Let’s face it, we’re all addicted. I’m not talking about cigarettes or alcohol or any other physical drugs, I’m talking about the internet and all the blessings and curses it’s brought us. It was only after Candy Crush came out that I really admitted that I was addicted to my computer / phone / iPad / anything that brought me the internet. I went through an average phase of playing Candy Crush, getting into the hundreds before I eventually came across a level that I just couldn’t beat. I even paid money once, I PAID! Nobody should ever stoop that low.
But that’s how it went, I gave up on the game entirely because of this one level until one day when I thought, ‘y’know, I’ll give it one more shot – I’ve got full lives anyway..’ and then I went and beat the level. Just like that, I was hooked again. Thankfully the next time I came across a level I couldn’t beat, I simply gave up, and I haven’t opened the game since.
My name is Dominique, and I’m a recovering Candy Crush-er.
Anyway. It gets worse. There’s always new games coming out, the latest one that has gotten me hooked is Cookie Clicker. For anyone who hasn’t played it and has an addictive personality, I’m so so sorry. But click HERE and get lost in the madness of cookies with me!
I don’t know what it is about these games, they come and go in phases and spread like wildfire amongst social communities, before fizzling out and leaving only the dedicated players (remember FarmVille?). My friend showed me Cookie Clicker, and before the week was out I had introduced a handful of my friends to the game, who in turn had shown some of their friends.
Who know’s what’ll be next?
But it’s not just games we as a society are addicted to. People with smartphones will know all too well of that person who can’t help but check their phone every 2 minutes, or will admit (even if only to themselves) that they’re one of them – don’t be ashamed, I’m one too. Psychologists have found that this behaviour is the same as people who are habitual gamblers. Let me explain why:
An addicted gambler will gamble continuously, and at random intervals will get some form of payout, spurring them on to continue gambling. People are the same with their phones and app notifications. Say someone checks their phone every minute – eventually they will check their phone and there will be a notification or a message. This reward reinforces the behaviour of checking their phone, the individual believing that the more they check their phone, the more likely they’ll check it and receive a notification – as flawed as that logic is. It’s more sensible to check your phone regularly every few hours, because then it’s more probable to get messages each time, but another feature of the addict is that they want everything, now. Or more specifically for the smartphone user, they want to know about the notifications, as soon as they happen.
Eep. Internet addiction is going to be classed as a mental disorder in 2014, I wonder how many of us will qualify?