Few things enrapture the impressionable mind of teens, and kids in general, than the virtual world of gaming. Ever since technological developments provided this conduit for individuals to take what should be a leisurely switch from real-life activities into this realm of virtual reality, more screen time has been known to consume most of our after-school hours.
Video-gaming, in and of itself, is a pleasurable form of pastime that comes in handy especially after long hours of work and bouts of learning several subjects at school, and has been used in that sense by kids and even adults, too. But, over decades since its inception, video-gaming as a form of relaxation has been elaborately over-used, and consequently, has induced researchers to make exhaustive findings on how harmful, or helpful, several hours sitting in front of a screen or console with the controller can be to a growing teen.
A 2010 study conducted by researchers at Denison University in Ohio, compared a set of boys grouped into two. The selected boys were known to have never owned a gaming system, so these researchers had the first group get a system right away, but withheld games from the other group for four months. The boys who received the video-game system first had more school learning-related problems.
This study, as with many others, depicts the academical performance of several screen-obsessed teens who have allowed time spent playing ”The Order” and ”Game of Thrones” among others, interfere with, and displace time for homework and reading.
Psychologists, for years, have argued that gaming can be as useful to a kid’s ‘moral maturity and reasoning’ as any real-life learning session would, but as with many things, too much screen-time isn’t good for anyone, whether it’s for ”Spiderman 3”, the TV, or work. It should be crossed as harmful when kids begin to spend beyond two to three of their after-school hours each day with the controller.
Though some kids can shoot them up for hours without a noticeable decline in school grading performance, others—and that’s most—produce remarkably awful results from stints of tens of hours given to the screen.
While these are Machiavellian, school-related instances, there are more extreme, unhealthful cases of video-game obsession that have adverse effects on the average teen in question, spanning from near-misses to out-and-out death from long hours in front of the screen without a pause for real-life interactions.
On the 7th of August in 2012, for instance, a 15-year-old Columbus boy collapsed after playing ”Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” for up to five days straight. The teen was rushed to the hospital where he recovered from the collapse, which, according to the doctor, was caused by severe dehydration. A month before the close-shave incident, a Taiwanese teen was found dead after sitting for 40 hours in an internet café playing ”Diablo 3”. Autopsy revealed the teen died from blood clot from the long session spent playing that game.
It’s worth knowing that players who delve too deeply into their electronic worlds are likely to face unalike health risks, ranging from deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, to severe dehydration.
And more disturbing than the length of time spent with the controller, is the content of game played. Many violent, brawl-encouraging games available now are rated ”E”, rendering it accessible to even the tiniest of hands. Violent games challenges players to engage in risk-glorifying habits, like jumping off a balcony (for no important reason), picking up a fight, trying professional stunt moves with a powered bike, etc., and also primes them to respond to slights with name-calling, derogatory languages, and even a punch in the face.
In a review of 130 studies of kids and teens, Iowa state University researchers discovered that exposure of a kid or teen to violent video-games increased the likelihood of aggression and weakened empathy for others. For example, a push along the school hallway or a step on a foot no longer seem like an accident, so what comes into mind is to retaliate and prep for a possible fist-fight, after all, what other way could Spiderman’s flying kick be put into practice? The helpfulness of such games in teaching kids possible break-away and necessary combo skills is far outweighed by the harmful effect it has on players (teens and kids especially), whether they are the perpetrators or the victims.
A most recent research of August 4, 2014 by Dartmouth College reveals that exposure of a teen or pre-teen to violent games goes well beyond encouraging them to engage in hazard-lauding practices to substance use, risky driving and risk-taking sexual behaviours, according to Geisel school of Medicine’s James Sargent.
In this time of our teenage years when we’re faced with added duties at home, higher grading policies at school and differing emotional flunctuations, lesser time with the pad is highly advised.
P. S. This narrows more on teens.