Singaporeans among most frequent gamers
Report shows that gamers here are among most passionate in world but expert says some behaviour hints at addiction
Forgoing sleep or meals is not a concern to avid gamer Valerie Goh.
The 17-year-old Republic Polytechnic student plays a wide variety of games, from first-person shooters to rhythm games.
She does not play the games every day but when she does, she can clock 12 hours without rest.
A recent report published by Limelight Networks suggested that Singaporeans were one of most passionate gamers in the world.
The US-based edge cloud service provider surveyed 4,500 respondents from France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Britain and the US, aged 18 and up, who play video games at least once a week.
The results showed that Singaporeans on average spent more than 7.44 hours a week playing games, more than the global average of 7.11 hours. The report also found that Singaporean gamers played consecutively the longest, at 1.56 hours.
Of the 500 Singaporeans interviewed, 50 per cent prioritised gaming over sleep, 38 per cent skipped meals and a 37.2 per cent have missed spending time with friends or going on dates.
Said Valerie: "I have skipped meals and socialising a few times as I was already settled in my chair."
Mr Andy Leach, 56, an addiction counsellor at The Cabin's The Edge, a Thai-based rehabilitation programme for young men, said while the hours from the report were not concerning, the behaviour was, as it shows signs of gaming addiction.
He said: "Some people don't have the brakes to stop. When it becomes an obsession and they are not washing (up) or sleeping, it is an addiction."
Mr Xu Zhen An, 22, a full-time national serviceman, used to be addicted to games.
He said: "It started in Primary 3 and ended when I was 17.I was stressed by school and mixed with the wrong crowd... I subsequently lost track of reality, and my grades and social life took a nosedive."
It was only when he was on the verge of dropping out of polytechnic that he snapped out of the addiction. By putting his time into more productive activities and having a strong support network, Mr Xu was able to find balance in his life.
Dr Munidasa Winslow, 58, an addiction psychiatrist from Promises Healthcare at Novena Medical Centre, said: "There is a need for more programmes in schools that take preventative action and teach self-regulation and mental resilience."
Dr Winslow added: "If loved ones see the addict's real relationships deteriorating or have important areas of life, such as work or studies, suffer, they should encourage the addict to look for a counsellor who is used to working with gaming or addictions."
If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, you can call the All Addictions Hotline (6-RECOVER or 6-7326837) or visit the National Addictions Management Service, Block 9 (Level 1), Buangkok Green Medical Park, 10 Buangkok View.
Parts of this article have been amended