush and make sure you have other things to occupy your time. For example, if you play on a work commute, you will want to be conscious of what you will do instead during that time.

Having a structure can provide you with a way of spending your valuable time sensibly without indulging in activities that lead nowhere, such as playing Candy Crush. 

Need Help to Stop Playing Candy Crush?

If you need help to quit your Candy Crush addiction, we have designed an exceptional program called Respawn. With the help of this program, you will get an actionable step-by-step program to stop gaming and take back control of your life.

Welcome to 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.

Back in 2011, when Minecraft was first released, I tried the game for the first time. I was impressed by the simplicity, how it made me think out of the box and how different it was from any other game I had tried before.

After spending a couple of hours with the game, I realized just how deep it was and how creative I could get with it. Creating a base, fighting off creepers, and collecting resources felt so novel. I spent several hours playing the game without realizing it. Before I knew it, I became a Minecraft addict.

And I’m not the only player who developed a problem. This gaming addict who stole from his parents was also addicted to Minecraft: “I got really into Minecraft because all my friends were playing it. The idea of multiplayer games was so attractive. All of us could play at the same time and have fun together! Even now, I associate Minecraft with happy memories.”

Minecraft addiction is a serious problem. It is one of the most addictive video games globally, and it’s particularly problematic for parents of children who suffer from this type of addiction.

Why Minecraft is so Popular – Stats & Figures

minecraft viewership

SullyGnome: Minecraft average/peak daily viewers, between Tuesday 4th December and Saturday 5th June

Minecraft is one of the most accessible video games in the world. The game is available on all gaming consoles and devices. It is popular amongst children and adults, especially those with ADHD and Autism. Educational institutions also use the game for teaching purposes. 

There’s no surprise the game took off so quickly. From 2016 to 2020, the monthly player count for Minecraft increased from 40 million to a whopping 131 million, making it one of the most popular games in the world. It’s also the best-selling game of all time, with more than 200 million sales since 2011.

At first sight, this game seems so harmless. You’re just building your base and mining some resources. 

However, it is a huge time sink, and its design can be addictive. Forum users report their average length of a Minecraft session is 5-6 hours.

The game involves several features that can make it addictive, including:

  • The social aspect of the game allows you to play with other people and make new friends
  • The game is very immersive
  • It provides you with a platform to grow (in the game)
  • It’s easily accessible thanks to low age restrictions
  • It inspires creativity

The biggest problem with Minecraft addiction is that it has a low age requirement of 10+, which means that children play this game and get addicted to it.

It’s also available on many platforms, including PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices.

Parents from all over the world are voicing their concerns about Minecraft addiction. It seems as though the game affects children between the ages of 12 and 16 in particular. Perhaps, surprisingly, the average age of a Minecraft player is 24 years old, meaning Minecraft addiction can affect players of all ages.

Minecraft is also a popular game to watch on streaming platforms YouTube and Twitch. According to SullyGnome, Twitch Minecraft streams were watched over 774 million hours in the past year, increasing by 495 million. Streamers and YouTubers such as TommyInnit, GeorgeNotFound, Dream, Tubbo, RanbooLive, and PewDiePie make new content regularly for players to watch and follow.

Minecraft is a community to be a part of that extends beyond just playing the game. This sense of community can lead to an increased desire or need to play Minecraft.

Addicted to Minecraft? 7 Symptoms

minecraft dead

So how do you know if you are addicted to Minecraft? Reflect and see if you can spot any of the following symptoms of gaming addiction:

  • Gaming is the main activity in your life, and you lack motivation for anything else
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you are not playing, such as boredom, depression, anxiety, cravings, and irritation
  • You want to play more and more, and it seems like no amount of Minecraft is enough
  • You lie to friends or family members about your games
  • You have no interest in other hobbies, especially sports
  • You struggle to limit or control the amount of Minecraft you play
  • Your mood is poor and negative

If you have five or more symptoms, you may suffer from gaming addiction and should seek support. 

Concerned about your gaming? Take the Video Game Addiction Test.

Here’s what a former Minecraft player experienced when he stopped playing: “I got hooked on Minecraft. I dropped my major and three more classes. I had spent two years in college and passed only seven classes. After two weeks of being free from gaming, I had my mind back. I had clarity.”

Below you will learn how to stop playing Minecraft, but if you play other games, then it’s best if you quit them, too. Respawn is a program that will help you stop gaming and get your life back on track. Alternatively, consider speaking to a video game addiction therapist.

How to Stop Playing Minecraft – A Guide

quit minecraft

When deciding to stop playing Minecraft, you can stop playing entirely or start playing in moderation

If three or more of the symptoms above are present, we suggest you stop playing for 90 days. Use this time to break bad habits and build new ones. 

Here are the steps that you can take to stop playing Minecraft.

Step 1: What is Your Motivation?

Take some time to think about why you play Minecraft and why you want to stop. The more clarity you have on why you are doing what you are doing, the easier it will be to take positive action to change it.

These are the four main reasons why people play video games:

  • Temporary Escape
  • Measurable Progress
  • Challenge
  • Socialization

Minecraft offers all of those aspects. You can escape into a virtual world, you can grow your character, the game is challenging, and you can spend time with your friends, as well.

So why do you want to stop playing Minecraft? Are you spending too much time with the game? Do you want more real-life interactions? Are other areas of your life being neglected because of Minecraft?

Understanding how Minecraft affects your life is a strong motivating factor in stopping playing when it gets challenging.

Step 2: Start a 90-Day Detox

The next step is to quit Minecraft and other games for a 90-day detox. Taking a 90-day break from gaming will help you break bad habits caused by gaming. 

You may find it helpful to delete Minecraft from your computer, along with other games that have caused problems for you in the past. Although this can be intimidating, it will be worth it if you commit yourself fully to improving your life.

90-days without Minecraft may be challenging, especially during the first few days. You might experience withdrawal symptoms like boredom, anxiety, and depression – but don’t give up. Withdrawal symptoms are a normal part of the process, and it will get easier over time.

Remember why you want to quit playing Minecraft and think about the opportunity to change your life. Instead of wasting your time in Minecraft, build skills in the real world.

And the 90-day detox challenge can be very effective. Just take a look at James’ example, who is a 40-year old dad who struggled with gaming addiction and found the detox helpful:

“It becomes easy to forget that the real world is, in fact, a massive multiplayer open-world sandbox. And one where you’ll find much more meaning and value than you will on a hard drive. Since finishing the 90 days, I have gone back and played a few games. And you know what? They don’t do it for me anymore. I’m much happier spending my precious time on other pursuits these days.”

If you’re a parent reading this, a 90-day detox may not be feasible for your circumstances, or your child. Speak with a professional who can help you make that decision. Book a consultation today.

Step 3: Find Replacement Activities

You must replace your time playing Minecraft with activities that address the needs Minecraft did. If you enjoy Minecraft for its creativity, find hobbies that allow you to get creative.

We have created a comprehensive list of 60+ hobby ideas that you can try out. Alternatively, you can try out our hobby tool, which will help you find activities that you’ll love doing.

