Video games: helpful or harmful?

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Sarah Balough

Reporter

Players can battle pixel-generated dragons, race toadstools in go-carts, partake in the imaginary world of two plumbers and discover the fastest growing form of addiction.

Video games provide all of these wonders, but unlike video games, people have only one life, and that life may be drastically affected if a player is psychologically dependent on a joystick. Video games are not reserved for children, in the same way addictions are not reserved for adults.

Researchers in the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore published study results in the Journal of Pediatrics that found about 10 percent of young gamers suffer a pathological addiction to their games.

These studies observed children in grades of 3, 4, 7 and 8. Of these children, those in the lower grades were more likely to have video game addictions. With the average American child spending more than 34 hours per week in front of a screen, the possibility of suffering from an addiction is just as problematic as gambling is likely.

The possibility of developing a video game addiction is so prevalent in today’s society that the On-Line Gamers Anonymous website plainly states the signs of an addiction.

Tell-tale signs of a developing addiction are if you’re constantly thinking about your next video game session, devising ways to get back to the game, abandoning former hobbies that don’t relate to video games or declining social events with personal interaction because you’re spending time discussing video games on the Internet.

Oddly enough, these are related to signs of depression. The effects of video game addictions are so prevalent that players can commit themselves to a facility in Amsterdam for video game detox. While not every gamer is a video game addict, there are more results that come from playing than just pure enjoyment.

As noted by the Mayo Clinic, children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a video game screen in lieu of participating in physical activity are more likely to suffer from childhood obesity. Other issues such as backaches, headaches and eyestrain and carpal-tunnel syndrome are likely to emerge due to gaming.

While some experts may argue that the agile movements of the fingers in handling a controller are training a person to have the required hand movements of a surgeon, they overlook the fact that a surgeon cannot operate if he or she suffers from carpal-tunnel syndrome.

While continuous video game playing can affect people’s social skills as well as their ability to perform either in school or at their jobs the most notable effect is an inclination to exert aggressive behaviors. A child who is introduced to violent games at an early age has been proven to exert more aggressive behaviors.

Many of these games are considered so close to actual warfare that the military uses them for simulations of combat.

It’s a truly sad thought that children can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder by playing a game.

This should make you wonder after all the published information about their effects, are video games really worth it?

 

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Video games: helpful or harmful?

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