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Excessive Gaming in College Students

Updated: Apr 26

By: Jack Wang, MS, LPC-A. Supervised by Stefanie C. Barthmare, LPC-S.

College can be an exciting time for young adults. For many, college means leaving the home, having more freedom, and seeking new opportunities in the world.

young female college student playing video games on her computer

On the other hand, there are less chances for their parents to nag them to do homework and for a professor to pay attention to their grades, therefore, some students find it difficult to manage their school life and some struggle with excessive gaming.

Video games can be a fantastic source of fun and playing with friends online can be an important part of a college student’s social life. But sometimes gaming can be excessive and he or she may begin neglecting chores, homework, sleep, and relationships that do not involve gaming. Some college students game solely with friends from high school or friends from their hometown and neglect making new relationships during college. This may lead to a feeling of loneliness and a feeling of unbelonging when that person must be around other college students.

This is an exploratory time in a young adult’s life. College students seriously consider what they want to do in their life and some may reflect that their excessive gaming habits need to change in order to accomplish what they want out of life. Here are some tips on how to manage excessive gaming.

Tip 1: Find your motivation to change

A helpful exercise to facilitate change is to write 500 words about where you want to be in your life five years from now. What is your ideal future? Pull from your imagination and then think about what it would be like if you did not achieve what you wrote down. You might be surprised about what you write and what insights you discover about yourself. A strong motivation can inspire you to make change, but often the motivation does not last forever.

Tip 2: Find another hobby that you enjoy

A hobby that competes with the gaming habit is an effective next step after finding motivation. Reducing the amount or eliminating gaming from your life will likely free up a lot of time that otherwise would have been used for gaming. Many don’t know what to do with this new found time and a passionate and enjoyable hobby can be a perfect fit to avoid boredom and to find fun outside of gaming. Finding a hobby outside of gaming is a very difficult step as not many things can top some of the exciting things that gaming offers. You may find that you need to take a couple week break from gaming altogether to begin enjoying other activities.

Tip 3: Change takes time

Making changes in your life is a marathon not a sprint. Some weeks will be worse or better than others. It is helpful to keep yourself accountable by keeping a journal or going on this journey together with a friend. The important thing is to stay on course and be okay with small steps. High expectations can make sure we aim high, but it can also paralyze us from trying if the task feels insurmountable. Break it down into smaller chunks and take it day by day.

You’ve already made progress by reading this blog post! Good luck out there and I wish you the best!


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