At a university where students and faculty pride themselves on technological prowess, one will always find a self-professed “gamer.” Possessing quick reflexes, knowledge of a vast world contained within a console, desktop, or laptop, and critical thinking abilities that let them make rapid decisions to further their quests, gamers have many of the key skills necessary to do well at the university level. Attention to detail, quick association, and persistence in problem-solving are all attributes that make up a good, if not great, student.
Unfortunately, many gamers can find it difficult to balance academia with their gaming hobbies, and those hobbies turn into addictions. When gaming becomes an addiction, academics, health, and social interactions can suffer. Although some gamers may deny that they have a problem, there are telltale signs of gaming addiction. Dr. Han Doug-hyun, from Chung-Ang University Hospital in South Korea, has done extensive research on gaming addiction. In an August 2012 interview with CNN, Dr. Han presented five warning signs of gaming or Internet addiction.
1. Disrupted regular life pattern. If the person shifts their sleeping schedule to game all night and sleep all day, the person may need to seek help from CAPS.
2. Not attending classes in order to play a game. Putting off class in order to complete a trial or finish a map is not a good idea. The overwhelming majority of students are not professional gamers and do not get paid to play. In contrast, students are paying a lot of money to be at the University and should get their money’s worth from their education by attending classes.
3. Need for a bigger fix. Some gamers must play for hours in order to be satisfied. If the student can’t just play for twenty minutes but must play for several hours to be satisfied, this is a sign that professional help is necessary.
4. Withdrawal. Does the student get cranky and irritated when away from the game? Is it necessary to check statistics in class or watch updates? If the concern is a general Internet addiction, does the student have a need to constantly check Facebook feeds or chat when in class or in social activities? If so, then intervention may be necessary.
5. Cravings. If the student feels the overwhelming need to game or be online in order to cope with the non-digital world, then it may be necessary to seek professional help.
If you think that you might have a gaming or Internet addiction, you can visit CAPS or the ASC to speak with one of the staff. There are many ways to work to balance academics and gaming, and succeed at both during your time at Florida Tech.