Tip: Be patient. When you are trying new activities, you may not find your passion right away. But hang in there, and over time, you will find many activities you love.

Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Find Help

Many people like you struggle with playing too many hours of Minecraft. You are not alone, and support is available. 

Here are a few more things you can try:

  • Join an online community like the Game Quitters Forum or the StopGaming community on Reddit.
  • Find a therapist who specializes in gaming issues in our directory.
  • For players, get a copy of our guide, Respawn. It will walk you through step-by-step exactly how to quit playing video games in even more detail.
  • For families, our signature family program, Reclaim, will help you reduce arguments at home and build a plan for your family to get gaming under control.

Welcome to our guide on How to Stop Playing Call of Duty. Learn step-by-step exactly what you need to do to quit the game so you can spend more time being productive and improving the quality of your life.

Call of Duty is one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world.

The game is a first-person shooter released in 2003. It offers a Battle Royale mode called Call of Duty: Warzone and free-to-play version Call of Duty: Mobile. The latter was released on October 1st, 2019, and saw one of the largest mobile game launches in history, generating over US$480 million with 270 million downloads within a year. Today the game has over 100 million players and is one of the most popular games in the world.

However, Call of Duty can be addictive for some players thanks to its fast-paced gameplay, in-game loot boxes, and competitive nature. 

That’s why Call of Duty addiction is such a big problem today. With an increasing number of players, more and more people are looking for strategies on how to stop playing Call of Duty.

What Makes Call of Duty so Popular?

call of duty addiction

Call of Duty has a long tradition as a video game.

If you started playing video games in the early 2000s, then the first versions of Call of Duty games might have shaped you as a gamer. Games such as COD 2, COD 4, Black Ops, and Modern Warfare II remain nostalgic for gamers. Many people play Call of Duty because of brand loyalty and may have played the franchise for a decade or longer.

After all, Call of Duty is the third most profitable gaming franchise, behind Pokemon and Mario.

Spoko, a recovered gamer shares, “Call of Duty was so in-depth compared to the other games I had played. Players took losing seriously and were adamant about becoming the greatest gamer they could be. Clan after clan existed throughout the community, and I was excited to become a part of it. If I were able to go back in time and stop myself from becoming addicted to games, this would’ve been the point where I would’ve tried to convince myself that there was more to life than gaming.”

The second reason why Call of Duty is so popular is that it offers a perfect combination of engaging (and potentially addictive) elements of game design:

  • Fast-paced gameplay
  • Social interaction
  • Competitiveness
  • Loot boxes and in-game rewards
  • The potential to improve as a player 

In addition, Call of Duty: Warzone, the most popular Call of Duty game, offers a free-to-play Battle Royale mode.

Lastly, we must not ignore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. From the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to April 2021, the player count has risen from 30 million to 100 million for Call of Duty Warzone.

Related: 9 Most Addicting Games in the World

Addicted to Call of Duty?

Some players who play Call of Duty report it affecting their lives in negative ways. Common negative effects of gaming include poor grades, low motivation, lack of productivity, poor relationships, or struggles with employment or work performance.

So how do you know if you might be addicted to Call of Duty?

Concerned about your gaming? Take the Video Game Addiction Test.

First, notice if you are playing more and more and neglecting regular life responsibilities such as school or work. Often someone who is developing a gaming problem will withdraw from activities such as sports to create more time to play games, such as this recovered gamer in the Netherlands:

“I had stopped playing soccer, tennis, and piano because I could play Call of Duty with my friends. Those were the first things I started giving up to play more games, the games I loved so much toy would constantly challenge me mentally.”

Next, notice if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you can’t play, such as becoming more irritable and moody. Do you find yourself feeling frustrated or arguing with people in your life when you can’t play? Are you having trouble focusing at school or work because you want to be at home gaming? 

Finally, notice if you continue to play even though it is harming your life. Do you find yourself justifying why you should continue to play, even though you know you have played enough? Are you staying up too late, causing you to be tired to play? Do you find yourself becoming more apathetic about the quality of your life?

If you are resonating with this, then you want to follow the advice below. Call of Duty addiction is a big problem, but it is possible to stop it or learn to moderate it.

Austin struggled with a Call of Duty addiction (among other games) and managed to moderate his gaming and use his valuable time for other things, so he became an entrepreneur.

Improving Your Life is Possible

call of duty victory

First of all, you should realize that quitting Call of Duty is not going to be easy. You will struggle at times and might even relapse, but that’s okay, as long as you realize it and try to stay on the path.

Whenever it gets challenging, try to remember why you want to quit playing Call of Duty.

Is it limiting your real-world chances of meeting new people? Is it getting in your way towards better grades, having a job, friends, or a life worth living? Or are you just tired of being unable to resist the urge of playing another Warzone or CoD game at 3 am?

Here are some additional tips to remember before we get started with strategies on how to stop playing Call of Duty for good:

  • Quitting Call of Duty (like any other game) is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient and take it one day at a time.
  • Commit 100%. Don’t allow yourself to play “just one more game.” Before you know it, it will be another one, and another one, until you’re caught up in the same old cycle again.
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends, parents, or anyone you trust. If you don’t have anyone you trust, try speaking with a video game addiction therapist.
  • Start today, not tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or next week. Today.

How to Stop Playing Call of Duty – Step By Step

call of duty quit

Follow these steps to stop your Call of Duty addiction.

Step 1: Find Out The Reason Why You Play Call of Duty So Much

The first step will happen in your mind, but it’s essential to stop for a moment and think about the reasons why you play so much.

In our experience, there are four main reasons why people play games excessively:

  • Temporary escape
  • Social connection
  • Measurable growth
  • Challenge

These four reasons are basic needs we have. There’s nothing wrong with wanting an escape from stress, or to socially connect with friends, or to experience progress, or to challenge yourself and achieve. The key is to be intentional in how you fulfill these needs.

So why do you play Call of Duty? What do you enjoy about it? How does it fulfill your life? The more clarity you can find in why you play Call of Duty, the easier it will be for you to stop playing.

It’s an important step, so you should not skip it. Take some time to think about why you play, and it will make it easier for you later on as you’ll look to find new activities that address the needs that gaming covers for you.

Step 2: Start a 90-Day Call of Duty Detox.

The next step is to start a 90-day Call of Duty detox

What does this mean? 

Essentially, you should spend 90 days without playing Call of Duty (or any other game), period. 

Why 90 days?

Because that’s how long it will take for your brain to rewire from the dopamine you get while playing games.

As you play games, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for how we feel pleasure. Gaming is hyper-stimulating, so the more you play, the more your brain will require the same level of dopamine to feel satisfaction.

After 90-days, you will be able to decide whether you want to play Call of Duty in moderation or quit gaming forever. You can also delete all of your Call of Duty accounts and games from your computer if you want to stop right now.

It will be challenging, especially in the first few days, but the next step will help you.

If you’re a parent reading this, a 90-day detox may not be feasible for your circumstances, or your child. Speak with a professional who can help you make that decision. Book a consultation today.

Step 3: Find Replacement Activities

When you stop playing Call of Duty for 90 days, you will have several hours of free time. You’ll need to replace the time you spent playing Call of Duty with new activities.

