Stop! Take a break! Facebook, texting, World of Warcraft, and the post-technology media are taking over our society. I came to a self-realization and admitted I was another statistic and victim of video game addiction. My family told me if they could send me to rehab for addicts like me, it would be the first thing they ever do.
Agreed, Internet and gaming addiction is real and has become an ever-present stigma among a technology-saturated generation in America. People are too attached, dependent and need to instill some control and discipline; and for $14,500, people will now be able to break away from that addiction and go to rehab. It sounds absurd but it is a necessary resolution.
On Aug. 27, 2009, an online/video game and Internet rehab center officially opened up in Fall City, WA and took in its first 19-year-old patient who was struggling to quit World of War Craft. The reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program helps overly-dependent gamers, texters and Internet users kick their technological habit to the curb with a 45-day recovery program. Similar to a 12-step program for alcoholics and smokers, the tech-junkies partake in activities such as psychotherapy, counseling, fitness programs, and “high adventure outings” around the facilities according to a news article from Game Spot.
“Anywhere from 6-10 percent of the online population is dependent on one or more aspects of cyber technology and the internet. Among gamers, those playing multi-user games (like World of Warcraft) appear to be addicted at much higher levels,” according to the facility’s website.
Such institutions first opened in Japan, China and several countries in Europe and are working on diagnosing gaming addiction as a health issue. Now that one exists here in the U.S., people who have such addictions can now get help. This is very important because cases from all over the world regarding these addictions are alarming, disturbing, and almost epidemic.
In Oct. 2008, creator Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced that World of Warcraft had exceeded 11 million subscribed players worldwide according to a blog post from Nick Chester.
In addition to that, Xfire which is a freeware instant messaging service and game server browser for online gamers recorded that World of Warcraft had 88,926 users per day playing an average of 19,188,204 minutes per day. That is almost four hours a player spends a day playing according to George Walker’s blog aeropause.com. How can anybody afford that much time on their hands in a never-ending battle against sorcerers, trolls, and evil army lords?
It also gets worse, “The cases most often cited include a South Korean man who collapsed in an Internet cafe after playing Starcraft for 50 hours; a man in China who died after playing online games for 15 days consecutively; a 13-year-old boy from Vietnam who strangled an elderly lady with a piece of rope because he wanted money to buy games; and a number of cases in the United States involving angry teenagers murdering family members over games and consoles.” Game Spot staff writer Laura Parker on an article about game addiction wrote.
Parker also listed more cases especially a disturbing one about U.S. teenager who shot his parents and killed his mother because they seized his copy of Halo 3 in October 2007.
That is really some upsetting stuff because I can relate to it. I remember vividly how I felt when my mother seized my video games; I felt my nerves twitching agonizingly, my brain smashing itself against my head and suffocating from this unbearable boredom because I had not played video games for a week. I literally ransacked her room trying to find my prized XBOX 360; my “precioussssssss.”
In conclusion, I am really pleased that a rehab center for gaming addicts is now open. It is a sign that America has taken a stand in trying to improve social and mental health. It is a move in the right direction. People now have a chance to break away from the dependency on the Internet and gaming. I strongly urge people who have technology-related addictions to consider turning themselves in to rehab. I would turn myself in too. I just don’t have $14,500.