June 22, 2011

Hi My Name is Lady Bren....

     So I have this problem.  It is fairly new yet I'm concerned it could become quite serious.  Thing is upon doing research I learned I am most certainly not alone.  In fact there are different names for different aspects of this problem. So my friends I stand before you and admit.... I am becoming addicted to online gaming, specifically Facebook's Monopoly Millionaires. 
     Here's the thing I planned on writing this as a witty, entertaining story, don't worry this is not going to be a bummer so don't tune out!  What I was surprised to learn is the reality of this problem is truly quite serious.  I have heard about the problems associated with online gambling but gaming!   Take this test to see if your gaming is a problem  Most people who are struggling with gaming problems are playing massively multi-player online role playing games (MMORPGs) and/or multi-user domain games (MUDs), think World of War Craft and Halo.  Therapists are seeing addiction to gaming and facebook beginning to transition from social networking to social dysfunction. People are actually losing their jobs over an addiction to online gaming.  **Below you'll find info on how the USA and China are handing this problem.
     What I imagine is a room full of people implementing something similar to a  12 step program to help them get over their gaming issues.  As we go around the room people share their addiction.  Hi I'm Joe also known as GreyMouse224 in Halo.  Hi I'm Suzy also know as Powershopper14 on World of WarCraft,  Hi I'm LadyBren on Monopoly. All races, ages, and financial groups are represented.
 Once again I thought I was being creative and entertaining and what did I find: OLGA. On Line Gamers Anonymous complete with sponsors and 12 steps.  It is so anonymous that people create user ids when they log on.  Even AA doesn't offer that!!

     I love to play games.  Weird thing is I didn't even know facebook had games until 2 months ago! I grew up playing games with my Dad and sister.  We had shelves of games in our basement that didn't collect dust.  I brought my kids up playing games.  In addition to Monopoly, Clue and now Risk are my favorites.  When I recently redesigned our hall closet (taking away most of it to make a linen closet in the bathroom) I made sure the remaining shelves were wide enough to hold our games.  I'll also openly admit I LOVE to win.  My Dad didn't believe in letting us win a game and we always played by the enclosed rules.  Money for Free Parking???? I don't think so.  How many cards do you pick in Uno~ however many the player handbook says.  My kids have grown up the same way.  WE always keep our rules and if they win they know it was fair and square.  BTW they always beat me in those concentration games, even the Fisher Price Barnyard Game and that was before my stroke!
      I don't think I am a very competitive person until you put a game board in front of me.... I HAVE to win.  I love playing games but know I do everything in my power to win (outside of cheating b/c that's just no fun).   So when I found Monopoly on Facebook, no one was surprised that I fell in love with it.   For some reason my kids won't accept my requests and play, I wonder why?  I was very happy and  having fun building my houses and collecting rent,  Then I realized I can get ranked with other players.  AND I get prizes for advancing to different financial levels.  It only got better when they added leader boards....oh my heavens is my name on it this week!!
      The other day I learned there was a Monopoly Millionaires Community Forum page.  I can now without hesitation assure I DO NOT have a problem.  There are gamers on the forum who have created Monopoly spread sheets.  They keep track of who rolled on their board, and who sent a gift.  Another Millionaire (as we're called)  actually spent the time figuring out which housing deal makes better fiscal sense~ I thought I was a math geek.  Maybe I should post that quiz on the forum????

By the way: Friends are welcome to join me on Monopoly anytime...hint hint
 ***Just in case you are interested here's what I learned during my research:
  In August 2005, the Chinese government, where more than 20 million people play online games, introduced an online gaming restriction limiting playing time to three hours, after which the player would be expelled from whichever game they were playing.  In 2006 they relaxed the rule so that it only effect players under the age of 18, however many of those kids found ways to beat the system(big surprise).  Then in July 2007 the rule changed with a twist.  After playing for 3 hours players under 18 (they are identified by their resident ID #) are prompted to stop and "do suitable physical exercise"  Should they keep playing their gaming experience is diminished. If they continue, their characters gain 50% of the usual experience. After five hours, their characters gain no experience at all. In 2010 Chinese parents were enabled with the power to limit their children's online gaming by directly communicating with game operators.  The Ministry of Culture has a department strictly for the purpose of monitoring online gaming and its effect on the population. One study showed that over 19% spend more than 20 hours a week just gaming.  Education has always been a priority within the Chinese culture and parents were afraid that their kids were gaming instead of studying.  Since this article was published in February 2010 I have not been able to find any updates on how this program has worked
   Here in the USA, Deborah T Tate, a FCC Commissioner stated in 2008 that online gaming addiction was "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs". However there were not statistics to back this up.  As of 2007 the AMA has not recognized excessive Video/Online Gaming as a formal psychiatric addiction wanting more research before it is declared as such.  The AMA has found that there are "concerns about untoward side effects (from video gaming), ranging from physical symptoms such as seizures and tendonitis, to socially maladaptive behaviors such as increased short-term aggressiveness and overuse syndromes" 

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