Just yesterday I found myself in the school library. I was working on some writing assignments for my classes. The computer lab was full. A message from the administrator popped up on my screen : Please log off if you are not using the computer for school work. I looked around the room. I wondered if everyone got that message. Did they know what I was looking at online? A boy sitting at the table next to me was probably not doing school work. He was on his personal laptop, hood on. The game he was playing for longer than I was in the library ….the awful, the most addictive game in the universe… you guessed it WOW or “World of Warcraft”.
I’ve heard stories about babies in Japan dying because of this game. A few years ago I found myself in the sauna at a large gym. I was alone in a hot sort of dark room with about 7 other strangers. I like getting to know strangers and so I talked to the people in there. As it turns out two of the boys told me they hadn’t been to the gym in a long time. They confessed they where going cold turkey off of Wow. I praised them for their efforts.
- •Do you play compulsively?
- •Do you play for long periods of time (often longer than you had planned)?
- •Once online, do you have difficulty stopping?
- •Do you play as often as you can?
- •Do you sneak or violate family rules in order to play, even when facing punishment or loss of privileges for doing so?
- •When you are not playing, do you obsess about the game, plotting and planning your next opportunity to play?
- •Do you sacrifice real-world things for your online world?
- •Is your gaming negatively affecting your relationships with family members or other non-gamer friends? For instance, if you are a parent, does it cause you to neglect your children’s needs? If you are a child, does it cause you to distance yourself from your parents and siblings?
- •Do you consider other online gamers (even those whom you’ve never met in real life) to be among your best friends?
- •Is your school or work suffering because of the time and energy you spend gaming?
- •Are you having a difficult time deciding to serve a mission because of the extended break from the game that will naturally result?
- •Do you neglect personal hygiene?
- •Have your sleep patterns changed since you became involved with online gaming? Are you staying up extremely late or getting up in the middle of the night to play?
reference: “More Than Just a Game” in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, available at springerlink.com.
So why is it so addictive? well because the game continues while you are not there. There are goals to reach. You can play with “friends”.
Knutson says it this way:
Why Are Online Role-Playing Games So Compelling?
on reason that online role-playing games may potentially be more addictive is that they are essentially a social network with an exciting graphical interface. They fill social needs that may be unmet in the real world. For instance, a teenage boy may not feel popular or successful at high school, but in the online world, he gets a fresh start and a new set of friends. His problem-solving skills and intelligence make him socially important in his virtual community. He steps into a role in which he feels needed and successful.
Another draw is that online gaming provides an unending source of goals or objectives. Unlike games installed on a home computer, MMORPGs prevent players from ever actually winning the online game because each victory brings yet another task, goal, quest, or skill level to be obtained.
Moreover, as players perform quests and rise in their achievements, the time investment for each skill level normally rises. So while players may gain 5 or 10 levels in their first few days playing, the next week may bring only one or two new levels, with each new level after that requiring longer and longer time investments. Players who have spent significant time attaining a certain skill level tend to be reluctant to walk away from the game and lose their investment.
Finally, the collaborative nature of online role-playing games can result in a strong form of peer pressure. Each person’s involvement matters not only to himself or herself but also to guild or team members, so a player who cuts back on playing time or fails to show up at agreed-upon times may face criticism or rejection from fellow gamers.”
Even Tyra talks to a woman who is fed up with her husbands addiction to world of warcraft