The Grapevine

Will Video Game Addiction Become A Problem During This Coronavirus Pandemic?

While the coronavirus has placed the U.S. and Europe in a lockdown that would last for an indefinite amount of time, the two nations have turned to video games as a way to pass the time and socialize. And while public health officials have applauded the idea, some still ask: Can this also lead to an increase in video game addiction?

Video Game Addiction

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) considered extensive video game addiction as a real mental health issue. However, the agency made full 180 by turning its views on gaming and encouraging people to play more as a means to help escape the woes of cabin fever and keep themselves entertained while the country sorts this virus problem out.

And it’s exactly what happened, with the gaming industry experiencing a huge increase in terms of player base and playtimes as video games become a way for millions of people to pass the time while staying at home and staying connected to other people without the fear of spreading the coronavirus. As such, public health officials have applauded the idea, with some saying that it can be a good way to de-stress and care for our mental well-beings.

But for a lot of people, extensive gaming such as this also has a dark side, which is addiction.

This is because video game addiction isn’t a new thing, and the people that are struggling with it are now being encouraged to do more of it in order to help deal with the stress, anxiety and fear that come with being quarantined amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Every risk factor for gambling addition is spiking right now, and the same is true for internet and gaming addiction. There could be a wave of addiction, quite a big wave,” Keith Whyte, executive director at the National Council on Problem Gambling, said. 

And it’s already happening. In fact, reports reveal that psychiatrists are seeing a spike in patients that are addicted to video games, all while support groups globally are seeing a lot of members go through relapse.

It sure is a problem that needs tackling, although health agencies say that tackling COVID-19 is still the priority, which means encouraging people to stay inside their homes for now.

“Having these entertainment options is helping people to stay home and not feel like they have to go out and meet people,” said Ray Chambers, the WHO’s ambassador for global strategy. “The longer this is going on, the more likely some people will develop problems.”

Video Games Video games are the culmination of modern art, combining different types of media like visual art, music and coding. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

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