Come on, admit it: were you one of the Pokémon Go fans wondering around the streets late at night in an attempt to catch however many Pokémons you can find? Are you still doing it? The Pokémon Go gaming addiction has taken technology addiction to a whole new level. It’s the most successful game ever launched in the US and it achieved this result in its first week of launch.
This article will cover why Pokémon Go has been so successful in its first month since launch, its effects (both good and bad), and three key steps you can take to help with technology addiction.
Why Pokémon Go?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whether you like the game or not, the creators of Pokémon are extremely clever. They’ve created a game that satisfies the simple wants of millions or people around the world. Even they themselves couldn’t possibly have anticipated the level of popularity this game has enjoyed since its launch just under a month ago.
A Simple Way To Escape
For many Pokémon Go fans, this game has given them an escape from the real world. Rather than spending time and money on movies or watching reality TV shows, all you need to do now is wonder around with your mobile phone. It isn’t hard to figure out how to play, and otherwise sane people have very quickly developed some form of gaming addiction. It seems that nobody is completely safe from this craze – technology addiction is taking over the lives of children and adults alike!
It’s Free – Or Is It?
It may not cost any money to download Pokémon Go, but as you might expect in life nothing is really free, or at least not when it comes to technology. When you download this game you give the game’s creators information about you, including your whereabouts. Can you imagine how much information they now have on people worldwide?
And of course when you consider the cost of this gaming addiction, it’s not just about money. It’s about our most precious resource: time. The same time that could alternatively be spent doing a million other things. If you’re a parent, it could be at the expense of quality time and attention that could be enjoyed with your children. Or if your children are playing, it could similarly be affecting the amount of time and consequently the quality of your relationship with them.
Is It All Bad?
Of course not! Technology as always is a double-edged sword. Pokémon Go played in moderation is fun, and yes it does have the affect of getting people off their couches and walking around. However the fact that people are crossing roads, walking around car parks and even driving their cars without looking where they’re going is a real worry. This has already caused several accidents and will no doubt cause many more.
The social argument is interesting and can go both ways. Being out in public doesn’t mean you’re not alone and doesn’t necessarily make you sociable. Walking around in a zombie-like fashion glued to your phone and not actually paying attention to anyone else is a major downside of any gaming addiction.
You can read more about the physical affects of technology addiction here.
Technology Addiction: Where Does It Start?
Most people these days assume that it’s our children who are most likely to suffer from technology addiction. After all they are growing up as digital natives, who know only of a world full of mobile devices and screens they can swipe. They’re naturals at this stuff and can be easily drawn in to numerous online games that can quickly turn into gaming addiction.
However to a large degree, children have and always will mimic their parents. Even from a young age, when you don’t think your children are paying any attention to you, you will have experienced a time when they repeated something you said (that wasn’t addressed to them and that you didn’t think they heard) days after you said it…often at an inappropriate time!
If you are a parent experiencing gaming addiction (possibly brought on in the last month by Pokémon Go) or suffering from technology addiction in general, you’re wasting your time and energy trying to steer your children clear from their screens. It’s not what you say that your children listen to, it’s what you do. We all know the cliché: actions speak much louder than words.
What You Can Do About Gaming Addiction: Step 1
The first thing to do if you want to move on from gaming addiction is to acknowledge its existence. In many ways gaming addiction is no different from an addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling. Step one is the most powerful and sometimes the most difficult to take: admitting there’s a problem.
If you’re able to use technology in moderation, and can appreciate its benefits without its pitfalls, then you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if you seem to be playing online games more than you’d like to admit, and if you’re thinking of them or wanting to play them when you’re not actually doing so, then this may be something you’ll need help with.
You’ll lack any motivation to change if you don’t see a major reason to do so. This is the same with any aspect of life, not just technology addiction.
Step 2: Replace The Technology Addiction With Another Activity
You may have heard the expression that “nature abhors a vacuum”. In terms of technology addiction, if you want to spend less time playing online games, this activity needs to be replaced with something you’ll want to do even more. In other words, trying to stop doing something you really want to do without replacing it with something else is doomed for failure.
What else could you be doing with your time other than indulging your gaming addiction? Who could you be spending time with instead? Setting goals for what you really want to achieve in different aspects of your life is a great way to help you find another direction to pursue.
Certainly if you’re a parent, the more quality time you can spend with your children the better off both you and them will be – by a country mile. Your children are growing up quickly and before you know it they’ll be all grown up. This is the time where the more attention you pay to your children and their activities, the better the relationship you can have with them. This is priceless – a way more valuable way to spend your time than catching Pokémon!
Step 3: Separate Yourself From Your Phone
This may sound simple, but if you’re suffering from technology addiction it’s a very scary idea! The truth is, once you get over the initial shock of not having your phone on you, you’ll soon realise that you actually can survive without it. You may be anxious at first and this is completely natural, again just like having withdrawals from any other type of addiction. But over time you’ll be more at ease with your phone being in one location and you being in another.
Go easy on yourself with this at first by taking one step at a time. Certainly it’s important to get a good quality night’s sleep, and screen time late at night (as well as obviously during the night) will adversely affect your ability to sleep. So a great starting point is to remove yourself from your phone about an hour before bedtime, and not check it until at least half an hour after you’ve woken up the next day.
What Will You Do About Technology Addiction Post Pokémon Go?
Having fun playing Pokémon Go or any other online game is perfectly fine. Most games have certain benefits, and certainly technology devices are a large part of life for most of us in this digital age. It’s only if you’ve lost any resemblance of a healthy online/offline balance that you may be suffering from some sort of technology addiction that will need attention.
Hopefully the tips above will be helpful for you. They are a good starting point if you or your children have been overcome by a gaming addiction. If you’d like more help with internet addiction or with any aspect of keeping your children safe, healthy and balanced online, it’s worth checking out the Peaceful Digital Parenting Solution