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Video Game Addiction: What Is It, Prevention, and How To Stop It

video game addiction

What Is Video Game Addiction? 

Video game addiction occurs when someone uncontrollably or obsessively plays video games regularly. People suffering from this addiction will choose gaming over participating in other activities. This addictive behavior can affect many aspects of their life from their socialization to their relationship with family members. Those who suffer from gaming addiction are usually younger players who don’t know any better.

Up until recently, many people weren’t convinced that video game addiction was real and legitimate. In 2019, WHO (World Health Organization) added Gaming Disorder to its International Classification of Diseases list. 


The Effects of Video Game Addiction

  • Increase in aggressive behavior and outbursts, especially in young children. 
  • Decrease in socializing. 
  • Disinterest in other hobbies and activities.
  • Physical Symptoms: Weight gain, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, poor personal hygiene, back and neck pain, migraines, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Poor performance at work and/or school. 
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Learn more about video game addiction affects:


How To Prevent Video Game Addiction

1. Use Gaming Console Parental Controls

To help avoid internet gaming disorder, use the parental controls that are built into most gaming consoles. These controls can allow anyone to set gameplay time limits, content viewing and sharing, communication restrictions, and more.

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2. Set Playing Limits

Besides using screen time parental controls, set verbal limits for gameplay. For example:

  • Only spend (X) mins or hours playing video games per day. 
  • Games cannot be played during important events, meal times, and after bedtime. 
  • Don’t play games that are inappropriate for you. 
  • Don’t chat with strangers on games. 
  • Only spend ($X) per month on video games. 

3. Help Them Find Other Activities To Do

By staying occupied with other activities, anyone can avoid excessively playing games. Hand out with your friends, try a new sport, read some books, or clean your house. There are countless other things that can be done to distract oneself. 

4. Play Games As A Family

If you have a family and you are afraid your child will get addicted to games, try playing games as a family. Doing this will change their view of games as a bonding experience, and help them create a healthy relationship with playing games. 


How To Stop Video Game Addiction

1. Track How Much Your Are Playing

The first step to battling video game addiction is to be truthful about how much time you spend gaming. For example, spending 5+ hours playing video games is too much. 

2. Set Gameplay Limits

Setting limits on your gameplay can both prevent and stop video game addiction. Use parental controls on your console, only play with family and friends, only spend a certain amount of money on games per month, or create certain times where you’re unable to play. Set realistic gaming limits that you will follow, and change them over time as needed. 

3. Wean Off Of Playing

When it comes to quitting your gaming addiction, going cold turkey is never a good idea. Doing so could cause you to relapse. Instead, wean off of playing your games. Start off with playing one hour less a day and increase it as the weeks go on. That way, you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of playing.

4. Play Physically Active Video Games

Not all video games involve sitting on your couch and using a controller. There are many games that involve getting and moving around, especially those on Wii consoles. You could find a fun dancing game or play sports like bowling or tennis. 

5. Avoid MMORPG Games

MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. According to Nick Yee, 50% of MMORPG gamers consider themselves addicted to them. Developers typically create their games to keep gamers playing as many involve paying a monthly subscription fee. 

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Popular Videos Games Being Played Today


Fortnite is one of the most popular games for all ages across the world. It is a battle royale game that allows an individual or team (of up to four players) to battle against each other until only one player (or team) is left standing. Players must collect weapons and items while avoiding being killed by the other players on the map. The goal is to be the last player standing while avoiding the “storm” which continuously closes in from the edge, leaving a small circle in the middle for players to fight over. Fortnite exploded in popularity shortly after its release and became a cultural sensation thanks to its popular dance moves and exclusive events. 


As their website says, “Prepare for an adventure of limitless possibilities as you build, mine, battle mobs, and explore the ever-changing Minecraft landscape.” by playing Minecraft. The game promotes users, especially children, to be creative and build amazing structures. However, it’s still fun as players have to avoid and battle mobs. Other Minecraft game variations include Minecraft Earth, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft Education Edition. 

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V is an adventure game which was released in 2013 by Rockstar Games. This game is set in the city of Los Santos in 2013, and follows the stories of protagonists Trevor Philips, Michael De Santa, and Franklin Clinton. The purpose of the game is to collect cars, money, and homes while going along with the protagonists’ storylines. Grand Theft Auto V has an ESRB rating of Mature 17+, so it’s not appropriate for young children to play. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

The Call of Duty franchise is one of the most popular and successful franchises in video game history. Since the original game launched in 2003, there have been 15 sequels coming from 3 different developers (Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games). While each iteration of Call of Duty brings something new to table, the core gameplay is built around being a first-person shooter. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the most recent title in the series, was released on October 25th, 2019 to both critical and fan acclaim. Since then, developer Infinity Ward has released several new updates to the game, including the “Warzone” battle royale mode. This new mode pits up to 150 players against each other in a winner-takes-all showdown.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

In this third-person Star Wars game, you are on a journey to rebuild the Jedi Order as you are one of the last Jedi. With the help of a “former Jedi Knight, a prickly pilot, and a fearless droid”, you must escape the Imperial forces. Along the way, you will learn lightsaber combat moves and how to use the force.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a fighting game appropriate for all ages. The goal is to get more eliminations than your opponent. The most important (and fun) thing you’ll do is choosing your character. There are a total of 74 characters to choose from, with another 5 DLC (downloadable content) characters releasing this year. These characters range from popular Nintendo icons such as Mario, Kirby, and Donkey Kong, to more obscure third-party characters, such as Terry, Banjo-Kazooie, and Simon. For the best chances of winning, you might want to choose a top-tier character such as Joker, Pikachu, or Palutena. If not, you could always choose your favorite character from the extensive list of available fighters.


Roblox is one of the most popular video games for those 18-years-old and younger. It offers all kinds of free user-generated games from obstacle courses to racing. Users can even create their own worlds! Since the game is intended for younger audiences, it includes parental controls such as their Reporting System, chat filters, and content restriction.

Check out our other resources and informational articles on Safeguarde.

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