On-Line Gamers Anonymous

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Awhile back I came across On-Line Gamers Anonymous. The site is a virtual self help group for those struggling with gaming or Internet addiction. Their mission statement says:

On-Line Gamers Anonymous is a fellowship of people sharing their experience, strengths and hope to help each other recover and heal from the problems caused by excessive game playing.

If you find yourself struggling with gaming or Internet addiction, On-Line Gamers Anonymous would be a great place to start getting help. Your PSA for the day.

Friday Sing Along!

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Phew. What a long crazy week! As the countdown to summer approaches, I don’t know about you, but spring fever is hitting hardcore. Others around the world must be feeling this as well (even though its not spring everywhere). Below you will find a collection of odds and ends from through out the week. So sing along with JBG…

it's a world of laughter, a world or tears its a world of hopes, its a world of fear theres so much that we share that its time we're aware its a small world after all...

1. Number 1 on our countdown is a delightful story of a little boy with rage issues. You see, his parents took his keyboard away as a disciplinary measure. So, the kid bludgeons his dad with a sledgehammer while he is sleeping. Mom, scared stupid, gives the 14 year old his keyboard back. The kid takes the keyboard and plunges right back into playing games (which is why his keyboard was taken away in the first place). Scary. – For the full story click here.

its a small world after all its a small world after all its a small world after all its a small, small world!

2. Number 2 in the news of the weird this week, a Wii Fit accident leads to sexual addiction. Don’t believe me? Click on over here then for more. If you dare…

There is just one moon and one golden sun And a smile means friendship to everyone. Though the mountains divide And the oceans are wide It's a small small world (repeat chorus)

3. Finally, number 3 on our countdown is a bit of a cheat. The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced a curfew for young gamers this week. For more on this click here or here.

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all

And to answer the person who searched for “why am i paying $15 a month to be harassed by wow players”…I truly don’t know. 🙂

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small small world.

Song stuck in your head? Too bad.

Until next week. Good bye! Adios! Ciao!

Videogame Addiction Center Opens in Britain

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Internet Addiction

Reminds me of something I would have seen in college.

Yesterday, the Telegraph reported that Britain’s first videogame addiction center opened.

Mr Dudley* believes treating game addiction needs a different approach to “conventional” vices like drink and drugs.

”Obviously this is the very early stages of researching how many youngsters are affected,” he said.

”But I would stick my neck out and say between five and ten per cent of parents or partners would say they know of someone addicted to an online game.

”However, you can’t simply say to a 23-year-old male ‘you should never use the internet again’. It’s just not practical.

”So we go through all the issues surrounding gaming use and ensure there are triggers through which an addict recognises their usage has become a problem.

”Behavioural shifts include users becoming agressive, with chaotic lifestyles that result in irregular eating and sleeping patterns as well as social exclusion.’

”I don’t know anybody else who is treating such cases in this country. There’s no helpline.”

Having spent a summer of my life playing World of Warcraft from dusk till dawn, I can personally attest to the power of videogame addiction. If you find yourself living and breathing videogames 24/7, I encourage you to talk to someone. There is a difference between living in a virtual world versus playing videogames as a hobby. No duh, huh.

(*Brian Dudley, the center’s chief executive)

Addiction

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Addict 1

*The month of February is most popularly known as being the month in which Valentines Day co-exists with a holiday dedicated to a stack of dead presidents.

Circle of Life theorists no doubt rejoice and hold massive parties on the savanna (in the shadows of Pride Rock) during this prelude to spring. A sweeping trend in both the mainstream and gaming presses this month (2/06) has been on the topic of gaming addiction. Long the whipping boy for politicians and presidential candidates, vide games have once again come to the forefront of the pathetically bored American Press. Love, candle-lit dinners for two, and discounted cars are all topics for another time and place. The topic of gaming addiction rules the day, and I wish to wade forth into this “dreaded” territory. I will warn you dear reader, we are about to enter a virtual abyss of stupidity. So please pull up a chair, and continue this adventure below.

