Medical professionals have witnessed withdrawal symptoms: “They become angry, violent, or depressed. If [parents] take away the computer, their child sits in the corner and cries, refuses to eat, sleep, or do anything.” Such addictions are often associated with reduced emotional intelligence and social skills, as exhibited by one character in the “Karate Kid” spinoff “Cobra Kai.” Sometimes these addictions even jeopardize jobs or relationships.
Most people can play games safely without suffering such severe consequences. One estimate is that about 80 percent of people can play games “safely.” My experience falls into that category. I competed in high school athletic competitions at the state level, got good grades, and had a steady job beginning in tenth grade.
Yet when I estimate the hours of gaming for all those years of school, it’s something worth mourning. When I think about the most important experiences from my teenage years, I can’t single out any of those great “victories” on my desktop or holding a controller. My memories are athletic or in-person social events with my friends and family. I remember books I read and how they shaped my view of myself and the world. I remember the girls I liked and the dates I went on.