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Gaming as Escapism

  • anonymous Asks ...

    My friend plays online games all night and he barely sleeps and then he sleeps in class. He even plays at lunch time and he eats in front of the computer. He spends all his money on buying characters and weapons. I tell him all the time he is acting crazy but he won’t listen. I think he steals to get money for his games and he has sold most of his stuff at pawn shops. His family is supposed to be really rich but they live in Indonesia and he doesn’t seem to have any money left. I don’t know how to get in touch with them. I love him like a brother but I don’t know how to help him. What can I do?

  • Jim LaPierre Says ...
    Jim LaPierre

    Hey - kudos to you for caring enough to seek insight and guidance. Gaming in moderation is a healthy form of escapism and it's fun. Just like anything in life, if we take it to an extreme it becomes unhealthy. When people are obsessive or compulsive in their behavior there is always something that they are avoiding. My guess is that your friend has some significant anxiety and/or depression that he's working very hard to avoid.

    With all good intentions we tend to focus on the proverbial "tip of the iceberg." Trying to get your friend to change his behavior in gaming excessively is unlikely to yield positive results. Going to him and expressing as you did to me that you love him like a brother has enormous value in and of itself. Combine that sentiment with concern for his overall well being. Explain that you'd like to help him with whatever he is struggling with and support him in making positive changes in his life. I do not recommend contacting his family. I recommend just being there for him in a meaningful way - extend invitations - not expectations and keep gently but directly putting out there that you care.

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