Every new form of media has been met with intense scrutiny by the generations introduced to them. Radio at one time was probably called a great evil; television, a sign of the impending apocalypse. Scrutiny and distrust generally apply to the nouns we have failed to be properly introduced to. Nearly a decade since the inception of videogaming, the mainstream press continues to poke, prod, and accuse a media format they themselves know nothing about.

On the almighty chopping block of media’s grand altar, World of Warcraft (WoW) is actively being examined. Known for destroying many a marriage, this massively multiplayer online (MMO) game has claimed the lives of nearly 8 million subscribers. I don’t think that addiction is the problem here. I believe that the outcries from small African governments, who quake in fear over WoW’s powerful economy, have become too great for the media to ignore. In an age in which Hollywood often sets the political tone of the nation (or so they would like to think), WoW is soon to be the next campaign against Aids or even Darfur. Whispers that I have personally heard from the Internet (yes, it talks to me) have even gone as far to say that Al-Qaeda has integrated the games leveling concepts into their terrorist training camps. Addiction should clearly be the media’s last worry in the face of the global threat that is the World of Warcraft behemoth.

In closing, videogames indeed can be addictive. Although I would argue that they are just as addictive as any other hobby or recreation. Moderation and self-control are key to living. So wise up dear readers and learn to control yourselves! Otherwise, the government might soon be doing that for you…but that is a topic for another day.

*A note to our readers: This article was originally written/ posted to JBG in February of 2006.

World of Warcraft: Online Therapy?

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World of Warcraft logo

Websites such as WOW_widow and GamerWidow serve to allow those who have lost friends and family to the addictive nature of World of Warcraft (and other MMO’s) to vent and find support. Real life horror stories of absent spouses and divorce are common on such sites. The existence of online support groups for the popular MMO speaks of one truth, World of Warcraft (WoW) is addictive.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Dr. Richard Graham is interested in combating WoW addiction by traveling to the very lands of Azeroth itself.

“Those effected don’t exhibit the same outward warning signs as most teenage anti-social behaviour issues do because they’re in their bedrooms most of the time, seemingly out of trouble. Because of this we can’t get through to them in the traditional educational environment or intrude on their actual bedrooms, we need to turn to the internet itself to tackle these problems.”

Those worried about random in-game therapy sessions need not worry.

“I think it’s already clear that psychiatrists will have to stay within the parameters of the game. They certainly wouldn’t be wandering around the game in white coats and would have to use the same characters available to other players,” said Dr Graham.”

The therapy begins this year.

Order

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Order

Note: I wrote this back in 2009. Ever since my summer of being anchored to the kitchen table playing World of Warcraft, the fine line between hobby and addiction has been on my mind. Enjoy! – Bryan

Hobby: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.”

What happens when a hobby starts to consume ones waking thoughts?

In my pursuit of finding the balance between my electronic hobby and life, I have found myself walking a fine line between hobby and addiction.

Video games are not a casual hobby but a culture. At one time the video game culture was regulated to ones living room but this is no longer true. The Internet now serves to connect a gamers living room to the rest of the world. News, reviews, and varying editorial run rampant and at different levels of professionalism.

Culture: the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”

No longer are we, as a society, unplugged. The Internet is present in our cellphones, handheld game systems, and even local coffee shops. Not being able to unplug allows one to have constant access to the vast reaches of cyberspace. For me, this means that I have unlimited access to the gaming culture. Throughout the day I find myself reading various videogame related sites. On the outside, there is nothing wrong with this, but I have found myself treading the fine line between hobby and addiction.

As a Christian, I find that my love for videogames and video game culture are often in conflict with my spiritual life. There are times when I should be praying when instead I am thinking about the latest MMO; times when I should be reading my Bible and instead I am reading the latest video game magazine.

To fight against the tide of addiction, I have found that it is best to take a step back and remove whatever it is that is dragging me down. Balance between my hobby and life is not what I seek, but order in the my life’s priorities.

Find yourself overwhelmed by a hobby? I encourage you to take a step back and find order.