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Topic : 06/03 Virtual Chaos

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Created on : Thursday, October 16, 2008, 10:37:46 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 10/20/08) Sixty-five percent of American households report playing computer and video games, and surprisingly, the average player is 35 years old. Computer games are supposed to be fun, but when a hobby turns into an obsession, virtual fantasy worlds can ruin lives and wreck marriages. Juli says her 34-year-old husband, Fred, plays computer games all day and ignores his entire family. Fred admits to spending up 10 hours a day in a cyber world, but will he call it an addiction? Fred’s stepson, Brandon, thinks Fred is lazy and that his mom can do better. Then, Brad, 40, was so addicted to games that he spent up to 80 hours a week locked in the basement with his computer. Not only did he accumulate close to $24,000 of debt, his addiction nearly cost him his marriage and his life! Next, Liz found her 21-year-old son, Shawn, dead at his computer from a self-inflicted gun shot. She says that a role-playing game in the virtual world transformed her son from a vibrant young adult into a depressed introvert, which ultimately led to his suicide. Liz founded Online Gamers Anonymous to educate others about the potential dangers of obsessive gaming. Then, when Wendy married a video game designer, she literally took matters into her own hands and started playing herself.  Are you or is someone you love at risk for video game addiction? Log on to DrPhil.com for a checklist of signs!

Find out what happened on the show.

As of January, 2009, this message board will become "Read Only" and will be closed to further posting. Please join the NEW Dr. Phil Community to continue your discussions, personalize your message board experience, start a blog and meet new friends.

October 18, 2008, 6:25 pm CDT

Thanks for your interest

Thanks to everyone for your interest in this issue. As a guest on this episode, I look forward to helping people by my experience. One of the visitors to this forum has referred to "addictive personalities" being addicted to anything. While I'm sure that's true in some cases, I've found that Internet addictions such as online gaming have been particularly powerful. Neither alcohol nor street drugs have ever appealed to me as much as online role playing games.

My blog has a large compilation of my own thoughts on video game addiction and recovery and a new podcast. I hope you'll take time to visit:

http://www.exgamer.net

Thanks,
Brad
 
October 18, 2008, 6:27 pm CDT

World of Warcraft (WoW)

I hate World of Warcraft! (WoW)

 

My hubby started playing WoW a few months ago with all his buddies from work. My hubby works long hours (70) a week and I thought it was a good way for him to destress/decompress after work. To relax and be casual with the guys.

 

Let me tell you....I'm so done with this game. If I say anything he pitches a fit and gets angry that I'm forcing him off the game to spend time with me.

 

This week we have company from China........he still gets on the game after work and ignores me and our guest!!

I've said he was being RUDE and he did get off the game but he was angry.

 

I'm so SICK of this game. He has tried to get me to play it but I REFUSE!

 

Hubby does not ask for much out of life, he is a quiet person without many hobbies so I fell for this and thought it was okay for him to finally have a hobby.

I HATE IT!

 

I have not threatened to pull the plug on the game yet but I'm very tempted.

All I want is my hubby back.

 

He'll get home from work at 2:30am and go to bed at 5:00-5:30am..... He plays WoW before work (1-2 hrs) then after work for 2-3 hrs.

This has taken place of SEX, communication.........it has invaded all parts of our marriage yet he is CLUELESS.

If I complain he gets mad and threatens not to play the game at all. He has NO BALANCE here.

 

I've sat quietly doing my own thing, not complaining and I'm not a complaining wife.......he has a very nice job with a great salary, provides well for me. (kids are grown)

 

Still.......I'm frustrated right now but haven't gotten to the anger stage. If I reach the anger stage you better believe WoW is going to be G-O-N-E gone!

(he might go with it!)

 

I think WoW is the worst game ever......it has invaded so many homes, so many lives, so many things......and the addicts are clueless.

 

I wish this game was never invented. I bet there are many divorces due to WoW with many more to come......who knows, my once happy marriage may join the long line.

 

I'll pull the plug on the game when I've had enough and he knows he's pushing me to the brink of it.....but I want HIM to realize he's taking too much away from our marriage....I want HIM to want to get off the game.....I want HIM to realize on his own that this is an ugly addiction like any other substance.

