Tackling gaming addiction
AFTER spending a decade addicted to video games, Cam Adair's turning point came at a dark time when he was ready to end his life.
He has since been vocal and up front about his struggle, and founded an online community to help other addicts called Game Quitters.
It has resonated with people in 93 countries.
"I was addicted to playing video games for 10 years, and it culminated in me dropping out of high school, never graduating and never going to college,” he said.
"I was gaming up to sixteen hours a day, was very depressed, very anxious, and it got to the point where I was deceiving my family by pretending to have jobs.
"It got to a point where I wrote a suicide note, and that was the night I realised I needed to make a change.”
Mr Adair has brought his speaking tour to Roma, and said coming to the country for the first time had been refreshing.
"This is my third tour across Australia in 12 months, and I was invited to Roma by a parent who is a part of our community,” he said.
"Thanks to them I had the opportunity to speak to kids at schools on Wednesday, and to parents in the evening.
"The reception by everyone here has been really great, and I'm glad to have come out.
"The kids have been wonderful, and have surprised me with thoughtful questions about gaming and technology addiction,” he said.
Smashing stereotypes about kids and gaming
Mr Adair mentioned one line of questioning that had stuck with him from a visit to Wallumbilla and Surat, where the students asked about technology addiction and adults.
"One of the kids asked me, 'what if your mum or dad is on their phone for three hours a day?'
"I had a number of questions from that group about how they felt that their parents were on technology a lot, not interacting with them as much as they would like, and the kids weren't sure how to approach that.
"They wanted to say to the parents, 'hey, I want to spend time with you and to play,' so we talked about that,” he said.
It was a refreshing conversation for the gaming addiction expert to have with a group of children, who said there was a stark difference between this trip to the country and his usual talks in capital cities.
"The biggest difference I noticed out here was that a lot of the kids still play outside, which is very different to kids in the cities I go to.
"I definitely noticed that in this area there are fewer examples of kids saying that they only play video games in their free time.”
Embarking on speaking tours has seen him help people across the world, but Mr Adair said young kids can get a bad rap that isn't always reflected in reality.
"Kids get the headlines, but kids are not, in my experience, the people who are always really addicted to gaming.
"That's young adults, especially the 18 to 24 year olds, who are the largest demographic in our support network.
"They make up nearly half of our community,” he said.
”A lot of times the headlines are parents struggling with a child who is addicted to gaming, but I know it's generally college students who are really struggling.
”Now that doesn't mean it's not a problem when they're younger, but they don't necessarily see the negative impact until they're older and don't have that parental supervision any more.”
Help is available
Cameron Adair's online community, Game Quitters, is a world wide forum where addicts and concerned parents can connect and try to beat addiction together.
It can be reached at gamequitters.com