Video gaming is an increasingly popular hobby. A survey by market research company Gallup in 2016 found that almost two-thirds of American adults have played video games as a form of leisure, with around half of them playing video games on a frequent basis.
A significant number of people who play video games also experience negative effects from it, including becoming obsessed or addicted to them. This has led some to question whether gaming itself is inherently detrimental to the user’s well-being.
After all, if it can have such negative effects on so many people, doesn’t that mean there must be something wrong with it? But why is gaming addiction bad? Let’s take a closer look at some of the potential downsides and dangers associated with spending too much time in front of a screen.
Gaming addiction is a serious condition that can have negative effects on your personal life and mental health. If you feel like you’re addicted to video games, we have the details on why gaming addiction is bad and how it can negatively affect your life.
If you are someone who plays video games frequently, you might feel like they are taking over a significant portion of your life. You might also feel like you play more than you intended to or as much as you want to.
This could be an indicator that gaming has become an unhealthy obsession for you. To help you understand why gaming addiction is bad and how it can hurt your life, we’ve outlined some of the most concerning consequences of being addicted to video games.
Related Article: Does gaming make you smarter?
What is Gaming Addiction?
One of the most popular video games in recent years is Fortnite, a multiplayer battle royale game. Although it’s possible to play the game for free, Epic Games offers in-game purchases for players to buy skins and other aesthetic items to show off their style and make themselves more competitive.
In some cases, people who have become addicted to Fortnite have lost a lot of sleep over playing the game. They may also experience social withdrawal and develop an obsessive preoccupation with Fortnite.
This behavior can lead to gamers neglecting their work or education obligations, as well as their personal relationships with friends and family members. Some gamers will even spend large amounts of money trying to acquire more weapons or outfits in order to improve their performance.
This type of addiction has come to be known as “gaming disorder” or “video gaming addiction.”
The Dangers of Gaming Addiction?
Research has found that children who are addicted to video games are more likely to experience feelings of depression, loneliness, and anger. Additionally, they are less likely to enjoy physical activities.
This can negatively affect a child’s emotional development as well as their academic success. Hence some gamers some gaming developers are recommending strict age ratings on users.
The dangers of gaming addiction can also be seen in adults, who might miss work or stop spending time with friends in order to spend more time playing video games. This can have severe consequences for their relationships and workplace performance.
In the case of adults, it is especially important for them to take care of themselves by setting time limits for themselves when using video games so as not to neglect other aspects of life that are important too.
Depression and Suicide
The most common negative effect of video gaming is depression. A study conducted in Finland found that people who play excessively are more than twice as likely to become depressed compared to those who do not play video games at all.
It’s not clear exactly why this correlation exists, but one of the theories is that gaming addicts experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop playing. These symptoms include anxiety, irritability, and mood swings and can last days or weeks after quitting.
Excessive time spent gaming is also linked to a wide range of mental health conditions, such as social anxiety disorder, narcissism, psychopathy, and Tourette Syndrome. Another major downside to excessive gaming is an increased risk of suicide.
A study by the University Medical Center in Utrecht found that a link between internet addiction and suicidal behavior in teens. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates among kids aged 10-14 have tripled since 1979.
The CDC has also found that teenagers who spend more than five hours per day using electronic devices are 71 percent more likely to report having suicidal thoughts than their less-engaged peers – which means even low levels of use could be detrimental for adolescents’ mental health.
Gaming addiction may seem like a harmless hobby now, but it can lead to serious problems later on in life so it’s best to manage your time wisely.
Lack of Exercise
When you’re gaming all day, it can mean that you’re not getting much exercise. This isn’t good for your physical or mental health either. It decreases your energy levels, and a lack of physical activity has been shown to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Additionally, it might be difficult to notice if you need to go to the washroom or aren’t feeling well. You might also find yourself less social than usual because you are spending so much time with the game.
This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Finally, gamers sometimes become addicted to video games which can have negative consequences on their physical and mental health.
Irresponsibility and Loss of Productivity
One of the downsides to gaming addiction is a loss of productivity. Gaming addicts often neglect responsibilities, such as work or school, in favor of playing games.
Not only does this mean they are not performing their job duties, but it also means they could be missing out on valuable opportunities that may arise from taking part in those activities.
Another downside to gaming addiction is irresponsibility. Gamers can neglect responsibilities to the point where they skip work, don’t pay their bills, and forget about social obligations.
All of these things can have serious consequences that extend beyond the user’s well-being into their relationships with others and their ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Social Isolation and loneliness
One of the most common consequences of addiction to video games is isolation. When people spend a lot of time playing video games or gaming, they become less extroverted and more introverted.
This isolates them from other people and limits their social interactions. A lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of loneliness, which in turn causes depression.
And as with any addictive behavior, addiction to video games can also lead to further problems like neglecting schoolwork or work responsibilities. In addition, the lack of interpersonal contact that comes with gaming addiction can also lead to real-world social skills decline or even mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
For example, one study found that almost 50% of Japanese youth gamers exhibit signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Irreversible Brain Changes
After playing video games for an extended period of time, the brain changes structurally. A study on non-gamers found that after 25 hours of gameplay, the hippocampus area of the brain had decreased in size.
The hippocampus is the seat of long-term memory and spatial navigation. This change in the brain could have an impact on one’s ability to learn new things or retain memories, as they may not be able to remember where they parked their car or what they said to someone earlier in the day.