 

 

 
October 18, 2008, 7:05 pm CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

Quote From: caradia

Just like anything, gaming can be addictive. So can shopping, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc... If a person has an addictive personality, he/she can be addicted to anything.  I game between 8-14 hours a day, sometimes less.  What I had to learn was balance.  Now, when I had nothing in my life it was sleep, wake up, game, go to work, come home, game, sleep, and repeat.  I could not imagine losing a job for it; however, I can see where it gets in the way of relationships.  What is ironic is that I met my current live-in boyfriend in an online game over a year ago.  Now, he is here and has no interest in gaming because he has me (which confuses me), while gaming is still my favorite hobby just like it was when I met him.  I guess he had other reasons for gaming.  So, I still game.  I did have problems spending time with him, but now I make sure that other areas of my life are met before I cross to the void of gaming.  Gaming is my way of relieving stress.  Work, him, and life in general incur stress.  So, you know, you do what you gotta do.  I feel some people think it is an addiction if people actually pay to play online and/or spend over an hour a day on the game.  Wrong.  Just because it is not understood does not make it addiction.  Think of it this way, if you watch sitcoms on TV for over an hour, then would you say you are addicted to sitcoms on TV?

The last line is the important one.

 

Us widows are not talking about 1 hour playing...that's a hobby.

We are talking about doing NOTHING else but gaming.  Ignoring your spouse, job, responsibilities and children.

Yes, some gamers out there ignore their kids. And just because other things are addictive doesn't make gaming any less so, or less damaging.

I have been abused by gaming.  Marriges have broken up, children feel neglected and worth less than a game.

Is this right? Is this ok? Hell no!

 

I understand needing to relieve stress.  I have a very stressful job.  However I deal with my house, my yard and spend quality time with my kids and when they are in bed then I sit and read.

 

Gaming to the point that you neglect everything else is NEVER ok!

 
October 18, 2008, 7:32 pm CDT

Thanks for your interest

Thanks everyone for posting to this forum!

The reason I agreed to be on this show was because we need to raise awareness of online gaming addiction. What I put my wife through because of my addiction for 8 or 9 years is unspeakable. Through my blog, I hear from a lot of gamers' spouses about the same things that I used to do: lying, spending thousands of dollars on gaming, neglecting responsibilities.

Please feel free to visit my blog at ExGamer.net for more on my story.
 
October 18, 2008, 8:31 pm CDT

interesting

I find it extremely interesting that this would be the topic of the show now of all times. I have been married for 11 years. My husband has always been a computer person, but over the past few years he has gotten into online gaming and over the past few months it has gotten really bad. One Saturday night I came home from work to find him with the headset to the computer on one ear and the headset to the phone on the other ear with both microphones going down to his mouth talking into both of them. On a weekend he can spend 14 hours playing one game. I work on the weekends and I have to wonder if my kids are being fed while I am away. Our sex life has suffered greatly, because by the time he gets off of the computer he is too tired and just wants to go to sleep. My marriage is falling apart and I'm not proud of this but I have turned to other men just for that physical contact that is lacking from my husband. I hate being ignored and him choosing a game over his family. I have told him how lonely I am and that I want him to quit playing it so much, but he either doesn't care or doesn't realize how hurt I am.
 
October 18, 2008, 8:59 pm CDT

Get a grip

OK, I am really getting tired of the MMO bashing. For you that don't know...that's MMORPG..Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.

 

I am almost 47. My husband is 25. We met and married in Everquest. We then met and married IRL over 4 years ago.

 

Sure, if you don't have any discipline it can get out of hand, like eating, drug abuse, or anything else...collecting things...I am sure if it exists there is someone out there addicted to it.

 

When I asked God to put someone in my life, I told him the only stipulation was THEY HAD TO PLAY THE GAME. We both still play the game, and we are very happy together.

 

I have heard the story about the guy who shot himself, and his mother found him with a room full of pizza boxes and an EQ loading screen...that guy's issues had nothing to do with Everquest.

He had a garbage life and used EQ to run away...not the fault of the game..

 

There is a guy who plays WOW who has 36 accounts....so he can raid and play by himself, and does not have to socialize.. There is a thread on the bulletin board to the server I am on currently discussing whether or not he is the worlds biggest loser...serious gamers...calling this guy a loser...to each his own I say.

 

The woman you mentioned...Wendy...is the smart one. Any man who plays an MMO who does not have 2 computers and an extra account for their love interest is looking for trouble.