To be successful, we recommend finding new activities that fulfill the needs that gaming fulfilled. To help you do this, we have prepared a list of 60+ hobby ideas that you can consider trying to replace Call of Duty. 

To start this step, you’ll have to think again about why you played Call of Duty – what did it fulfill in your life?

For instance, if you played CoD because of social interaction, find hobbies that bring social interaction. It could be playing basketball with friends or if you don’t like sports, maybe joining a club or a community with like-minded people. You can also join the Game Quitters Forum to connect with new peers.

If you’re still unsure which replacement activity is for you, try out our hobby tool. It will provide you with hobby ideas for your specific needs.

Step 4: Structure Your Time

During the 90-day detox, there will be times when you will be bored, especially during the times that you would typically have spent playing Call of Duty.

What to do if that happens? Well, first, chill. Although boredom can feel frustrating, it will pass. It’s also helpful to structure your schedule, so you never run out of activities to do.

Use a calendar or plan and write down your schedule for the day. Pay close attention to the times you usually play games, such as after school or work. Fill that time with activities and hobbies that you’ve picked previously. It can also be helpful to have multiple new activities to replace gaming instead of just one.

The rewards of doing this will be huge. Never forget why you want to quit Call of Duty in the first place.

Step 5: Join a Support Community

Quitting Call of Duty will be easier with the help of a support community. There are many great communities, both online and offline. Here is a list of online support communities:

You can also try joining communities in your local area. You can also organize a group of friends who support each other to quit Call of Duty at the same time and be each other’s motivation.

Need Help to Quit Gaming?

Reading this and still don’t know where to start? Check out Respawn, our proven step-by-step system designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life once again.

Guide to Quit Gaming

Ready to delete your Blizzard account? Then we’ve got you covered.

Blizzard is one of the most popular game development companies having published games such as Warcraft, Starcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Diablo, amongst many others.

Although many of these games are popular, they can also be addictive and cause some gamers to experience negative impact in their life.

So what if you are one of these gamers and you want to delete your Blizzard account for good? Then follow our step-by-step guide below:

Delete Your Blizzard Account

Step 1: Login to Your Blizzard Account

Click here to login to your Blizzard account.

delete blizzard account

Step 2: Confirm your Request to Remove Personal Information

delete blizzard account

Once logged in, follow the prompt that asks you to confirm your request to remove personal information. Check the box at the bottom and click Proceed.

Request to Remove Personal Information

WARNING: PROCEEDING WITH THIS REQUEST WILL PERMANENTLY REMOVE ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION FROM YOUR BLIZZARD ACCOUNT.

This includes your:

– Name, contact information, and security details
– Payment methods and purchase history
– Purchased games, codes, promotions, and in-game items
– Game accounts and all game progress
– Communications with Blizzard support
– Any remaining Blizzard Balance

ONCE THIS PROCESS IS COMPLETE, BLIZZARD WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO RECOVER THIS INFORMATION OR RESTORE THE ACCOUNT TO YOU UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

This request only includes personal information on game accounts currently linked to this Blizzard Account. If you have a World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, or console game account that’s not attached to this email address, it will NOT be included in this process unless you link it before submitting this request.

Requests may take up to 30 days to complete.

I understand that I am requesting to have all of my data removed. I UNDERSTAND THAT NEITHER BLIZZARD NOR I WILL EVER BE ABLE TO RECOVER THIS INFORMATION.

Step 3: Enter Your Verification Code

delete blizzard account

Next, you will receive a verification code to your account’s email address. Open the email and find the code. Enter the code in the prompt on Blizzard’s website and click Submit.

Step 4: That’s it. You’re done!

delete blizzard account

Blizzard states that requests to delete your blizzard account may take up to 30 days to complete. Although it’s a bit annoying to have to wait up to 30 days, once the process is finished the deletion is permanent.

My Blizzard account was deleted after 9 days and I received an email from them confirming this.

Information that will be removed includes your name, contact information (email, phone number, etc), security details and saved payment methods, along with the deletion of your purchase history, purchased games, codes, promotions, and in-game items, game accounts and all game progress, communications with Blizzard Customer Support, and any remaining Blizzard Balance.

During the account deletion process Blizzard may ask you for further verification during the intake process so be sure to keep an eye on your email in case that occurs.

Now that you have deleted your Blizzard account, you can find a new hobby and level up your life.


Esports betting is a relatively new form of entertainment that millions of people enjoy.

In this video we will explain what esports betting is, how it works, and what the risks are that you need to be aware of.

What are Esports?

Esports is a term for competitive gaming. In many ways it’s the same as traditional sports with fans following teams, watching matches and placing bets on who will win.

Esports are streamed live, with millions of viewers around the world watching contests at any given time, leading to esports becoming a billion-dollar industry in recent years. There are two main types of esports, the simulation of real-life sports (FIFA, NBA and MLS have their own esports teams, for example) and classic esports games like League of Legends, DOTA 2 and CS:GO.

Streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch have made watching players accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Like in traditional sports, successful players can earn large salaries. Some of the biggest esports tournaments involve teams and players competing for millions of dollars in prize money.

fortnite world cup

Read More: What is Esports?

How Does Esports Betting Work?

esports betting

Although you can gamble before an esports event, live betting during the match has become hugely popular.

The three most common types of esports betting are:

  • Real-money, fixed-odds betting through an online betting site
  • Social betting between individuals arranged privately
  • Skins gambling and loot boxes, which often take place in-game

Some esports bets are specific to a particular game like CSGO, League of Legends and DOTA2. For example, someone might place a wager on who makes the ‘first kill’ within a particular match.

Others bets can be placed on:

  • Who wins the match
  • Who wins the tournament
  • The final score
  • Odd/Evens bets – this is where you guess whether there will be an odd or even number of games won, players killed, or rounds played.
  • And Over/Under bets – you bet on whether an esports team will score more or less than an amount set by the online betting site.

Esports Betting Risks

Since esports has become increasingly mainstream and esports betting is widely accessible, it’s important to understand the potential risks, especially for younger people.

One concern is that because esports betting may not look like traditional gambling, parents of gamers or young people may not realize that esports betting and loot box purchasing can be, in fact, gambling.

While traditional gambling is illegal for minors, esports betting and other in-game gambling mechanics are not regulated, thus people under 18, or in some areas, under 21 can easily gamble, often on their parents’ credit cards.

Social media also plays a big part in encouraging young gamers to bet, by making it seem like a normal part of gaming. Esports betting sites advertise using social media posts that are funny and relatable, with memes deliberately targeting a younger audience. This is different than advertising aimed at an older demographic who places bets on traditional sports.

gambling meme

Another concern when betting in esports can be a person’s lack of knowledge of all the intricacies of the sport. Some games like DOTA2 or League of Legends are quite complex and hard to understand without an in-depth personal knowledge of the game. This is different from traditional sports, like soccer, for example, where the rules of the game are generally widely available and understood by spectators.

A further concern with esports betting is match fixing, and the lack of proper anti-fraud and cheating mechanisms in place.

