By Mark Kossman, M.A.
Internet gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in the country with thousands of people logging on to the Internet each day in hopes of winning money and having fun. Websites try to lure us into playing by making promising claims, such as, “Play now and get a $200 bonus” and,“Pay out percentages over 97.5%”. However, as great as Internet gaming can be, it is certainly not without pitfalls.
Gamblers Anonymous has developed a survey of ten questions to help Internet gamers decide if their gaming is a problem.
- Have you ever lost time from school or work due to Internet gaming?
- Has Internet gaming ever made your life unhappy?
- Does Internet gaming affect your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after Internet gaming?
- Does Internet gaming decrease your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win, do you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Do you ever borrow to finance your Internet gaming?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance Internet gaming?
- Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut back on your Internet gaming?
If you answered yes to some of these items, it does not necessarily mean that you should be concerned about your Internet gaming, it simply suggests that further evaluation by a trained professional may be needed. However, there are several things which you can do without the assistance of a professional, if you are worried about your Internet gaming.
Here are some tips that may be helpful:
- Monitor the amount of time which you spend playing Internet games.
- If you are spending more time playing Internet games than you would like, find an alternative way to spend your time.
- Educate yourself about the risks and benefits of Internet gaming. Internet gaming can be a great leisure and recreational activity, but there are risks.
- Inform your family and friends that you are concerned about your Internet gaming. Family and other social supports can play a critical role in decreasing your Internet gaming.
If you are concerned about your Internet gaming or simply want additional information, the counselors at UW-Eau Claire Counseling Services would be glad to help you with your Internet gaming concerns. UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff can arrange a free and confidential counseling session, by calling 836-5521.