Video Games as Cause of Obesity and other Problems

Video games have changed the world , and were transmitted in many mediums, through the computers, mobile phones, and consoles. It reached as much as 1.2 billion people in the world and this number is growing everyday” (Takahashi 2013). As the technology advances, there are more improvements in entertainment, and video games are one of them. Young people are likely to spend a lot of their time playing video games, and this could have a lot of impact on their behaviour as well as on their minds.

Video games are engaging and also very interesting, so no wonder many people are fascinated by them. There are, however, many studies that have been undertaken to find out how video games affect the behaviour and the minds of young people and their findings have been contradictory in nature. Everything began when Atari thought of its first gaming console, which incorporated an exceptionally straightforward round of tennis. The controller had only one stick and one catch to play with. Presently, we have a wide range of sorts of consoles accessible in the market with exceptionally complex amusements that requires controllers with at least two sticks and an assortment of catches.

Video games are practically second nature to the cutting edge kids and they are progressively happy with playing them.However playing video games can have a wide range of negative impacts on young children. Some of these effects include increased aggressive behavior, adverse effects on health, poor academic performance, and sleep disturbance. According to Anderson, Gentile & Buckley (2007), neurotic and/or obsessive video gamers have a higher risk of clinical depression and/or anxiety than non-gamers.

In addition, children who play video games for prolonged amounts of time are more prone to impulsivity, social isolation and addiction then children who do not play video games or those who play video games only for short amounts of time.” Some health problems caused by video games include: inattention, sleep irregularities sleeping too much or insomnia, anxiety, fearfulness, excessive anger and rage and social phobias. Moreover, children who play video games for multiple hours a day also tend to have more violent and aggressive fantasies and/or participate in self-destructive activities then children who are non-gamers. The large numbers of people who play video games get addicted and spend much of their time on the games. If your child spends all of his free time playing video games and skips meals or loses sleep because of excessive game play, a video game addiction can negatively impact his health.

Playing video games for extended amounts of time can cause children to experience many of the same symptoms seen in computer vision syndrome in adults. Extensive viewing of the game screen can lead to eye discomfort, fatigue, blurry vision, and headaches. Kids seem to become so engrossed in video games that they forget to take breaks. Most video games require a lengthy time commitment to finish any particular game. Thus, forcing the player to stay focused on the screen during their playtime. This can lead to the same issues caused by long-term television watching, including headaches, blurred vision, and even nearsightedness if frequent breaks aren’t taken to relax your eyes. When played in excess, video games have also been associated with eyesight problems.

Truth be told, the elements of the eye; the cornea, iris, and pupil, are not designed for prolonged exposure to electronic widescreens (Mentzoni).Vision problems that arise from excessive amounts of video games have gained credibility with this video gaming obsession. It may not be much of a surprise to think that staring at a computer, television or smartphone screen could cause vision problems but they are becoming more and more popular There are several concerns associated with prolonged video game playing and some should not be ignored.

If your children enjoy playing video games, encourage them to take frequent breaks. Set a timer for 20 minutes, and have them do something else for 5 minutes when the buzzer sounds. Also, make sure your children sit as far away as possible from the video screen. Setting guidelines for your children will help prevent the negative effects that prolonged video gameplay can have on their eyes. Another problem caused by excessive gaming is obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat causing a person to become overweight.

It is a serious and growing health problem, especially for kids. One major factor to the problem of children becoming obese is, video games. Jamruk Kate addresses the issue of childhood obesity caused by playing video games in her article, “ The Weight Game: Fighting Childhood Obesity with Childhood Video Technology.” One of the most common health issues that is faced by most individuals, adults and children alike, addicted to playing video games is obesity. The author Jamruk Kate stated, Childhood obesity is a public health emergency that has doubled in America in the last 30 years. A 2007 study predicted that at the current rate, by 2015, 24% of children and teens would be obese.

The childhood obesity epidemic has been reported to be influenced by children’s inactivity and their increased use of cellphones, and video games. Addicted gamers often face this problem because they tend to sit in one place for a long time and hence their body practically misses out on any kind of physical activity. Being overweight may increase the risk of developing other ailments in the long run such as high levels of cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and so on. Excessive gaming can have an adverse impact on the teen’s health as they spend more time playing virtual games rather than having some physical exercise. This practice increases the risk of childhood obesity.

