The Unfortunate Blame Put on Video Games 

Video games are becoming an increasingly popular and profitable industry in our world. What was once mocked and frowned upon is more popular than ever. Today, people of all backgrounds and personalities indulge in video games around the globe. 

In the past few years, esports has risen to prominence as a legitimate competitive activity. People are watching as more and more celebrities get into game performances, and we are seeing the medium blend with others more frequently. On the other hand, we have consistently seen video games in the news being blamed for its negative impact on the world. With every tragedy or disaster that makes news, we are sure to see someone cast blame on video games. 

While gaming is on the rise, there are still staunch opponents to the medium for various reasons. It has been a scapegoat for a long time, and we even see such terms as “gaming disorder” being used as an official medical term. The World Health Organization has even listed “Gaming Addiction” as a severe medical condition. Using these terms to describe the effects of video games is not right; it is selectively choosing the negative examples out of a sea of positive ones to propagate an agenda. The truth is that while video games can negatively influence people, they are far less influential than people think. 

Video Games & Mental Illness

 For a lot of people, video games are ways to cope with mental illness. For a lot of us, when we are feeling anxious, we power up a game and let ourselves get wrapped up in the digital world. Losing ourselves in a game helps us stop focusing on whatever thoughts are causing us to feel anxious, and it allows us to calm down. We can escape our heads for a little bit and create something that is ours. We can tell a story and do things we could never do in real life. Also, we can engage with our friends online to help cope with whatever is raging inside of us. The social aspect of video games is often overlooked by mainstream media. Instead, they focus on the old, cliche image of a person spending hours alone in a dark room in front of a screen. This isn’t the case anymore, with more and more options for gamers to engage with each other in meaningful ways. 

 Of course, there is a limit, as with all things. If a person is completely denying themselves physical interaction with people in the real world, then that is going to lead to negative consequences. You can’t wholly substitute one-on-one relationships with communication over the internet. We still need to engage with people in our real lives, outside of a digital world, but that doesn’t mean that digital engagement doesn’t have its benefits. Gaming addiction is also very real, and it is important to seek balance. If we let ourselves indulge too much, we run the risk of developing a severe problem. The most important distinction to make is that a lot of people can differentiate the events in a game with the activities of real life. They can play a violent game without feeling the need to be violent. If a person is unable to make this distinction, then there is an underlying issue that was present before they even picked up a game. This is the main issue that isn’t touched upon: our society is not equipped to handle people with psychological problems. The people who are vilifying gaming are afraid to acknowledge that they are complicit in allowing the real issues to get worse. Video games are a scapegoat. While games can influence people, their impact is dwarfed by the psychological problems that exist with or without them. 

Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions

Video games can offer us an escape from our mental struggles and allow us to find a reprieve from pain. As with all things, gaming should be part of a well-balanced life. We have to understand the underlying issues that cause these obsessions and unhealthy habits to form. From there, we can adequately address them. If we keep blaming games as a source of violence and aggression, we are doing a disservice to the people who are suffering and allowing these problems to continue. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]