How to recognize the dangers of an online gaming addiction

How to recognize the dangers of an online gaming addiction

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    Rochester Hills police are asking for the public's assistance in locating Matthew Lyzen, 23, who was last seen Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.
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(WJBK) -

Matthew Lyzen, 23, has been missing since Saturday, Jan 25, 2014. He was last seen eating at two restaurants in Rochester Hills and leaving a large tip at both of the restaurants, which his mother says is out of character for him.

His mother also says he was diagnosed with severe depressive episodes in the past, and he was a gamer and would sometimes play video games for 20 hours a day. The once-aspiring computer design engineer became withdrawn and overwhelmed by the college application process. So, his mother, Becky Lyzen, took action but worries it may have led to his disappearance.

"I wasn't sure it was my right to take away his computer. He was an adult. He bought it; it was his, and I respected his own space. But eventually it became, it really didn't matter if it was my right - it was just what had to be done. And so I took it away and at the same time I did that I realized I was taking his social support away," says Becky.  

Birmingham native Kevin Roberts wrote 'Cyber Junkie Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap.' Becky read his book and sought help one year before Matthew disappeared. Roberts says parents in Becky's situation should seek professional help immediately and do not attempt to try and fix the problem alone.

RED FLAGS THAT COULD POINT TO A GAMING ADDICTION

+ Using the screen for more than two hours a day
+ An emotional outburst when screen use is limited or taken away
+ Turning away from activities that once satisfied him or her
+ Preferring a screen to face-to-face interaction

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to hear more helpful information from author Kevin Roberts

People with anxiety disorders, ADHD and depression are more likely to get trapped in the gaming world, and now young children being bullied at school are seeking refuge in virtual realities rather than their own. Roberts recommends talking about the dangers of a gaming addiction with children at a younger age.

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