When young children and teens use screens more frequently to play video games during the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents question how much is too much. Whether at home or the gym, portable dip bars and other calisthenic gym equipment can help you stay fit. If you infuse daily workouts in your and your family's routine, the health risks involving excessive video gaming may reduce.
People are looking at digital screens for extended periods. Is it OK for your children to spend a few hours gaming with their friends after they have finished their schoolwork and assignments for the day? Is it a symptom of addiction when video game lives replace real-life time with family and friends?
Let's look at why kids love video games, what parents can do to keep gaming under control, and what health risks it involves.
Who is in danger when it comes to gaming issues?
Video games are a common and enjoyable component of adolescent life. However, a tiny percentage of children have difficulty managing their gaming time.
Researchers are looking into it to determine who is in danger and why. They discovered that roughly 10% of teenagers exhibited indications of harmful gaming that worsened over time throughout six-year research. There appear to be a few things that these kids share in common.
Boys are more likely to be affected.
Children put video games ahead of homework, sleep, exercise, and family and friend relationships.
They may suffer from depression, anxiety, shyness, violence, or excessive cell phone use issues. Children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may be more vulnerable. But, in many cases, video games are used as part of therapy for children with ADHD.
This is because video gaming, like gambling, has been shown to engage the brain's reward system. Companies frequently employ psychologists to assist in developing games that encourage players to keep playing.
What characterizes "unhealthy" gaming?
In the United States, there is no recognized diagnosis for any gaming disorder, although one may be available shortly. Symptoms of computer gaming disorders are included in a reference book used by mental health professionals. If your child has unhealthy gaming habits, you may notice the following signs.
- When gaming is taken away, the child becomes depressed, irritated, or nervous.
- The child wants to play more and more games and cannot pull back or end.
- Other things that they used to like are no longer appealing to them.
- They underestimate the number of hours spent gaming.
- They play video games to get out of a foul mood.
It's a problem that exists in other regions of the world. "Gaming disorder" is recognized as an official condition by the World Health Organization. There are also therapy programs for people addicted to gaming in nations like South Korea and China.
Playing video games has health risks.
It is believed that 164 million Americans, or half of the population, play video games. Contrary to common assumptions, video games aren't solely for teenagers. As per a recent survey, only 21% of gamers are under 18. While gaming may be an enjoyable diversion or hobby (and is also becoming a serious sport on several campuses), excessive gaming has health dangers. What exactly are these drawbacks?
Muscle pain: Muscle pain in the neck, hand, wrist, or forearm became known as "Nintenddinitis," "Nintendo neck," "Nintendo wrist," and so on. Nintendo took the input seriously and made changes to their product. However, in a paper published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers determined that the majority of the discomfort was from people playing games for a long duration without taking a break.
Photosensitive epilepsy is a kind of epilepsy in which seizures are induced by flashing lights or strongly contrasting patterns. It affects up to 5% of patients with epilepsy. The World Wide Web Consortium standards regulate the gaming industry to ensure that it does not break any rules.
Sedentary lifestyles and an unhealthy diet cause obesity. Like television and cell phones, video games encourage an unhealthy lifestyle, especially with sugary or fatty foods. On the other hand, Exergaming is a more recent style of gaming that blends games with physical exercise. The game itself necessitates physical action from the player. The player's success is partially determined by the amount of activity performed. Exercising equipment such as a rowing machine and trampoline can be helpful for such games. Alzheimer's disease, autism, and obesity have all been associated with more positive results.
Aggressive conduct: The controversy over whether playing violent video games desensitizes or actively promotes aggressive behavior is as ancient as the gaming business.
Vitamin D deficiency: Rickets is commonly associated with children in Victorian times. Rickets weakens bones, causing bent legs and bowed spines. It is caused by reduced vitamin D, which can be found in some foods but is mainly obtained by skin exposure to sunshine.
Physical appearance changes: Anyone who does not get enough sleep, does not get enough sun, overeats, or eats and drinks an unhealthy diet regularly will suffer the consequences. A Pale complexion, puffiness under the eyes, increased weight, and bad posture are significant indications.
Lack of sleep: As per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, gamers delay going to bed 36% of the time when they play video games. The average number of evenings per week spent playing video games was 4.6, leading to an estimated sleep delay of 101 minutes. According to one study examining the consequences of gaming volume in children, adults' sleep patterns are also affected.
Attention issues: You've probably heard too much screen time isn't good for oneself. Children who struggle with attention are more likely to struggle with impulsive behavior and attentiveness.
On balance, we may acknowledge that video games may not be able to aid particular vulnerabilities or lifestyles. Still, we must also embrace some personal responsibility for game selection and usage for children. Gaming activities, at their finest, are also excellent for educational objectives and are increasingly being employed for both physical and mental rehabilitation.
How can families stay away from harmful video games?
Parents may take a few steps to prevent their children from developing destructive video gaming addictions. It might be beneficial to keep track of how much your children utilize various sorts of media. Here's how to do it.
Make a multimedia policy for your family: Consider the kind of activities that video games may be displacing. Ensure that entertainment, such as gaming, does not obstruct other critical tasks such as study, exercise, or sleep.
Keep a watch on your child's use of electronic devices and video games, as well as the games and apps they download. Ascertain that they are aware that internet games frequently contain concealed messages and advertisements. Companies may also collect personal information about your child.
Keep gaming in public spaces. Of course, this isn't always doable. Teens take their phones to their rooms and use their laptops to complete schoolwork. Keeping track of everything they do is practically impossible. However, parents must strive to keep their child's activities visible to everyone to a practicable degree.
Set a positive example by playing games with them. This allows you to see what they're doing and how they're doing it, but it also allows you to set some game time limitations.
For younger children, concentrate on real-world games. When young children connect with other people, they learn a lot. Encourage children to use toys, books, and crayons to participate in fun activities.
Set a positive example and ask for assistance if you require it. Gaming-addicted parents are more likely to be depressed. Distracted parents are more likely to overlook cues that their kid requires attention and might react angrily. It's good to get help if you're having trouble limiting how often you play video games. Gaming time competes with quality time with your child. It's also more challenging to persuade your youngster not to do the same.
Most youngsters and teenagers who play online games do not develop addictions or other issues. But when gaming begins to obstruct other aspects of life, it's time to intervene. If your kid or adolescent opposes your efforts to limit gaming time, get help from a pediatrician. Your doctor can spot when adolescents have trouble and help them obtain the help they need.