Sunday, June 23, 2013

Internet Game Addiction

The addictive behaviors of  the young, and yes even those of others, is a serious problem within society. A  priest writing in a bulletin for priests mentions that in his work among the young, he has come in contact with many who, finding it difficult to adapt to society, have resorted to violence. And today, the addiction, more often than not, finds its outlet in internet games.

In  Korean society with its digital environment, the young are easily exposed to the allure of internet games. In the  homes, public  PC rooms, and the easy availability of smart devices, it is all very natural and easy to enter the gaming world of cyberspace. The writer delves into the question whether it's easier for Korean youth to be addicted to the gaming world than it is in other cultures. He feels that it is, and presents a few of the reasons why.

First, the young face the pressure of studies, and have few ways of ridding themselves of the stress, gaming on the internet provides them with one way of overcoming some of the stress. Second, the games are enjoyable, easy to access, and the social networking game is inviting and technically well-constructed, enabling the players to react with one another with ease. Third, without a familiarity with the gaming world, the young would be alienated from their friends.

In addition, in the home where there is a lack of proper care, with the young finding themselves unclear about the future, games tend to fill this lack in their lives. It is when the problem appears that parents then begin looking around at the other children to find the answer. When it comes to this point, the priest says, the children are usually already addicted to the games, and the only thing that can be done is to help free them from the addiction. The priest says that all those who are knowledgeable about the addiction process understand that more important than any therapy is to prevent the addiction in the first place.

The writer recommends that the older generation uncover the reasons why young people find the cyberspace world of games so enjoyable and entertaining, in order to better help them re-enter the real world.  To do this, it is necessary, he says, to change a few of the ways we think. Games are not unconditionally bad; elders have to be able to speak about the games, and the young  have to be told  of ways they can find joy in the world outside of cyberspace.

We all need to be concerned, he says, but those in pastoral ministry, especially, have to give this problem much thought, not forgetting the importance of nurturing a life of faith as the basic solution for overcoming not only this problem, but all others as well.

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