Computer Games: Playing Too Much

Leonardo Bighetti, via Flickr

Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at the problem of computer game addiction. They look at the attractions of computer games, and the dangers of too much online gaming.

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Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

“In November of 2000, my life was going well. I had a lovely girlfriend. I had a working car. And I had a job. My job paid more than enough for me to survive. It also supported my increasingly expensive video game playing.”

Voice 1 

These are the words of Michael Fahey. Fahey is a writer. He writes for the video game news website Kotaku. In November of 2000, his life was good. However, Fahey’s life was about to change. In four short months, Fahey would lose his girlfriend, his car and his job. He lost all of these things because of an addiction. He could not stop playing computer games.

Voice 2 

Most people recognize the common problem of drug or alcohol addiction. Addicts often depend physically or mentally on substances or particular acts. They believe that they need them to survive. But have you ever heard of a person who is addicted to computer or video games? Research shows this is a growing problem all over the world. Today’s Spotlight is on gaming addiction.

Voice 1 

Computer games are popular all around the world. Many people play these games on the Internet. Using the Internet lets people in China play games against people in the United States. And people in India can play games against people in South America.

Voice 2 

Games look more and more real as computer technology improves. Many people describe playing computer games as entering into a new world. Some games let people create their own cities. Some games take people on journeys. Other games let people “chat” or talk over the Internet.

Voice 1 

People playing these kinds of games create their own Internet communities. Many people like having these kinds of social relations. They feel less pressure to act or look a particular way. That is because the people they are talking to cannot see them.

Voice 2 

Gaming can have many positive effects. It can help people make friends. It can help people learn to solve problems and make decisions. It can even help improve eye and hand movement. However, gaming can become a problem. Some people even begin to spend more time playing games in their Internet world than living in the “real world.”

Voice 1 

This is what happened to Michael Fahey. For Fahey, his addiction was connected to a particular game - a game called EverQuest. He began playing EverQuest in December of 2000.

Voice 3 

“Within a week, the game became my life. If I was not sleeping or at work, I was playing EverQuest. Then, working became rare. I would go into work, and I would still hear the sounds of EverQuest in my head. All I had to do was close my eyes and I was in my EverQuest world.”

Voice 2 

Fahey’s gaming addiction cost him a lot. However, there have been far worse cases of gaming addiction. In 2005, the BBC reported that a South Korean man died while playing an Internet computer game. The 28 year-old man died in an Internet cafe. He had been playing the same game for 50 hours with few breaks. The man had not slept well. And he ate very little food while he played. Police officials believe the man died from heart failure caused by extreme tiredness. Newspapers have reported similar cases of gaming deaths around the world in places like Taiwan, China, and the United States.

Voice 1 

Many experts have begun to study gaming addiction. There have been many studies done recently - particularly looking at gaming and young adults. Dr. Douglas Gentile is an expert on gaming addiction. He told the website Science Daily,

Voice 4 

“We are starting to see a number of studies from different cultures - in Europe, the United States and Asia. All the studies are showing that around 7-11% of game players seem to have a real problem. They are considered gaming addicts.”

Voice 2 

Like all addictions, gaming addiction does have warning signs. The National Academic Advising Association lists a few warning signs on its website.

Voice 1 

One warning sign is intense pleasure and guilt about playing. People addicted to computer games will feel the happiest when they are playing games. But they will also feel guilty about the amount of time they spend playing.

Voice 2 

Another warning sign is obsessing. Gaming addicts will find themselves thinking about playing all the time. And this can lead to neglect. People with a gaming addiction often neglect or forget about their studies, work, sleep, relationships, food, and family.

Voice 1 

Gaming addicts may also struggle with lying, anger and depression. People with a gaming addiction are often unable to control the amount of time they play. And uncontrolled playing can lead to other problems like debt. Many gaming addicts spend all their money on gaming.

Voice 2 

China was one of the first countries to address gaming addiction. With almost 300 million Internet users, China has the largest number of internet users in the world. In 2007, the Chinese government decided to act. They began setting time limits on game players. This ban concentrated particularly on those under the age of 18.

