Internet Gaming - Game On or Game Over: Know the Warning Signs

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What's Internet Gaming?

Internet Gaming requires special applications known as electronic games. These games are played using machines and personal computers through the Internet. A person who plays electronic games is called a gamer. The term “gaming” originated as a synonym for “gambling” although most electronic games today do not involve gambling in the traditional sense.

Forms of Internet Gaming

Common internet gaming platforms include:

  • Home computer and/or laptop
  • Home or handheld console (i.e. PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii, etc.)
  • Mobile phone and tablet

Common video game genres include:

  1. Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG or MMO)
    • World of Warcraft (WoW), Diablo 3, Everquest, and Final Fantasy XV (FFXV).
  2. First Person Shooter (FPS)
    • ARMA 3, Call of Duty, Half-life 2, Payday 2, Halo, Borderlands 2, and Team Fortress 2.
  3. Casual Video Games
    • Candy Crush, Farmville, Bejeweled 2, Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, Flow Free, and Temple Run.
  4. Action Games
    • Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Fallout, Devil May Cry, and Batman Arkham Origins.
  5.  Real Time Strategy Games (RTS)
    • Starcraft 2 (SC2), Europa Universalis 4 (EU4), Civilization 5 (Civ5), Total War, Age of Empires, and Heroes of Might and Magic.
  6. Sports
    • NHL 2014, Madden, NFL 25, and FIFA World Cup Brazil.

Warning Signs

If you are unsure if your gaming or that of a friend or family member is becoming a problem, here are some signs to watch for:

  • decreased interest in other activities;
  • visibly agitated or anxious when not gaming;
  • losing track of time;
  • sleep difficulties and/or restlessness;
  • headaches;
  • poor eating habits;
  • decreased performance (e.g., work, academic, etc.) and/or neglecting duties, and
  • replacing social time with video games.

While some of these signs may seem quite general, they can help you gauge whether or not there is cause for concern. If you are concerned, the following resources can provide assistance:

For more information on this or other health and wellness topics, contact your local Health Promotion office.

Responsible Internet Gaming Tips

If you are interested in internet gaming and want to keep it in check, here are a few simple tips to follow:

  • Outline priorities ahead of time (e.g., work or other responsibilities before gaming).
  • Pay attention to how much time you spent gaming.
  • Plan designated times for gaming.
  • Turn off your computer and phone at a certain time each night.
  • Limit the number of hours that you are exposed to and play video games.
  • Engage in off-line gaming (e.g., sports) and social activities with friends and family.