Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hooked on Electronics

An increasing number of people are becoming addicted to the internet which encompasses video games, on line gambling, cyber relationships, pornography and/or social media.  I’m so glad I have limited my addiction to chocolate it is far less time consuming and less damaging to my marriage.

An electronic addiction is defined by some not as the amount of time spent on the computer but by the problems it causes in their lives.  Specifically if the personal time on the computer is negatively affecting one’s job, personal relationships, or educational functioning it is an addiction.

There are warning signs.  Minutes on line turn into hours.  Household work and/or work related responsibilities can be neglected.  Intimacy can decrease significantly.  Family and friends are replaced by a computer screen.  If approached about the amount of time spent gaming, etc. the person gets defensive.  There are also potential physical manifestations such as lack of sleep, headaches, back pain, eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome and an unhealthy change in weight.

The reasons for an electronic addiction are very similar to those reasons given for any addiction:

People tend to use addictions to numb themselves from emotional pain and some people find that gaming provides them with an escape from reality.

There are feelings that the person doesn’t want to address. Stress, anxiety and depression can be avoided by time spent at the keyboard.

People who struggle with social interactions in person feel much more confident with their gaming interactions.

Sometimes the fantasy of a virtual world is more exciting than real life. People may find their own life is boring or depressing and the online world offers them a break from this.

Obviously a marriage relationship can suffer dramatically.  From a Biblical standpoint the addiction has become more important to the person than God, it has become an idol thus breaking the first two of the Ten Commandments.

Mort Fertel offers some good advice on dealing with this all too pervasive issue:

·       It’s important to remember that you can’t force your spouse to change. Nagging won’t help. Hiding the video game console won’t solve the problem. Arguing about it isn’t likely to create change either.

·       Express your concerns in a calm manner. Discuss how it is impacting you and the family. Discuss what you’ve noticed has been neglected and share your feelings. Encourage your spouse to seek help if he wants to change.

·       Encourage your spouse to become involved with activities that don’t involve gaming.

·       Avoid enabling your spouse. For example, don’t agree to change the time you make dinner to accommodate his gaming addiction.

·       Consider professional help if you feel like your marriage is at risk.


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