Top 5 Signs You Need Help With Gaming or Internet Addiction

Do you or someone you know spend too much time playing video or computer games or going online? Here are some ways to tell if you need to ask for help:

  1. You feel really happy when you're online or when you're playing games, but as soon as you have to stop, you get angry or upset.
  2. You think about going online or playing when you are supposed to be focusing on other things, like doing school work or having dinner with your family.
  3. You spend more time with your keyboard or controller than physically hanging out with your friends.
  4. Your friends or parents ask what you spend all your time doing, and you lie about it or laugh it off, but inside you know they may have a point.
  5. You get up in the middle of the night to check your e-mail or your MySpace comments because you're having a hard time sleeping.
If you think there might be a problem, there probably is. And you certainly wouldn't be the first. Some experts say as many as 10 percent of all people who use the Internet or play video games are addicted to them.

It's a tough habit to kick. It's not like you can just stop using the computer altogether. You need it for school and to stay in touch with your friends. If you're a gamer, most of your friends may also be gamers, meaning that you would not have anyone to hang out with if you stopped playing completely.

The best thing to do is talk to someone you trust. Maybe it's your mom or dad, a big brother or sister, or a good friend who is concerned about you. Tell them you're worried about being obsessed and you need their help. Your parents probably already know there's a problem, but they don't know what to do about it. So tell them what's really going on.

Chances are, the games aren't the real issue. You may be using the computer or the controller to avoid doing things you don't want to do or thinking about things that are bothering you. Sometimes that's okay - grownups do it, too. But when it's keeping you from sleeping, or causing you to be angry with the people who love you, there's a better way. So go on. Get off the computer or send an e-mail to someone with a link to this page and they'll know you're asking for help. And that's a good sign.

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