A Different Kind of Addiction

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Addictions. They have become a major issue over the last few years among teenagers. Though addictions to things such as drugs and alcohol seem to always take mainstage when addictions are discussed, one other big issue has evolved recently: addiction to video games.

“You can just keep playing without stopping,” Jackson Wallace, senior, said.

Some say that video games give the player the ability to enter a whole different world.

“They provide an escape from reality and all of the issues and drama that goes on in real life,” Axel Maldonado, senior, said.

Maldonado found himself addicted to gaming during middle school, but when high school started, all of that changed.

“When I was in Westridge I played Runescape a lot. I was like level 102. And then high school and more interesting and important things came along,” Maldonado said.

This increase in video game playing, and the overall increase in technological advances, has led to a lower attention span in teenagers.

“They’re used to the bright visuals and crisp sounds, and as a teacher, you’re not getting their attention the way video games do,” Geneva Grogan, psychology teacher, said.

Thanks to the addition of things such as online play, teenagers have the sudden urge to keep playing. Because of these recent advances, games have often taken priority over more important things, such as homework, chores, and daily activities.

“I spend way too much time on it

. I’ve blown off homework to play my games before,” Wallace said.

Many different types of games prove to be addicting. Wallace finds first-person shooters to be the most captivating.

“They’re one of the easiest to get into to start with. Like Call of Duty; anyone can pick it up and play basically,” Wallace said.

Maldonado plays many games, but finds RPGs to be his favorite.

“The game engrosses you and you’re completely in character when you play. You feel like a part of the character and you have the responsibilities that the character has,” Maldonado said.

Grogan says that though many teens are dependent on video games in their daily life, there are ways they can prevent becoming addicted. One of the solutions is limiting daily use of games and technology.

But this solution also can have drastic effects. According to recent studies, many teenagers end up going through withdrawal, just like a drug addict would. Even with this struggle to let go, it’s the only way to prevent teens from becoming addicted to games, and technology in general.

“Limiting time spent playing video games, using your phone, and using the Internet is the key,” Grogan said.

With technology moving forward and an increase in video game elements such as boosted graphics and expanded gameplay, future generations may be affected.

“The faster technology moves and the more you want it to get, the faster you want it to go,” Grogan said.

Photo: Ryan Lansdon