Has your child's life been taken over by the internet and/or video gaming? Are you concerned your child is becoming addicted to technology? Is your child neglecting school work, chores, friends, and family? Has he dropped out of clubs, hobbies, and sport leagues in favor of gaming? For comprehensive assessment call 855-735-HELP or go to www.teenvideogameaddiction.com.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Chapter 3 from my Teen Video Game Addiction Workbook
Chapter 3: Are all games
to experts in video game addiction, there are many games that present little or
no risk for developing addiction. According to Dr. Brent Conrad, a
psychologists who specialize in videogame addiction, it is the massive
multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) that are the most likely to
result in addiction.
is it about these games that make it so difficult for teens (and adults) to
control their level of game playing?
Conrad explains that the process of earning rewards during the game through a
leveling system creates strong motivation, interest, and excitement. As you
gamers know, at the very beginning of the game it could take minutes to reach
the next level and gain new skills. However, moving through higher levels almost
always takes more playing time – which then results in a commitment of weeks or
months to a level up.
the way, video game companies understand that by creating a game where a small
commitment of time allows the gamer to succeed creates investment in the game and then allows for the customer to
commit greater amounts of time, money, and energy into their product.
Imagine if you started a game and the first level took three weeks to achieve?
Chances are you would move on to another game.
are more likely to result in addiction because there is no end to the game. One of the unique features of MMORPG’s is
that there is no final “game over” scenario. As a result, gamers keep trying to
level up and play until a new expansion pack is released -- which creates new
levels and a new investment of time and energy and money.
part of the appeal of the MMORPG’s is the social interaction that happens during
game play. As you gamers know, MMORPGs allow for players to interact with each
other -- which creates an experience of having friends and being part of a
community. Unfortunately, as
was noted above, most video game addicts establish and maintain these social connections
at the expense of real-world
friendships and community connections.
also tend to produce addiction because they encourage collaboration and
teamwork with other gamers across the world. The fact that multiple players, on
different sides of the world, can interact and come together to overcome a common
challenge adds to the excitement and interest -- which in turn motivates teens to continue to play.
unique part of the MMORPG experience is earning in-game currency. The creators
of MMORPGs understand that accumulating wealth is very motivating (just as it
is in 3D life). As you earn more game currency, you also achieve control,
power, respect, influence, and status within the virtual world of the game.
described in Chapter 2, video games are similar to slot machines in that they
both use intermittent or variable
ratio schedules to encourage maximum playtime. The “hook” for the gamer
within the MMORPGs is the gamer never
knows how long it will take before a reward is earned - he only knows that if he logs enough hours the reward will eventually come. Video
game companies have figured out that this type of reward schedule encourages
longer periods of play and encourages continued financial investment in the
are also addictive because they require team play in order to level up and
advance. As the gamer joins a team, and experiences success as team member, the
gamer feels a connection and feels responsible for advancing the goals with his
comrades. The gamer wants his character to succeed so that he can make a
greater contribution to the success of the team. Due to the fact that most tasks/goals
in games can only be accomplished in a group, gamers want to be online whenever his teammates are also
online -- and this generates a greater commitment and more total hours invested
in the game.
also offer an incentive to continue to play because taking a break from the
game can result in losing status or
power. In order to prevent a loss of power and status, gamers make
every attempt to stay online as much as possible.
part of what makes MMORPGs addictive is that short and unscheduled play is
rarely rewarded. These games demand long-term commitment – which can last months
or even years. Due to the enormous investment in developing a character, gamers
obviously are committed to maintaining their character and advancing their
standing within the game.
Perhaps what is most interesting and exciting to gamers is that
the virtual world of the MMORPG allows players to create avatars that have qualities
they wish they had in real life. Gamers can form relationships, develop
talents and careers, and accomplish goals that would be difficult or impossible
to accomplish in three-dimensional reality. As such, more than any other type game, MMORPGs offer teens a fool-proof
escape from the complicated realities of school, family and friends.
to other types of video games, MMORPGs allow gamers to experience a wide variation of feelings and powerful emotions.
In the context of playing, the gamer can experience romance, marriage, friendship,
power, and loyalty. Unfortunately, the variety and intensity of
emotions experienced during gaming are more interesting and satisfying than the
emotions experienced off-line.
Would you trade your off line life for your online life?
What do you like the most about the avatars/characters that you
attractive to females/ sexually
How are you similar to your avatar/online character(s)?
Circle all that apply:
looking/attractive to females /leader/heroic/secretive/funny/ sexually
What would be the worst part about giving up your avatar? Circle
all that apply:
Loss of online friends/loss of
time and money invested in the game/loss of excitement/loss of opportunities to
problem solve and strategize/ loss of inter-game power and skills/loss of respect
from the gaming community/loss of opportunities for teamwork and collaboration/
loss of feeling smart/ loss of the opportunity to be a hero/ loss of the
virtual lover-girlfriend/ a sense of responsibility to the gaming guild-team.