How Video Games Affect Mental Health

We continue to see video games dominating the recreational time of our youth. Recently released video games appear to be more addictive to its audience based on stories in the news about parents saying their children are glued to video games for endless hours. The main problem with video games being addictive is that it has a major effect on children’s social and psychological behaviors. For starters, there is a new term called “gaming disorder,” and it is meant for people who spend countless hours playing games. This term is not for players who have a lot of time played on games, it is more for the players that cannot control the urge to play for hours. If someone is at the point of being diagnosed with gaming disorder, this means that not only their social life is being affected, but also high priority events. There is a story about a man by the name Charlie Bracke, and he was horribly addicted to video games, to the point where they controlled everything in his life. For some people, similar to Charlie, video games are a stress reliever and a “safe place.” There are some scientists saying video games are not addicting but in fact is more of a coping mechanism to a bigger problem in people’s lives. Even though there are arguments saying video games are not addictive, it is seen as a phenomenon affecting a small percentage of gamers.

It is also important to understand that not everyone who spends a lot of time on video games has these sorts of problems. Some people are just very enthusiastic about gaming and few even make a living from it. There is a major difference between the two types of gamers. The addicted players can’t take their minds off the game and that affects their social lives. Whereas professional players get paid to play games and they still manage a social life because there isn’t a constant need to play. If children are becoming addicted, parents need to understand the signs and monitor their child’s relationships and school grades. Thankfully, there are some ways to help stop this gaming addiction problem from happening. The most important way to avoid addiction is to not sit on the couch playing games all day but to get some physical activity in your schedule.

On November 6, 2019, in the news, there is a new story about a young kid that died due to gaming. Piyawat Harikun is a 17-year-old boy from Northern Thailand and he struggled to do anything but game every day. At only the age of 17 Piyawat collapsed at his computer due to the fact he had many all-night gaming sessions that lasted several hours. In an article written by Ryan Fahey, it says, “He had broken up from classes toward the end of October – using the free time to play video games” (Fahey, 2). His parents would bring him food in his room and attempted to make him put the games down, but he never listened. This example just goes to show that even though the child told the parents they are going to stop playing so much, no action was actually taken. 

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