When you have a gaming addiction it’s common to feel frustrated when you talk to normal people, your friends, family or just people you run into on a daily basis because it’s hard to communicate what’s really going on for you.
When you do this, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Here’s how to talk about gaming addiction with normal people:
Understanding how to share our story is really important for our movement going forward. It’s important to remember that our community is at the beginning, and if we want to be taken seriously we need to take responsibility to share our message with the world in an effective way.
This gaming addiction problem is only going to continue and grow, it’s only going to continue to get bigger, so by us taking the time to share our message properly it will help many others find us who are currently going through all of this alone.
Every single day when people ask me what I do they start asking me questions about this issue, and it forces me to be effective in how I share our message to get their buy-in, otherwise the conversation around gaming addiction will just continue to be looked at as a silly thing – when we all know that’s not true at all.
The key principle you want to keep in mind is that it’s all about how you shape the conversation, and this ultimately dictates the results that you get.
How you shape the conversation is really important to keep people from becoming defensive and to bypass their defensives. For instance if you talk to a gamer but you come across as being against gaming, and now that he’s defensive he’s not going to be open to hearing your perspective.
Or if you’re talking to a parent, they’re going to have a bias that gaming is violent, so I try and avoid having that kind of conversation, because it doesn’t really apply to what we’re talking about, which is that there is a segment of gamers who want to quit and struggle to. That’s it.
So when you’re shaping the conversation you really want to focus on this segment of gamers who play that don’t want to. So it’s not that games are good or bad or that you should play or you shouldn’t. It’s simply that there are some people who want to quit and can’t.
And this happens for very specific reasons. Not only is this the truth but now we can talk about how to help these gamers and what kind of tools and resources would help. In my experience, when you get to this point people tend to be pretty interested.
This is the perfect time to personalize it, to share your story and how this has affected you and what has helped you quit. Which is that there are specific reasons why you were playing and by identifying them and finding solutions to those you’ve been able to start living your life.
To help them understand some of these reasons you can share the two main struggles gamers have when they go to quit:
- Finding new activities.
Now whenever I talk about this issue I always share the story my parents (and I bet your parents) always said which is that when they were younger they got kicked out of the house and had to go outside and play.
Now there’s an element of this story that we forget sometimes and it’s that when they had to be outside they had to find ways to entertain themselves, they had to be spontaneous, to be creative and to be social. And in doing so they developed skills in all of these.
But nowadays, because of the way kids are raised, we don’t have to go outside to play we don’t develop these skills in the same way, so it’s not that we aren’t capable, it’s not that we don’t want to, it’s simply that we just have never developed the skill, and we’ve always had gaming.
- Making new friends.
To quit gaming it’s a bit more complex than simply uninstalling your games and finding new activities to fill your time, because one of the main reasons we play is because it’s the way we interact with all of our friends, it’s where our community is.
So to move on from games means to move on from all of our friends, and it’s not that we can’t do that, it’s just that it’s hard and we need support.
By being intentional about how you shape the conversation you allow others to come on our side and become advocates for our community. It allows them spread the word and help others who are struggling with this issue to find out they are not alone.
Remember it’s really important for every single one of us that we each contribute to shaping this message in a positive way. That means you reading this.
Right now there are just over 4000 people on the StopGaming subreddit, when research would show 1/11 kids playing games in the U.S. are addicted under classic criteria. That’s over 5 million kids!!
Our community right now is at the beginning and because of that it’s up to each of us to shape the conversation in a productive way and to help spread the word. Communicating our message is crucial to get all the support we can get.
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