This blog post covers 10 negative effects of video games in children and how they affect your child. Video games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment among youth today. According to the market research firm NewZoo, video gaming is currently the largest digital media segment with over 1.3 billion gamers worldwide and revenues exceeding 130 billion dollars in 2017.
To add to that, there has been a steady rise in the popularity of video games amongst kids and teenagers as well. As we know, everything comes with pros and cons. While these digital devices provide a fun way for kids to connect with friends, many parents are concerned about the negative effects they might have on their children.
The truth is that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to conclusively prove whether video games are beneficial or harmful for kids. However, based on our accumulated knowledge from observations and experiments, let’s look at some negative effects of video games on child development.
10 Negative effects of video games on child development
Video games may have some negative effects on children if they play them for extended periods of time. When used in moderation and combined with other activities, video games can be a wholesome pastime that benefits kids in many ways. However, it’s not advisable for kids to spend too much time playing these games. Here is a list of the 10 negative effects of video games.
Depression and Anxiety
One of the most commonly observed adverse effects of video gaming is a diminished capacity for dealing with depression and anxiety. A recent study analyzed data from over 3000 Finnish adolescents aged 16 to 18 years and found that those who played video games for more than 3 hours per week were significantly more likely to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety and sleeplessness compared to those who played less than an hour per week.
While the rise of internet addiction is rightly a cause for concern, some studies have reported similar findings for excessive video game playing as well. Some scientists believe that this heightened sensitivity to depression and anxiety could be because video games often require you to complete tasks quickly and make decisions quickly under stressful conditions.
Engaging in these kinds of activities all the time might cause kids to develop a habit of thinking and behaving in ways that are similar to their video game playing. Another reason for this could be that video games tend to have a strong narrative component where the player is engaged in a story that often involves negative emotions like fear, anxiety, or sadness. Such experiences could cause players to lose their capacity to deal with real-life situations that require emotional regulation. Anxiety is known to be a bigger negative effects of video games essay
Disruption in Sleep Cycle
We’ve all experienced the effects of sleep deprivation and we’re all familiar with the feeling of being exhausted. However, some kids react to sleep deprivation a lot more severely than others. Studies have shown that kids who play video games in the hour preceding bedtime have a greater risk of developing sleep disruptions such as difficulty falling asleep or frequent waking during the night. And this is only one of the many negative health effects that can result from sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is one major negative effects of video games on child development
Other less obvious and more long-term effects include
- Decreased immune function – since our body uses sleep as a time to rest and repair, lack of sleep can significantly slow down our body’s ability to fight off infections and diseases.
- Increased risk of diabetes – lack of sleep can cause the body to produce excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to a reduction in the body’s ability to metabolize sugar and an increase in blood sugar levels.
- Weight gain – sleep deprivation can lead to overeating, especially for people who usually have trouble falling asleep at night.
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Lack of Exercise
While video gaming often involves some amount of physical activity, it’s not nearly enough to meet the physical activity recommendations for children. Exercising not only provides the mind with benefits in the form of mental relaxation and enjoyment, but it also helps with developing concentration and focus. However, video gaming is often done in a sedentary manner without any requirements to exercise. This can result in kids getting less physical activity than they need, which can cause health problems as they get older.
Some of the most harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle include
- Obesity – obesity has become an increasingly common problem among children in the last couple of years. It’s estimated that about 20% of the world’s children and adolescents are either obese or at a high risk of becoming obese.
- Heart disease and diabetes – studies show that physically inactive people have a higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
- Lower life expectancy – it’s been estimated that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of premature death by as much as 50%!
Poor Dietary Habits
The popularity of online gaming has resulted in the emergence of new gaming genres and platforms, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), which have become extremely popular with the youth in recent times. In these online games, the narrative often involves battling monsters and villains, which can easily draw kids into a fantasy world. In this world, children often forget that they’re sitting in front of a computer or laptop and are eating junk food at the same time. Poor dietary habits is one major negative effects of video games on child development
This can easily lead to a decline in the quality of dietary habits, especially among children who often don’t eat properly in the first place. The most common problems caused by poor dietary habits include
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies – deficiencies in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and B can affect the development and health of your child’s body and brain.
- Weight gain – eating too many unhealthy foods and not getting regular exercise can lead to weight gain and obesity, which can cause various health problems later in life.
Poor Confidence in Real-World Skills
Although video games can develop certain skills like hand-eye coordination, kids who play video games frequently often have a hard time applying those skills to real life. This probably has something to do with the fact that video games often require quick decision-making and a certain level of aggression, which don’t encourage a balanced approach to problems. This can often result in kids having a vague sense of confidence about their abilities in real-world situations, which often come with their own set of rules and limitations.
For example, the confidence that helps a kid excel in sports or day-to-day activities can be very different from the confidence needed to become a good chess player. At the same time, having a vague sense of confidence about your abilities can be a good thing as well. It can motivate kids to try new things and challenge themselves.
At a very young age, kids learn the concept of coping with life’s problems. And they do this by engaging in various activities that make them feel good. As kids grow up, they might continue to do the same thing even if it’s not that healthy. However, we need to help our kids develop healthy coping skills, particularly when they’re faced with problems like bullying or anxiety. However, video games don’t help in this regard. They can distract kids from dealing with real-life issues and problems.
Kids today are growing up in a world where they’re constantly being stimulated. This is mostly due to the rise in social media, television, and internet usage, but gaming has also become a growing source of entertainment. Some scientists believe that attention problems in children can be attributed to excessive screen time, which is the amount of time spent on devices that could be distracting them. We’re not saying that kids need less stimulation, but they need a proper balance of the right amount of stimulation in their daily lives.
This balance can be achieved by following a few simple guidelines while letting your child engage in video gaming
- Limit the time – let your child know that you want him/her to spend a certain amount of time on gaming every day. Set a time limit, and stick to it.
- Set goals – encourage your child to set goals for a particular game. This will help them stay focused and achieve something in the end.
As we’ve already discussed, kids who spend too much time playing video games often don’t get enough natural light and are becoming short-sighted. This can be harmful for several reasons, including the fact that having poor vision can be a source of low self-esteem and lack of confidence. It can also make kids less likely to pursue hobbies that involve reading, writing, or playing sports. Poor vision is one of the 10 negative effects of video games known to all. You may notice this point as a part of negative effects of video games essay in most writeups
Video games have become a part of our lives. They have their pros and cons, just like every other activity. Parents have to strike the right balance between allowing their kids to play video games and not letting them take over their lives.
If your kid is spending too much time playing video games, you need to check if he is getting any 10 negative effects of video games. It’s not harmful in itself but if your child has developed an addiction to it, then there might be some adverse impacts on his mental health and social life.