 

Yes, when I log in I am going to be in for a minimum of 6 hours, and I usually do 12, but I can be in the game, and my husband come home from work...nothing be done, supper not on yet, and I can look at him and say Baby! I leveled!...And he will say..YAY!!!!..Then he will shower, I will cook, we eat, and he goes and logs into his account. We play together a lot.

 

If your life is not compatible with the game you are playing, get another game. If your game is not compatible with your relationship, get your SO an account.

 

Either way, get responsible for your own life, and quit blaming the game.

 

Sheryl

 

 
October 19, 2008, 12:52 am CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

I'm looking for that "checklist" mentioned in the description for this episode, but can't seem to find it. I think that my boyfriend is heading in the direction of gaming addiction, and I want to see if he has some signs that Dr. Phil would consider telltale of addiction. My boyfriend does some things that I'm almost 100% sure are signs (stays up into late hours of the night, looses track of time, sometimes doesn't answer his phone, spends money on games when he needs to pay for other things first).

 

In a nutshell I want to know which are the worst signs, and how to prevent him from getting in too deep before it's too late.

 
October 19, 2008, 1:06 am CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

Quote From: sherylday

OK, I am really getting tired of the MMO bashing. For you that don't know...that's MMORPG..Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.

 

I am almost 47. My husband is 25. We met and married in Everquest. We then met and married IRL over 4 years ago.

 

Sure, if you don't have any discipline it can get out of hand, like eating, drug abuse, or anything else...collecting things...I am sure if it exists there is someone out there addicted to it.

 

When I asked God to put someone in my life, I told him the only stipulation was THEY HAD TO PLAY THE GAME. We both still play the game, and we are very happy together.

 

I have heard the story about the guy who shot himself, and his mother found him with a room full of pizza boxes and an EQ loading screen...that guy's issues had nothing to do with Everquest.

He had a garbage life and used EQ to run away...not the fault of the game..

 

There is a guy who plays WOW who has 36 accounts....so he can raid and play by himself, and does not have to socialize.. There is a thread on the bulletin board to the server I am on currently discussing whether or not he is the worlds biggest loser...serious gamers...calling this guy a loser...to each his own I say.

 

The woman you mentioned...Wendy...is the smart one. Any man who plays an MMO who does not have 2 computers and an extra account for their love interest is looking for trouble.

 

Yes, when I log in I am going to be in for a minimum of 6 hours, and I usually do 12, but I can be in the game, and my husband come home from work...nothing be done, supper not on yet, and I can look at him and say Baby! I leveled!...And he will say..YAY!!!!..Then he will shower, I will cook, we eat, and he goes and logs into his account. We play together a lot.

 

If your life is not compatible with the game you are playing, get another game. If your game is not compatible with your relationship, get your SO an account.

 

Either way, get responsible for your own life, and quit blaming the game.

 

Sheryl

 

(Yeah...I'd call that guy with 36 accounts a bit of a loser...at least you can socialize on MMORPG's)

 

I think that the issue being discussed on the show is different than what you are saying. You and your husband are happy, and your lives aren't being badly effected by the game. That's good. If you two are happy with the way things are, I see no reason to change.

 

However, the people on this show are being negatively effected by it. Like the man who is now $24,000 in debt because of spending money to maintain his account. Or the person who spends 80 hours a week playing the game, just sitting there and doing nothing else, ignoring family and other responsibilities outside of the game.

 

The issue is about people who get so wrapped up in the game that they forget that all it is is just a game. I'm not sure if you have heard of this, but another example would be a boy who played World of Warcraft, and his character fell into the bottomless pit (for those who don't know, the bottomless pit is a pit in the game that really is bottomless. You fall and fall and fall, and there is no way out. You can't do anything if you fall into this pit) and he killed himself because he basically lost all his stats and everything.

 

Sometimes I've noticed that my boyfriend neglects his real life when he gets wrapped up in Ragnarok. One time I said I wanted him to come with me to the mall to show him something he and I would both like. He agreed, but when I was ready to go, purse in hand, he said he wasn't going to go because it was double experience week. Another time I asked him to watch Family Guy with me, and he said "Sure, I'll be right there." He wasn't "right there" until an hour later when the show was already over. His reason? His guild leader signed on and asked him if he wanted to join in questing.

 

See? These situations are more serious than yours, considering you and your husband don't seem to have any problems, nor are you ignoring things in real life. Your husband works, he doesn't blow off his job for the game. You two still have dinner together and interact with eachother on a positive way. But there are situations in which yes, MMORPG's can have negative effects. The game itself is not being cut down, the addiction and what comes of it is.

