Gaming, the new social disorder?
One night I heard sirens coming up my road, living on a private road with only two houses — I knew something was wrong. I jumped out of bed and opened my window… hoping they would just pass up the street. They pulled into my driveway. I waited till someone got out and yelled down from my room, “I’m sorry I think you have the wrong house?” The officer replied by saying did someone take pills? Me being half asleep said, “No I don’t think so”. He replied by asking if there is a boy in the house playing video games. My heart dropped. I ran. I ran to my brother’s room down the hall and opened the door. There he was crying and lying on the ground, all he could say was sorry over and over again. It all happened so fast. Before I knew it the paremtics were in the room asking questions and taking him down to the ambulance. Later that night we found out that my brother attempted to commit suicide. He over-dosed on pills and thankfully they were able to save him before he was gone.
After this happened I saw gaming on a whole different level. I did not know that gaming could lead to so much pain. As a family we knew that my brother suffered from depression and anxiety a few years back. Being the loving parents that they are they did everything in their power to get him help. Taking steps to see therapists, psychologist, and we even made sure not to have anything sharp in the house (storing away knifes and scissors). Even though he was getting help it was not enough, he still used gaming as an outlet.
But was video gaming helpful or hurtful for people with social anxiety? This is the question that clanged around in my mind.
When one has social anxiety they desire and want to create a positive impression on themselves, lacking confidence in oneself. Hence why gaming is an outlet to let one be who ever they desire. 15 million Americans adults have anxiety disorder and the typical age it starts to show is around 13 years old. When one has social anxiety it is shown that they will wait up to 10 or more years to seek help, even though they feel fear and overwhelming they are too embarrassed to ask and seek help. An individual with social anxiety can even feel powerless and useless that their is no hope for the feelings they are feeling. A reason that social anxiety may occur in a child or adolescent years is due to a trauma that happened(Albano). Overtime, social anxiety can lead to depression due to one lacking social skills. They use gaming as an outlet to fill the viod. This can lead to a false sense of security, which in the end is only increasing social anxiety(Sim).
A study done by Mehroof and Griffiths, showed that over the past decade the appeal of gaming has increased throughout all generations and how there is a relationship between an individual personality and why it may appeal to some individuals more. The data was collected over a one month’s span time from over 123 students that attended college at the time. A questionnaire was given to each student, it was suggesting that depending on the certain personality traits they might be important to, “acquisition, development, and maintenance” when it comes to online gaming addictions.
After further research, it is shown that it really depends on the individual if gaming is helpfull or hurting to a person with social anxiety.
I truly believe that we need to get the word out about social anxiety and how it leads to depression. We need to make sure that gaming is truly not hurting out society as a whole. Even if one is trapped behind the online world “feeling happy” it does not mean that deep down they are happy.