Dangers Of The Internet Part IV: How To Manage MMORG Addictions, Testimonials, Tips And Tricks

The Grand Vision New Leaders building near the HSR station in Jhubei, in Taiwan. Taken on the 13th of January 2007 with a Nikon D200 and a 18-35mm lens. Part of the HSR Hsinchu Series 1.

In this article, I discuss the continuing dangers of the internet, particularly the effects of online gaming, be it World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies or any other type of MMORG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game).

From Wikipedia:

MORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) is a genre of online computer role-playing games (RPGs) in which a large number of players interact with one another in a virtual world. As in all RPGs, players assume the role of a fictional character (most commonly in a fantasy setting) and take control over many of that character’s actions. MMORPGs are distinguished from single-player or small multi-player RPGs by the number of players, and by the game’s persistent world, usually hosted by the game’s publisher, which continues to exist and evolve while the player is away from the game.

MMORPGs are very popular throughout the world, with combined global memberships in subscription and non-subscription games exceeding 15 million as of 2006. Overall, revenues for MMORPGs exceeded half a billion dollars in 2005 and are expected to reach over a billion dollars by 2009.

When we talk about MMORG addictions, we are not talking about the casual gamer who plays a few hours a week, but the gamer who can not live without playing; people who will play 2 to 12 hours of these games every single day.

Like any addiction, these are a form of escapism. Trying to escape the reality of their own lives, these gamers take on a virtual life in their games and find comfort and solace in this imaginary world. If a gamer plays consistently a large period of hours per day in one of these worlds, they have a problem in their lives. Maybe they hare unsatisfied with their careers, their family life or their relevant importance in life.

One such reason might be looking at your classmates and seeing that you are not the politician, the millionaire or the successful businessman that they have become over the years. But what these people do not realize, is that for every success story, there are counterpoints. The man who isn’t a millionaire, might have a loving family.

The first thing to do when you realize that you are not happy with your life is to implement a change of sort. Forgetting your life and loosing yourself in a blissful world are not ways to resolve these situations. As with all addictions, for the addictive personality to be able to improve and overcome their addiction, they need to realize that they are in fact addicted. Most programs, like AA, will not accept anyone who does not accept this.

Also, they must want to change. This is hard, since most gamers are very happy with their situation and will go on playing. One gamer said that “don’t bother, because at one point, the interest or the game will fade.” That is the wrong attitude to have, since these games are set in persistent virtual worlds, meaning that they will constantly evolve, thereby maintaining the interest of the gamers. With patches, new editions and add-ons, these worlds will continue to generate interest. Once the games are old, new games will come out with everything improved.

With players and guilds set on different servers, and players around the world, these games are dangerous to borderline personalities or anyone who finds a more than passing interest. Some people’s psyche is strong enough to resist the attraction of these worlds. Others will fall in and wonder what happened to their lives, after their wives have left them and they are living alone in an apartment, playing their games.

That is not to say that all gamers are addicts; most gamers have no trouble leaving the games and concentrating on their own lives.

Like any addiction, their are different ways of getting your loved ones off these games. Going cold turkey is definitely an option, but you have to remember that if your child is the one playing, they will be able to play at their friend’s house or at school. When the player is an adult, it is even harder; how do you tell an adult that he can no longer play his game?

If you have the financial means, you could check your loved one into a rehab clinic. Professionals will know how to deal with this form of addiction. Even if this sounds extreme, it is an effective way of dealing with it. Otherwise, your loved one has to be able to decided and accept that they have a problem. Like all addiciton counselling, the gamer will need to wean himself off his addiction little by little, depending on the severity of it.

Lastly, try counselling, psychotherapy and just plain talk about the problem. If your loved one categorically refuses, it is either time for more serious measures or to realize that you need to make a change to keep yourself and the rest of your family happy. Tough love. If your husband is playing, consider leaving. If your son/daughter is playing and is over 18, consider kicking them out. Maybe this will be the reality check that your loved one needs.


Kathleen Pennell writes:

My husband has an addiction to World of Warcraft. He left the east coast and loving family, wife of 17 years, children, & job to be with his online “wife” she was his mule in the game. This woman worked on him in the game and this game suck the soul out of my husband and my marriage.

