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March 21, 2015

Help! I think I’m addicted to a video game!

brandon_post_photos_29

Hi Brandon!

I love to play the game Minecraft. At first, I only played the game with my friends after school and on weekends. But, lately it’s all my friends and I do. It has become so bad that I’m not getting any of my homework done and I stay up half of the night playing. When I finally fall asleep, I dream about the game. Am I addicted? What should I do?

Minecraft Maniac

Dear Minecraft Maniac,

It sounds like you are addicted – but awareness is the first step in overcoming any addiction, so you’re headed in the right direction! And the second step is realizing you’re not alone.

I’ve actually seen quizzes online titled “How Addicted to Minecraft Are You?” and there are tons of blog posts from people who feel powerless to their PCs and PlayStations.

It’s just a crazy addictive game, and let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun than homework.

With homework, someone else tells you what to do, it’s not always creative or interesting, and you do it by yourself. With Minecraft, you decide what to build, you can use your imagination, and you get to do it with friends.

I know this is easier said than done, but you have to set limits for yourself. For example, you could tell your friends, “Let’s play Minecraft from 3:00 to 3:50, then we can take 10 minutes to get to a good stopping point so we can do something else at 4:00.”

It will probably be easier to do this if you plan something else fun for 4:00, like playing basketball. If you plan to pull out your biology book right after you unplug, you’ll likely get sucked back in with thoughts like, “Just 10 more minutes.”

But, newsflash: It’s never just 10 more minutes! In gaming speak, that means “just 10 more hours of playing and then obsessing about when I can play next time and what I’ll do then!”

If you get your friends to agree to this, you can all help each other stick to your agreement.  Just know that doing this will be really hard sometimes.

You’ll say, “Hey, why don’t we go play basketball now?” And then you’ll look at your friend and he’ll look just like one of those green blockhead Minecraft zombies, because you both are totally lost in the game!  Yikes!!

But, if you make a serious effort to not play as much and work together, you’ll have your life back in no time.

I hope this helps!