Video Games Can Affect The Brain Negatively
Video games do not necessarily lead to mental health problems. However, you can be at high risk for video game addiction if you already suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. This is due to the way video games affect your brain.
A study that looked at the effect of gaming on mental health found that problematic gaming habits correlated with maladaptive coping strategies, negative emotions, low self-esteem, a preference for solitude, and poor school performance.
While one of the benefits of gaming is an increase in the ability to concentrate, excessive gaming may lead to the opposite. A study done on 3000 children and adolescents from 12 different schools in Singapore found a bidirectional causality in play between video games and attention deficit disorders. While excessive gaming could contribute to a lack of long-term concentration ability, it is also likely that children who already show signs of attention deficit disorders would be more attracted to video games, due to the variety of experiences they can provide.
Are There Any Negative Effects Of Video Games
Video gaming is clearly a popular form of entertainment, with video gamers collectively spending 3 billion hours per week in front of their screens. Due to their widespread use, scientists have researched how video games affect the brain and behavior. Are these effects positive or negative? We examine the evidence.
Effects Of Video Games On Sleep
Can video games make it hard to fall asleep?Video games can delay a person’s sleep, especially adolescents. A study conducted by Flinders University found that increased physiological arousal and cognitive alertness make it harder for adolescents to fall asleep after playing video games at night.
Do video games interfere with sleep?The studies by the researchers at Flinders University also found that there “might be” a connection with the amount of REM sleep a teen gets after playing video games, but the research is still ongoing. As most experts suggest, playing in moderation can help alleviate any potential issues.
Should kids play video games before bed?Use of video games before bed does make it difficult for many children to get a good night’s sleep. 18% of parents in a recent study cited sleep issues with their children who played video games at night. Experts recommend limiting video game or even media time to the daytime hours to avoid the risk of sleep issues at night.
Can playing video games make you tired?Playing video games may not make you tired while you play themthey may actually have the opposite result. But what they can do is interfere with the quality of sleep that you get.
If you don’t get a good night’s sleep because your brain couldn’t shut down after being ramped up from video games, you’ll feel the effects the next day. Even if you get 8 hours of sleep, you may feel tired, irritable, and unable to focus because of the lack of good sleep.
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What Did They Find
The researchers found that video games and apps that were interactive and educational had a positive effect on childrens brain development. However, violent and exclusively entertaining media had a negative effect on child brain development.
One study showed that educational games can help preschoolers learn coding, literacy, and math skills. Another study focused on characters in educational games showed that creating a strong bond with an in-game character can improve the childs learning. A study that looked at games that involved movement and exercise, called exergames, found that the games can help improve childrens decision-making and overall main functions of the brain.
Many studies have looked at the effect that parents can have on childrens learning when watching educational TV shows with them. When parents watch and interact with the content with their child , children learn better from the program. As a result of this research, the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to watch educational shows with their children. Now, parents are encouraged to play educational video games with their children to help improve their learning.
The majority of the research on video games has been done with young children and adolescents. The authors note that very little is known about the impact of video games during middle childhood , and they encourage more research to be done.
Violent Video Games Have Impact On The Brain
Players of Violent Video Games Show Signs of Brian Changes Linked to Aggression
May 25, 2010 — Young, healthy men who play a lot of violent video games over a long period of time show distinct changes in brain activity that correlate with aggressive behavior, preliminary research suggests.
A number of studies have linked frequent use of violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt to aggressive tendencies in kids. But other studies have found no such link.
There has been little research into whether the games have an impact on brain function.
The new study involved 14 young men, average age 25, who said they played violent video games an average of five hours a day for at least two years, and 14 young men of similar ages who didn’t play violent video games.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.
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Improves Childrens Memory Even Years After Playing Video Games
Video games can also help improve childrens memory even when they no longer play them. New research from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya suggests that playing video games facilitates cognitive changes in the brain.
The study featured 27 adults with and without any kind of experience playing video games. Those who were avid gamers before adolescence, despite no longer playing, performed better at memory tasks. The tasks required participants to mentally hold and manipulate information to get a result.
On the other hand, participants who never had experience playing video games as a child didnt show any similar benefits. They had a harder time in performing their memory tasks than those who played video games as children.
People who played games as children also performed better at processing 3D objects at the start of the experiments. However, this advantage was later mitigated after the participants finished training in video gaming. At that point, both groups showed similar levels of performance.