 
October 19, 2008, 1:37 am CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

I think that it's a shame that people get so attached to these games.  They lose the ability to just comunicate with other people.  When I see our 22 year and his friends here playing stupid games on a Saturday night I just can't believe it.  When we were that age we would never be home.  We would be out with friends enjoying ourselves and interacting with others.  The compters have taken life in the wrong direction.  It's hard to go down a street and see children playing which use to be unheard of.  We would play outside every chance we got.  I have grandchildren and I only hope that their generation is beeter than this one.
 
October 19, 2008, 6:48 am CDT

Re: Get a grip

Quote From: sherylday

OK, I am really getting tired of the MMO bashing. For you that don't know...that's MMORPG..Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.

 

I am almost 47. My husband is 25. We met and married in Everquest. We then met and married IRL over 4 years ago.

 

Sure, if you don't have any discipline it can get out of hand, like eating, drug abuse, or anything else...collecting things...I am sure if it exists there is someone out there addicted to it.

 

When I asked God to put someone in my life, I told him the only stipulation was THEY HAD TO PLAY THE GAME. We both still play the game, and we are very happy together.

 

I have heard the story about the guy who shot himself, and his mother found him with a room full of pizza boxes and an EQ loading screen...that guy's issues had nothing to do with Everquest.

He had a garbage life and used EQ to run away...not the fault of the game..

 

There is a guy who plays WOW who has 36 accounts....so he can raid and play by himself, and does not have to socialize.. There is a thread on the bulletin board to the server I am on currently discussing whether or not he is the worlds biggest loser...serious gamers...calling this guy a loser...to each his own I say.

 

The woman you mentioned...Wendy...is the smart one. Any man who plays an MMO who does not have 2 computers and an extra account for their love interest is looking for trouble.

 

Yes, when I log in I am going to be in for a minimum of 6 hours, and I usually do 12, but I can be in the game, and my husband come home from work...nothing be done, supper not on yet, and I can look at him and say Baby! I leveled!...And he will say..YAY!!!!..Then he will shower, I will cook, we eat, and he goes and logs into his account. We play together a lot.

 

If your life is not compatible with the game you are playing, get another game. If your game is not compatible with your relationship, get your SO an account.

 

Either way, get responsible for your own life, and quit blaming the game.

 

Sheryl

 

Sheryl, I am glad that you and your husband are so happy together, with both of you playing Everquest so much.  However, that is not the case for many other couples, especially when only one of them wants to play so much and the other one feels completely neglected.  Also, the person who plays so much may often not eat properly and otherwise take proper care of themselves (e.g., showering every once in a while).  It is even worse when there is children involved who may also feel neglected and unloved, including sometimes even not being fed or clothed properly, as well as being yelled at or even struck when they interrupt the gamer's playing.  Also, for young children, the lack of proper supervision can potentially result in dangerous situations such as them wandering out of the house to become injured or even killed.

 

As for "the guy who shot himself", I assume that you are referring to Shawn Woolley.  You also say, "that guy's issues had nothing to do with Everquest".  How do you know that?  Did you ever meet him or otherwise get to know him in any way?  Were you psychic and able to read his mind?  If you are interested and want to get to know a bit more about his situation before being so judgmental, I suggest that you read, if you have not yet done so, the Wikipedia entry for him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Woolley and some of the associated references.

 

You also say, "quit blaming the game".  I, at least, don't blame the game for my problems.  Most of the people who I know with a gaming addiction problem, mostly from what I have read on the OLGA website, also do not blame the game for their problems.  It is like alcoholics blaming alcohol for their addiction.  To me, the issue is not to assign blame but rather to recognize that there is a problem, but only for those with a problem, and then to do something about it.

 

I don't know anything more about you than what you wrote in your post, but I have found that most people (including myself) tend to lash out at other people mostly when they are not happy about something similar in their own lives.  As such, I am wondering if you are trying to defend your own lifestyle, when nobody here is actually attacking it, because it is not quite as happy and satisfying that you make it out to be?  Once again, however, I am just asking and not trying to judge you and your husband.  If you both are truly happy with your life now, then I am also happy for the both of you.  However, if there are some problems, I hope that you both will admit that and try to address them, including if it means reducing or even completely stopping your playing.  Regardless, I wish you both a long and happy life together.

 
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