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How to Reconcile Between Video Games and Health

Updated: Feb 13, 2021


Whether you are an adult or a child, you have probably heard of a statement saying you should cut down the use of video games because they “shrink” your brain. While that statement should not be taken so literally, how serious are the effects of playing video games? In this article we will uncover some secrets of video games and their impact on mental health.

Before we even get started with this issue, let's cut down to some facts. According to the NPD, 91 percent of US children between the ages of 2 and 17 play video games. Since 2009, when the study took place, these numbers have increased by a hefty 13 percent. Computer, smartphone, and tablet devices have seen the largest amount of use. Games played only on phones have risen by 30 percent alone. It is undoubtedly clear that these children have become fond of and are starting to admire these portable devices. Let's dive into some analysis now and figure out if this ‘trend’ is one of positivity or not.

According to healthyplace.com, there is a clear correlation between video games and depression. On an occasion, they conducted an experiment with a bunch of ‘gamers’. The results were quite astonishing. According to their data, just over 26 percent of the gamers had depression. This provides clear-cut evidence that even though not all gamers had depression, a significant amount did. Some forms of depression included low mood, lack of energy, sleep problems, and excessive irritability.

According to the World Health Organization, gaming is characterized into three main groups. The first one is the impaired control over gaming. This includes the frequency and and the amount of time the video game is played. The second is giving games excessive importance. This would entail leaving schoolwork, chores, and more important obligations. The last one is the continuation of video gaming even though consequences are clearly placed. This would include loss of family relationships or work. The officials working for the World Health Organization (WPO) have also stated that these symptoms must occur for about 12 months before there is to be serious diagnosis on an individual.

Another study that included 3000 students in third, fourth, seventh and eighth grade in Singapore showed some pretty devastating news. The study was conducted by a journal called ‘Pediatrics’ and resolved that children who felt more uncomfortable with other children played more video games. Furthermore, these ‘uncomfortable students’ were compared with kids that did not play games often 2 years later. The results showed that the heavy gamers were more likely to encounter phobias, depression, and anxiety.

Dr. Gentile, an associate professor at the Iowa State University, has done tons of research around these issues. Some of his findings also show that teenagers experiencing problems get attached to video games which might further their cases of isolation and depression. He also states that his studies show a chronological progression: people who are more reserved and unsocial are more likely to become video game players. This would eventually lead to their deterioration in grades and parental relationship.

Through these numerous evidences, we have been able to show the effects of excessive video gaming. This issue is not one of clarity and will probably never be black and white. However, there are some facts that cannot be disputed. And while there are different benefits of playing video games, when we analyze the details and the recurrent issues and events that sprout with these games, it is hard to hold back from the truth.

Sources:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/91-percent-of-kids-play-video-games-says-study/

https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/gaming-disorder/the-relationship-between-video-games-and-depression

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/video-games-and-the-depressed-teenager/

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/video-games-and-the-depressed-teenager/

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