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The Disturbing Reality of Online Gaming for Teens

The video game business has been on a constant rise since it was first introduced about thirty years ago. At first, a lot of the games were one dimensional and not all people had access to them. But since then, the breakthrough of computer technology has provided a dramatic increase in the popularity, convenience, entertainment, and access of video gaming.


Among the many innovations, online gaming is the most popular. More and more American teens are hooked and the variety  of titles reaches in the thousands. This means that an average teenage gamer can play various online games at the same time.


And just like the excessive exposure to various media like television, music, and the internet, online gaming addiction can also lead to severe consequences. These consequences may include health deterioration, abnormal sleeping habits, creating an aloof and outcast personality, low performance in school and academics, and so forth.


What’s very addictive about online gaming is the fact that it creates a virtual refuge for the teen. Thousands of teens in the country suffer from bullying, domestic and family problems, and attitude and behavioral issues. Because of this, they tend to avoid socializing with other people, even their own family. But as soon as they discover the fun in online gaming, they realize further that everything in it is not just about fun. It is actually a new life for them. They start to create a new and promising world in these online communities free from the harsh realities of the outside world.

And when this happens to your own kid, of course you get worried. Being totally wrapped up into online “worlds” separates anyone from reality. As soon as a teen logs in with his account, it is as if everything around him just stopped. He doesn’t care much about any other part of his life when he’s facing the computer. After all, the online gaming community provides him with the essential things he needs that the real world denies him. He can play as a hero or villain in role-playing games, he can build his own house, city, and life in simulation games, and he can find friends and even a partner with fellow online gamers.


Though most of these entertainment features seem to benefit a lonely teen, the long term effect is actually the opposite. There is always the possibility that he will meet someone in the community who’s posing as a gamer, but is actually a predator. Additionally, he may also correspond with people who can influence his behavior and thoughts in a negative way. The more he becomes addicted to it, the more he loses touch with real life. In the long run, online gaming is building a robot personality in an innocent teenager.


But no matter how disturbing this issue can be, parents always have the will to prevent their children from being consumed by this negative effect of technology. Online gaming addiction can be fought off by simply helping out innocent and young people in realizing that too much attention given to it can result in painful consequences.


Limiting computer and online access is very crucial, but always put in mind that you can never coerce or force your child; not if you expect to have an open relationship and you don‘t want them to rush into those negative behaviors right when they get into college.. While many parents use parental internet filters and software, that alone cannot be used in online gaming. What’s really effective is grabbing the attention as well as the interest of the child or teen. For instance, make up some activities that he likes such as going fishing or hiking. In this way, you get to grab his interest and away from online gaming. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that children and teens need not spend more than two hours per day in front of a television or computer. As long as you’re able to provide him other forms of entertainment and fun, he will give up his online gaming addiction. Do the best you can in providing him the care and attention he needs. That’s part of the reason why teens resort to escapism online; they don’t have anyone to talk or socialize with them. Chatting and encouraging them to make friends with neighbors or do some community help will aid them in realizing that mingling with people in the real world can also be fun and much more fulfilling.


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