Finally, as more young people engage in esports betting, or gambling within video games, there are concerns that some may develop a serious problem or even an addiction. Consequences of these can include negative impacts in their physical health, anxiety, depression, lost work or school opportunities, conflicts in their relationships with friends or family, and more.

Where to Get Help

If you think esports betting is causing you or a family member problems, emotional distress, or financial harm, there is help and resources available for you.

Kindbridge Logo

Mental health support for individuals and families experiencing problems associated with gaming or gambling. Get started with Kindbridge today!

Book a free consultation

This article is part of Mind Your Game, a campaign brought to you by Game Quitters, Kindbridge and the Entain Foundation US to reduce gaming and gambling-related harm in esports.

Skins gambling is a new form of gambling in video games. It is an increasingly common activity for young people to engage in and has risks involved.

Parent Zone found 27% of children aged 13-18 have heard of skins gambling, with 10% who have gambled skins in some form.

What Are “Skins”?

Skins are virtual items that you can accumulate inside a video game to decorate weapons or characters. Skins sometimes give the player an advantage in the game, but most skins are just cosmetic items to customize the look of the character.

A gamer either earns skins as rewards when they get to new levels, or they can buy skins from a store within the game, often through loot boxes. Some skins are harder to get in a game, while others are more common. Some skins are bought and sold for thousands of real-life dollars.

skins gambling

In the past few years, skins have become a form of virtual currency. That is, players trade skins with each other in exchange for virtual or real-life money. Steam is the main online marketplace where players can buy, trade and sell skins, but in the past few years other smaller websites have been launched as well including crypto sites.

steam marketplace

By making certain skins rarer than others, Valve and other publishers have generated a strong demand, with some skins worth thousands of dollars. As a result, skin gambling has exploded – and vulnerable young people have become exposed to its risks.

What is Skins Gambling?

skins gambling

Gaming has reached a global audience through esports – that is, organized competitive video game competitions that millions of people watch as they are being played.

Like with other sports, people want to bet on the outcomes of these matches. Some people will use real cash while others can bet their skins on third-party websites. Some of which allow you to exchange your skins for cash, so placing a bet with a virtual skin can be the same as gambling with actual money.

That’s skins gambling.

Skins and Loot Boxes

loot boxes

Loot boxes are another area of concern that have been introduced into games in recent years when it comes to potential gambling behavior. Loot boxes are virtual items in video games that contain rewards.

You either earn or purchase a sealed mystery box that contains a randomized reward, meaning, there is no guarantee of what may be inside. The rareness of certain prizes and the random aspect of the reward can be compelling to hook players to buy more.

Often, the odds of winning are not clearly shown, so young people can be drawn in without understanding their relatively low chance of success.

Skins Gambling Risks

First, the biggest risk is the blurred line between gaming and gambling.

Gambling is illegal for people under 18, and in some areas under 21, in part because the adolescent brain is not fully developed to accurately weigh the associated risks and financial costs of a gambling action.

Second, as with any form of gambling, there’s a risk of developing problems or an addiction. This is especially true for youth. Research shows that the younger a person is when they start gambling, the higher the risk for developing later gambling problems, even if they don’t think of themselves as a gambler.

Gambling or gaming problems may have serious negative impacts on a young person’s physical and mental health. Problems can show up as anxiety, depression, financial debt, poor school or work performance, and conflicts in relationships with family and friends.

Third, there are less legal barriers for young gamers to engage in skins gambling. Unlike traditional gambling where there are many laws in place to prevent young people from accessing casinos or official gambling websites, many skins gambling websites are unlicensed with no safeguarding in place – they don’t operate under any gambling licensing or regulatory bodies.

Finally, there is the risk of influencers on social media platforms, such as YouTube and Twitch, where they promote and glamorize skins gambling in videos. For example, YouTuber Mr Beast recently posted a video of himself opening loot boxes, ranging from $100 to $250,000, with a total value of $500,000.

Seeing famous gaming influencers win big prizes normalizes gambling behavior – it creates the impression that spending real-world money or their parents’ real-world money on a risky outcome is normal and desirable.

Gaming can be super fun. But there can be risks also. Skins gambling is an increasingly normalized part of gaming that can hook vulnerable players into a form of gambling. This can put young people at risk for experiencing negative impacts or even addiction.

Where to Get Help

For some people, skins gambling may become a problem. If you, or a loved one, think you might have a problem with skins gambling, there is help available.

Kindbridge Logo

Mental health support for individuals and families experiencing problems associated with gaming or gambling. Get started with Kindbridge today!

Book a free consultation

This article is part of Mind Your Game, a campaign brought to you by Game Quitters, Kindbridge and the Entain Foundation US to reduce gaming and gambling-related harm in esports.

The ‘Mind Your Game’ campaign will help players and their loved ones identify problematic behaviors, and provide a support pathway for gamers and gamblers at-risk or currently experiencing harm.

Entain Foundation US has partnered with Game Quitters and Kindbridge to launch a series of educational videos to reduce gaming and gambling-related harm in esports. The video campaign will launch the week of May 24 2021 as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. The collaboration is the beginning of an exciting partnership between these three innovative organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a significant increase in esports gaming, and an associated rise in disordered gaming and mental health issues. An estimated 3% of gamers are at-risk of exhibiting problematic gaming behavior; this represents over 6 million vulnerable gamers in the US. The number of online conversations around mental health has increased dramatically since the outbreak of COVID-19, so tools to help players during the crisis and beyond are essential.

The ‘Mind Your Game’ campaign will give players and their families facts about the mental health challenges faced by gamers. It will feature specific issues to be aware of, tips and strategies to reduce potential harm, and advice on how to find support. A series of four educational videos will be available on YouTube: Skin Gambling, Esports Betting, Spot the Problem and Seek Help.

Entain Foundation US is dedicated to promoting responsible gambling and sports integrity. It recognizes the importance of gamblers enjoying a healthy and sustainable relationship with esports gaming and has chosen Game Quitters and Kindbridge to be its partners in educating and supporting gamers and their families around positive mental health and wellness.

Game Quitters is the leading support community for people struggling with gaming disorder. It works with parents, gamers, teachers and professionals to provide specialist information and resources. Kindbridge is the world’s first teletherapy company focused specifically on the successful treatment of gamblers and gamers struggling with their mental health. The video campaign will involve Cam Adair – Founder of Game Quitters and global expert on gaming addiction – kickstarting conversations about problematic gaming and gambling behaviors, with Kindbridge providing a support pathway for mental health services.

Cam Adair, Founder of Game Quitters, says: “Imagine a world where a player or loved one can quickly find specialist advice and support for problematic gaming or gambling. That’s the world I imagine and that’s the world I’m excited to help build in collaboration with Kindbridge and Entain Foundation US.”

Martin Lycka, Trustee of Entain Foundation US, says: “We are committed to supporting initiatives that encourage responsible gambling and gaming. That’s why we’ve chosen to partner with Game Quitters and Kindbridge on the ‘Mind Your Game’ video campaign. Encouraging our players to actively manage their mental health is precisely the type of project we are proud to support.”

