What is Gaming Addiction?
Video games “expand the imagination, give children the opportunity to work collaboratively, and sharpen cognitive skills.” Gaming also “triggers a release of dopamine. This is a brain chemical that elevates mood and provides a rush of energy.”
For some teens, “the virtual life becomes more appealing than real life.” This leads to gaming addiction. Gaming addiction can ruin a teen’s social life, and cause extreme isolation.
Gaming addiction can happen to any teen. But teens with poor self-esteem and social problems are more at risk.
Symptoms of Gaming Addiction
Gaming addiction causes negative emotional and physical symptoms, including:
- Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play.
- Preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity. Or, anticipation of the next online session.
- Lying to friends or family members about the amount of time spent playing.
- Isolation from others to spend more time gaming.
- Migraines due to intense concentration or eyestrain.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the overuse of a controller or computer mouse.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Lack of social engagement.
- Avoidance of developmental tasks.
- Increased aggression or violence.
A Device to End Gaming Addiction
James Potter created a device to limit daily gaming. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Bath. Potter, along with his father Keith, created QTIME (short for Quiet Time).
“The QTIME device plugs into a PC, PS4 or Xbox console. It’s is controlled by an app which allows parents to set a daily time allowance, and see how much time is being spent playing video games. It also has the ability to immediately shut down the screen.”
What is QTIME?
It’s a smart HDMI cable. It “pairs wirelessly with a home’s WIFI, and a smart phone app controls it.”
QTIME aims to end gaming addiction by:
- Giving teens a 10-minute warning when their gaming time is up for the day.
- The device turns off the screen automatically.
- Teens can’t bypass the device when it’s unplugged. The device detects the disconnect, and emails parents.
- The app shows parents if the device becomes unplugged for a while. It also shows whether it thinks the console is on right now.
- Restricting game time will lead to better mental, emotional, and physical health. And, it will help teens perform better in school and during activities.
Potter says, “We appreciate gaming as a hobby. Many enjoy it. The motivation to create QTIME is not to stop children from playing video games entirely, but to identify a technical solution to restrict the time they spend gaming each day where necessary.”
To learn more about other treatment options, click here.