Online Video Gaming - When Does It Become A Health Hazard?
April 30, 2010
(Toronto, ON - April 28, 2010) The recent launch of the popular gaming television series, Pure Pwnage, to Showcase Network, reflects a growing interest and devotion to gaming culture which doctors and healthcare workers alike find worrisome. The hit mockumentary' show emerged in 2004 as a web-distributed series that follows the daily routine of fictional character Jeremy, an obsessive gamer-savant who is reluctant to connect to the real, offline' world. Reports reveal Pure Pwnage to be a global phenomenon; recently translated into 15 languages, the show now has a spin-off web series, a comic book, and some 200,000-plus visitors to its website per month. A simple Google search of the show retrieves free online episodes, themed ringtones, as well as screensavers and animations.
According to Problem Gambling Therapist, Edith Townsend, of Bellwood Health Services, obsessive preoccupation with gaming is a growing health concern that must be taken seriously. Says Ms. Townsend, "There are too many dependent players who continue to retreat into their virtual worlds and socially isolate despite the many detrimental consequences. Extremely dependent players have lost marriages and jobs, quit school, missed meals and neglected family and friends in order to keep pace with their online world."
Falling into any addiction is a slippery slope and it can be difficult to gauge at what point recreational play develops into dependency. Some helpful tips for safe gaming are as follows: learn about the many different games and opt for one with the least addictive quality; set reasonable time limits for play; maintain other hobbies and activities; stay plugged in to your offline familial, social, and professional world. While help is always available for those in need, education, awareness, and prevention remain key components in avoiding problem behaviour.
Bellwood Health Services, an accredited Toronto-based addiction treatment facility, has been providing quality programs and services for the treatment of problem gambling and internet-based addictions, alcohol and drug addictions, compulsive sexual behaviour , and eating disorders for 26 years.
For more information on any of Bellwood's treatment programs, visit www.bellwood.ca or contact Julie Bowles at (416) 847-0751.
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