Gaming can be an entertaining, sociable and relaxing hobby. For many people, it is one of several hobbies they have alongside spending time with friends and family, going to work or school, running a business or pursuing other interests such as art and reading. For some, gaming takes up quite a lot of their free time and they can start to feel like it is a waste of their time. This can lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety if they are unable to play because they have other responsibilities. However, playing video games has many benefits that can help players develop skills that can benefit them in real life.
Some games improve hand-eye coordination, cognitive flexibility and decision making. Other games immerse players in fictional worlds that can provide an escape from the stress of real life or offer a chance to explore alternative identities through characters and environments they interact with. Games have also been shown to reduce stress by providing a safe space where players can fail and build resilience. Some games even allow players to interact and communicate with others through online communities that are supportive of their gaming habits.
Regardless of their genre, all games require some level of creativity and problem solving. A good example is Minecraft which has been shown to boost creativity in students. Other games allow players to practice management of resources, resource acquisition and planning ahead in a fun and engaging way. These are important skills for real life and can be beneficial for those who have to manage projects at work or who run businesses.
There are a number of different reasons why gamers might find that they are not spending as much time gaming as they used to. This could include financial constraints or the emergence of other hobbies or activities that they prefer to pursue such as sports, socialising with friends or learning new skills and interests. It may also be that their gaming addiction has led to them neglecting other responsibilities such as paying bills or taking care of their health.
A gaming addiction can be particularly harmful for people who already suffer from neurologic disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some research has suggested that these people are more likely to become addicted to gaming than those without these conditions. For example, a boy with ADHD who plays video games obsessively can start to skip physical therapy sessions and might even forget to take his medication.
The best advice for people who are worried about gaming addiction is to try and make gaming more of a hobby than a lifestyle choice. They can try a new game that is not part of their regular repertoire or challenge themselves by playing an older game on hard mode. This can reignite their interest in a game that they have lost enthusiasm for and it will also introduce them to new mechanics, tactics and characters that they might not have encountered before.