Games always had a certain charm on people. The kind of charm that made you spend hours in a row in order to pass a level, to skip classes to finish a game, or simply neglect everything and everyone around you trying to kill a boss. Honestly, I don't think there is anyone who didn't do this at least once.

With the birth of MMOs , the situation got worse. While offline games offer a good chunk of action, they finally came to an end, so you can go on with your usual life (until a new game comes out at least), MMOs are a never-ending story. You always have something new to do, a new boss to kill and from time to time, a new level to reach. There is also the social aspect, that offline games lack, which keeps gamers even more connected to the game. As they both satisfy the need for fun and the need to socialize, sometimes gamers tend to replace the real life with the one in online games. Most people would consider this to be a serious addiction problem , while on the other hand, some think that living your life online is the way to go, and addiction is a fantasy. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Which one is better? Who's wrong and who's right? And most important, is online games addiction for real? All this and more, further in this month's feature.

Although video games addiction it is not included in the long list of addictive disorders, it has become a very debated topic, especially due to the usual media exaggerations. But it is not called addiction for nothing. It has been proven that symptoms present on those who play more than a few hours a day are similar to other types of disorder. They may vary from the usual dry eyes, head aches, and sleep problems to more serious signs such as isolation, neglecting the family and friends, losing a job or dropping school. The most important part in games addiction is realizing you have a problem. And this is not always easy. You might think that the daily hours spent in front of the PC playing may be a factor, but this is not always the case. For example, a person whose job is to review games is supposed to play games most of the day, but his doesn't mean he has a problem. There are also the gold farmers, who spent most of their time in online worlds, but the only reason they do it for is to earn money. On the other had, a person who is working or is in school all day, and when he comes home, all he does is to play on the computer, even if that means 4 or 5 hours, that IS a problem. But don't worry, there are other signs you may follow. Here is a list that may help you a little:



For children:

* Most of non-school hours are spent on the computer or playing video games.

* Falling asleep in school.

* Not keeping up with assignments.

* Worsening grades.

* Lying about computer or video game use.

* Choosing to use the computer or play video games, rather than see friends.

* Dropping out of other social groups (clubs or sports).

* Irritable when not playing a video game or on the computer.

For adults:

* Computer or video game use is characterized by intense feelings of pleasure and guilt.

* Obsessing and preoccupied about being on the computer, even when not connected.

* Hours playing video games or on the computer increasing, seriously disrupting family, social or even work life.

* Lying about computer or video game use.

* Experience feelings of withdrawal, anger, or depression when not on the computer or involved with their video game.

* May incur large phone or credit bills for on-line services.

* Can't control computer or video game use.

* Fantasy life on-line replaces emotional life with partner.

Beyond all this mental issues there are also some physical problems such as sleep disturbances, back and neck aches, headaches, dry eyes, failure to eat regularly or neglect personal hygiene.

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