Escapism and loneliness
Playing video games can put people in a state of escapism, where they are escaping from the problems that may exist in their real lives. This can be seen as a form of self-medicating.
It also may lead to loneliness and isolation as people withdraw from relationships with friends and family to play more often.
Dependency and Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, “gaming disorder”—the pattern of addictive behavior surrounding video games—is a mental health condition that will soon be added to the WHO International Classification of Diseases.
The WHO warns that gaming disorder can lead to “significant health consequences” including psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and even dementia.
In one study of more than 50,000 adults in the United States, excessive gamers were found to have a threefold increase in the risk for depression or anxiety. There is also mounting evidence linking gaming addiction with other conditions related to mental health such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Experts say this may be because video games stimulate dopamine production in the brain’s pleasure center. Gaming addiction has also been linked with sleep deprivation, which further increases the risk for developing chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
The first, and perhaps most concerning thing about gaming addiction is it can ruin relationships. When somebody spends too much time playing video games and neglecting their loved ones, it can bring problems in the relationship.
Gamers can start to feel like they’re not spending enough time with their partner or family members, which can lead to resentment for the excessive gamer and a worsening of the relationship.
This can also be true for people who play video games with others online, but have difficulty balancing the amount of time spent with friends versus time spent playing video games.
In some cases, this neglect leads to a break-up as people reach their breaking point. To make matters worse, these gamers may come home after a long day at work to find themselves at home alone while their partner is at work or out socializing.
In these cases, they typically turn right back to video games instead of addressing any underlying issues with their partner or getting some restful sleep.
Is gaming a waste of time?
You might feel like playing video games is a waste of your time and that you could be doing something more productive with your time. You may feel like you are not able to find balance in your life, as gaming becomes the thing you turn to when you need to relax.
This is a serious concern for many people who play video games. If this sounds like you, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate how much time you spend playing video games, why you play video games, and what it means for your life. Gaming can become an unhealthy obsession if left unchecked.
Do video games lower your IQ?
One of the most concerning consequences of being addicted to video games is that they can lower your IQ. A study done by researchers at the University of Rochester found that playing video games for a long period of time can reduce gray matter in the brain.
Gray matter is responsible for focusing, thinking, and learning skills. The reduction in gray matter can cause your IQ to decrease.
Do successful people play video games?
One of the most common misconceptions about video games is that only unsuccessful people play them. In reality, there are many successful people who play video games to improve their skills and stay competitive in their field.
For example, some professional athletes have trained using video games, like FIFA, to enhance their real-life performance. In fact, the FIFA World Cup just stopped the use of all electronic devices until they got to the end of a round.
Athletes aren’t the only ones playing either; in fact, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings plays one hour of StarCraft every night as a way to relax and de-stress before bedtime.
How many hours of gaming a day is healthy?
One of the most concerning consequences of excessive gaming is a lack of physical activity. Too much sitting can lead to obesity, and too little exercise can lead to weight gain, diabetes, depression, and heart disease.
To play games for less than five hours a day would likely be considered healthy. But if you are playing more than that, it may be time to consider cutting back. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to sitting on your couch all day like walking or biking.
If there’s an outdoor area near your home or office, you could go for a walk every once in awhile to get some exercise in. You could also take up a sport like running or biking and meet people who are into the same thing as you.
What is the difference between gaming addiction and video game addiction?
Video game addiction is a subset of gaming addiction. When we talk about video games, it usually refers to the act of playing to win or play for a high score. This is not just limited to games but could also include any type of online competition like poker or chess.
Why do people play video games?
The reasons why people play games vary from person to person. Some may enjoy playing games as a social activity while others may enjoy them when they feel bored or need something to do. Some gamers might feel rewarded by earning points, badges, or medals in their favorite game. Other players might enjoy the sense of mastery that comes with progressing in a game and overcoming challenges. Whatever your reason for playing games, if you’ve been playing too much and it’s negatively impacting other areas of your life, it might be time to take a break from gaming so you can get back on track with your life.
How do I know if I’m addicted to video games?
If you’re playing video games more than you want to, or feel like you can’t stop even when you don’t want to, it might be an addiction. The most important thing is that you are aware that there are negative consequences and take action in order to change your habits.
Why is gaming addiction bad?
There are many negative consequences of being gaming addicted including poor academic performance and a lack of social skills. Addiction can lead to serious mental health concerns. Along with the problems it can cause in other parts of your life, this may make it hard for you to maintain relationships, get jobs etc. It can also lead to psychological disorders like depression or anxiety as well as sleep problems and chronic physical pain.
There is a gaming addiction epidemic sweeping the globe and it is a problem that needs to be taken seriously. It could be affecting your life and the lives of those around you without you even knowing about it.
Gaming addiction has many negative impacts like depression and suicide, lack of exercise, and social isolation. Find out the signs of gaming addiction, what you can do to help someone suffering from it, and how to get rid of it.
For a lot of people, video games are a gateway to a whole new world of entertainment. The problem is that for many gamers, it’s not just a hobby—it’s an addiction that is taking over their life. If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to remember that gaming addiction can have terrible consequences for your health, relationships and career. You might want to consider quitting. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to wean yourself off gaming and become more productive in your free time. Check out these four steps before you decide to quit gaming for good.