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Gaming is a great way to pass the time and have fun with friends – so long as someone isn’t playing for hours every day/night and it isn’t taking over their life. 8 in 10 people regularly play online games and find it fun, sociable and interactive.
Many games, whether role playing games, shooters, sports games or sandbox games have addictive elements, such as daily challenges, reward systems like loot boxes or tools that let other gamers know that a friend is playing online.
Set a time limit or an alarm on your phone – It’s so easy for the hours to pass and to not realise how long you’ve spent gaming. Make sure you have plans for the day – and don’t drop out of them – going for a walk or run, meeting a mate. Make it something to look forward to – out for a coffee? Anything to get you off that couch and out for some fresh air.
Find other things to do – If you think you, or someone you know, is spending too much time online or gaming, try to encourage a new hobby or sport – cooking, cycling, dog walking, skate boarding – it doesn’t have to cost money – going for a walk or run and getting outside can really help break a habit. Volunteering or joining a club or gym can help too. It’s good to have a balance, and putting in time to do these things can structure and manage your time
Reconnect – Playing games with friends or strangers online is never the same as seeing them face to face. If someone is dropping out of meeting mates or that regular game of footie and is spending more and more time gaming, they may be developing an addiction.
Keep devices out of the bedroom – Leaving phones and devices out of the bedroom can really help with compulsive gaming and not being able to switch off. It may be really hard to begin with. Try unplugging the device or putting the gaming controls or phone as far away as possible and turn them off. Have a reward for sticking to the plan. Sleep will get better, anxiety will reduce – work quality will improve!
Disabling pop-ups can help as well as unsubscribing from emails sent out by the game being played. Set up your privacy settings with what you feel comfortable with. In your console settings, you can choose who can see your profile as well, protecting your information and who you connect with; this can help you to feel safe when gaming and keep your space positive.
Look after yourself – Basic needs like getting enough sleep, food and taking care of your hygiene are really important for your well being. By looking after yourself, you’ll have a better time gaming.
Ask for help from friends or family – If you are struggling to stop gaming, it may be time to get help. A good place to start is with a good friend or family member who could help you set limits and support you to get out of the house. If you prefer, there are help lines and organisations for support.
Set a spending limit – The cost of gaming can really add up, both in-app purchases and loot boxes are designed to make you spend money and get you hooked. Loot boxes have been criticised globally for promoting gambling and encouraging multiple purchases.
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