Understanding The Spell of ‘Fortnite’ and the Allure of Online Gaming

There has been much attention given to gaming disorders and online gaming in Australia this week in response to recent 60 minutes coverage specific to the current game that’s on everyone’s lips, ‘Fortnite’. The show documented the lives of families who are struggling due to a gaming addiction that is playing out in their home. Families who didn’t know what to do or where to turn.

Fortnite has more than 125 million players worldwide and an estimated 40 million people play the game monthly. Video games are nothing new, and neither are reports of game addiction. But today’s most popular games are immersive, technical and detailed and create a sense of connection to the game that is far more alluring and sophisticated than any game played by their parent’s generation.

Many theories abound about gaming addiction; they are viewed as an escape, as a source of social connection, as a place where teenagers feel they belong and are empowered. It is true that many gamers describe a powerful sense of attachment to the game and to those with whom they share this social realm.

The result, experts say, is a steep rise in the number of parents worried that their kids are in fact addicted, or at least compulsively devoted, to the games. 

It is true that gaming addiction has become so serious that the World Health Organisation has now classified it as a disease. At South Pacific Private we treat and support individuals with process addictions such as gambling and gaming and see how their addictive disorders have played out. 

We recently spoke with Professor John Saunders on the subject of gaming disorder and he was happy to provide an in-depth overview of the psychology and biology of such disorders (see video below). Professor Saunders’s career as a clinician, service director, researcher and academic in the alcohol and drug field extends back over 35 years. His commentary clearly relays those who are more at risk as well as the short and longer term risks of a gaming addiction. If you are looking for answers or would like more insight as a parent or professional we invite you to watch this video.

If you wish to find out more or are concerned about someone you love, please call South Pacific Private 24/7 (including weekends) on 1800 063 332 or email info@southpacificprivate.com.au

An Online Gaming Addiction Facebook group started three weeks ago by the family already has 700 members. This resource might provide support and information for family members living with or trying to help someone with an Online Gaming Addiction.