Video Game Indulgence, Addiction or Disorder?
The concept of video games was introduced to the humankind in the 1970s. Though it was invented with the intent of leisure activities, it has been recognized as addiction among many people for many decades. The population of various age groups seems to indulge in video games for infinite hours.
Simply put, excessive desire to indulge in video games can be understood as video game addiction. Weinstein defines it as “a distinct behavioral addiction which is considered by extreme use of video games” (268). Another way to describe video game addiction is as an uncontrollable gaming and overactive focus on in-game successes to the barring of other events in a lifetime. So, these definitions and explanations of video game addiction point to the view that video game addiction can bring about a negative impact on one’s health condition.
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Video games can be harmful to not only direct users but also can have a negative impact on those people who are not addicted to the game. Playing violent video games can develop symptoms of aggression and antagonism. Furthermore, video game users seem to have troubled relations with their friends and family. A greater degree of involvement in video games can isolate a person from the real world keeping them consumed in a virtual environment. Chennan Liu states that “adolescents’ heavy video and computer gaming use, based on gaming behavior measured in 1996, was longitudinally associated with long-term negative outcomes, such as less high school completion and the higher likelihood of depression five years later” (iv). Thus, the isolation that video games bring about in a person can have serious consequences not just on the gamer, but on family and friends as it has manifold negative impacts on the gamer’s academic and personal life.
Besides, people who spend long hours playing video games have higher possibilities of being diagnosed with mental and physical diseases. Since they overplay those video games, this habit inhibits them from outdoor activities which increases the chances of obesity. These people often seem to be distracted from their duties and responsibilities. Next, children who spend more time on video games also have a higher chance of underperforming on standardized tests. According to Skoric et al, “children who exhibited greater levels of video gaming addictive tendencies were significantly more likely to have lower average standardized English test scores” (569). This supports the argument that video game addiction tends to hamper academic performance. Continuous use of video games also hampers vision. These drawbacks apart, however, approximately, video game addicts spend about 100 hours in a week to achieve the imaginary success. In 2001, Americans spent roughly 9.8 billion dollars on video games which implies people do not hesitate to spend a good portion of their wealth on video games.
However, some doubt if the indulgence with video games should be termed as video game addiction. Bean, Anthony M., et al say, “we also express the concern that the term “addiction” connotes severe consequences that are not supported scientifically.” (8). In fact, some benefits of video gaming are often talked about. For example, it is said that Video game can enhance hand dexterity and concentration. However, the authors are cautious to note that, “although video games appear to have some real benefits, it is important to not exaggerate the benefits of games in the same manner as the risks” (8). Apparently, more disadvantages of the video games are posited: people are developing various disorders and becoming violent. Playing too much video game makes kids lonely keeping them away from their peers. Video games may cause harmful effects on children’s health like skeletal and muscular growth.
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To conclude, parents should encourage their children to spend free time in outdoor games rather than engage in their video games. This helps them understand the value of friendship and emotional bonding. Kids should be taught to work collaboratively with the society. Complete escaping is not the best solution. The best way to control is allowing them to play for limited hours along with motivating them to use their time in learning other skills. The number of time children spends playing video games should be strictly limited. Parents should make their kids aware of the consequences of the harmful effects of video games on their physical and mental health. While there is nothing wrong to be involved in games, it can be serious if it is done at the expense of schoolwork, physical exercise, and social activities. In light of this, Kimberly S. Young maintains that parents should “help him or her find alternative endeavors, whether it be something they used to enjoy or something new, like a chess club at school” (21). Therefore, if parents can allow fixed time, carry out effective monitoring, and find suitable alternatives relating to physical activities and socialization, the problem of video game addiction can be largely checked.
Bean, Anthony M., et al. “Video game addiction: The push to pathologize video games.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 48.5 (2017): 378.
Liu, Chennan. Long term effects of video and computer game heavy use on health, mental health and education outcomes among adolescents in the US. Diss. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014.
Skoric, Marko M., Linda Lay Ching Teo, and Rachel Lijie Neo. “Children and video games: addiction, engagement, and scholastic achievement.” Cyberpsychology & behavior 12.5 (2009): 567–572.
Weinstein, Aviv Malkiel. “Computer and video game addiction — a comparison between game users and non-game users.” The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse 36.5 (2010): 268–276.
Young, Kimberly S. “When gaming becomes an obsession: Help for parents and their children to treat online gaming addiction.” Retrieved October 17 (2010): 2013.