When he would come home from work he went straight to the game every night he even did it at work. If I asked him to be away from the game he became enraged. If he had to leave WOW for real life he became abusive.

Nigel writes:

My 18 year old son has left school and is avoiding getting a job. He plays on World of Warcraft everyday for a minimum of 12 hours a day getting him out to even go shopping is a struggle. He says the only career he wants is the Army so he can carry a gun.He is an intelligent articulate good looking teenager.But he won´t get a life Is this because his WOW addiction makes him agressive. I have read that the Army Psycholgists won´t take Game players as they think the fantasy aspect makes them a weak personality and easily influenced. Should I throw out the computer?

Hatewow tells us:

I just wanted to say it helped to read all the comments on this site concerning World of Warcraft. I never felt like anyone but a person with a child playing this game existed. My husband plays after about 6 months (maybe) of having it, more than 8 hours/day. He had been playing online poker for 2 years or so but at least we still conversed then. Now, we rarely do. He is tied to the game; unable to assist with normal child care and household chores. We went to FL for Christmas with his family and most nights he was playing WOW. It was noticed and commented on by every person in his family. He is incredibly loyal to them but became angry and insolent when they confronted him with this issue. I was happy because he was not playing it every day/ night- whenever he was NOT working. Thank God he has no internet access at work.

I am pissed and unhappy. I love my husband and want HIM back but he will not listen when I ask him to cut it down. To go to the park, play a board game, or watch a movie with me and the kids. And by the way, his sex drive is almost obsolete. This from a wonderful and attentive lover during our almost 9 year marraige.

He just bought some expanded version of WOW. He told me the game never ended and my stomach dropped. I wonder if we will last this. I wonder if I stop accepting if we are already over.

Hurts like hell to not be able to compete with a stupid game.

Tips, Tricks and Advice

Maniacide gives his insider tricks to help:

Handy tips for parents of WoW addicted teenagers. I should point out that I’m a Warcraft player, but even I could not stomach playing for 12 hours a day….so. Here’s some insider tips from a hardened gamer…

Strategy 1. Throw the switch. 12 hours is ludicrous. Suggest switching off the power supply at the mains randomly to cause him to reboot. If you do this enough, he will “DC” (disconnect in WoW speak) so often that he will lost the respect of his guild and fellow gamers. Best times to throw the switch…

a) about 1900 local time on Wednesday. This is when Molten Core resets. If he is a hardened WoW addict, this wil piss him off. Also try to get the Instance reset times for your region from www.wow.com – killing the power when he is trying to get into a big raid helps a lot.

b) About mid-morning and mid-evening – this will surely annoy his buddies and they will throw him out of a group.

Strategy 2. Start playing yourself. Find out which server he is on and follow him around, announcing that you are his mom/dad. Be generally “parent embarassing”. This works really well.

Strategy 3. Kill his income. WoW costs money – no money, no game. The dude aint got no job, so this should be easy enough.

Strategy 4. timelock your home broadband. Get a router that restricts port access to certain times of day. This works a treat, especially when you lock him out with a strong admin password.

If none of that works, try this…

Get rid of your broadband connection,
Face up to the fact that he is an addict,
Get him some professional help (counselling),
Enforce your authority, if not as parents then as landords,
Be prepared for a fight…..

My advice:

For sure, you should consider getting rid of all computers and internet connections at your home. The only good thing of your son being home is that you can keep an eye on him.

Your son needs a reality check. At 18, I was enrolled in Computer Science in an university, living for the 1st time by myself in a new city with other students in the same situation. My parents paid for my 1st semester and then I paid my own way because my program was a coop program, real work experience mixed in with studies at the campus.

You should also definitely consider either counseling or therapy for your son. Also, does he have a car that you got him? Take his keys away and sell it. Are there any other freedoms that he takes for granted? Restrict them. Also, I suggest you get rid of the TV in his room, as well as all of his video games. Watching TV is relaxing for adults after a long hard day of work, but teens should do something more constructive, like reading a book.

In my opinion, restricting his internet access could be the first easy step. Secondly, if your son is playing 12 hours of WoW every day, is he fit? Try reasoning with him that if he wants to join the army, he needs to be very fit. Try making him start exercising at a local gym with you.

At 18, your son is nearly an adult. I admit that your influence on him might be limited. I remember that I normally did the opposite of what my parents told me to do.