Daniel Umfleet, CEO of Kindbridge, says: “We are excited to link up with Game Quitters and Entain Foundation US to help drive the conversation about the necessity of mental health support for gamers and gamblers. Together we can build a stronger support pathway for players and their loved ones.”

The three partners have unique expertise to make this initiative a success. Together, they will provide a trusted route to accessible and effective educational prevention treatment and a support pathway for gamers and gamblers who are at-risk or currently experiencing harm in esports.

Editor’s Notes

Game Quitters

The world’s largest support community for video game addiction, serving 75,000 members in 95 countries. It provides educational content; online products; and community support for gamers, concerned parents and mental health professionals to better understand how to solve compulsive gaming and video game addiction. Visit: GameQuitters

Entain Foundation US

The non-profit subsidiary of Entain, one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups operating in the online and retail sector. The Entain Foundation US is committed to men’s health, with a particular focus on mental health. It supports responsible gambling; sports integrity; and gambling regulation research, education and treatment. Visit: Entain Foundation

Kindbridge

The world’s first teletherapy company dedicated to the successful treatment of gamblers and gamers struggling with their mental health. Its mission is to build the largest network of mental health treatment providers in the US who focus on high-quality specialist care for these communities. Visit: Kindbridge

Founded in 2015, Game Quitters has grown to become the largest peer support community for people struggling with problematic gaming. Our vision is to provide a platform with the best tools, resources, and support for gamers and their loved ones. Game Quitters is excited to announce a new partnership with Kindbridge that will help further that vision by providing a support pathway of high quality clinical care to our members.

Kindbridge is the world’s first teletherapy company focused specifically on delivering high quality, therapist led treatment to people suffering from a gambling or gaming disorder. Its mission is to build the largest network of mental health treatment providers in the United States who focus on high-quality care for the gambling and gaming communities.

Since 2019, gaming disorder has been approved for inclusion in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) by the World Health Organization. The number one issue we hear from gamers and their loved ones is how to find locally trained clinicians who understand gaming. This partnership between Game Quitters and Kindbridge will make locally trained clinicians more accessible across the United States, which currently accounts for 40% of members on the Game Quitters platform. Together we will ensure if you or a loved one is seeking help you are able to find it.

The partnership will see Cam Adair, founder of Game Quitters, join Kindbridge’s Board of Advisors to provide expertise on gamer insights, trends, and research to create high quality products: “Imagine a world where a gamer or loved one can quickly find a local specialist trained professional with a customized treatment plan for problematic gaming. That’s the world I imagine and that’s the world I’m excited to help build in partnership with Kindbridge.”

Kindbridge’s CEO Daniel Umfleet says: “We are delighted to be leading the field in offering specialist and tailored mental health care to people with gaming and gambling disorders. Game Quitters was high on our list of desired partners with the right mix of thought leadership, activism, content creation and products – we knew together we could build a stronger support pathway for gamers and their loved ones. We are excited to launch this partnership.”

Find a Video Game Addiction Therapist

There are currently an estimated 2.5 billion active gamers worldwide and most U.S. teenagers play games. Up to three percent of gamers are at-risk of developing gaming problems which can have a significant impact to their physical and mental health, family and peer relationships, academics and employment opportunities. With gaming touching the lives of most families across the United States, it’s crucial that we provide stronger support pathways to the clinical care they need and deserve.

To learn more about Kindbridge, go to https://www.kindbridge.com/therapy/

Press Enquiries: Contact Us

Editor’s Notes

KINDBRIDGE

Kindbridge is the world’s first teletherapy company with a focus on the successful treatment of gambling and gaming addictions. Launched in 2020 Kindbridge is dedicated to a centralized, value-based approach to delivering timely, efficient, and effective care on-demand across the US. Diagnosing and treating qualified mental health, gambling & gaming disorders, and any related co-morbidities in a teletherapy setting allows their clients access to a treatment plan from the comfort of their own homes. Kindbridge provides the highest quality, HIPAA compliant, virtual technologies for their therapists to connect with their clients in an organized, efficient, and confidential manner. Creating a virtual ecosystem that drives successful outcomes allows their clients to stay safe, distanced, and healthy.

GAME QUITTERS

Game Quitters is the largest peer support community for people struggling with gaming disorder. Founded in 2015 by Cam Adair, a former video game addict who is widely hailed as a leading expert on video game addiction, Game Quitters has grown to support over 75,000 members representing 95 countries. It is dedicated to providing the best tools, resources, and support for gamers and their loved ones. Game Quitters is at the forefront of raising awareness about the gaming industry, the risks of problematic gaming, and how to keep gaming a balanced activity in your life. For more on the Game Quitters story, watch GAME OVER, a documentary by TELUS.

People of all ages play video games for many different reasons. Video games serve a purpose and everyone plays for a reason. Identifying your motivation to play can be helpful to maintain moderation or shift your desire to other activities.

Whether you are a gamer yourself, a concerned parent or loved one, or a professional interested in learning more about the gaming world, this article is for you.

Why people play video games:

Novelty


Novelty or variety keeps life interesting, fun, and engaging. Video games give you the opportunity to do something new. With over 1 million games out there, there are endless amounts of new gaming experiences.

You can play a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) like World of Warcraft and experienced novelty with each territory you discover. You can form alliances, make friends, complete quests, and obtain items. All these experiences can be novel.

You can play a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game like League of Legends and experience novelty with every character you play. Unlike World of Warcraft, players in League of Legends play in the same environment or map every game. There are some cosmetic changes depending on the season, but it’s mostly the same. The novelty comes with playing different characters. As of August 2020, there are 150 characters or champions in League of Legends. That’s a lot of novelty.

Role-play games (RPG) are games allow you to create and develop a character. Games like Skyrim and the Diablo games are RPGs where you can experience novelty in the game itself and through each character you make. You can play the entire game of Skyrim using one character then use a completely different one and have a different experience.

Competency or Mastery


Competence is made up of feeling mastery and control over something. Many video games require skill to play well. In games like Overwatch, Valorant, or Rainbow 6: Siege, gamers compete against each other in real time. Your reaction speed, map awareness, aim, landing skill-shots, dodging skill shots, farming, and overall game knowledge are all skills that require some level of mastery to play well and win matches.

Gamers will play the same game for thousands of hours because they want to master their skills. Back to the 150 champions to play from in League of Legends, some play one champion for over 10,000 hours. One map. One champion. One game. All with the drive to get better and improve their rank or standing in the game. People love the pursuit of mastery and video games are a great way to pursue that.

Video games offer a safe place to improve your skill and get better at something. Some video games have a high skill cap – high level of difficulty to become masterful. However, those same games also help beginners get involved by giving them positive reinforcement for the little good things they do. Even if they stink, there are natural motivators in games to bring them back for more. They get rewards the more they play. And the more they play, the more masterful they become.

Exploration and Freedom


Games like Rust, Ark, or World of Warcraft give players the ability to roam free in a digital world. You are able to do almost anything in these virtual worlds. We can explore external or internal environments.

