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Video Games Linked to Depression

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Parents are already worried about the habit-forming and addictive impact of video games on their kids. Now, they have more on their plate. Recent researches reveal that heavy gamers may become depressed.

Heavy Gaming is Harmful
Two recent research projects studied teenagers’ gaming habits and their effect on mental health. In one study, published recently in Pediatrics journal, 3,000 adolescent students in Singapore were monitored. It found that kids who were less social and more impulsive played video games for longer hours. These kids played video games for about 31 hours per week, compared to 19 hours by normal students. The heavy gamers were more vulnerable to social phobias, anxiety and depression. Their gaming habit was also likely to affect their relationship with parents, as well as school grades.

Chinese Study

Another research project studied Chinese teenagers aged between 13 and 18. It found that heavy Internet users were more likely to get depressed. These kids were also heavy gamers.

Video Game Makers Attack
Not surprisingly, the video game makers’ lobby has attacked the findings. They dispute whether gaming is indeed addictive. Entertainment Software Association, a lobbying front for video game makers, has challenged a California state law that prohibits selling violent video games to kids. This lobby has also questioned previous studies on the effects of video games.

Pathological Gaming

Psychology experts say young people may develop mental problems due to pathological gaming. Heavy gamers are more likely to be socially inept, less empathetic and more impulsive. The experts blame excessive video gaming for the youngsters’ bad grades and deteriorating relationship with parents. However, when heavy gamers stopped playing, their depression symptoms improved.

A Cyclical Effect

Psychology experts aver that teenagers take recourse to video games to escape from problems in the first place. But, excessive gaming only exacerbates their isolation and depression. The experts say that parents ought to control their kids’ gaming time. Many gaming industry critics also agree with this point. Even the gaming lobby says that video games should be part of an all-round healthy lifestyle for kids, that includes schoolwork, reading and sports.

Heavy Gamers Need Help

Teenagers addicted to video games definitely need psychological help to overcome their problems. And, their gaming habit cannot be ignored by psychologists. So, if your kid seems to be playing video games a lot, take him/her aside and inquire whether they are facing any problems.

1 response to Video Games Linked to Depression

  1. Lex said on May 13, 2011

    Dear Mr James

     I’m a student from City College and I want to find out more information on how gaming can be controlled  and why is it important to understand the psychology behind gaming. From my experience, I know heavy gaming can be very harmful because most teenagers gets hooked on games easily and they  play many hours. Sitting in front of the computer staring at the screen. This will affect their mental health. Like an example would be the eyes. Staring at the computer for more than 2 hours daily can affect your vision.

    What I found out online was this: Blurred vision, tired eyes and fast massive approaching headache. These are all the signs that severe eye strain is looming. Did you know that staring at the same thing for a long period of time will stress your eyes too much and later on it will get serious.? Heavy gaming would not just affect your vision but your character and the people around you. This information made me come to a point where I have to take care of my eyes.

    Heavy gamers that uses the computer for longer period were more less social,  more impulse  played video games, are more vunerable to social phobias, anxiety and depressing. Based on a research, relationships will parents are also affected. This helps me understand that I’ve got keep a balance when it comes to playing computer games, keeping track of the time that I’ve been using the computer.

    The experts blame excessive video gaming for the teenagers’ bad grades deteriorating and relationship problems with parents. However, if heavy  gamers stops playing, their depressing symptoms gets better and their character improve. In my case, it’s okay to play computer games for awhile to relax or to kill time but in my case, I do realized that it’s quite hard to control myself from playing games online. That is where self control comes in. I need to be more discipline when it comes to using the computer

    Sincerely,
    Lex Foong

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