- Set Boundaries
The first rule involves discipline which probably makes it the hardest one of all. It is imperative to set rules for you to follow and then enforce them so you learn self-control. Doing this is very important since when you have used up your gaming time limit, you can stop and then move on easily to whatever other tasks you have to do.
Of course, you can tailor your rules to fit your personality the best. For example, if you notice that you are playing games for way too long right after finishing classes or school and you believe that is a problem for you, then institute a rule to not allow it – at least until you have finished the other things that you needed to get done. The following are some examples of rules that can be set for yourself:
Only play games on holidays and weekends
Only game for two hours or less per day
On weekdays, do not game for more than one hour
Only game with your friends
Only game after you finish your work or chores
Only game until 11 pm and no longer (or until whatever time you set your limit at)
Although it is natural to break rules every once in a while, do your best to remain disciplined as much as you can. To help you follow rules, you can always ask your parents or a friend to enforce them for you. Ask them to hold you accountable and check in with you to remind you of why you instituted your rules to begin with. If you are responsible, then you can also set up some type of punishment when you break the rules.
Maybe ask a friend to take away your gaming console, or have a timed lock set if you play games on your computer. It is definitely harder for adults to break habits than children. However, it is not an impossible thing to do. The following is a list of habit-building apps that can be used to help with this. It may even be helpful to set a timer that actually buzzes once your time limit has been exceeded for the day.
- Keep Track Of Your Gaming Time
Video games are very engaging. That is something that cannot be denied. Therefore, it can be very difficult to realize the amount of time you spend playing games. They are designed that way so that players will just keep playing a little longer. Whether you are gaming or visiting an online casino you should keep an eye on the time.
Sometimes, in fact, you will find yourself saying, “okay, five minutes at the most.” Then when you look up from your game, you realize if you have been playing for three hours. I have done that before, especially with certain games such as Mario Cart.
That is where it can be helpful to keep track of your gaming time. A PsychCentral article recommends that you write down on a notepad your game play’s start and stop times. Keep your journal for a week, and then review all of the time that you are spending on each of your games, or if it is only one game, the specific activities that are keeping you playing the game for such a long time.
That sounds like a very healthy way of keeping track of the exact amount of hours that you are spending on playing games and then set reasonable time limits for yourself. When adding up your hours, you may be surprised at just how long you are really spending on gaming. You can do the same thing for how long you spend on social media or the number of times you check your phone – the results may be alarming.
- Start To Cut Down
After you determine the number of hours you spend every week playing games, you can begin to cut back. It doesn’t all need to be done at the same time. So, start out slowly. Maybe with your least favorite game. The same article that we mentioned earlier, recommends that you cut down on the amount of time that you spend on a specific activity or game by 10% during the first week. For example, if you play a game for 10 hours per week, aim to only play it for 9 hours the following week. That will also help you become more conscious and each time you game, and that is a very useful tool for responsible long-term gaming.
- Set a Limit On Your Gaming Budget
When setting your gaming budget do not have it apply only to big purchases. Smaller transactions such as in-app purchases can really add up. Also, be aware of things like extra coins and level boosters in games such as Candy Crush or Words With Friends. If you don’t keep a close watch on these types of transactions, you easily can end up spending lots of money unnecessarily. You will most likely end up wasting a lot more time in the process also.
.Once again, discipline and self-control are very important when setting limits for your gaming budget, whether it is small or large. There are several different ways this can be done. The following are some examples:
Set a limit on the number of games you can purchase each month
Set a limit for your one-time purchases
Be aware of your one-time purchases
Use a different bank account for your gaming purchases
On app stores, set up password-protected lock checks
- Spend Time With Actual People
Many people discover that playing video games helps them connect with other people, even when it just involves moving forward in the game. This can definitely be true in some cases, but it can also go too far. If this type of outlook seems to be promoted by a game that you are playing, then it can be a good idea to check yourself. That is because, over the long run, you may find it more difficult to establish meaningful relationships with people in real life. Some individuals may even experience increased anxiety levels in their daily interactions. Social anxiety can definitely be increased by excessive gaming. I believe it is very important to have relationships with other people that do not involve a screen. So be sure to catch yourself before going down a slippery slope.
- Strategically Choose Your Games
This can be helpful but also can be difficult to do. Since you are a gamer, then you probably already are aware of the games that have a tendency to take up more attention and time. So you already know what times of games that are you most likely to become addicted to. So if there is a specific game you have a really hard time stepping away from it, simply eliminate it. Play games instead that are easy to pick up and do not require a big commitment that still is fun to play. That will allow you to play games in short bursts instead of it take up too much of your valuable time.
From time to time, it is fine to indulge. However, remind yourself of the rules you have set So once you do decide to indulge, you will be able to stop yourself before you go too far.
- Create a Reward System For Yourself
Don’t start playing a game until you finish something that needs to be done – finishing work, cleaning your room, doing laundry, running errands. Gaming can be a reward for completing a task. The entire point of responsible gaming is for gaming to be incorporated into your life without it becoming your only focus. In that sense, gaming becomes part of your life like everything else.