Balancing Online Gaming With Real Life in 4 Steps

Many people, especially college students, play a large volume of video games. College is an excellent opportunity to try this pastime, as independence is at an all-time high, and responsibilities to school or work are comparatively low.

In addition, online gaming, especially with Massively Mulitplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs) has reached new heights in the last few years, with titles such as World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, Runescape, and Age of Conan. These games involve in-depth character creation, mini-games, days' worth of quests and content, and membership in an extremely social online community. This mix creates the perfect storm for lots of fun and the development of legitimate long-term friendships over the Internet.

It also sets the stage for neglect to real world obligations and social interaction.

As with all hobbies, and truly just about everything in this world, MMORPGs should be taken in moderation. The danger starts when players start putting in hour after hour on a daily basis, grouping with online friends to the exclusion of local ones.

If players follow these four simple steps, they can avoid neglecting relationships and school responsibilities.

1. Set an amount of time each day – maximum – that you'll allow yourself to play. Some of the games, like World of Warcraft, have parental locks that block the game from starting except during select hours. If you can keep yourself honest and use this tool, you'll only play for a reasonable amount of time each day or each week.

2. Explain your plans to your online friends. The last thing you want is to alienate them by slowly disappearing without a word. Tell them you think your excessive gameplay is harmful, and that you're spending time going out in the real world. Tell them you forgot what sunshine looks like. Keep it light and fun, but be firm that you'll go to be online less frequently.

3. Make plans with local friends. Start being social right away with your friends around the area. You'll want to occupy yourself so you are not tempted to "cheat" and go back to the game.

4. Pick up another, more casual hobby. Even if you start making plans right away, you'll likely find that you have a LOT of free time. Free time is bad time when you're tempted to go back to the "dark side" of gaming.
Collect coins or rent a television series you have not seen before. Pick up a musical instrument or a foreign language. You'll have that much spare time.

Hope this was helpful in getting over your painful, soul-devouring gaming addiction. It's not that bad. Just shiver in the corner and rub your legs when it gets bad. And call a real life friend to come over.

That's what friends are for.

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