Most people play video games for fun and it’s a harmless hobby. However, for others, gaming can become an unhealthy habit with negative repercussions. So, are video games a hobby that should be encouraged or discouraged?
In this article, we look at what a gaming hobby is compared to what an addiction is, and share alternative hobby ideas for kids, teens and adults.
Are video games a hobby or a waste of time?
Playing video games is the most popular leisure pursuit in the world with over three billion gamers globally.
The majority of people see gaming as a hobby that is entertaining, sociable and a way to wind down. It is one of several interests and activities in their life alongside spending time with friends and family, going to school or work, and their daily responsibilities. But, is playing video games a hobby that is worthwhile or a waste of time?
Gaming can offer many more benefits than other hobbies and pastimes. It is a safe space to fail, build resilience, overcome challenges and explore alternative identities through characters and in-game worlds.
Video games are also a good way to build skills for future careers such as multi-tasking, problem solving, communication and decision making. For young people who play video games as a hobby, there are a myriad of exciting career opportunities in the gaming industry.
However, gaming occurs on a scale, from healthy to harmful – or from hobby to addiction. Where you, or a loved one, are on that scale is all about balance.
Gaming hobby vs addiction
While some people can play with no adverse consequences, others can become drawn into the darker side of gaming. Video games are deliberately designed to be addictive and that is when harm can occur – including gaming effects on the brain.
Gaming can turn from a fun hobby to a destructive addiction if the balance tips and gaming starts to consume your every waking hour.
When you prioritize video games over everything else, your life can start to spiral out of control. It can negatively impact your relationships, education or career, and other interests and activities you once enjoyed. It can also cause physical health problems if you miss sleep, skip meals, forgo exercise and neglect your personal hygiene to keep playing. Many people suffering from video game addiction have co-occurring mental health issues including stress, anxiety and depression.
When gaming turns from a hobby into an addiction it has social implications too. Gamers who once enjoyed playing with friends and family, increasingly try to hide the extent of their compulsive behavior. They often withdraw from social situations and can become lonely and isolated. They start to lose confidence and find it difficult to mix with people face to face.
It is important to recognize when playing video games has moved from a casual hobby to an all-consuming compulsion. Discover the common signs of video game addiction in the What is unhealthy gaming section of this article.
Additionally, understanding how habits (and what evolves from habits, addictions) develop may help you in understanding what causes addictive behaviors due to gaming. One of the key points to take from this is that usually, killing a habit is a Sisyphean task. Habits (and addictions) are a three step process:
- The Trigger
- The Action
- The Reward
The trigger is what makes a person do an action. This may be sitting down on the couch after a long day at school, or seeing a gaming app on your home screen as soon as you unlock your phone.
The action is the task or activity that leads to an eventual reward.
The reward is self explanatory, but it’s important to note that rewards take many forms. This may be from reaching a new level in a video game to the tingling sensation of clean gums after brushing your teeth.
To tackle these addictions, it’s essential to leave the trigger and the reward intact, but replacing the action that is done to obtain the reward. While this may be difficult, some things have been proven to help, such as removing tempations with CBD 1 1. While CBD is still controversial and being studied, it already has promising, peer-reviewed studies backing it up thanks to its Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory properties that aid in removing urges such as video game addiction. × or going for a run.
Hobbies to replace gaming
Do you, or a loved one, want to quit gaming but don’t know what to do with your time instead? You may be worried that nothing else will be as fun and exciting as reaching the next level, climbing up the leader board or opening a new loot box. But there is so much more to life than gaming.
If gaming is starting to take over, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Check out our replacement hobby ideas and choose from over 70 alternative activities. Whether you take up a sport or learn a new skill, a fresh challenge will help you stay mentally engaged, feel a sense of achievement and make new friends. Plus, many of the hobby ideas will get you fit and active, and/or boost your self-confidence and emotional well-being.
We have also put together a list of the best screen-free activities by age. There are suggestions for toddlers, younger children, teens and adults. From role-playing and arts and crafts through to DJing and joining a book club, there is no excuse for being bored or having nothing to do.
For parents of gamers, we have created a list of 60 best summer hobby ideas to keep kids entertained during the holidays. It lists hobbies for relaxation, hobbies for getting active, hobbies that are adventurous, hobbies that teach a skill, hobbies that are creative and hobbies for being sociable. Despite the summer holiday title, many of the activities could be done throughout the year.
Get help to quit gaming
If you, or a loved one, are gaming excessively, you may have tried other hobbies to replace gaming but keep getting pulled back to video games. It can be difficult to know where to turn.
At Game Quitters, we have helped thousands of others who were struggling to control their gaming and we can help you too.
It is possible to solve your gaming issues for good and enjoy healthier hobbies and interests.
Get started today. Book a Gameplan call to discuss your situation. Limited spots are available.