Would military school be something you would consider for him? In Canada, after military school, you normally become an officer. If he wants a career in the army, you could reason with him about this. From what I have read, getting into military colleges is quite demanding, try using this as leverage or influence on him. If he really enjoys guns as much as you say, you might join a local shooting range, where he could try his hand at real shooting. I suggest this even if you dislike guns because it has the benefit of making him leave the house. However, make sure that he can not take the firearms home. Keep them under lock and key at the shooting range.

You could also take him to paintball games. Most teenagers who like guns really enjoy this activity. It is physically demanding, you are outside in the woods in the fresh air. You could also try go-carting. Normally those type of kids enjoy carting as well.

Try getting him interested in military strategies and tactics with books and wargames. Though I suggest, you keep the games as board games like Risk and Axis And Allies or other strategy games.

Remember to always play your son’s strengths. It will make him feel good to be really good at something. You know your son and you know at what he is good at. Try working on these.

The best way to go in my opinion is cold turkey. Getting rid of the internet connection, getting rid of his computer, severely limiting his freedoms until he has earned them back. One thing is for sure, he needs to finish school first. Try motivating him by rewarding him with things that he wants if he succeeds, excluding computers and the internet.

Teenagers need clearly defined boundries. If they see that they can get away with things, they will always try it. They will always probe and push and try to do things their way, but you have to stand firm and let him know it is your way.

You could also take him camping. Even if you do not enjoy this, it gets him away from computers and the comfortable reality that he has established for himself. Make him do a lot of chores at home. An idle mind is a bored mind.

I do not think you should consider the ‘brat camps’. However, if your son is no longer thinks that he has to do what you say, you might have a problem, especially in cases when the children are physically stronger than their parents.

You should also immediately hire a private tutor to get him back on track in his school work. Private teachers can establish a curriculum fit for your son so that he can continue learning and growing.

* * * * *

Relevant Posts

This post is part of a series on the Dangers of The Internet.

  1. The Problem With Second Life
  2. Blog and Internet Psychosis
  3. World Of Warcraft Addictions
  4. Information Addiction






8 responses to “Dangers Of The Internet Part IV: How To Manage MMORG Addictions, Testimonials, Tips And Tricks”

  1. Donald Avatar

    LAWL, i am addicted, i say it loud and clear. Im never going to stop. I earned 5.3 million from my job, quit, and now im planning to spend the rest of my life playing video games. Im a gamer. I feel insulted by what you n00bs are saying. Dont talk like this, it is not true. Its just like watching TV or even reading, they are something that can be used to pass the time. Video games are way more fun that real life, where there is killing, death, pain, suffering, and that kinda of stuff. I will tell you right now that that i will NEVER stop playing video game, EVER. IM not going to just stop. Video game “addictions” are fun, and they make you feel really accomplished at the end of the day. All you people remind me of my parents. I was in my basement 17 years ago, in High School, programming, and all my parents did was nag me, i told them “stfu” (look that up if u dont know what that stand for:)) and look at me now :0 . VIDEO game addictions are FALSE. Trust me, that is not true. Put my account up there under accounts, not just what “fits” your propaganda. Who do u work for? Hmm, who looses money off video games… let me think….. oh yeah TELEVISION. People are LEAVING the television, and coming to the world of warcraft. Hmm, keep posting that, ok. Maybee, just maybee, you will be able to bring some customers back to the television industry. Maybee. If any “gamer” is reading this article, please remember, dont give into the bs that they give you for having fun. Dont believe these lies of parents that just ruin your modivation. Stand strong gamers:), we have some work to do. Any one who agrees with me, feel free to tell about how GOOD video games can be. OK.

  2. Gergely Kun Avatar

    Hello everyone!

    I’m sorry for my english but i hope everyone understands what i’m writing.

