‘I Wish I Had Done This Sooner’
It has been called an addiction and for good reason. A survey in the United States found that boys in the eighth grade (about 13 years of age) were devoting on average about 23 hours a week to gaming. Many adults are hooked too. Consider a Christian named Charles. * “For me, video games were an escape, a way to relax and get away from it all,” he says. “But I was addicted. I was dependent on video games the way people are dependent on a drug or on alcohol.”
Charles says that he began playing “all the time” when he was about 11. “I wouldn’t play demonic or violent games,” he says, “but I played to an excessive degree. There were weeks at a time when all I thought about, whether at school or engaging in Christian activities, was how to solve a certain gaming problem.”
The cover series of the December 22, 2002, Awake! “Electronic Games—Is There a Dark Side?” had an impact on Charles. “After reading it, I tried to limit my playing,” he says. “However, after some time passed, I went right back to playing just as I always had.”
During courtship and for a while after marriage, Charles was able to curtail his playing. “But then,” he says, “a new game came out that I had looked forward to for a long time. I went into debt to buy a computer that had the game’s system requirements. This was the most time-consuming video game I had ever played. It robbed me of my time for Jehovah. I was neglecting my wife too.” Soon Charles realized that drastic action was necessary. “I decided to destroy all my video games,” he says. “I deleted them from my computer and tossed every one of them into the city dump.”
Does Charles regret his decision? Not at all! “Words cannot express how relieved I felt after I finally did this,” he says. “I feel that a tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel closer to Jehovah than ever, and I have been talking to him regularly in prayer. I also give more attention to my wife. I am so thankful that I was able to conquer my addiction. My only regret is that I did not do this sooner.”
^ par. 2 Name has been changed.