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Topic : 06/03 Virtual Chaos

Number of Replies: 390
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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.

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October 19, 2008, 7:05 am CDT

Re: Valid concern, sometimes blown out of proportion

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?

Your last sentence of "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?" indicates to me a lack of understanding of what addiction is.  Until I became addicted to video games, to be honest, I did not really understand how people could become addicted to anything.  One of the things, to me, that defines an addiction to video games is not so much the number of hours per day that are spent playing, although that is often an important indicator of an addiction problem.  For example, I only played about 4 hours per day, which is less than quite a few people spend on a hobby.  However, the important difference is the issue of control.  I only spent that much time because I had some limited control over myself but even that much time, in addition to my other procrastination methods, caused a lot of problems for me.  Although I have stopped playing now, it was not an easy thing for me to do.  People with just a hobby or a pastime, like watching T.V. occasionally, even for over an hour, can usually easily change the amount of time involved if they want to.  Nonetheless, as you say at the start, almost anything can be addictive to certain people.  However, too much time spent doing anything, whether or not it is truly an addiction, is a problem if it causes a person to ignore their real life responsibilities to themselves and those around them.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the issue of addiction, I am sure that there are many excellent books and other references.  However, one book that I, and at least several other people that I know of, have found to be very helpful is "The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior" by Craig Nakken.  A link to it on Amazon is www.amazon.com/Addictive-Personality-Understanding-Compulsive-Behavior/dp/1568381298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221858013&sr=1-1 .

 
October 19, 2008, 7:07 am CDT

Denial

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

 

Just because you and your husband share the same addiction does not mean there isnt a problem. Noone is saying there is anything wrong with playing any form of online games.However there is such a thing as moderation. Just like some people can have a drink and not become an alcoholic, others can not. Stop sugar coating peoples addictions and saying we are judging you because were not. How dare you claim to know anything about the man who killed himself. I assume since you spend your life on a game you are not a psychiatrist. Wake up Sheryl!  Depression is an illness and if someone is having troubles in their life they turn to an escape......Alcohol, drugs, gaming, reckless behavior. If online gaming prevented him from seeking the help he needed then yes there is a problem.
My husband is an online gamer and it has ruined our lives. And before you start getting all holy than thou on us there are no underlying problems. If tomorrow there was no more Wow I can guarantee you he would get a job, become more productive and spend more time with his family.
 Because when he is not around his game he is the perfect husband and father.
The people on this board are not looking for criticism and the fact that you would even mention someones death in such a snide and casual way does not say a whole lot about your character.
if your playing up to twelve hours a day you have no grip on reality. Yes we are responible for our own lives but sometimes obstacles stand in our way. Unfortunately for some of us it's the game.
 
October 19, 2008, 7:22 am CDT

Hello

 

Thanks Dr. Phil for addressing this problem.  This underground world is continually coming out of the closet.

 

I’ve enjoyed reading most of the post and its understandable how some people become defensive about their addiction.  They want to leave it in the closet.  They want to continue to live in their virtual world and not the real world. 

 

Sheryl,

Truly you have some issues in real life. 

 

You’re definitely not telling anyone here anything they don’t already know (me included as being a former gamer and widow of a gamer). 

 

If you are truly sick of hearing “mmo bashing” then maybe you should continue to live just in your virtual world because in real life, it is a very real problem.  Why even be here on this forum if you don’t think there is a problem.  The show is only stating facts, and actual events.  Have you become the great defender of the virtual world?  Why would you feel the need to do this? 

 

Quote from you…

“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.”

 

 

Clearly, you have your priorities confused especially at your age.  Really. What do you expect him to say?  You feed each other’s virtual existence.

 

Stop playing the game and then see how long your marriage would last.  I have some news for you, Sheryl.

It wouldn’t.  And the saddest part about all that is…………..you know it. 

