Signs & Symptoms of Computer & Internet/Video Game Addiction 


The Brief Internet and Gaming Screen (#reSTART-BIGS) 

The Brief Internet and Gaming Screen (BIGS) has been developed by the reSTART professional group to help people better understand their Internet Gaming use  and assists people in making decisions about the way they engage in gaming activities. This tool is designed to examine areas of use which may become problematic over the last 12 months. This screen assists people in making decisions about the way they engage in gaming activities. Please answer these questions based on your engagement with gaming over the past year (i.e., 12 months).  For clarification, “games or gaming” are catchall terms which include online (i.e., the Internet) and offline engagement with games (e.g., video games, console games, handheld games, cellular phone or tablet games, computer games) or use of any other device capable of playing games, and includes the viewing of current or past games being played or broadcast (e.g., eSports).

1. How often do you think about your current, previous or next gaming activity?
  • Never
  • Occasionally
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Hourly
  • Always
2. Have you become restless, irritable, angry, or anxious when you are unable to engage in gaming activities? 

Yes No

3. Has your engagement with gaming activities increased in the past year? 

Yes No

4. What is the average number of hours spent engaging in gaming activities each week? 
  • Less than 7 hours
  • Between 8-14 hours
  • Between 15 and 20 hours
  • Between 21 and 30 hours
  • Between 31 and 40 hours
  • More than 40 hours
5. Have you tried to reduce participation in game activities but found it too difficult, so you’ve continued engaging in gaming activities? 

Yes No Occasionally

6. Have you lost interest in non-game related activities (e.g., sports, hobbies, family activities, etc.)? 

Yes No

7. Have you continued to engage in game activities despite knowing the problems you experience as a result of your use? 

Yes No

8. Have you deceived a family member, significant other, employer or therapist regarding the amount of time spent engaging in gaming activities? 

Yes No

9. Do you find yourself participating in gaming activities to feel better (e.g., reduce anxiety, loneliness, sadness, guilt, worry, etc.)?

 Yes No

10. Have you lost a significant relationship, academic or employment opportunity because of your engagement with gaming activities? 

Yes No

11. On the line below, please select the option that best describes how you feel right now:
  • I never think about gaming activities 
  • Sometimes I think about gaming activities less
  • I have decided to engage in gaming activities less
  • I am already trying to engage in gaming activities less
  • I changed my engagement with gaming activities-I do not engage in gaming activities now, or I engage less than before

Computer/Addiction Screen (CASH)

by Dr. Hilarie Cash, Ph.D., founding member of the reSTART program
Here is what to look for (3-4 yes responses suggest abuse; 5 or more suggest addiction)
  • Increasing amounts of time spent on computer and internet activities
  • Failed attempts to control behavior
  • Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and internet activities
  • Craving more time on the computer and internet
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Feeling restless when not engaged in the activity
  • Being dishonest with others
  • Computer use interfering with job/school performance
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities

In addition to these tools, there are currently 30 different instruments seeking to measure the following:

  • Problematic Internet Use (PIU)
  • Internet Addiction
  • Excessive Internet Use
  • Compulsive Internet Use
  • Generalized Problematic Use
  • Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD)
  • Internet and Computer Game Addiction
  • Problems because of Internet Use
  • Problematic Internet Entertainment Use
  • Internet-related Experiences
  • Internet Inventory
  • Problematic Video Game Use
  • Video Game Addiction
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Problematic Use