Arshad Ali Askari
Video gaming is like a non-financial kind of gambling from a psychological point of view,” said Griffiths, a distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “Gamblers use money as a way of keeping score whereas gamers use points.”
He guessed that the percentage of video game players with a compulsive problem was likely to be extremely small—much less than 1 percent—and that many such people would likely have other underlying problems, like depression, bipolar disorder or autism.
Psychologists however, estimated that 2 to 3 percent of gamers might be affected.
Griffiths said playing video games, for the vast majority of people, is more about entertainment and novelty, citing the overwhelming popularity of games like “Pokemon Go.” PUBG Etc
“You have these short, obsessive bursts and yes, people are playing a lot, but it’s not an addiction,” he said.
Psychologists said parents and friends of video game enthusiasts should still be mindful of a potentially harmful problem.
“Be on the lookout,” he said, noting that concerns should be raised if the gaming habit appears to be taking over.
“If (video games) are interfering with the expected functions of the person—whether it is studies, whether it’s socialization, whether it’s work—then you need to be cautious and perhaps seek help,” they said.
Negative Effects of Video Games
Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed on the violence they contain. Children who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping, according to a scientific study (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). Also according to Dmitri A. Christakis of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, those who watch a lot of simulated violence, such as those in video games, can become immune to it, more inclined to act violently themselves, and are less likely to behave emphatically. Another study suggests that chronic exposure to violent video games is not only associated with lower empathy, but emotional callousness as well.
This, however, is still hotly debated because there is also evidence that shows that excessive use of video games does not lead to long-term desensitization and lack of empathy. A 2017 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, for example, didn’t find any long-term effects of playing violent video games and empathy. Another study from University of York found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent, and another study suggests that there is no increase in the level of aggression of players who had long-term exposure to violent video games..
On the other hand, The American Psychological Association (APA) concluded that there is a “consistent correlation” between violent game use and aggression, but finds insufficient evidence to link violent video play to criminal violence. An open letter by a number of media scholars, psychologists and criminologists, however, find APA’s study and conclusion to be misleading and alarmist. Many experts including Henry Jenkins of Massachusetts Institute of Technology have noted that there is a decreased rate of juvenile crime which coincides with the popularity of games such as Death Race, Mortal Kombat, Doom and Grand Theft auto. He concludes that teenage players are able to leave the emotional effects of the game behind when the game is over. Indeed there are cases of teenagers who commit violent crimes who also spend great amount of time playing video games such as those involved in the Columbine and Newport cases. It appears that there will always be violent people, and it just so happen that many of them also enjoy playing violent video games.
Some experts also believe that the effect of video game violence in kids is worsened by the games’ interactive nature. In many games, kids are rewarded for being more violent. The act of violence is done repeatedly. The child is in control of the violence and experiences the violence in his own eyes (killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting). This active participation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behavior. Indeed, many studies seem to indicate that violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior (such as Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). However, the evidence is not consistent and this issue is far from settled.
In 2018, an analysis of 24 studies involving 17000 youngsters from countries including the U.S., Canada, Germany and Japan and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found those who played violent games such as “Grand Theft Auto,” “Call of Duty” and “Manhunt” were more likely to exhibit behavior such as being sent to the principal’s office for fighting or hitting a non-family member. According to Jay Hull, the study’s lead author “If your kids are playing these games, either these games are having a warping effect on right and wrong or they have a warped sense of right or wrong and that’s why they are attracted to these games. Either way you should be concerned about it.” Hull’s previous research suggests players may also practice riskier behaviors such as reckless driving, binge drinking, smoking and unsafe sex.
Kids can be addicted to video gaming. The World Health Organization in June 2018 declared gaming addiction as a mental health disorder. A study by the Minneapolis-based National Institute for Media and the Family suggests that video games can be addictive for kids, and that the kids’ addiction to video games increases their depression and anxiety levels. Addicted kids also exhibit social phobias. Not surprisingly, kids addicted to video games see their school performance suffer. MRI scans reveal that addictive video games can have a similar effect on kids’ brains as drugs and alcohol. A series of studines by California State University found that the impulsive part of the brain, known as the amygdala-striatal system was more sensitive and smaller in excessive game players. According to Professor Ofir Turel, heavy game players between 13 and 15 whose self-control system is not yet well-developed can have increased susceptibility to other forms of addiction and can be more predisposed to impulsive and risky behaviors later in life.
A 2017 study from the Université de Montréal suggests that playing action video games like Call of Duty may actually harm the brain. Most study participants mainly use an area of the brain called the caudate nucleus. These players navigate through the game terrain using in-system navigation tools or on-screen GPS, relying on navigational “habit” instead of active learning. It appears that this causes an increase in the amount of gray matter in their caudate nucleus, while it decreases in the hippocampus. Reduced gray matter in the hippocampus has previously been linked to higher risks of brain illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, and Alzheimer’s disease. However players who play games that requires players to navigate using spatial strategies like the 3D Super Mario games have increased grey matter in the hippocampus.
Too much video game playing makes your kid socially isolated. Also, he may spend less time in other activities such as doing homework, reading, sports, and interacting with the family and friends. On the other hand, a study by researchers at the North Carolina State University, New York and the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology points out that gamers usually do not replace their offline social lives with online game playing, but rather it expands them. In fact, among gamers, being a loner is not the norm.
Some video games teach kids the wrong values. Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded. Negotiating and other nonviolent solutions are often not options. Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative. On the other hand, a University of Buffalo study suggests that violence and bad behavior played in the virtual world may be contributing to better behavior in the real world. Gamers who play violent games may feel guilty about their behavior in the virtual world and this may make them be more sensitive to the moral issues they violated during game play.
Games can confuse reality and fantasy.
Academic achievement may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing video games. Studies have shown that the more time a kid spends playing video games, the poorer is his performance in school. (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). A study by Argosy University’s Minnesota School on Professional Psychology found that video game addicts argue a lot with their teachers, fight a lot with their friends, and score lower grades than others who play video games less often. Other studies show that many game players routinely skip their homework to play games, and many students admitted that their video game habits are often responsible for poor school grades.
Although some studies suggest that playing video games enhances a child’s concentration, other studies, such as a 2012 paper published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, have found that games can hurt and help children’s attention issues — improving the ability to concentrate in short bursts but damaging long-term concentration.
Dr Philip A Chan and Professor Terry Rabinowitz, writing in the Annals of General Psychiatry, concluded that: “Adolescents who play more than one hour of console or Internet video games may have more or more intense symptoms of ADHD or inattention than those who do not.” This negative effect may lead to problems in school.
Video games may also have bad effects on some children’s health, including obesity, video-induced seizures. and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders.
When playing online, your kid can pick up bad language and behavior from other people, and may make your kid vulnerable to online dangers.
Kids spending too much time playing video games may exhibit impulsive behavior and have attention problems. This is according to a new study published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Psychology and Popular Media Culture. For the study, attention problems were defined as difficulty engaging in or sustaining behavior to reach a goal.
According to Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated psychologist and author of the best-selling book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationship in the Digital Age”, if kids are allowed to play “Candy Crush” on the way to school, the trip will be quiet, but it’s not what kids need. “They need time to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts and share them with parents, who can provide reassurance.”
Arshad ali askari (Lecturer psychology)