"Utilizing the communication of a headset, the dialogue during these games can color one’s societal perception of acceptable dialogue in the outside world, creating the friction to damage relationships."
Finding an escape in the internet is not a sentiment unfamiliar to most individuals in today’s society. It is a thriving community of information, communication, and endless amusement. One of its most utilized purposes is in video gaming.
Since the creation of the modern video games in 1970 in arcades, the social aspects have inspired countless waves of communication, building relationships, and now with online gaming, the interactive and social aspects of gaming are at your convenience.
Despite its good intention, this convenience can cause problems in the household, particularly in marriages. According to recent findings, marriages are often at risk, due to a spouse’s interest in playing video games.
According to a 2016 study on the sales, demographics and usage data of the video game industry by Entertainment Software Association, 63 percent of American households are home to at least one person who plays video games regularly, and 54 percent of the most frequent gamers report playing with others, utilizing the social aspect of gaming. Since the average gamer is 35 years old and the average age of marriage is 28.3 for men and 25.8 for women, it is reasonable to assume that a number of couples have some sort of video game-related interaction, and according to recent research, that reaction is not always positive.
A study published in 2013 at Brigham Young University found that 75 percent of spouses of gamers say they wish their spouse would put more effort into their marriage and less into video games. Much of the study has to do with a specific genre of video games: online role-playing games, such as World of Warcraft, Everquest, Dungeons and Dragons, and League of Legends.
This genre has enabled gamers to devote massive amounts of their outside lives to improving themselves within the game. Whether it is boosting character statistics, advancing toward a new goal, or beating the newest enemy, gamers dedicate themselves to these tasks, leaving their outside interests and relationships left to pick up the pieces.
Another genre that has created a large community of dedicated gamers is first-person shooting games (FPS). Games like Call of Duty and Gears of War create a simulated battle between online gamers facing off in a battle of skill. Utilizing the communication of a headset, the dialogue during these games can color one’s societal perception of acceptable dialogue in the outside world, creating the friction to damage relationships.
Risk of addiction
A study, done by Divorce Online, found that of the wives who cite unreasonable behavior for ending their marriage, 15 percent of them are of the belief that their partners put gaming before them and their relationship. This need to play can create an impulse-control problem, opening itself up to video game addiction.
According to the UnityPoint Health Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, video game addiction is described as an impulse-control disorder that excessively and compulsively overuses computer and video games. According to the health report, individuals suffering from video game addiction use the online gaming platform to connect with real people through the internet, as a substitution for real-life human connection.
Leading researchers have said that the spouses not suffering from the addiction, believe it to be a choice to spend that time in a virtual world versus spending time with them and the family.
This need to substitute one human interaction for another through a distractive activity can jeopardize marriages, careers, and other endeavors in the outside world. For spouses, part of that stems from the desire to do an activity together.
In some of the research findings, it’s not the time spent playing games that causes problems, but rather the resulting arguments or disrupted bedtime routines. These situations can cause issues like poor marital adjustment, less time spent together doing a shared activity, and less serious conversations.
However, the research did not anticipate the impact, nor amount of spouses who play video games together. The study showed that 76 percent of the couples said that gaming together has a positive effect on their marital relationship. However, this statistic relates to interacting with each other’s online character, and the couples that spoke to the positive effect also were couples that were mutually satisfied with each other’s participation.
There are many activities that people devote their time, money, and energy toward. Because of video games’ stationary nature, the risk that devoting hours and days to each task within the game will eventually spiral into arguments that lead to a divorce is real and should be taken seriously. Research has shown that communication and including your spouse will help you avoid that particular conflict moving forward.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with Joe Cordell.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.