Video Games and How They Harm You | Teen Ink

Video Games and How They Harm You

October 16, 2018
By DolphinGirl1 GOLD, Sussex, Wisconsin
DolphinGirl1 GOLD, Sussex, Wisconsin
13 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Have you ever wondered what video games do to your body? “Games can confuse reality and fantasy” (Tumbokon, 2018). Violent video games can cause harmful or painful health conditions. They can cause players to have unacceptable or dangerous ideas, for example, school shootings. Due to the potentially harmful nature of these games, there should be restrictions on who can buy them.

What are the effects of violent video games? Violent video games can cause a variety of physical, mental, and emotional health problems. Some of the physical problems that can happen are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, osteoporosis, bad posture, and obesity. Some other health problems that may be caused by violent video games are type 2 diabetes, inability to sleep at night, arthritis, certain cancers, high blood pressure, increased chance of having a heart attack, and higher risk of dying young. Additionally, excessive playing of certain video games can cause focusing problems and blurry vision because blue light is not good for your eyes (East West Eye Institute, 2015).

Physical effects of violent games aren’t the only negative responses. There are also mental and emotional effects. Child psychologist John Murray compares kickboxing and violent video games by saying, “If you’ve ever watched young children watching kickboxing, within a few minutes they start popping up and pushing and shoving and imitating the actions” (Sohn, 2014). Studies have shown that violent game players become more aggressive towards others, become anti-social, and have a higher risk of having mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Many gamers often do poorly in school and on other assigned or required tasks. In a 2008 survey on the gaming habits of about 2,500 young people, Douglas A. Gentile and his father, psychologist J. Ronald Gentile, found that children and adolescents who played more violent games were likelier to have their teachers or parents report aggressive cognitions and other inappropriate behaviors after playing (Tumbokon, 2015). If students want to play violent video games, they have to be aware of their health and what might happen to them after playing.

Students should be concerned about how their social health and mental performance is impacted by violent video games. Spending too much time on these games can lead to loss of empathy.   When people see violence they become desensitized and may learn to repeat the action. People who play these games may also begin to lose the ability to distinguish between the real and virtual world. Some video games encourage gamers to do illegal activities that in real life would cause trouble with law enforcement; in the games, this is rewarded by level advancement or new weapons. Gamers may think that they can copy this activity in real life. A possible example is Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He played many first person shooter games which may have led to him to carrying out the attacks. The caudate nucleus is the reward system in your brain. “Gaming has been shown to stimulate the caudate nucleus more than the hippocampus (which processes memory)” (Kellen, 2017). If you start thinking aggressive thoughts, it would be wise to stop playing.

The inappropriate content and availability of these games needs to be monitored and limited for people under 18. We can stop the spread of media violence by limiting game playing, and by being aware that the games are not real. We can also stop the spread of media violence by doing research to find out how much time is enough. “A 2017 study by the Federal Trade Commission cited data indicating that 83% of children living in the United States between the ages of 8 and 18 live in a house that has a video game console. Also, 65% of people living in the United States play video games on a console or on a computer.” (Dingwell, 2010). Jay Hull conducted and reported on a study about how teens act after playing violent video games. “Teens who played violent video games were more likely to drive recklessly, such as cutting people off while on the highway” (Fleur, 2014).

Restrictions on violent video games rated T and up are important so that we can minimize the risk of bad health outcomes or dangerous acts such as mass school shootings. “Many gamers can be classified as having an addiction to violent video games” (Dingwell, et. al., 2010). Violent video games can be safe to play for short periods of time, but may lead to problem behaviors if played for multiple hours per day. There are many bad health outcomes related to playing these video games. “Playing these games for only ten minutes can change the brain.” (Gentile, 2009). It would be wise for people to understand this and change their patterns of gaming so their health and safety can be preserved.

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