Candy Crush addiction

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A simple puzzle game can’t hurt you, right?

Candies, candies everywhere / Sabrina Millis

Candies, candies everywhere / Sabrina Millis

Author: Melinda Nagy

As I got ready to begin the new university term, I reviewed my applications on my media devices and began to delete the time wasters and addictive games. I will need all of my time to prepare for classes, research topics, and complete assignments. I’ve narrowed down my games to only two: Candy Crush and a mystery find an item game. I think, “There, I only have two left. I should be able to handle that, right?”

Multiple articles and research studies have been done regarding internet and gaming addictions. If you find you are spending more than an hour a day playing games, you may be addicted. If you are spending 10-12 hours a day playing, you are definitely addicted. But what’s the problem? It’s your time, right?

What about the comic strips where mom says, “I can’t make dinner right now honey, I’ve got to finish my five turns first, and then I’ll make dinner.”

Or the fact that Candy Crush and other match puzzle games allow you to pay for more lives after your limit has been used up? This game’s manufacturer, King, has been reported to “earn 670,000 dollars a day from users, who purchase extra lives or access to the next level ” (Asian News International, Nov. 3, 2013).

Last year, on the TV show The Voice, Adam Levine confessed to having recently developed a Candy Crush addiction. He is teased by his costars about how much time he spends playing the game. Adam finally admits that he is playing the game on his girlfriend’s iPhone app and shares a tip with the audience. While his girlfriend is sleeping he presses her thumb to the phone to pay for the extra lives (iPhone has a security feature requiring fingerprints to apply credit card payments online).

According to the Regina Qu’Appelle addiction services representatives on campus last week, gaming addiction is not covered by its program unless spending causes financial distress. If you cannot pay your bills or buy food because of your gaming expenses, you are now classified as having a gambling addiction.

So if you have a gaming addiction, is there any help out there? Yes. There are multiple online addiction services from all over the world. Unfortunately, the reported Candy Crush Addiction Centre in the U.K. does not exist. However, in Saskatchewan, there are two internet addiction therapists: Beve Gardner (Saskatoon) and Hardie Counselling Services (Swift Current).

“But I’m not addicted, I only play when I want to pass the time.” Is this something to be concerned about?

According to Science Direct, “Excessive Internet use in relation to the aforementioned content adversely influences academic outcomes, occupational success or family relationships”

Jang Qiaolei in his 2014 article titled Internet addiction among young people in China, researched the negative consequences of internet gaming addiction such as lost time playing games, “not keeping up with school assignments, missing classes, falling asleep in school, declining grades, failing a course, missing a social engagement, and dropping out of other social groups (clubs or sports).”

Other issues Qiaolei and others identified in a 2005 article were that Internet gaming addictions are similar to gambling addictions and have the following symptoms: “tolerance, withdrawal, preoccupation, numerous unsuccessful attempts to cut down use of the internet, and feeling restless without internet.”

“But, if I stop playing, my friends will be at higher levels than me!” and “I have to beat my friends scores!” Of course these games are fun! Everyone loves the thrill of beating cousin Joanie’s score, passing a frustrating level or reaching a new higher plateau level.

But, how much time do I have to spend on these games while I’m going to University? Actually very little. Regina Qu’Appelle addiction services says that the problem with these games is that they reduce the actual one-to-one social activities a person participates in. Really? There is so much to choose from on campus! I came to University to experience new things and meet new people. Do I want to spend my time with a dumb game?

But, what about when it’s miserable outside, I feel lonely, and am missing home? Is playing a game really solving your problem? Look at what the clubs on campus have to offer, attend an event listed on the University home page, or sign up to volunteer for a worthy cause. Get out of your room, and socialize!

I guess I’ll be deleting Candy Crush off of my iPad too.

 

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