External Exploration


Through quests and objectives, games are designed to help you explore. You don’t have to do the quests, but you can. You have the option to just explore the world and do what you want with no rules or boundaries. The Fallout games allow for environmental exploration. They are open worlds with objectives to complete. Exploring the virtual environments is exciting because you never know what you will discover.

Internal Exploration


RPGs allow you to take on any identity you want. You can be a confident, strong warrior online but feel timid and weak in real-life. Video games offer you a chance to explore any identity you wish. If you are a female in real-life, you can express yourself as a male online. If you are unsure what identify as, you can explore different genders and roles online through games.

A beautiful thing about video games is anonymity. Online gaming can give you the space to be yourself and explore different personalities in a safe environment without anyone knowing you in the physical world. This gives players comfort in being able to freely explore thoughts and feelings they might not feel comfortable doing anywhere else.

Risk-Taking


There are three main types of risks in video games: competitive, quest, and social.

Competitive Risk

Games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Rainbow 6: Siege are games that require some level of skill to do well. You can play safe or risky. There is excitement and some danger, not real danger, but virtual danger the riskier you play. The risk is you could lose the game or match, resulting in a loss of your rank.


Quest Risk


There are in-game risks from story driven or character driven games like the Witcher and Fallout. You have something similar to a morality tracker. How you interact with the townspeople or in-game characters determines if they will be kind or hostile. If you are kind and do positive actions, you will get rewards. If you are a jerk, there are consequences.

Social Risk


Many video games are played with others. There is risk involved in how you play and interact with others in real time. Games that allow you to play in an open world like World of Warcraft allows you to interact with others in real time and there is risk in how you socialize. You could randomly hit someone in-game for no reason and it could have a bad consequence. Or you could befriend others.

You can raid, or invade another player’s structure, in games like Rust and Ark. You fight with others and risk losing your items. You can make a friend and work together for a common cause. You can backstab that friend and take all their stuff. All of these social interactions online are risky.

A Safe Place to Fail


Video games also allow you a safe place to fail. You can safely take as many risks as you want. If you die while trying to beat a boss, you simply start over. If you don’t win the competitive match, you play another one. If you have a poor interaction with another gamer, you can talk with someone else. Gamers have a much safer place to fail online than in the physical world.

Failing is good!

It’s healthy to learn how to fail well. We can fail and give up or we can learn from our mistakes and improve. Failure is part of our human experience. If we don’t learn some level of resiliency or ways to start over, we will suffer. Failing and trying again in video games can be a good skill to transfer to the physical world.

Competition


Games like Valorant, League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2 are all 5v5 competitive video games. Your team works together to take objectives and beat the other team. There is a lot of skill and communication involved in competitive video games.

Every competitive video game requires hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, quick decision making, and strategy. These skills take time to develop and they can grow over time. Gamers can play Dota 2 for years and still improve every time they play.

Competitive video games get attention because they can be played professionally. Just like the NBA houses competitive teams and competitions for basketball, eSports houses competitive video game teams and competitions for video games.

Michael Jordan played countless hours and worked hard perfecting his basketball skills. Gamers play countless hours and work hard to improve their gaming skills. Many gamers wish to go pro. They desire to be on a professional gaming team like Evil Geniuses or TSM and make gaming their career.

The desire to win and compete is in a lot of us. Video games offers an alternative for high level competition if basketball isn’t your thing.

Income and Career


People make gaming a career through eSports and streaming.

Streaming


Steaming is when someone plays a video game live for others to watch online. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is a professional streamer known for playing Fortnite. He made $17 million in 2019 and has sponsorship deals with Red Bull and Adidas. Many others steam on Twitch or YouTube Gaming to make money.

Related: What is Twitch? A Beginner’s Guide to Live Streaming

Esports


There is real money in eSports. There are nearly 50 eSports games and each game has a couple handfuls of different teams depending on the game. Esports had a total revenue of over $492 million in 2016. The prize pool for the 2019 Dota 2 world championship was $34,330,068. Many gamers play countless hours trying to get a shot at that money.

Profession Problems


Professional gaming sounds like fun, but it can be problematic. Ex-pro gamer Jian “Uzi” Zihao retired at 23 years old due to health concerns. The wear on his body from the years of intense gameplay forced him to retire from his eSports team.

With gaming being a potential career, millions of kids and teens play trying to be the next gaming star. It’s extremely difficult to play on an eSports team or make a living streaming.

Build and Create


Humans are designed to build and create. We build through our careers and relationships. It’s rewarding to put time and energy into a project and see the result. Games like Minecraft, Ark, and Rust allow players to build and create. They have a digital canvas which they can create almost anything with.

Before the internet, kids played with building blocks. They built towers, castles, and structures using their imagination. Now, kids have Minecraft – virtual building blocks. Kids can create elaborate towers, castles, and any structure they can think of or copy from YouTube.

Gamers can also build a character. RPGs give players a chance to build their character with items and abilities to become stronger. Players spend a lot of time with their gaming characters and find a lot of pride in what they made.

Building Relationships


Relationships are hard. It’s scary meeting and developing in-person relationships. Online games allow people the freedom to talk with and get to know people in a safe environment.

Discord is a communication platform allowing gamers to talk with each other while they game. It’s basically a better version of Skype. It’s easier than ever to play a competitive Rainbow 6: Siege game with your friends or explore exotic worlds in The Elder’s Scroll through Discord.

Playing video games with friends, and people you don’t know, is similar to experiencing something fun together in the physical world. Playing video games with others is a bonding experience. You feel closer to the people you game with because you share a common goal. You are all working together to win the match, find the loot, or defeat the boss.

Online Predators


There are people who try to take advantage of others. This happens in the real world and online. It is vital parents have conversations about healthy online relationships. Anyone online, no matter their age, needs to know healthy boundaries and their rights.

If you are a parent, here are some tips in talking with your child about healthy online interactions:

  • Never give personal information such as real full name, phone number, address, or email.
  • Never share personal information about you or your family.
  • If someone asks questions about your personal life, redirect the conversation. Say something like, “I’d rather not answer that. Do you want to go raid that base?!” If someone continues to ask questions, mute them.
  • Talk about the game you are playing. There is no need for anyone to know what grade you’re in or how old you are. You’re old enough to play the game, that’s good enough.
  • Mute anyone who is disrespectful, unkind, or raging (angry speech towards another). You have the power to control what you hear. You can still play well in a competitive game without hearing the voices of your teammates.


Everyone wants connection. People play video games to feel connected to others. If you’re playing video games, the best way to form relationships is to have an in-person relationship and enhance it through online gaming.

Relaxation


A lot of video games are fast-pace and intense, but many are calm and relaxing. When the world around us is busy, chaotic, and stressful, immersing yourself in a captivating, relaxing video game is nice.

Games like Firewatch, Tetris Effect, and Untitled Goose Game are fun and relaxing. Games that let you explore an open world like Zelda, Ark, and Skyrim can be relaxing too. There is action in those games, but exploring the open world can be relaxing.

If people are looking to relieve stress, playing video games can be a good place for it.


Excitement


Video games allow you to experience excitement and danger all from the safety of your chair. You can play games that give you the opportunity to do things you never would be able to do in real-life. Fight a demon monster, fly on a giant pre-historic eagle, or complete extreme missions on a special forces team. Okay, so you could join the military and be on a special forces team. But many video games allow us to experience things we never could do in the physical world.

