Tips to overcome and prevent mobile gaming addiction

Know to stay within your limits!

There are over 2.2 billion mobile gamers across the globe. Over 50% of all gamers admit to playing on their mobile devices more than 10 times per week. With technological advancements and the increased convenience offered by mobile devices, it’s no wonder that more gamers are using on-the-go versions of their favorite games. While having easy access to games on your digital device is convenient, it can also be dangerous. This increased accessibility has created a major spike in gaming addiction. Having a smartphone in today’s digital world is a must. Answering emails, text messages, and phone calls is one thing – spending hours glued to your phone playing mobile games is something else entirely. If you’re struggling to put your phone down or suspect you might have a mobile game addiction, this article is for you. Keep reading for actionable tips on how to overcome mobile gaming addiction so you’re no longer held hostage by your smartphone.

Mobile gaming addiction and its effects

The only difference between video games and mobile games is that the mobile version is played on your mobile device – hence the name. Not all video games are available as a downloadable app and not all mobile games can be played on a PC or gaming console. Most video game addicts have their devices and games of choice. Whether you play on an Xbox, Playstation, or your smartphone, the basic signs and symptoms of video game addiction are the same.

Unlike addiction to drugs or alcohol, video game addiction is considered a behavioral addiction. Research is still being done on exactly what video game addiction is and its effects. The WHO (World Health Organization) and the American Psychiatric Association recognize this condition as Internet Gaming Disorder. Between 1% and 10% of all mobile gamers are at risk of developing an addiction.

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Signs of Mobile gaming addiction

Before we get into the steps you can take to overcome mobile game addiction it’s important to identify the problem. The best way to recognize addiction is by focusing on the typical symptoms. This is especially true when discussing behavioral addictions to things like video games. Some signs you may have a gaming addiction include:

  • Obsessive thoughts about gaming
  • Inability to focus on anything but gaming
  • Irritability when you’re unable to game
  • Lying or sneaking around to play
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations
  • Impaired relationships
  • A decline in physical health and hygiene
  • Headaches and/or eye strain
  • Neck pain
  • Increased expenses (spending money in-game or increased phone bills due to gaming)

If playing mobile games is negatively interfering with your daily life and you can’t stop gaming despite trying, you may have an addiction.

Tips and Tricks to overcome mobile gaming addiction

Once you determine that mobile gaming is consuming your life and mind, it’s time to take action. Here are some ways you can overcome mobile game addiction once and for all.

1. Detox

Detox isn’t just for substance abuse or diets. You can actually detox from any unhealthy behavior – including mobile gaming. By definition, detoxification is the medicinal or physiological removal of a toxic substance from your body. Detoxing from mobile games involves stopping all gameplay for a predetermined time period. Most detoxes are either 30, 60, or 90 days.

Start by choosing a timeframe. Next, take the necessary steps to eliminate mobile games from your everyday life. For most addicts this involves deleting mobile games from their phones, placing locks on the app store, or taking a break from their smartphone altogether. While this isn’t possible for most people, you can swap your smartphone for a basic phone that allows you to make calls and send text messages.

Most mobile game addicts need help to successfully complete a detox program. This is one reason online treatment and therapy programs are gaining in popularity. Video game and mobile game addicts can access the help, support, and resources they need from the comfort of their own homes. Following the detox period, some gamers are able to slowly incorporate mobile games into their lives in a healthy, moderate way while others only find success when they eliminate gaming from their lives completely.

2. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT, also known as cognitive behavioral therapy, is a popular method for treating behavioral addictions including those to mobile games. The main focus of CBT is to alter a person’s thinking patterns. This structured approach to addiction starts by analyzing how you think about mobile games and then helping to restructure those thoughts to promote healthier behaviors.

Therapists may start by helping an addict recognize how their ideas about mobile games are distorted and what problems they’re creating in their lives. Next, addicts are guided through a process of reevaluating these negative thoughts in light of reality. This process is designed to help addicts gain a better understanding of what motivates their behavior so they can make positive changes.

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3. Mindfulness

Another approach to treating mobile game addiction that involves controlling and changing thought patterns is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps addicts become intensely aware of what they’re feeling and sensing in a given moment. Mindfulness helps you slow down and interpret your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Certain techniques that accompany mindfulness include guided imagery and breathing exercises. The ultimate goal is to help addicts relax both the mind and body to gain a better understanding of thoughts and feelings. Once you achieve this, you can view your mobile game addiction more objectively and make clear, informed decisions about how to replace your gaming habit with something more productive.

4. Deleting and Locking certain apps

When it comes to overcoming mobile game addiction, willpower may not be enough. In addition to cognitive therapy and mindfulness, many mobile game addicts need to place blocks on their devices or delete their favorite mobile apps altogether. This is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s a matter of being honest with yourself and removing temptation.

The simplest way to stop yourself from playing your favorite mobile games is to delete them from your phone. You can also lock certain apps or place restrictions on downloads. Most smartphones prompt users to enter credit cards or other payment information to keep on file. Once this information is entered, you can make purchases in the app store with a touch of a button. While this may be convenient in some ways, it’s dangerous and far too tempting for mobile game addicts.

If possible, remove this payment information from your phone. This will make it more difficult for you to purchase games, download content, or make microtransactions in games. This is one key difference between regular video games and mobile games. Most mobile games require microtransactions to continue playing. These games lure players in because they’re often free to download but at a certain point, payment is required to keep playing, remove ads, or gain access to additional content. Nearly 20% of all mobile gamers spend on microtransactions at one time or another. For mobile game addicts, these small purchases can add up quickly, putting you in financial trouble.

5. Securing your Phone in a further location

One way for video game addicts to support the detox process or limit gameplay is to remove or get rid of their gaming console or PC. Ditching your cell phone isn’t as easy. After all, you need it to make calls, send text messages, and maintain contact with the outside world. Because of this, mobile gamers need to take extra steps when overcoming their addiction.

Choose a secure place to keep your phone whenever possible. During work, turn down the volume (or turn it off completely) and leave it in a drawer, locker, or someplace safe where it’s not easily accessible. When you’re at home, leave your phone in your bedroom, closet, or another safe place so you can focus your attention on more important things like spending time with your family or performing tasks around the house.

All it takes is a leap of faith

If you’re facing mobile game addiction, you may feel hopeless. With over 6 billion people owning smartphones worldwide, access to mobile games, social media, and instant gratification has never been easier. What might start as mindless gameplay to pass the time can quickly spiral into an all-consuming addiction. By using these tips to overcome mobile gaming addiction you can take action and take back your life, once and for all.

What are your thoughts on mobile gaming addiction? Do you think our guide and tips on how to overcome mobile gaming addiction are useful? Drop your opinions in the comments!

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