Playing video games is part of many people's daily activities these days. Some of them can even go on playing until the wee hours without a care in the world. Multiplayer games are extremely engaging for many gaming enthusiasts, who have long gone on to join or create their own social networks where they can spend hours discussing various video game genres. While the results of several experimental studies do not dismiss the positive effects of online gaming, they do highlight their negative impact on physical and mental health. Whether you're a die-hard gamer or a parent concerned about the effects of video games on your child, this guide will come in handy.
Why are Videogames Addictive?
Video games can be addictive in a number of ways. One reason is that they are often very rewarding to play. They can give players a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that can be hard to find in other activities. This is one of the reasons they are so popular—they offer an escape from reality that can be fun and addictive. This same quality can, however, cause problems, as it is easy to become addicted to the gaming habit and lose track of time and other obligations.
Moreover, there's never a dull moment in the realm of online games because something new and more challenging always crops up as a result of game developers' creativity and building skills. They never fail to come up with new types of video games, ranging from action-packed ones to life-simulating ones.
What are the Benefits of Video Game Playing?
Regardless of what non-gamers believe, video gaming is good for your health. Scientific studies have shown that one of the positive effects of video games is that they improve learning abilities and mental health. Other ways that online gaming can benefit your health are as follows:
- Improves hand-eye coordination
- Fosters social interaction with friends and family members
- Improves cognitive skills and problem-solving skills as well
- Promotes new social connections
- Improves reading levels in children with dyslexia
The mental challenge and sense of accomplishment that come with beating an opponent in a difficult game can also have a positive impact on one's self-esteem.
What are the Negative Effects of Excessive Gaming?
Too much of anything, even vitamins and exercise, can have harmful effects. If your daily life is spent playing commercial video games and neglecting your priorities, you may develop mental health issues. Did you know that a mental health condition called internet gaming disorder can lead to a myriad of problems? It is characterised by excessive video gaming to the point where it results in poor school performance, causes problems at work, or has a negative impact on social relationships.
People who suffer from video game addiction, according to previous studies, have also been found to be at risk of developing depression or anxiety symptoms. That's not all, as excessive video gaming has also been linked to a variety of physical health issues, including obesity, poor vision and carpal tunnel syndrome resulting from lack of physical activity.
Of all the bad effects of video game addiction, developing aggressive behaviour towards family members could be the worst. Parents of once studious students with excellent academic performance at school now worry about what the future holds for their children because they no longer show any interest in their studies, or any other activity for that matter, since becoming hooked on pathological gaming. They snap at their parents if they are reminded of their chores or schoolwork, which they have never done before.
The success of creating a picture-perfect world in which they can do whatever they want gradually pulls addicted gamers away from real life to the point where they seem to be uninterested in it, or anything and anyone in it. According to mental health professionals, this is clearly a mental disorder that requires therapy or medication.
Keeping Your Child's Video Gaming Habits in Check
If you're concerned about how much time your child spends gaming, there are ways to balance gaming with other activities. One approach is to set some rules around how much time can be spent gaming each day or week. You can also encourage your child to participate in other activities that are fun and challenging, like sports, arts and music, while catching up with offline connections, a technical term we use these days to refer to offline friends, such as neighbours.
Another strategy to get your child to allow you into their world is to discuss their preferred game genres. This shows that you are interested in what they are doing, which leads to an exchange of positive emotions rather than them constantly avoiding you and turning to their online friends.
And, finally, it's important to remind your child that gaming is just one aspect of life, and the things and people they engage with while online are limited to the four corners of their screen. In the real world, they must demonstrate social skills, respect and compassion for others, none of which are tenets of online gaming.
If you need counselling services for your child or any family member to protect them from problematic video gaming, you can find a certified counsellor in your area by visiting Natural Therapy Pages' practitioner page.