Have you ever gamed for so long that it affected the way you spoke? No, I don't mean like those infamous 12-year-olds on Xbox that swear like a sailor. People can actually spend so much time in the virtual world that the very accent they were born with fades away. That's what happened to Jamie Callis.
While the headline might sound amusing, it actually portends a sad story. Jamie Callis is a self-proclaimed gaming addict, and he spoke to ITV about the toll that took on his life. He showed many of the classic signs–losing sleep to game longer, distancing himself from family, and making no friends outside of games–but perhaps the most striking consequence was losing his Welsh accent.
Callis recounts that he would spend up to 21 hours a day playing video games. He would stay up until around 4AM, get an hour of sleep, and then hop right back into it. Due to the odd hours he kept, he often found himself playing alongside gamers from the USA and Canada. He says that all the time spend being exposed to their voices might have caused him to lose his native accent.
"People are using these video games for things like escapism to basically ignore the real world," Callis said. "When you're doing that you don't really associate it as being a problem - you see it as a tool that's helping."
The ITV report uses his example to remind readers that there is a "technology addiction crisis" spreading throughout the UK. Other areas of the world are also beginning to recognize the problem and take steps to foster awareness. The World Health Organization classified Video Game Addiction as a true disease this year.
Different countries have been tackling the rise of gaming addiction in their own ways. China already has many "boot camps" where children can be sent to have gaming addiction treated by force. Callis' home of Wales offers a more gentle, clinical approach. The United States just opened its first rehab center for gaming addiction this year.
There's no way to say which, if any, of these methods is the correct one. Many would even argue that gaming addiction isn't even a real thing. That it's up to the individual to exhibit self-control and limit their own game time. Jamie Callis provides a new element to the debate, if nothing else providing a stirring cautionary tale.