 

 
October 19, 2008, 8:20 am CDT

Computer Addiction Signs

Quote From: redfeathers

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.

redfeathers, I don't know where Dr. Phil's "checklist" is.  However, another checklist of 20 items, in a thread called "&: Computer Game Addiction Signs", is located at http://www.olganon.org/?q=node/474 .  I don't know how it compares, including any overlap, with Dr. Phil's checklist, but I hope that you find this other list to be helpful to you and your boyfriend in determining whether or not he has a problem.  If you believe that he does, then keep in mind that the OLGA website has a wealth of information and tools that can be of help to both of you.

 
October 19, 2008, 8:23 am CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

I have 2 boys ages 14 and 11. They both love video games and the oldest loves the rpg games. However I have a very strict rule of no EQ and no WOW. I have heard way too many stories of addiction associated with these games. I have rules for video games in general. On nice sunny days my kids are required to spend at least one hour playing out in the sun. They also have to keep up with school work and bring in good grades to even play video games. On the weekends if we go somewhere the psp stay at home. If then have done chores then they will likely get several hours to play video games. Now my youngest would rather be out riding his bike or playing with friends than to play a video game. My oldest is starting to like riding a skateboard. They still love games but they see there is more to life other than games. My 16y/o daughter started talking to this boy she knew from school. At first it was fine they talked every day and for long periods of time. At one point he told her that she was the only girl who made him want to stop playing WOW to spent time with her. She refused to talk while he played that game. After only about 2 weeks or so his calls became shorter and shorter and before long he was right back into that game. He has only 1 good friend and has never had a girlfriend. I think that's really sad. Parents need to take time to teach their kids that there is a lot more to life than video games!!!!!!!!!!
 
October 19, 2008, 10:23 am CDT

MMO are addictive by nature

      I have played Everquest Online Adventures. This is Everquest for the Playstation 2 game console. I was a power path Minstrel on Mar's Fist.

     EQOA has several methods to hook a player.

1) Level 1-20 is fairly quick especially since what is called Hunt and Gather Quests were added.

         Hunt and Gather quests are when your character gains a quest/s to gain a specific item from a specific mob. Such as Shield and Glyphs are dropped by Tenious Frost Giants (TFGs).

         Leveling slowly begins to crawl after reaching level 20. By the time, you're level 50; the game requires much more time to level than before. To add further insult to injury, Class Masteries are much more time consuming especially above 400 class mastery points. (There are 1500 total class mastery points and level 60 is capped level unless SOE increases it. Rumor has it; it's being discussed by the development team).

 

2) Time Sinks

       If you find leveling to 60 and then gaining 1500 cms are difficult. The higher level a player is; the monsters (mobs) required to finish a quest spawn at different rates. Typically 5-15 minutes rather than trigger spawns like lat lower levels.

     If you never played a MMO and think this is bad, Lady Vox and Skynir for the Plane of Sky port quest spawn at most three times a month. Of the two, Lady Vox is constantly camped by players or guilds attempting to get their members the item. If that isn't bad enough, players systematically engage in battle with surrounding mobs to allow the non-combatant/s to be attacked and killed (this is called training and expressly a major no no). (Although camping is designated under the category of Zone Disruption another no no).

     60 Epics typically require at least 20 players to take them down. It takes time to gather that many people and schedule a day to do it.

 

3) The game has no designed end. Off Line games, has a plot that a player goes through to reach the end. MMORPGs typically have quests.

     The higher a player levels. These quests become further removed from following the quest to the "boss" of that particular quest. Sometimes, a player has to kill the same boss multiple times before the item needed to finish is dropped and therefore lootable. With a spawn rate of time sinked, travel time, and dangers reaching the destination, this can easily turn into an 8 hour quest.

 

Finally, MMO's combines the addiction of both the internet and gaming.

 

     Even if a person doesn't have an addictive nature, MMORPGs are addictive by design. As a player's character grows, the game's design requires additional time perday to accomplish a goal as simple as leveling a character or gaining a single class mastery.

 

      To Sheryl, sometime you or your husband will find different games to serve your gaming fix, and this will more than likely place strain on your marriage inevitably centered on feeding on each other's "entusiasm" towards EQPC. Go ahead test it. Test how long you two can go without playing EQPC.