Voice 1 

Doctors in China also began to address the problem. In 2004, Dr. Tao Ran started one of the first health clinics for people addicted to gaming. Recently he told the Christian Science Monitor:

Voice 5 

“The problem is getting worse. Internet addicts often have a difficult time in school and society. So, they try to escape their difficulties and avoid problems. They lack self-confidence. Often they do not have the courage to continue their real lives."

Voice 2 

Dr. Tao uses different methods to help people. Sometimes he uses therapy. He will talk and listen to the patients. Together they will create a healthy lifestyle plan. This requires a balance between work, school, and play. Dr. Tao also encourages people to be involved in activities other than playing computer games. In severe cases he will use medicine or other medical treatments.

Voice 1 

Today, many more governments and doctors are addressing the issue of gaming addiction. More people are learning about the problem. More people are getting help. And more people are changing their lives. Some people might blame the game makers for creating the problem of gaming addiction. However Michael Fahey does not. Instead, he wrote,

Voice 3 

“It would be easy for me to blame the game EverQuest. But I know that was not the problem. I hid. I ran from my problems. I hid in an Internet world instead of directly working to address my problems.”

Voice 2 

The writers of this program were Rebekah Schipper and Robin Basselin. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it on the internet at  This program is called “Computer Games: Playing Too Much.”

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Do you play computer games? What is your favorite game?


Avatar Spotlight
Blue Lotus
said on July 09, 2012

Addiction omputer is a evil. I don’t want any of my friend to addict it.

humble71's avatar
said on July 09, 2012

It’s a big problem especially for young people . The gaming addiction is the worst problem for a society because it creates selfish people walking in the streets empty in their souls without responsibility with other members of the community because they live in other developed world inside their minds.  The use of technology especially internet has created a problem of concentration in the people . Now people don’t read books like in the last century and an addiction needs help . I hope the creators of evil video games will have conscience about what they are doing ...they’re destroying values, culture, friendship, family, and selfcontrol especially in young adults. 

Thanks Rebekha and Robin for this especial program.

From Quito, Ecuador

Augusto Lenin

Avatar Spotlight
said on July 10, 2012

Computer games is a matther of public.
Health, this problem needs to be discussed by the Governaments, doctors, teachers, families and all people envolved.
The addicted people need help.

Julio e Maristela

Klein, Brasilia , Brasil

Avatar Spotlight
said on August 07, 2013

This program is awesome! (like all the programs!)
I think that gaming addiction is a great problem around the world. But is very importante that governments and doctors are acting on this problem.
Sorry for my English. I am learning it and Spotlight helps me a lot!
Thank you!!

Avatar Spotlight
said on August 08, 2013

As we know,every coin has two sides.Business is a business.We can not complaint how worse the game creator is.Or we can not let them close down the game program.That is impossible.In fact,it has its own value.
All we can do it is improving self-control ability.Learn to balance between work,school and play.Try to create an healthy lifestyle plan.That is a smart act.Ok?Action on.

Avatar Spotlight
said on August 08, 2013

The internet is part of the technology everything have a risk, above all when the people have addiction for anything. Young people must be controlled and the same time the differentes games on the internet.
I feel sorrow how the teenagers are implicated in addictions forgetting the sense of the life, respect,consideration, love to others.The change of the cultures around the world due the internet are every time self defeating but when people are conscious they can profit for instance researching, studying.

Thanks friends go on

Avatar Spotlight
blue diamond
said on August 12, 2013

Computer game? Gaming addiction? It’s a big problem of most of my friends! How many people know that virtual world can control us a lot?

Avatar Spotlight
said on November 17, 2014

computer games: this is the bigest problem,because it’s destroy young people

Avatar Spotlight
said on November 17, 2014

Computer games have impacted badly to young people, specially violent games. The treatment for gaming addicts is more difficult than heroin ones because the gaming addicts will not feel the pain of body as well as heroin addicts when they must detoxicate. Gaming addicts will detoxify themselves. This is great problem for society. I introduced the article to my son so that he can recognize a experience lesson. Thank you for Spotlight.

