Video games and internet gaming addictions are becoming a real problem for children and teens. This compulsive focus is keeping them from real relationships. What does the Bible say about breaking free and overcoming any addiction?
[Steve Myers] I was reading an article by Caitlin Gibson that appeared in the Washington Post. The name of the article was “The Next Level”, and what it talked about was video gaming. The next level is referring to that idea that “I’ve got to get to the next level of this game, I’ve got to compete.” And one of the interesting things in this article was not only that it talked about this gigantic boom in video gaming, but it also talked about some of the challenges that revolve around being addicted to video games – having to get to that next level. So it was critical of – one of the things was social connections, that there weren’t social connections for those that get so deeply involved in these games. But then, on the other hand, it also talked about – there’s a different kind of social connection. They call them “MMOs”. MMOs. “Massively multi-player online games.” Because so much of the gaming world is now done online.
Now, what the article pointed out is that there are many parents that are worried about the fact that their kids are getting more and more involved in these games and more compulsively devoted to gaming. And so it talked about some of the aspects of trying to deal with that addiction and that compulsion to have to get to the next level. And so as it talked to different experts about this, one of the experts they talked to was the founder of the Center for Internet Addiction. Her name is Kimberly Young. She said something that was pretty startling. She said, “A modest estimate might be that more than five percent of American kids are suffering from internet addiction.” She said, “We know it’s a big problem.” Now, five percent doesn’t sound like much, but you add up all the kids in America – that’s a huge number. And in fact, another therapist, Kim McDaniels, said this: “We have a generation of teens and kids that have become so lonely.” And it points to the fact that they are so compulsively addicted to the games that that’s their focus, that’s what centers them in their life, and it’s depleted them from real relationships.
So what do you do about it? What do you do about it? Maybe if it’s your kids, what do you do about those that may have that tendency? You see, one of the things that becomes clear is addiction, you know, that we normally think of – we may normally think of substance abuse or alcohol abuse or some kind of drug abuse – this is a real thing, as well. These are real things, and addictions are real. And the Bible tells us we’ve got to get help.
The first thing, if you’re addicted, is you’ve got to get the help that you need. One of the things the Bible talks about when it deals with the kind of behavior that we’re supposed to have – Colossians 3:8-10 deals with some of these things. While not talking about addictions specifically, it does say that you yourselves are to put off these things. Of course, it doesn’t mention video games or even alcohol or drugs, for that matter, but it gives a list of a number of things that we’re supposed to cut out of our life. In fact, it goes on then to say in verse 10, to, “put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” So we’re supposed to become like Christ.
Now, in order to do that, we’ve got to get the help that we need. And if it’s a therapist, we need to get help. If it’s getting closer to God, we’ve got to ultimately turn to Him to get the spiritual help that we need in order to replace old habits, in order to be rid of the compulsions that can sometimes engage us. We’ve got to turn to God. And so what we learn from the Bible is addictions are real. They are actual. But you can overcome with the help of God. You can overcome with the help of God’s Spirit. You can overcome by getting the help from people that you need in order to overcome these very things.
So remember, God has given us and promises to give us the help that we need to overcome any addiction – not just gaming addictions, but any addiction, and especially probably the biggest addiction every human being has. That’s the addiction to sin. God promises to help us overcome.
That’s BT Daily. We’ll see you next time.