Posted on August 15, 2007,

Play Responsibly, Says the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

drink-responsibly.gifIt’s like a warning for alcohol–play responsibly isn’t far off from use responsibly. Video games are more and more like drugs everyday.

In an article today by Earthtimes.org, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists gives the following message: “Play responsibly, and to maintain good health, productivity, and quality of life. If you feel as though you may be hooked on video gaming, there are support groups and other treatment options available.”

It would be great if there could be complete disregard for how much time gamers spend playing games, but obviously enough people are noticing that it can be a huge problem in people’s lives. However, where it gets interesting is where to distinguish “normal” gaming and “addictive” gaming.

For instance, The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery gives the following warning signs for video game addiction:

– Gamers who play almost every day
– Gamers who play for extended periods of time (some reports indicate 2
hours, The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery indicates over 4 hours)
– Experiencing restlessness or irritability if they can’t play
– Sacrificing other social activities just to game
– A pre-occupation with gaming
– Lying or hiding gaming use
– Disobedience of time limits
– Social withdrawal from family and friends

Some of these are right on, and coincide with what are generally thought of as signs of addictive behavior. However, what about people who watch two hour-long T.V. shows everyday? Are they addicted to television?

I suppose if all of the other “warning signs” are included, then yes, they are addicted to television. But there’s something to be said about gamers choosing to play video games in the same way that “normal” people do watching television. The CA Association of Marriage and Family Therapists appear to be sending that very message, that playing video games is normal if it does not reach beyond normal limits.

It’s a fairly reasonable, straight forward message, and a great one when compared to all the knee-jerk reactionary messages sent from “experts” who hear about a few gamers with no self-control dying at the keyboard.

Let’s hear it for normal gamers.

via Earthtimes.org

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