Clinical Conversations: Coercive Design and Gaming Addiction | Part two

James Driver

writer

James Driver

Psychotherapist; Black Dog Psychotherapy

James Driver

Online gaming addiction is a growing problem in our society but it is hard to quantify just how big a problem it is. There are currently no accepted formal diagnostic criteria and no symptoms or behaviours that define gaming addiction. There is no doubt, however, that it does cause distress and financial hardship for a significant number of people and their families. Dr James Driver discusses this significant social problem. This is part two, the final part of this article.

This is part two of this series. Read Part 1 >>

Practice points

• The neurological process of addiction is very, very similar, regardless of whether somebody is becoming addicted to a substance, or to a behaviour such as gaming or gambling.
• Gaming is something that even children are using from a very young age to deal with stressors.
• Look at the function of the gaming and the effect that it has on the person, rather than, say, purely the number of hours, to decide if there is a significant problem.
• Is gaming starting to affect the person’s mood, their ability to engage with other areas of their life, is it starting to cause conflict or dominating their thinking?
• Parents absolutely have a role in terms monitoring and setting boundaries around the amount of use that a child has with devices.
• Make sure that the child has the ability to meet their other psychological needs, outside of gaming, and try to address those underlying issues that the child might be trying to resolve, then try to find appropriate alternatives.
• The more we can actually recognise in advance the various tricks that these games use to capture our attention and to draw us in, the better placed we will be to combat them.

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James Driver

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James Driver

Psychotherapist; Black Dog Psychotherapy

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