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Fornite is one of the most popular video game franchises ever, with, seemingly, everyone joining the community to play online against one another. Problem is, like all hobbies, there are arguments that Fortnite may be doing more harm than good when it comes to relationships.

Not long ago, we talked about how Fortnite may be a major influencer on divorce rates this year, and, more recently, an unfortunate situation occurred between an Australian gamer named MrDeadMoth after he was seen hitting his wife on Twitch while playing Fortnite. According to VICE, here are some disturbing details from that incident, which fellow gamers on Twitch witnessed.

In the video broadcast on Twitch on Sunday night and shared widely on the internet, the streamer with the username MrDeadMoth on Twitch is playing Fortnite when a woman is heard off camera asking him to stop playing video games.

“I’ll be out soon,” MrDeadMoth said repeatedly.

He then moves off camera. A woman is heard saying “no computer, I’m sick of this shit,” followed by a noise.

“Stop, please,” MrDeadMoth said after the noise. “I”ll be out soon. All I ask is just some time by myself.”

“You’re a fucking woman basher,” she said while crying.

“How many times do I have to tell you?” he said. “I’ll be out soon.”

“You hear that? All you people there?” she said. “He just hit me in the face.”

The disgusting incident was reported to police by viewers of MrDeadMoth’s Twitch stream, but it begs the question if this obsession with Fortnite has led to breakups and, worse, similar abuse. So we dug deeper to discuss video game addiction and its relation to Fortnite.

Is Fortnite really causing breakups?

As we referenced above, in a previous article we wrote not long ago, there are some growing concerns that, yes, Fortnite is actually causing more people to breakup. The information comes from the divorce website divorce-online.co.uk, a U.K.-based site that provides services, advice and an online community for people facing the end of their marriages.

According to the company, they’ve received at least 200 divorce requests since the start of 2018, which identify Fortnite addiction by one of the people in the marriage as the reason for the split.

Of course, if there were 200 requests, and just one complaint due to Fornite addiction, that’s a measly 0.5 percent. That’s not exactly a clear indicator that Fortnite should be blamed for ruining marriages all over the world. But it does lead to the question about video game addiction, which is a growing concern that’s very real.

Is there such thing as video game addiction?

Like all things, unfortunately, yes, video game addiction is very real. And, even scarier, like other addictions that are extremely damaging or life-threatening to your well-being — like alcohol or drug addiction — video game addiction can bring such extreme levels of depression.

For instance, in a recent article from the Vancouver Sun, which spoke to current and former gamers about the possibility of video game addiction, one man named Cam Adair talked about how his video game addiction made him contemplate suicide on several occasions. The report also discussed how more and more kids these days are giving up regular sports in exchange for competitive gaming, and that video game companies are focusing on ways to hook these gamers.

Per the Vancouver Sun piece:

“I think the more time somebody spends hooked into a video game … they’re getting that dopamine loop,” she said. “What they know at that point is video games, and video games are sneaky and they trap you. You get lost in the fantasy of the game versus the reality of life.

No matter what you insert as something people want to use, whether it be video games or methamphetamines or crack cocaine, it’s going to hit the brain in a similar fashion. The people that develop (video games) understand that. They understand what the brain is looking for, and how to hook a young person to get that dopamine rush over and over again, and so it hooks them into wanting to play continuously. They know what it takes to do that. And it’s sad to say that.”

With the Esports booming and more and more leagues and teams competing on high-levels that payout big money, not only are video games serving as a way to escape reality for a few hours a day — which has always been the case — but those who don’t know how to balance their activity are finding that they’re hoping to become a pro gamer. After all, some gamers have gone on to make millions and gain popularity like a pro athlete, except they don’t need to be able to run fast, throw far or hit the hardest.

There are many factors to video game addiction, but it is extremely real, and it’s causing some to do things on an extreme level, like breakup with a significant other or, disturbingly worse, the disgusting incident that led MrDeadMoth to assault his wife while Twitching.

So what can you do to control gaming activity?

Like all hobbies, when there’s a sign of addiction, there are solutions to help overcome your routine. Thankfully, there was an article from Lifehacker that spoke about how to limit video game playing, thought not specifically mentioning addiction. Here are some of their tips, but make sure to head to their website to get more details on each suggestion.

  • Track your gaming
  • Set limits for yourself
  • Choose games wisely
  • Let go of the “hardcore gamer” cred
  • Earn gaming time
  • Watch gamers play, rather than play yourself
  • Detox yourself from gaming
  • Figure out why you’re escaping such heavy gaming

Between the tips above and other resources available, there are ways to overcome video game addiction. While the American Addiction Centers doesn’t yet recognize video games as an addiction yet, unfortunately, there are still treatment programs available around the country that address the new disorder, which offers guidance to compulsive gamers.

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