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Are You a Gaming Addict?

Serious question – are you a gaming addict?

 

If you have a system like this in your house - you might have a problem.

If you have a system like this in your house – you might have a problem.

The Internet holds a plethora of information that can be used in a variety of ways. It is an indispensable source of information for the researcher, but it does have a dark side to it.

People spend so much time online that a new type of problem has arisen and is affecting our children. That problem comes in the form of an Internet addiction of playing games. Some of these games may be educational in nature and some may just be casual games to relax a little bit.

To a certain point it is okay to relax in this way, but when a child spends an inordinate amount of time in front of the computer instead of socializing with friends then it starts to become a problem. An addiction to video games can be a double edged sword. Decision-based games are good for the cognitive side of the brain, and you wouldn’t be checking out this website if you didn’t think there was some value to just zoning out after a long day, but these kinds of games don’t provide the social interaction that all kids need to have.

As a gaming site, I feel an obligation to providing this kind of social message. If you’re not interested, by all means turn away – it will be here for you later if you change your mind.

Strong social skills are necessary as children grow up. It’s important to be likeable and to be able to connect with people in the real world. These social skills are also needed for the workplace environment. Even though that may be years away for kids, these foundational years are important to understand how getting along with others is crucial to their social development.

What Are The Warning Signs?

Parents need to pay attention to the behaviors that are exhibited by their children. Too much time playing games is a good indicator of an obsession. Although this is subjective in nature, a parent will probably just get a sense when too much time is spent in front of the computer playing games. When asking about the games they play, if kids get irritable about answering your questions, then this is an indicator of too much time playing.

Are kids socializing with friends on movie nights or weekends? Even adults that base their livelihood on the computer need time away from the Internet to put everything in perspective. How much more for the kids? As they say on The Simpsons – “Children are the Future” - and they need to understand how important socialization skills are in order to be productive members of society.

What Can Be Done About It?

One of the first things that a concerned parent can do is to log in a journal what they observed about their child. How much time they spend playing games. Observing any type of problems that they may see and just writing it down will be a big help if the time comes to seek professional advice from a therapist.

The need for an activity will not go away if the parent takes away the privileges of playing games on the computer. Having to replace that energy for something else is crucial at this point. Physical exercise, riding bicycles, playing a sport are all good alternatives. Even calling up their friends to get him or her outside and just hanging out is better than complaining about spending too much time in front of the computer.

Establishing rules of playing computer games is at the heart of controlling this type of Internet addiction for children. If there is still deep resentment of this type action by the parents then seeking advice from a professional therapist would be a prudent action to take.

But this isn’t just an issue for kids.

Children, look away, this is a serious grown-up conversation now. The lack of social skills can lead to trouble dealing with emotional intimacy and this is something that manifests itself in many disturbing ways for adults. Emotional intimacy is at the core of building relationships with coworkers, friends and, most importantly, your significant others.

At the most extreme levels, a lack of emotional intimacy can be diagnosed as an intimacy disorder – including pornography addiction, sex addiction, love addiction, and even what are called love avoidance and sexual anorexia. These are all conditions in which people are unable to make true and lasting connections on an emotional level and may be doomed to leading shallow and empty lives. It is a serious problem among couples and individuals today.

Although it may seem a stretch to move from gaming addiction to sex addiction, at their core they really are the same thing and it’s important to treat them as serious conditions. Pay attention to the warning signs and get help if you need it. Therapists specializing in gaming addiction among teens can be found in family counseling directories.

For adults suffering from more severe intimacy disorders, look for counselors in your local area – like Southern California Intimacy Disorder Therapy, or San Diego Sex Addiction Counseling, or La Jolla Porn Addiction Therapists. These are the people with specialized skills in helping couples and individuals deal with these difficult issues.

Take care of yourselves and take care of others. I love casual games and I want to continue providing reviews of games that I like to play, but if you’re using games as a way to avoid real emotional connections, then I don’t want you reading this site anymore – get out and play, meet people, go places and have fun!

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What video games does he have in that floating chair of his?

What video games does he have in that floating chair of his?

While there are plenty of stories about the dangers of video game addiction, here’s some good news for those of us who still like to play a game or two: researchers in separate studies have found that certain games can actually help with brain development.

The argument of the pros and cons of video games is at least as old as the games themselves – in fact, I’m sure you can find examples of 19th century parents having the same conversations about card games and mumbly-peg. But now we have some bona-fide research to back it up. (more…)

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Transport Empire by Game Insight

Transport EmpireHere’s a train-themed mobile app for all of you who love to play games on your iPhone or iPad.

Transport Empire by Game Insight was released in April and appears to be going through some growing pains, so we won’t be doing a formal review. They promise a Facebook and Android version in the near future. The concept is similar to other “resource-based” games where you grow a city, an kingdom, or an amusement park.

In Transport Empire, you start with two trains and send them to your logging camp or coal mine to begin collecting resources. The more resources you collect and money you spend, the faster you can grow your network. Ultimately, you want to build a Transport Empire that includes several trains, steamboats, and even airships.

Based on historical events in the American West, Transport Empire follows the story of a Vanderbilt-inspired family striving to follow quests and grow their fortunes. Several early reviewers have complained about the weak storyline and gaming system that forces you to spend real money to keep playing the game – a complaint that is all too common in the new model of mobile gaming driven by in-app purchases.

Give it a shot and download it yourself – someday soon you’ll start seeing all of the annoying Facebook notification from your friends, anyway.

Download it for iOS here.

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New Kid-Friendly Video Service

Viddiverse LogoThere’s new online video service aimed at 8-13 year-olds that just launched this month.

Viddiverse aims to be the YouTube for the tween set. While YouTube requires uploaders to be at least 13 years of age, Viddiverse has created a platform designed specifically to keep kids safe online.

Founded by former Nickelodeon executive Malcolm Bird, Viddiverse will feature exclusive kid-friendly content and shows as well as the opportunity for kids to create and upload their own videos using custom “studio tools.” (more…)

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We love train games AND addictive games, but we never fell for the whole Flappy Bird craze. Maybe because there wasn’t a train to be seen in the entire game, but for many people it is still considered one of the most addictive (and difficult) games of all time.

Now Rovio, the company that brought you Angry Birds and Bad Piggies (oh so close to a train game,) comes Retry – a Flappy Bird inspired plane game.

Here’s their description:

From the guys sitting in the room next to the guys who made Angry Birds, comes RETRY – a game so hard, so addictive, so old school that you’ll think you’ve stepped into an 8-bit time machine and gone back to 1986. Totally rad!

Check out the trailer:

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