Millions of people in this country spend their time playing computer games. Especially many children and young people. For most, it’s just a fun hobby. But some people aren’t letting go of the online world. Recently, computer game addiction has even been considered a WHO-recognized disease. But when can we speak of an addiction? Due to the Corona crisis, our children are forced to spend more time at home. Online gaming consumption may also increase. What is still healthy and what is no longer? And how do you find help in the worst case?

For about twelve hours, Dominik sat in his room at the computer every day and played. Until he realized in May last year that he was addicted to it. At the same time, the then 18-year-old suffered from obesity, anxiety, depression and social phobia. Until now, the young man felt that his life had been marked by ridicule and violence. That was to change – Dominik’s decision was clear.

He began a semi-stationary therapy, in which he was helped with many conversations, exercises and also medications. Just a few weeks after the start of therapy, Dominik also discovered his love of cycling. Today he can no longer imagine a life without this sport. He lost nearly twenty kilos, changed his diet and built up a small circle of friends, he recently reported on Facebook. And he is incredibly proud of himself and of what he has achieved. So Dominik still sits on the computer sometimes. But he no longer dominates his life.

Nearly three out of four teenagers regularly play online games

With his former hobby, Dominik is not an isolated case. Almost three quarters of all young people between the ages of 12 and 17 in Germany regularly play on the computer: almost 90 percent of boys and just over 50 percent of girls. This was the result of a study published last year by the German Centre for Addiction, for which around 1000 young people were interviewed. Games like Fortnite, FIFA or Minecraft are therefore very popular with the boys. If you are looking for an online video converter, visit Clip Converter.

But you don’t have to worry about most of them. However, according to the study, at least 15.4 percent of minors in Germany are considered so-called risk gamers. These approximately 465,000 young people – almost 80 percent of whom are male – exhibit risky or pathological behavior in the sense of a gambling addiction: they sit on the screen for many hours a day, are more likely to miss school, have more emotional problems and spend significantly more money than their peers who spend less time playing computer games.

HOW DO I KNOW MY CHILD IS ADDICTED?

  • Does it sit on the screen for many hours every day?
  • Is it increasingly neglecting other things?
  • Has the school even blacked out more often lately?
  • Does it show social/emotional abnormalities?
  • Is there more money spent on gaming?
  • Will there be further rip-offs, even though the consequences are clearly formulated?
  • Have you been observing the behavior for more than a year?

A real addiction ignores negative consequences

To speak of a real addiction, however, some factors have to come together. “The loss of control is considered to be a key symptom, “says Professor Christian Montag, who heads the Department of Molecular Psychology at the University of Ulm and has been working on computer game addiction and smartphone addiction for many years. “Playing is coming to the fore and other things are being neglected,” Montag said. “Even if there are negative consequences, there will be further rip-offs.”

In addition, playing must be so excessive that there are significant impairments in professional or private life, i.e. a training place is lost or a relationship breaks down. “For a reliable diagnosis, the described behavior should also last for at least 12 months,” Montag said. “Because we should avoid pathologizing healthy gambling behavior, i.e. unnecessarily classifying it as morbid,” the expert stresses.