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Nguyen Van Dung
said on November 21, 2014

I really dont understand why there are a lot of young people addict in playing video game. I am a young man in 24 year olds, but I have never known about the defination of ” gaming addition”. Everybody has to take care for themselves. Nobody can help them. Although the Goverments of above countries have a lot of policies to prevent from gaming addiction, but if if the young dont wanna change, you are unable to change them.

Avatar Spotlight
said on November 23, 2014

It is sure, on line gaming represents an entering into a new, unreal, virtual world, it is exactly a sort of escaping from reality. People feel happiness and excitement while they are hidden in their dreamed worlds. Unfortunately, if people begin to spend more and more time playing games they may become addicted seriously, these activities even can destroy their life largely. In a short time, the obsession by gaming often causes people begin to neglect or forget their work, sleeping, food and family. These warning signs signalize the big danger mainly regarding the young people. The parents certainly should control the children’s activities regularly explaining them the necessary carefulness on the Internet just as the serious dangers of gaming addiction.
Thanks for great topic!

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 25, 2015

It is also the severe problem in my country. Generally, teenagers involve with computer game more than adults and this poisoned the young generation. They spend all their time playing computer without having real connections. Even, someone stabs other players because they argue about who is winner of game or who is deserve to get victory and booty. The real relationships broken and some relations between parents and children are collapsed. Therefore, the government conduct several campaigns to encourage people care more about teenagers and young adults. Limiting the time for opening and closing of internet cafe and internet shop. Setting up some regulations for society in order to prevent this issue thoroughly.

dung.luvi's avatar
said on November 01, 2015

Video game is destroying younger generation. Game addiction - A difficult problem of the whole world

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said on November 05, 2015

I’m a young man and live in a dynamic city, of course, I like playing video games so much. However, I’m not a game addict.  I love football and building my own city so I play many games which are involved in. In my country, there are many people who can spend many hours per day to play games. Some people are interested in playing a role as a hero in journey games, others love fighting or make a war to invade other land, others play games like a work can help them earn money. Gaming addiction can causes negative effects. They can be angry, uncomfortable with people around them. It makes them depression, lonely and unable to connect with their community. Moreover, it leads more crime such as stealing money to play games or fighting each other from a conflict in the unreal life on internet. To sum up, playing video games help people to relax, avoid stress, so we shouldn’t spend on it too much.

Avatar Spotlight
said on September 26, 2019

I was addicted to max payne and after it ,family farm seaside, ludo king n 4 in row
But now i play none of these
Actuallay there’re another addictions
Are social media especially (Instagram and Facebook)
I use to use facebook most of the time and never got bored but see now i can’t stand it anymore
If i use it i use it just for 10 to 15 m hardly ever for 30 m
And I’m really thankful to god for not spending much more time on anymore
it was really wasting my time and now for me become useless and boring
But this days the Instagram I can’t stop using it but i think it’s so useful there’re alot of videos taught me (food, hairstyles, ...)

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said on September 27, 2019

I do not like computer games. When I was in the Brazilian army, I served in a computer center and the commander set up a computer game room for distressed people who were tired at work. There was a very funny game in which the player was supposed to destroy bombing enemy defenses, very suitable for soldiers, but there were so many candidates to play that I almost never played.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on October 29, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To spotlight program
Subject to answer to the questions below
Location São Paulo city SP Brazil
Tuesday 29, October 2019

Dear Mark Drenth, Rebekah Schipper, and Robin Besselin

Thank you for writing and producing more one great article for us brazilian people and others around the World.
Question 1 - Do you play computer games?
Answer 1 - No, I do not.
Question 2 - What is your favorite game?
Answer 2 - I do not have one.  I do not like them.
Your regards,
God bless you
Severino Ramos