If our real-life if boring, plain, simple, or monotonous, playing an exciting video game sounds awesome. Throughout your day or week, you might not feel any level of excitement, but when you jump in a League of Legends match, you feel adrenaline course through your body.

Many adults can get in a rut and lack excitement. Depression and fatigue can set in when there is no excitement in our lives. Many people play video games because it’s an easy way to experience excitement.

Escape


Escapism is a primary motivation for many to play video games. No matter the age, we all experience stress and hardships. How do you cope with your parent’s divorce? How to you respond when you feel sad, anxious, or angry? How do you deal with the death of a loved one? Video games are common ways to escape problems.

Games can be used to escape from people and/or situations.

Escape from People


If we are in a relationship we can’t get away from, escaping into a video game is a way to get away. If we have challenges with our spouse, kids, friends, boss, or co-workers, stress can be high. If there are no ways to change these negative interactions, escaping into something fun, like a video game, is highly desirable.

Escape from Situations


There are many challenges in the world. When the world around us is overwhelming, we want an escape. COVID-19 is a perfect example of this. When it feels we can’t control our lives during this pandemic, jumping into a safe virtual world is relieving. Maybe we are trying to get away from school or work problems. Or you don’t feel you have direction in your life. Whatever the case, escaping into a video game can relieve situational problems.

Autonomy or Independence


A great part about online games is being free and making your own choices. For those who do not feel they have much independence in the physical world, video games are a great place to be.

If someone’s family is controlling or abusive, video games can give that person power, control, and meaning. They have a reason to play because they have to complete the mission, rank up, help a friend, or get better items.

People can be free to be themselves in video games where they are free from the influence or direction from others. Kids who feel they are controlled all the time might gravitate towards gaming to feel independent. Adults might gravitate towards gaming if they feel they have no control over their work or home lives.

Measurable Progress

People like to progress. It feels great to work hard on something and see positive results and video games offer fantastic ways to make progress. Every video game tracks your progress and gives you positive reinforcement when you complete something.

RPG Progress


Depending on the game, you are rewarded with an achievement or item. RPGs have a leveling system. The more you play your character, the more you will level-up. Your character levels up when they go from level 1 to level 2. When you reach level 2, your character becomes stronger and better able to complete harder things. Leveling up and making progress feels good.

Gamers are incentivized to level up their characters. Some items or gear can only be used when your character reaches a certain level. And higher-level items make you stronger and better able to play the game and complete missions.

MOBA Progress


MOBAs are competitive player verses player games. Your progress is tracked by your rank or how many games you’ve won. Many gamers will play the same game over and over again to increase their rank. The higher rank you are, the better you are at the game. You also get cool accessories in the game for ranking up. Plus, you get bragging rights.

Measurable progress is something everyone wants. Unlike the physical world, video games give players positive reinforcements for every little progress made. This can make it very easy for people to play a new video game rather than learn to play an instrument.

Collecting


Many video games give you the ability to acquire items. You can find items randomly throughout the game or you can trade, buy, or gamble to get them. You have to gamble using a slot-machine-like simulator in CS:GO to get items and skins. Some people don’t even play CS:GO, they just gamble for skins. There are countless videos on YouTube of people opening crates or loot boxes gambling for items.

Items


Acquiring items can be motivated by a few different things. As previously discussed, if you’re playing an RPG, you will be motivated to get better items as you progress in the game. Others will seek items not to use for their character, but to simply collect. Similar to searching for that next great deal or perfect item you’re looking for in the physical world, it’s exciting to seek out something rare.

Skins


Another item acquisition type is through skins. Skins are outfits for your character. Games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and CS:GO all use skins to enhance the gamers experience. Someone playing Fortnite can have their character look like dragon, cyborg, or banana. Skins don’t impact the player’s skill-level, they are strictly cosmetic. Skins just look cool.

Oh Yeah, and Games Are Fun


It goes without saying that video games are fun. This is due to many ideas explored in this article. But they are also fun because of rewards. Players get consistent and planned rewards for leveling up a character or defeating a boss – they know they will get experience or an item. Players will also get variable rewards.

Variable rewards are rewards given at random. Players could defeat a boss and get an extremely rare item. They know they will get an item of some kind when the boss is defeated, but not a rare one. When they do get an extremely rare item, it feels really good. It makes that player want to defeat another boss to experience that same pleasure. But the chances of getting another rare item is extremely low.

Variable reward is the same mechanic in slot machines and gambling. You won’t hit the jackpot every time, but every once in a while, you will. Variable reward is what keeps people coming back to the casinos and is a similar experience for gaming. Which is addictive…

Speaking of Gambling: Loot Boxes


Check out what look boxes are if you are unfamiliar. Loot boxes offer the same experience as a slot machine. Loot boxes contain skins which make the weapons in-game look different and cool. In CS:GO, there is a .44% chance of opening a box and getting the most rare item, a knife. There are countless videos of people opening boxes with the hope of opening a knife. These rare items are valuable and can be sold for real money. One item in CS:GO is worth around $19,600!

Opening loot boxes is a secondary activity to the game. CS:GO is a competitive first person shooter game and has nothing to do with loot boxes. But for many, opening loot boxes is the game, not the game itself.

Conclusion




This list provides insight into the motivation behind playing video games. The reasons why people play video games are not bad. The reasons are simply needs and desires that video games try to fill.

Gaming could be problematic if we ONLY go to video games to fill these needs. The majority of gamers have a healthy relationship with gaming. With over 64% of American’s playing video games, only around 3% struggle with disordered gaming.

This list is a way to better understand the gamer in your life. I encourage you to explore the reasons why the gamer in your life plays. Seek to gain understanding, not to pass judgement.

If you see video games are causing problems in a loved one’s life, talk with them about it. Be kind, empathetic, and non-judgmental. There is a reason someone has a gaming problem. Let’s seek to learn their perspective and help them get to a healthier place where they want to be.

Written by Jeremy Edge.

If you would like additional support navigating healthy gaming, reach out to a professional near you. If you live in Texas, I would be happy to help. Find out more at www.escapingthe.com.

For additional support check out our Game Quitters programs:

“Valorant is cutthroat, punishing, and addictive as hell” –Cecilia D’Anastasio

Valorant is the highly anticipated first-person shooter game released by Riot Games on June 2, 2020.

The game was originally called Project A but has since changed to Valorant. It is developed by Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends – one of the most popular games over the past decade. The hype is real!

On the day of closed beta release, Valorant reached a million concurrent viewers on Twitch. It also trended on Twitter when the game wasn’t playable by the general public yet. These numbers beat the launch viewership of popular games like Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone.

What is Valorant?

Valorant is a competitive 5v5 first-person shooter character-based game. It is designed to compete as an esports against Valve’s Counter-Strike series that has been immensely popular over the last 20 years. Similar game titles include Overwatch, Rainbox Six Siege and Call of Duty.

According to Polygon, “Each match has 25 total rounds; the first team to win 13 rounds wins the match.”

