There is one important pitfall to gaming: it is easy to become quite enamored of the hobby, to the point that you invest more time and energy in it. If this gets bad enough, grades might start to drop. When I first started gaming in high school I devoted most of my free time to it and daydreamed about it in class because it was so enjoyable. Unlike some games, you don't have to be playing a roleplaying game in order to participate in the roleplaying experience. There are a great many roleplaying books that gamers can read and, since these games rely so much on imagination, you can spend a lot of time imagining various aspects of the game (namely tactics). Just having a good conversation about a roleplaying game can be a lot of fun; I spent hours on the phone as a teenager talking about such games.
What's more, roleplaying has crossed over into the internet. You can spend hours roleplaying online, going through message boards, or reading various web sites. My initial obsession with the internet started because I found roleplaying online. If my grades had started to seriously drop, however, my mother would have certainly sat down with me about it. This is the best and most offered advice to parents of young roleplayers: talk to them and let young gamers know that their responsibilities have to be met before they can enjoy leisure activities.
But a concern still remains for adult players, since they can spend an unhealthy amount of time gaming and no one can really stop them. It can be more difficult for parents to make suggestions or voice concerns to their adult children. There's nothing to stop an adult from going to work and then spending the rest of their time absorbed in one activity, whether it's roleplaying, sports, online activities, or going to the movies. This can be bad enough for a single person because their social opportunities will become severely limited, but it can be even worse for couples. Communication and attention are necessary for a relationship to thrive and if anything gets in the way, anger and resentment are bound to ensue. But let's be clear: just about any hobby can become a point of contention in a relationship, since hobbies take up time, energy, and money. And an obsession with any leisure activity is probably a sign of a deeper problem.
This is something that I have had the unfortunate opportunity to witness with my own eyes, more than once. There comes a time when an obsessed person has to choose between their obsession and their relationship. No one can make that choice for them, but couples should go to therapy or a trusted minister from their church to deal with underlying issues before it is too late - because if a person chooses their obsession, the relationship is virtually guaranteed to fail. While this might not sound like a big deal to some, keep in mind that when adults end relationships it can involve livelihood, children, and money - and it can hurt for a long time. No hobby or entertainment is worth the breakdown of a good relationship, period.
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