In today’s society, interacting with mobile devices has become increasingly popular led to gambling, social networking and games. Spending time on mobile phones is not a bad thing. Downloading apps can help when in boredom; interact with people and also finding information. However, one is vulnerable to addiction to what phones offer today and this does more harm than good.
Mobile gaming has become the biggest addictions that have emerged in Africa due to the mobile phones revolution. A comparative study that researched mobile gaming across the globe stated that smartphone gaming as a form of popular entertainment accounted for 24% in Africa. This percentage is thought to grow steadily for years to come.
Games played online are more accessible to people now as there are plenty of “free games” on the market. Such accessibility leads to the rise of addiction related to mobile games and this is more damaging as cigarette addiction. Online gambling, facilitated by apps can be installed directly into phones leads gambling addiction. The worst part is that some of the best South African poker sites are easily available for download.
The number of teenagers and young adults who play online games for a living is greatly increasing in the continent and this is greatly influencing the audience who watch them especially children under the age of 12. Watching live streams and YouTube videos of peers who are constantly playing also results in a gaming addiction. Today, there are many games that can be played in all kinds of platforms: consoles, PCs and smartphones included.
As this addiction is newly diagnosable, there are some signs that may help in recognizing it. If one becomes withdrawn and experiences a lack of functional skills because they are preoccupied with the thought of playing their mobile game, it is a likely sign of addiction. One can also experience a sense of guilt from constantly playing and will isolate her / himself. This disorder leads to physical manifestations, like migraines and fatigue from starting at the screen for hours for instance; Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is also common among addicted gamers.
Since gaming addiction is slowly becoming a global problem, it is important to realise that it needs to be treated. The parents of children who are easily influenced by what they consume online should not take an addiction to gaming as a light matter, nor think of it as a “phase.” An addiction to gaming is seen to be as harmful to health as any other form of addiction, and seeking the right kind of help sooner than later can hopefully aid in overcoming it.