 

     There is a problem with online games both in design and individual personalities.

 

      I disagree with the checklist. I guess from a Psychologist perception; the assumption is that people play online games because of depression. Depression isn't the trigger; it's the byproduct caused by online games particularly MMOs.

     The majority of players play games like EQOA as though it was any other game. Over a period of time, they compare what they accomplished to around level 45 to what they achieved earlier in the same amount of time. This causes depression, and they compensate by playing more hours in a day. By definition, I'd call that an addiction.

 

End of rant.

 
October 19, 2008, 12:00 pm CDT

RE: CHECKLIST

Quote From: redfeathers

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.

You can find the checklist link at the top of the board description for this show. Here is the URL: http://drphil.com/articles/article/573
 
October 19, 2008, 1:26 pm CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

Quote From: j_d_oe

redfeathers, I don't know where Dr. Phil's "checklist" is.  However, another checklist of 20 items, in a thread called "&: Computer Game Addiction Signs", is located at http://www.olganon.org/?q=node/474 .  I don't know how it compares, including any overlap, with Dr. Phil's checklist, but I hope that you find this other list to be helpful to you and your boyfriend in determining whether or not he has a problem.  If you believe that he does, then keep in mind that the OLGA website has a wealth of information and tools that can be of help to both of you.

Thank you! I shall take a look.
 
October 19, 2008, 2:10 pm 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

 

First all, gaming addiction is a serious and real problem despite how many of the addicts deny it. Sheryl, I feel sorry for you, you and your husband feed each other and your addictions. Of you course neither of you have an issue with gaming, you're too busy in the virtual world to notice any problems what so ever.  So what would happen if husband quit and left you in the game all alone? You'd divorce them b/c they didn't have your addiction anymore? Give me a break, you're living an unhealthy life, and so is your husband. But good luck when real world comes crashing down as it will eventually.  Obviously the reason your relationship works so well is that your emotional maturity is right on par with his 25 year old emotional maturity so it works out, but when he grows up, look out it might not be a match made in heaven anymore or EQ :)

As for having 36 accounts, or killing yourself, yes obviously that has nothing to do with gaming itself, anyone will say that gaming masks symptoms and that it covers for a lot. However the spouses here who want attention don't want to play a game.

They want the bills paid on time, kids time spent outside/doing activities/chores to be done and not have to do it all themselves. Of course you wouldn't understand this b/c your husband feeds on your addiction/gaming just as you feed on his. They want to spend time doing things with their S.O's that doesn't involve a computer.

Oh by the way, I game, my husband games, except I manage to have dinner ready, and we spend more time together offline then online, I guess we like having a solid marriage, but it wasn't always that way. When we were dating he'd play 12 hours a day sometimes less and then 12-16 hours on the weekend. A definite problem, a lot of it had to do with how unhappy he was in the current place he was living and fed up with his situation. Its all about BALANCE.

However it doesn't mean that I liked his playing excessively, and that the broken promises didn't total up after awhile, it just means that I was willing to work through it and I got lucky, so was he. Many widows don't have the luxury.

So tired of having gamers defend their actions and trying to shift blame from themselves to others, or whatever. Yes most widows know its not the game, a lot of gamers can game responsibility. In the end its all about balance, and obviously woman/men who are in these situations feel pain and overwhelming anguish sometimes. However their so emotionally hurt that all they can see is the game and how much they hate it, it saves their sanity sometimes and their marriage. Because they sometimes can work it out and fix it, and sometimes when that hate gets transferred to the gamers its hello divorce, Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester bloody Square.

Fear not though widows, GW is a safe place, to talk to people that have been in your situation, we welcome exgamers, gamers, and widow(er)s.

www.gamerwidow.com
 
 
October 19, 2008, 2:45 pm CDT

For early message posters

What the heck is wrong with you people who post messages BEFORE the actual show is aired???  The message boards are meant for commenting AFTER  you see the show. 
 
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