Youth gaming and gambling addiction (FILM REVIEW)

Where does the game end and the problem begin? How much gaming is too much, and how is youth gaming becoming addictive? A review of a recent documentary that helps clear up a few things about youth gaming and gambling here.

minute read

Are you interested in youth gaming and the growing study of behavioral compulsion? You might want to check out more. Statistically, 3 million children in the U.S. are estimated to be addicted to gaming. A lot of them are not even aware that there are addicted. So, how can you identify a video game addiction or problem? And what can you do about it?

Here, we review a new documentary film YOU MUST SEE, and invite you to decide yourself if it’s worth 30 minutes of your time to help shape your perspective. Then, feel free to open a discussion or ask a question about youth gaming and gambling in the comments section below.

“Growing up gambling” – Is it all just fun and games?

If you’re interested in the youth gaming phenomenon, YOU MUST check out “Growing up Gambling“, a half an hour length documentary. Funded by The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services and brought to you by NET (Nebraska’s PBS station), this film takes you to a journey inside the mind of gamers and gamblers. Not only are you exposed to the shared experiences of people that live with this kind of problem, but the film educates you on principles of gaming problems from researching experts in the field.

What can you learn, exactly?

1. Gambling is an activity “old as time”, but often not taken so seriously as an addiction problem, and not “diagnosed” on time.

2. It’s a thin, blurred line between gaming and gambling. Gaming is straight up about creating a fantasy world that the gamer experiences and “lives in”, participates in, and constantly craves as a whole experience. Gambling on the other hand, challenges your luck for money.

3. Gaming is a real addiction that can cause real problems in life. It’s an impulse control disorder which can be managed. Treatment exists to help compulsive gamers to to understand why and what are they doing and to evaluate costs to their time, money and health.

4. Designers of video games are designing their games to be addictive. It’s all about achieving the next level, upgrading your character, winning more game time, or unlocking an extra feature. These kinds of compelling actions are what will make someone stay up the whole night, and what is creating a chemical reaction in your brain. With all the different gaming platforms now available, even more attention is given to providing a positive experience for gamers, so they can enjoy the experience even when losing.

5. A bigger problem arises when games ask for money to allow you to play, upgrade your character or get an extra feature.

6. Gambling exists across multiple platforms so you can bet and gamble anytime, anywhere.

7. Gambling addicts do not play for money. Addicted gamblers play until they are left with nothing. It’s the adrenaline, the excitement that will always get you to come back and play some more.

Serious gaming or gambling addiction

So, what happens when gambling goes from a recreational game to a serious addiction? First, you need the skills to identify it. This movie helps raise awareness about the gambling and the gaming problem, which is a critical step in moving forward to treat these issues.

For families, is important to recognize the gaming problem in its early stage. A child’s behavior, their priorities, and their responsibilities are closely related to environment and upbringing. Parents need to be able to identify and address problems before they get bigger. This movie will help families understand the pattern of behavior in an addicted person, or at least will give you a different perspective of something usually seen as harmless.

Who must see this film

Parents – We would recommend this movie, firstly, to all families that have teenagers and young adults, even the ones that do not game or gamble at all. Sometimes, parents have a hard time believing that gaming can be a problem, they are even enabling without being aware of it. Education is key to knowing what to look for.

Young people – Of course, the kids who exposed to games are the ones that should also check the movie out. Hopefully, it will give them understanding of how easy it is to cross the line from harmless game to serious problem.

Gamers – Every person who games or gambles needs to view this film. The more you think you have control, the more the game controls you. So to play smart, be responsible, be aware, and have fun…you need to learn more about your limits and how to identify compulsive behaviors!

Questions about youth gaming

Please don’t hesitate to share your questions, experiences, or feedback in the comments section below. It would be helpful to readers to recognize if problem exist in a person they know, or themselves, and learn how to deal with it. We will be happy to respond to all legitimate comments we receive.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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