A photo of a young girl with a smartphone in her hand. this is the article feature image.
Gaming can be a good way to relax and have fun. But it is important to know that gaming can sometimes become an addiction.

What is Gaming?

Lots of young people play games for entertainment and fun. You can play online games on computers and consoles, websites and mobile apps. There are many types of online games. There are games that you can play on your own and games that you can play with one other player, or many other players, who you may or may not know offline. 

On some online games you can talk to people through the game itself or through a chat site or gaming forum. You can talk through instant messenger, or on a video chat or headset chat. Some young people also like to watch other gamers playing on live-streaming sites.

What is Addiction?

An addiction is a behaviour that becomes hard to control, even though there are often negative consequences like money problems or arguments with family and friends. A person who is addicted has a strong urge to do the thing they are addicted to and might even feel like it is taking over their life.

Types of Gaming Addictions

Gaming addictions can take different forms. Someone may become addicted to playing online games alone, or with friends. You can play at home or in arcades or amusement halls. Remember, you can only engage in gaming at an amusement hall or funfair from the age of 16.

It is important to be aware of when you feel like you might be addicted to something, such as online gaming. Some signs of gaming addictions include:

Interrupting Your Routine

Gaming has gotten in the way of school, homework and hobbies

Takes Up Time

Gaming has become a big part of your life, taking up a lot of your time

Lost Interest in Other Activities

You've lost interest in sports or hobbies that you used to enjoy

Causing Problems

Your time spent gaming is causing problems with your family or friends

Can't Stop

It is hard to stop thinking about gaming and you like you are not able to stop playing, even when you need to sleep

Getting Help and Support​

If you feel like you might have an addiction to gaming you have the right to get help and support. Talking to a trusted adult about your feelings and concerns can really help. But there are some ways that you can help yourself and take control of your addiction. Some ideas include:

Logging Out

Set aside time for gaming and try to stick to these times. Log out when it is time to do other things like spending time with family or friends, doing homework or going to sleep.

One Step at a Time

Stopping something that you’re addicted to can be difficult at first. Treat yourself with other things if you manage to stop your gaming addiction for a while. But try not to worry if you can’t do it straight away. Like any addiction, breaking the cycle of excessive gaming can be challenging but you can do it with help and support.

Make a Plan

When you get tempted to game, ask yourself, what is my plan? Everyone is different, so your plan will be personal to you. But think about what you can do to distract yourself if you do get tempted.

Take Care

Develop your hobbies and interests, especially those that involve other people. Try to do things with friends and family that do not include gaming.

An addiction to gaming can, be replaced by activities and interests that you enjoy and have fun doing. 

If you are worried about your gaming you can contact Childline. Childline is always here to listen to you and support you. You can call Childline on 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours a day), text Childline on 50101 (10am – 4am every day) or chat with Childline online (10am – 4am every day). 

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