Mobile gaming has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, and many people play mobile games daily; but can this become a problem? For most people, no, it won’t become a problem, but for many, it can. Mobile gaming addiction affects people in the same way that Internet addiction does: it feeds into the fear of missing out. It also offers an escape from reality, and for people who are already facing concerns such as anxiety or depression, mobile gaming offers a way to ignore those concerns, even if just for a little while.
Rewarding the Brain
Another piece of the puzzle is that mobile gaming (and really gaming in general) provides a reward to the pleasure centers of the brain. This acts in much the same way as a drug. When you play a game and complete a task or beat a level, your brain receives satisfaction. Also, when you aren’t able to complete a task or beat a level, your brain will begin to nag at you to try again. If you aren’t able to have access to the mobile game at the time, your brain can begin to signal what could even be considered withdrawal symptoms. When you finally play the game again, the mind gets what it craved and the cycle continues and even intensifies.
How Competition Factors In
Competition is also a part of mobile gaming addiction. In the past, people played single-player games on PCs and consoles. As the Internet grew, multi-player games became possible and popular. When it comes to mobile gaming, many games now incorporate a competitive aspect to the process of playing.
In fact, some games will even send out alerts when another player has beaten your high score. This can create an addictive experience in that you then have to be faced with daily reminders about where you rank in a particular game. Seeing these reminders on a regular basis reinforces the desire to pick your mobile device back up and play again.
Ending the Cycle
If you feel that you are finding yourself addicted to mobile gaming, it’s important to first talk to a medical professional. He or she can discuss your situation to determine whether you really are suffering from an addiction, and if so, he or she can recommend strategies to break the cycle. Remember, just because you play mobile games on a regular basis doesn’t mean that you have a problem, but if mobile gaming begins interfering with your life, it would be a good idea to seek out medical advice.
Game responsibly: Check out these Mobile Alternatives to Mario!