Lots of young people – guys in particular but girls, too – report that their online gaming has felt out of their control, and that it has interfered with other important parts of their lives like exercise, school, and relationships with friends and family.
If you suspect you might have a problem with online gaming, you’re not alone.
Take our quiz to get a better sense of your online gaming habits.
It can be hard to cut back or stop gaming, especially when it’s a big part of your life.
Here are some tips that might help:
Write down all the effects online gaming has on your life. Include both positives (it’s fun, it’s a way to escape, etc) and negatives (it makes it harder to spend time with friends, expensive membership fees, etc). Look at the list every day and keep adding to it. What does it tell you about why you game, or why your gaming is problem? Does it give you any ideas about how to stop or cut back?
If you feel ready, try to set goals related to gaming. Make your goals as specific and measurable as possible (for example, only gaming two hours per day; only visiting gaming forums for 15 minutes per day). Consider asking your parents to help you stick to these limits. Reward yourself when you reach a goal -- for example, download a new album, buy tickets to see your favourite sports team, etc.
Think of ways to make online gaming less convenient. For example:
Make a list of things you enjoy that you can do every day instead of gaming. Is there something you always wanted to do or try? Exercising or playing sports can help you work off stress.
Make sure gaming doesn’t interfere with your health by sticking to some basic rules:
Some people game a lot because their online life feels better or safer than their offline life. If there’s something in your life that’s bothering you, try talking about it with someone you trust. Try to spend time with supportive people in your life.
There are professional support groups for people struggling with online gaming – try Online Gamers Anonymous. You can always call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 and talk to a counsellor.
The next page can help if you’re worried about a friend or parent who is gaming a lot.
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Last Reviewed June 2011 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team
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