Video games are always under criticism. There are many prejudices, for example, video games make gaming enthusiasts aggressive, some even blame video games be the reason for shooting massacres or other crazy things. All nonsense I think, and so far little is scientifically proven about the negative effects of video games. To date, too few long-term studies have been conducted on the negative effects of video games and whether playing video games is bad or not.
The fact is that gamers have extremely fast reflexes and extraordinary hand-eye coordination. Some other positive effects of computer games find their way also to a variety of therapies.
In the meantime, ESports and gaming have become a mass phenomenon that stretches across all ages. More than two-thirds of the world’s population play occasionally and nearly half spend more than 5 hours a week gaming in front of the computer. Negative effects of video games may be caused by excessive gaming. Playing in moderation may not harm.
What are the Effects of playing video games?
Benefits from gaming in moderation may be concentration, eye-hand coordination, reaction time and accuracy.
Extreme gaming could lead to video gaming addiction or gaming disorder. This will be another complex post.
But most negative consequences result from the fact that there are too little movement and physical activity as well as a monotonous sitting in often inadequate postures that may lead to problems.
There is a number of complaints and illnesses that may affect you when you sit too much in front of a screen.
Mental problems and mental illness
Nervous system disorders, such as a headache, fatigue, aversion, nausea, or the like, may occur if one excessively engages in computer games without taking recommended breaks.
Headaches can have a number of causes, from sitting in an unfavorable posture for too many hours, inadequate lighting, bad air, or simply forgetting to drink or eat because one doesn’t want to interrupt a gaming session. However, they should not be taken too lightly but as a warning signal.
Flashing, flickering bright lights can trigger Reflex epilepsies or Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE). Light-dark changes, in combination with fast-changing bright colors, may create patterns that can cause seizures in humans. Usually, people who have a history of seizures are affected. So people known to suffer epileptic seizures should avoid certain video games that produce such strongly changing light stimuli.
You all have probably noticed the prominent epilepsy warning in manuals of computer screens and video games.
Eye problems and eye irritation
Tired, itchy, red eyes? Screen time and monotonous staring results in reduced eye blinking. But to ensure the sufficient moisturization of the eye a blink rate of about 20 per minute is necessary. Staring at a computer monitor also reduces the movements and exercises the eyes need to stay healthy. The result is a sensation of itchy and burning eyes, redness, and extremely dry eyes, that feel as if sand is in them. This condition is known as Gamer Eye Syndrome or Computer Vision Syndrome.
Repetitive Strain Injury Syndrom
The Repetitive Strain Injury syndrome (RSI) is characterized by nonspecific complaints in joints, tendons and muscles in the neck, shoulder, arm and hand area after repetitive activities. Computer users or gamers often suffer repetitive movements over extended periods of time. A typical case of RSI is the mouse arm. Exercise and regular sports to compensate for the monotonous repetitive movements reduce the risk of RSI. Of importance is also an ergonomic design of the gaming hardware such as mouse and other input devices.
Musculoskeletal disorders – Back Pain
Back pain and disorders of the musculoskeletal system are some of the most common problems of modern society. We are not made for sitting all day. Back pain is mainly caused by strained muscles and ligaments, or spinal and intervertebral disc wear. You can get sick and be suffering back pains from playing video games, because of the general lack of movement when spending too many hours glued in front of the screen. Regular breaks and exercises are needed, as well as ergonomic gaming chairs that provide a good sitting posture.
Rhizarthrosis describes a condition of arthrosis of the thumb basal joint (Trapeziometacarpal joint). The condition results from unfavorable and monotonously repetitive movements working with the mouse and keyboard. In individuals with a tendency to arthritis, chronic stress wears the joint and leads to osteoarthritis which in the worst case leads to joint stiffness. Get the best ergonomic keyboard you can afford to reduce the risk of Rhizarthris.
Prolonged sitting and lack of movement can promote circulatory disorders. Symptoms of circulatory problems in the lower extremities may include swollen legs in its early stages. In advanced stages, varicose veins and other troubles like pain walking may develop.
But circulatory disorder caused by lack of movement may also cause Intestinal Problems. Typically, circulatory disorders in the intestines cause abdominal pain – especially after eating.
As always said so many times, too much sitting makes you sick. It can not be stressed enough to take regular breaks from screen work or gaming sessions. Even altering the sitting position or getting a gaming chair with a rocking mechanism can be beneficial to prevent congestion of the lower extremity venous vessels.
Cardiovascular diseases are amongst the most common non-communicable diseases and affect the health of millions. Based on many factors, such as genetics and individual lifestyle, problems here need to be checked by your medical professional.
For the heavy gamer or the poor soul who spends his life working in an office, suffering lack of exercise, too much stress and follows the wrong diet, all this may contribute to overweight and hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Slow down, take it easy, pay attention to your health and take the first warning signals seriously.
So what negative effects of video games are there?
Most of the above-listed troubles are caused by a variety of factors. However, the main factor that causes problems related to playing video games, is likely the lack of movement and prolonged sitting.
Make sure you allow yourself regular breaks and engage in some exercises during those breaks from the screen. Most important too, buy yourself the best gaming chair you can afford, your health is worth more than the few dollars you save when buying a cheap chair.