With Riot Games’ experience in developing esports infrastructure through League of Legends, all signs point to a global esports network for Valorant as well and many professional teams have already formed.

Related: What is Esports?

Valorant Agents

valorant raze

Valorant is similar to a FPS-game like Overwatch whereby players select unique “characters” (called Agents in Valorant) to play within each match. Unlike Overwatch, in Valorant you will be unable to change your agent within the match itself.

Agents come with unique skills and abilities. Some will be simple such as the ability to use smoke to hide certain areas of the map. Other abilities will be more powerful such as reviving an ally or creating walls out of thin air. Some agents will even be able to perform a short-range dash!

An example of an agent is Raze. Her abilities include:

  • Blast Pack: Instantly throw a Blast Pack that will stick to surfaces. Re-use the ability after deployment to detonate, damaging and moving anything hit.
  • Cluster Grenade: Fire to throw the grenade, which does damage and creates sub-munitions, each doing damage to anyone in range
  • Boom Bot: Fire will deploy the bot, causing it to travel in a straight line on the ground, bouncing off walls. The Boom Bot will lock on to any enemies in its frontal cone and chase them, exploding for heavy damage if it reaches them.
  • Showstopper: Fire shoots a rocket that does massive area damage on contact with anything.

Riot Games have a lot of success with a similar “Champions model” in League of Legends. Thus Valorant’s agent-based gameplay is anticipated to be popular as well. New agents are likely to be added regularly.

Monetization Strategy

Valorant Weapon Skins

Credit: Riot Games

New details are emerging about Valorant’s monetization strategy.

  • The game is free-to-play game with the opportunity to spend money within the game.
  • No randomized loot boxes which is a good step to keep simulated-gambling features out of games played by children.
  • Weapon skins will be available either by purchasing the Battle Pass or purchasing them directly.
  • Battle Pass system will be available and pricing isn’t released yet but these typically cost around $10-20 and last 2-3 months.
  • In-game currency will be available for purchase with real money or by earning it through gameplay.

Data leaks thus far show an extensive weapon skins system built into the game, with as many as 45 variations of a weapon.

Riot’s commitment thus far to not have randomized loot boxes is a step in the right direction to keep simulated-gambling features out of a game that will be played by children. Of course, with the game still in development that can change at any moment.

Related: An Introduction to Loot Boxes, Microtransactions, and In-App Purchases

This is an important layer of transparency by a game company during a time whereby transparency and social responsibility in the industry is hard to come by.

It was Christmas 2001, 4 days after I turned 6 years old, when my family – at the request of my older brother – got an Xbox.

From then on, up until I was 22, gaming was my main source of entertainment. It was how I de-stressed; it was how I passed time; it was how I interacted with my two brothers and the few friends I made. I didn’t play outside much. I never learned how to ride a bike or swim. And my visits to the beach decreased significantly.

Back then, gaming was still pretty outside of the mainstream, and massively multiplayer was only just beginning. I grew up with the mindset of an outcast. I wasn’t good at the things everyone else was – sports, making friends, etc. In fact, I have a very distinct memory of some time in elementary school when two girls in the neighbourhood came to my house to invite me out to play, and I pretended to be sick so I could avoid interacting.

Instead, I played video games.

I Hid Who I Was to Make Friends

I think the beginning of my change towards gaming began when I made a class presentation in 8th grade and suddenly realized I was pretty good at public speaking. This led me to have the confidence to speak more, but I was still incredibly insecure about having such a gaming-oriented childhood.

I intentionally water damaged our Xbox 360 to stop myself from playing it

So, to impress people and relate to them, I ended up developing a lying problem. I would tell people grand stories of what I did in my free time and how active a person I was, when in reality, when I got off the bus from school, I went to my room and played Halo, Runescape, Mass Effect, Command and Conquer, etc. I told people I hunted (I’d never held a gun in my life). I told people I played lacrosse (never held a lacrosse stick in my life).

You get the picture.

Eventually, I ended up getting caught in some lies (I think it was about the hunting), and a group of kids bullied me for this, which rocked my confidence for a while. But in high school, still feeling the urge to socialize but now knowing not to do it through lies, I ended up making friends with a lot of gamers. Desperate to fit in and finally have a social circle, I adopted their habits. I played even more games in different genres on different platforms. I watched the same Let’s Plays they did. I even decided to take STEM classes in high school just so I could be around these people who accepted me.

This ended up having a very strange negative consequence: I went to university for electrical engineering, because that was my background in high school and what all my friends were doing, but I’m not an engineer. Needless to say, all the math courses and engineering courses were really difficult for me, and I struggled through my freshman year. All the way, I de-stressed with video games. My sophomore year, I ended up leaving school to try to explore new things, but I mostly spent my time at home playing video games, and when it came time to decide what to do with my life, I reluctantly returned to engineering school.

It Was Time to Make a Change

This was when I decided to experiment with quitting video games, having identified them as a key point of failure in my freshman year. So, upon my return, I cut myself off from games, and it worked well for a while. Periodically, at stressful times, I would play, but once a test or big homework assignment was out of the way, I successfully returned to my gaming embargo.

I flourished during these times of cutting out gaming. Even though I don’t like engineering, I did pretty well in the courses. I formed a huge friend group out of studying for, and persevering through, difficult classes together. While it still wasn’t perfect (because I didn’t care for STEM), it was much better than having a friendship group based around my addiction.

I’ve had a number of relapses since quitting gaming that first time, but I’ve always gone back to trying to get away from them. Unfortunately, my relationship with my brother Ryan being largely based around video games doesn’t help.

Things were at their worst when I moved in with him to save money while starting my first engineering job out of college. His entire life is gaming, and suddenly mine was as well.

One night, I realized how far I’d fallen back into my addiction, and I had what I can only describe as a panic attack. I was so afraid that video games would be all I ever did with my life that I intentionally water damaged our Xbox 360 to stop myself from playing it. It’s not something I’m proud of, because it was shared property (if not more so his), but I believe it was something I needed to do to help myself at that moment.

I deleted my Steam account, but unfortunately, living with him pressured me into recreating one, because it’s the main way I relate to him and I want to be a good brother.

I also sold my gaming computer and bought a laptop that can’t run anything but games from several years ago, so no new releases for me.

I started seeing a therapist for the depression and anxiety that I believe are heavily rooted in my background in gaming.

Just in the past two months, I’ve had a terrible relapse, where I ended up installing a bunch of games from this new Steam account on that laptop.

But I’m quitting again. Just now, I changed my Steam account password to one of those randomly generated Google ones and didn’t save it, so I’m locked out of my account. The thing for me is: if I don’t have easy access, I won’t go out of my way to game. I see it for what it is in my life now, so as long as it’s out of harms reach then I’m safe.

I didn’t delete my Steam account again, because I knew how much it hurt my brother when he learned I deleted my old one, and he gets very defensive when I try to discuss my gaming addiction with him. I think this pathway will hopefully let me slowly grow into new pursuits and maybe reforge our relationship in different areas.

Gaming Stopped Me from Pursuing My Dreams

I want to change careers out of the software engineering job I don’t like that I have no