One in eight couples in the UK argues over the amount of time spent playing computer games, according to the latest research.
Arguments over gaming is ‘an ongoing issue’ for 13% of couples who own a computer console, while one in 15 say it seriously affects their relationship, according to the survey asking ‘ Do you and your partner ever argue over the amount of time either of you spends playing computer games?’.
Gaming disorder is diagnosed as an uncontrollable and persistent urge to play video games, despite understanding that it may have harmful consequences. The World Health Organization officially recognised it as a mental-health condition in 2018.
This form of addiction reportedly affects up to 3.5% of gamers. It can distort views of reality, make players emotionally detached and causing them to abandon responsibilities both at work and at home.
Spouses often complain of feeling neglected or lonely as partners prioritise gaming over their marriage.
Sian Jones, a professional relationship counsellor and founder of Relationship Counselling Kent, said: “Any addiction causes arguments. A relationship could potentially break down if the person who is online, for whatever reason, refuses to stop.
“These arguments usually occur because one person feels ignored, less important or lied to. Depending on what someone’s partner is doing, or what they are suspicious of them doing, it can leave people feeling threatened, jealous, suspicious and angry.”
In the survey from Graysons Solicitors, almost one in 20 gaming couples said a partner’s playing had created an ongoing issue in their relationship.
This research follows news that Fortnite and other online games were named as contributing to around 5% of divorces in the UK last year.
Internet addiction affects nearly 6% of the global population, according to a huge international study on internet addiction. This is often associated with depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Symptoms of a digital addiction can include feelings of guilt, defensiveness and agitation, and physical problems such as disturbed sleep and weight gain. An online addict may also experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those related to drug addiction.
“People with an addiction tend to become secretive. They might keep their phone on them at all times and keep passwords to themselves. They also might be moody, argumentative and uncommunicative,” Sian Jones added.