    I’m 22 years old and almoast 23. I begann to play videogames in my childhood (10yo.)I was very exited and enjoyed playing…It was allways a good thing to pass time. But even if i know i’m playing a lot i don’t feel sick or addicted in the bad meaning. Yes i like playing…for me it is just like reading or watching TV. Oh and abuot 2-3 years i don’t watch TV. IMHO it is more dangerous then Games. Many people become aggressive from it. I know someone who robbed a store becouse he watched too much action movies…
    Yeah i know you say i’m addicted because i play more then 3 hours a day…but hey i have friend, a girlfrien, a loving family,and a job (not paying mutch but..oh well :D) with my friends we have a hiphop crew so i do lots of other things
    Oh and i’m so amazed how many stupid peole are in the world…leavig his family for an internet wife…ROTFLMAO!!
    Ok i understand it’s a disaster but hey you got to be a real FREAK to do that…
    Yes i play WOW too as many other games…but i don’t feel any phisical hardliness if i have to leave it and do something else…i thik you made a big mistake when you sad the amout of time played makes someone addicted…WEAK MINDE is the keyword!!!

  3. Snake Avatar

    Are you insane?! A knife is useless against those MASSIVE claws! They could rip a tank apart! Jesus Christ!!

  4. Daniel Avatar

    The people above seem to favour putting pressure on the addict. I just want to mention that there is a scientifically verified way of talking to addicts that tries to avoid this pressure trap: Motivational interview (www.motivationalinterview.org and other places)

  5. Casual Gamer Avatar
    Casual Gamer

    Ya the problem is not with people like Gergely Kun who seem to be doing fine at life. The problem doesn’t even lie with how many hours you play, although this does affect it. The problem lies with your ability to maintain a normal happy life. If you can do this whilst playing WOW for 12 hours a day (which i highly doubt anyone could) I say go for it. Do what ever floats your boat. But if you’re playing 12 hours a day, don’t have a job, are loosing (real life) friends and are not building vital life skills needed to make it when you leave home or when you decide computer games are lacking originality, then i think there is a huge problem, a problem akin addiction where you can’t see whats good for you and your life heads into a downward spiral.

    I’m 19 and am studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. I used to play games all the time. Started with Doom when i was about 7 or 8. I used to go to school, come home and play games. Never used to do homework, sometimes pulled sickies so i could play (there were other factors involved in this as well though). When I was 13 I moved onto making maps for games like Unreal Tournament which kindled a great interest and love for 3D animation and graphic design. This was all fine because I was turning all my excessive gaming into a cross between an academic and arty career. I wanted to be a game designer. As i progressed through high school i became better friends with a wider range of people and realised there was more to life than pixels. I made a compromise and switched my planned career path to graphic design. At the last second I changed to engineering because I decided i wanted to make some sort of impact on the world, and although i could do this through the storyline and themes of a game, i wanted it to be more meaningful and direct than a simple message which could be conveyed in other means any way.

    I now hardy play games at all, just don’t have time. Every time exams come up though I feel the urge to. I guess i still see it as a way to relieve stress. I usually resist though because there are much more affective ways of relieving stress like physical activity, eg running or sport.

    The point is when I was young i had heaps of time to spend playing games. As i got older and had less time i played less games and did what needed to be done. So yes there is a difference between some one who is addicted and people like Gergely Kun and I who just play for fun and respect the fact that real life is more important than virtual life.

    Donald, How did you make your 5.3 mil?? must have had some pretty sharp investing, some kinda break through in internet marketing or some crazy plot that you have to tell me about so i can do it too. But any way it doesn’t really matter, If you can support your self and you are truly satisfied and fulfilled with what you are doing with your life, I say go for it. Just don’t look back when you’re older and say OMG!!111 where did my life go, all i have to show is a stack of money, my computer, and a life philosophy/morals built on a game designers artistic interpretations of themes of real life.

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  8. Addicts mom Avatar
    Addicts mom

    If a public corporation in America came to a park and persuaded teens and children to inject heroin (without parental permission) there would be an outcry.
    Blizzard and similar companies essentially do this to our children.

    We all have signed “Permission slips” for school, sex education and the like. Where are the darned lawyers when you need them?

    Parents, we should start a class action lawsuit based on the idea of NOT INFORMING PARENTS of potential addiction problems and also not giving parents constant updates on their under age player’s hours spent playing.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, Blizzard should be required to provide a “Parent Control Panel” installation that allows parents to completely control their children’s gaming activities, including but not limited to destroying characters PERMANENTLY.
    These companies turn our children into crack addicts all under the veil of “free speech”.
    The child’s account should not be set up without parents signing a waiver.
    As it stands now, there is a weak “parent control” tool that you only find out about AFTER your son or daughter is addicted.

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