Farmville junkies: It’s a real thing.

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

By Brooke Strickland

Do you plan your day around your online crop? Do you think about when your online harvest will be ready? Do you close your eyes at night and see cartoon cows and pigs?

Farmville junkies:  It’s a real thing.

People are losing their social lives and are seeing a decline in the depth of their personal, real-life relationships because they are playing hours and hours of Farmville.  There is even a Facebook page dedicated to Farmville addiction called “You KNOW you’re addicted to Farmville when…” and a website: farmvilleaddicts.com that gives secret tips to winning more while playing the game. Amazing, right? But for many people, tending to their online farm has taken the place to tending to their real life home and work duties.  Dr. Phil even got involved when in 2010, he counseled a mother who had neglected her family because of her addiction to Farmville. He was quoted saying, "You have a ridiculous addiction to a ridiculous computer game."  (1)

People are spending hours and days playing this mindless game. Instead of cultivating a real farm or better yet, cultivating and tending to their children’s growth and development, they get sucked into an alternative world, one where they do not have to answer to the daily demands of real life. As players acquire more and more “stuff” in the game and start entering higher and higher levels, it provides a natural dopamine rush and feeling of excitement. So how do you kick your habit if it’s beginning to take over your life?

First, admit that you need to cut back your play time.  For many people that are addicted to Farmville, they need to first, completely block any Farmville messages that they get. This may be the same for you. Once you stop getting constant messages and updates, you will be more easily able to turn your mind to other things besides the game.  Next, tell your family, friends, or other online players that you are trying to cut back your play time.  If they respect you, they will honor your wish and stop sending you requests to play.  Then, begin filling your time with other activities that will get your mind off the game, including things that build your relationships in real life, or those that can help you grow as a person. These might include exercise, yoga, learning a new language, or reading an educational book.  If you are still having a hard time kicking your craving to play, uninstall the game completely, deactivate your Facebook account, or disconnect your Internet connection completely.

Video game addiction is very real and can change the way you interact and live in the real world.  If you are struggling with a gaming addiction, visit www.hooked-on-games.com.

  1. 1. “Dr. Phil Scolds Farmville Addict.” Kotaku. January 25, 2010. Accessed July 24, 2013. http://kotaku.com/5456749/dr-phil-scolds-farmville-addict