Sometimes, children also skip meals and sleep to play games they are addicted to. Although your child may say that he’s “playing” a video game, what he is doing may look more like sitting than other play-type activities. Unlike playing on a playground, playing at the park or playing a sport, playing a video game is largely passive for most children. Similar to TV viewing, the passive aspect of video game play takes away from true physical activity and may lead to weight gain. Another negative effect caused by playing video game is social isolation. Social isolation can be an immediate consequence of continuous and ceaseless gaming.

When it comes to an addictive gamer’s social life, relationships with friends and family members may suffer. A person should not spend more time gaming than he/she does talking to, or going out with, loved ones. People, especially children, tend to spend less time with their friends and others because they want to get back home and to their games as fast as possible in order to continue playing. In a Singapore study, researchers found that those who spent a lot of time gaming had worse relationships with their parents and increased social phobia (Nakaya).

Relationships with friends and family members may suffer if your child is spending more time gaming than he is talking to or going out with loved ones. Gaming may be negatively affecting your child’s life if he only wants to talk about video games, lies to cover up the amount of time he spends playing, and argues with you over his excessive gaming. Gaming may also cause, “Anxieties when developing social skills due to the lack of social interaction and experiences. This makes them aloof from others and so in the long-run lack abilities of social communication and develop a kind of anthropophobia or fear of human company (Lerner). Playing video games tends to be an isolating activity. When a child is playing video games they are missing out on interacting socially with both friends and family.

These social interactions are important in developing social skills and relationships. Research by Kraut et al found, “increased use of technology led to a decline in social interactions and an increase in depression.” Even though multiplayer games exist, most kids end up playing by themselves in their own room. This severely limits their interpersonal skills in real life, preferring to be by themselves and interact digitally. Furthermore, spending too much time on playing violent video games can provoke teens to act in a violent manner. Killing a large number of enemies in a video game can teach teens to act in an aggressive manner when faced with the real world. In the article “Violent Video Games and Aggression”, Lauren Goldbeck and Alex Pew addressed the issue of violent video games causing aggression.

Violent video games have come up in debates lately for for allegedly damaging the mental states of children. Goldback and Pew claims that, “ The longer that individuals are exposed to violent video games, the more likely they are to have aggressive behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.” Violent video games have harmful effects to all people apart from the violent game players. Violent video games increase the angry feelings and physiological arousal such as blood pressure and heart rate.

Many people who watch violent video games develop angry feelings and they may cope and practice what they watch on video to their peers. Violent video games make the players become aggressive and apply anger to people around them. The authors stated, “Studies have shown that playing violent video games can increase aggressive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings in both the short-term and long-term” (Goldbeck and Pew par. 3).

However, these researchers ignored the age factor and generalized their findings to make it seem like all players will have violent reactions. In fact, their research does not address the “stable family life” concept wherein players from well adjusted family groups do not have the same effects. If used properly, these games can improve hand-eye coordination, problem solving and logic, multitasking, quick thinking and decision-making, attention to detail and teamwork and cooperation, if played with others. Yet why should parents take the chance?

What if their child had undiagnosed emotional issues? In conclusion it is true that violent video games are harmful for children in many ways.They affect human behavior, and health. Video games are addictive and dangerous. There are lots of diseases, such as eyestrain, sleep disorders, mental disorders, and others caused by playing video games. Video games can also cause violent behavior. People influenced by video games fight and even kill in real life. Although there are some games that are good and helpful, it is nothing compared to all of these popular addictive violent games around us. People should take video games as a serious problem, and take steps to avoid bad influence. I want to recommend that it is important to make parents and children aware of the negative consequences of violent video games.

So parents have an important role to play to ensure that the negative or harmful effects of video games do not outweigh the positive ones. For this they can limit the amount of time for playing and also take into account the rating of video games while purchasing them. In addition, they can also participate in the games and discuss the harmful effects of violence and aggression, their inappropriateness or ineffectiveness in solving problems in the real world. Besides this, children and teenagers should be encouraged to participate in other games and activities so that they don’t get addicted to video games.

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