The coronavirus and gaming

15 May 2020 - blog

What does the Coronavirus do with youngsters who suffer from gaming addiction? Former fellow Victor has been recovering from his gaming addiction for five years now and has written a blog about the Coronavirus and gaming.

Recently, someone asked me if I think that the number of game addicts will increase now most people are forced to stay at home most of the time. I thought this was an excellent question and started to think about this.

Because it’s true; more and more people are gaming. It was tough to buy game consoles in March, since they were sold out almost everywhere. The Nintendo Switch Lite even broke its own sales record!

And to be honest, I get it. People are bored, they just want to enjoy themselves and how easy is it to just press a button and enjoy entertainment? Besides, you don’t need to miss all your social contacts while playing games. You can still ‘talk’ to your friends as soon as you are online. And to be honest, what is better, making a Kahoot online, after which you still have the feeling of not having reached anything, or achieving another level of Candy Crush and being rewarded with beautiful colours, bells and whistles? Gaming can be attractive to all target groups, but does that make for more gaming addicts?

Let’s have a look at what exactly makes someone a gaming addict. To me, it doesn’t matter how long someone is playing. It is more important to look at the reason WHY someone is playing! If I look at myself for example, I was playing to hide my feelings, to run away from them. I always turned to games if I was angry or sad or felt unsafe or ashamed of something. As soon as I was in this different world, I didn’t have to deal with my feelings. It was a temporary solution to escape my feelings and environment. I thought I couldn’t handle anything myself. And in the meantime, I suppressed so many emotions that I could cry over every little thing.

I always needed to put on a mask not to show my real emotions, which was really tough. If I came home after a long day, it just felt great to ‘relax’ in the virtual world. This lasted until my avoiding behaviour had become so bad that I didn’t go to school anymore, didn’t go to work anymore, spent all my money on games and ended up being treated at Yes We Can Clinics after an intervention. For this intervention, I am genuinely grateful. At Yes We Can, I managed to get my life back on track. Thanks to this clinic I am clean (from gaming and substances) for almost five year now.

To get back to the question if more and more people become addicted to games in these times, my answer to this question is: I don’t know. That is something we will find out in the future. When it is time to return to all responsibilities, we will find out who will face difficulties to find routine and structure again in everyday life. When people begin to prioritise games above other things, that is when we will know who loses themselves in games.

The people with an addiction among us who might be enjoying quarantine are hidden like a kind of camouflage under the new daily life of many other people. Once the Coronavirus is (almost) gone, the difficult part starts: returning to everyday life. Don’t forget that game addicts are a vulnerable target group who lose themselves in games for a reason. They need help and can’t solve the issues themselves. If you know someone who might be addicted to gaming; go talk to them, ask if they need help, be a safe haven for the people around you and listen to them. Only through this can we discover who might suffer from gaming addiction, and you can actually do something about it.

But what if you don’t know what to do anymore? Please contact Yes We Can Youth Clinics. You don’t have to solve everything yourself; people have experienced the same issues and are more than willing to talk to you!

Warmest regards,

Victor van Rossum

Do you want to know more about gaming addiction? Please have a look at this page.