Video games have never been more popular and new technologies with better gaming engines ensure that the future of gaming becomes anything but bleak. Around 60 percent of Americans play video games regularly. However, some claim gaming to be an addiction as bad or even worse than gambling or smoking. Handy looks at the detrimental effects of excessive gaming on your health:
- More dangerous than you know – Excessive gaming has been linked to addiction and is often seen as an activity that can rival seriously harmful activities like smoking. But, is it that bad? Well, the World Health Organization recognized “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition in June 2018. It attracted quite a lot of criticism from gamers and various organizations like the American Psychological Organization (APA) due to a lack of sufficient research.
However, even the APA has linked gaming to aggression and emotional instability. Intensive research conducted by Dr. C. Shawn and his team at the University of Wisconsin also shows that high levels of indulgence in video games can make changes to brain chemistry. It results in irregular behavioral patterns.
- Linked to other harmful habits – Gaming can lead to other harmful habits like gambling or smoking quite easily. Plenty of games are changing their business models with microtransactions or loot boxes where you pay a certain amount for a virtual box of goodies that may contain great or absolutely worse in-game items.
Young gamers are highly inclined to use their parent’s credit cards for making numerous loot box purchases for their favorite armor or weapon skin. Truth Initiative, a non-profit organization has noticed that young gamers are adopting smoking to look tough since smoking is shown in the most appealing and glamorous ways in video games.
- Path to Obesity – Addicted gamers don’t really want to leave their computer or console unless it is absolutely necessary. People who do speed runs (finishing a game as fast as possible) would often have food, water, and other necessary things within close reach so that they can avoid getting up from their chair for hours.
No exercise and munching on unhealthy snacks can quickly make you obese. It is a vicious cycle since it also leads to insomnia and higher cholesterol levels. It may seem minute at first but can snowball into a deadly problem if unchecked.
- Poor performance in school – The problems mentioned above can aggregate and translate into bad performance in academics and poor grades. Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey in 2010 and found out that around 50 percent of hardcore gamers get poor grades. Instead, light gamers scored higher in academics.
Video games are fun, and both the graphics and gameplay seem to be getting better with each year. According to Handy, any good thing can take a turn for the worse without some moderation. As long as you enjoy games for healthy durations, they can be great stress busters. Otherwise, you would have to pay the cost of playing games in the future.