“Congratulations on your two-thousandth hour spent in our game. As a reward, you may open a Golden Chest!” – This was the kind of life I used to have merely years ago.
Video games—many regard them as a sociable, engaging form of entertainment that teenagers are able to quit at any moment. Yet, for some, it is not that easy to stop playing video games. For some teenagers, gaming becomes an addiction. It consumes teens entirely, no matter how hard they try to quit. I was one of them.
Back in my motherland, I enjoyed playing video games. Yet, my video game addiction genuinely began to advance only when I came to the United States. Moving to a new country proved to be a more terrifying experience than I expected it to be. My inability to communicate in English both verbally and through writing, along with my timid nature, had forced me to isolate myself from the outside world. In my first year of high school, my grades noticeably went downhill; this had seriously influenced my self-esteem. At that moment, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entire life. Instead of trying to seek help from teachers and working on self-improvement, I decided to let everything take its course. While my classmates succeeded in their classes, I considered myself an abnormality. A failure. To cope with these problems, I decided to look for some kind of distraction. In my case, it became video gaming. Video games offered me what real-life failed to. Video games made me feel like I was accepted, welcomed. My introverted character perfectly allowed me to fit into the atmosphere of the online world.
I was so deeply obsessed with video games that at any time I wanted to play for an extra hour, I would simply pretend to be sick to skip school. Conversations with my guidance counselor, teachers, and family members — none of it helped me until I personally acknowledged the fact that video games were annihilating my life.
The major impetus that allowed me to overcome my addiction and ultimately transformed my life was Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech, given at Stanford University in 2005. In his speech, Jobs argued about the importance of pursuing the passion of your interest and never giving up. He justified it by claiming that “our time is very limited to waste it living someone else’s life.” Steve Jobs’ words and legacy have inspired me and so powerfully moved me towards changing myself that a moment after listening to his speech, I gave myself a promise to change this world, as Jobs did by transforming the modern technology industry. While the Coronavirus pandemic affected the majority negatively, I was able to take control of it through self-studying and joining clubs. My desire to be remembered for something great superseded my constant urge to gaming. From then on, my life has changed dramatically for the better.
As a sophomore, I enrolled in various volunteering organizations in our school. I started to communicate with my school peers and assist them in becoming their better selves. I was also able to significantly improve my writing and speaking skills in English. I am very glad that I was able to overcome my desires, escape my comfort zone, and completely turn my life around.
This terrifying experience has allowed me to conclude that gaming addiction is no different than other forms of addiction. As drugs destroy people’s lives, video games have ruined mine. The problem of video game addiction exists, and many people simply fail to comprehend the full scale of this problem.