You can find out more about the results of the study here.
How Do Video Games Affect The Brain Positively
In laymans terms, playing video games directly affects and impacts regions of the brain responsible for memory, spatial orientation, information organizations, and fine motor skills. The study also reinforces the claim that, like exercise, playing games for as little as 30 minutes a day, can improve your life.
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How Video Games Affect Brain Function
- B.A., Biology, Emory University
- A.S., Nursing, Chattahoochee Technical College
Research studies suggest that there is a link between playing certain video games and improved decision making abilities and cognitive flexibility. There is an observable difference between the brain structure of individuals who play video games frequently and those who don’t. Video gaming actually increases brain volume in areas responsible for fine motor skill control, the formation of memories, and for strategic planning. Video gaming could potentially play a therapeutic role in the treatment of a variety of brain disorders and conditions resulting from brain injury.
Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria
The primary inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trial study, video game interaction, and MRI/fMRI analysis. Studies that qualified with only one or two primary inclusions were not included. Review papers and experimental protocols were also not included. The secondary inclusion criteria were publishing after 2000 and published in English. Excluded were duration of less than 4 weeks or unspecified length intervention or combination intervention. Also excluded were studies of cognition-based games, and studies of participants with psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, and medical disorders.
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Violent Vacuous Or Vindicated
Video games come in many beguiling forms, but only a few subgenres have been examined closely in terms of their effects on the brain.
Dr. Daphne Bavelier, brain scientist at the University of Rochester and the University of Geneva, has prolifically researched homicidal first person shooter games such as Call of Duty. Her research found that gamers brains show activity in multiple brain regions, indicating numerous and surprising visual-spatial benefits in areas like perception, attention, task switching, mental rotation, brain plasticity, learning, short-term memory, crowding acuity, contrast sensitivity, and perceptual decision processes.
Bavelier isnt an outlier, either: Italian, Polish, and Dutch researchers agree with her findings. In a 2013 study, for example, researchers found that FPS game participants showed a more flexible mindset and faster reaction time than non-gamers.
But wait: are these types of visual-spatial skills useful to anyone other than future assassins? Yes. Many bloodless vocations including engineering, mathematics, natural sciences, economic forecasting, architecture, art, and design require the eye-hand intelligence that video games develop.
In fact, many daily modern chores like reading maps, driving in heavy traffic, packing objects, and orienting yourself in a new environment, such as a school or office building demand visual-spatial intelligence.
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What Do We Know Already
Video games and digital media play a large role in many childrens lives. Surveys show that young children play video games for an average of about 20 minutes per day. This increases as children grow older. Children ages 5-8 play for an average of about 40 minutes per day, and children ages 8-12 play for an average of about 80 minutes per day. Some schools are taking advantage of video games popularity and including educational video games in their lessons. One school has even developed a whole curriculum based on video game play and design. Despite video games popularity and rising use in education, there is still relatively little research on their positive and negative effects on childrens brains.
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What Are Gaming Disorder Warning Signs
According to World Health Organization, which recognizes gaming disorder as a mental health condition, there are three signs that someone might be struggling with gaming disorder:
- Impaired control over gaming
- Increasing priority is given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
- Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences
How Do Video Games Affect The Brain Positively And Negatively
Video games and brain changes
A growing body of evidence, however, shows that video gaming can affect the brain and, furthermore, cause changes in many regions of the brain. Game addicts have functional and structural changes in the neural reward system. For example, video game use is known to affect attention.
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What Can Parents Do About The Negative Effects Of Video Games
- Play the games with your kids to understand what they are doing and to show interest in their hobbies
- Before giving your students access to a new game, ask them to explain why they want to play it. Then, spend some time playing the game on your own and decide if it is safe for your family to play. Know that your child has perhaps already played it at their friendâs house
- Schedule game time and set time limits beforehand
- Use a physical timer to set time limits
- Teach your children that video games are only to be played in moderation
- Challenge your student to find offline activities they enjoy and can add to their resume
- Have an open dialog about video games with your children. Consider talking about the dangers of playing with strangers, sharing personal information in chats, appropriate lanuage, graphic video game content, and bullying behavior
- Model positive screen time behaviors around your children
The Health Effects Of Too Much Gaming
- By Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributor
It is estimated that 164 million Americans half of our population play video games, also known as gaming. Contrary to popular belief, it isnt just teens who play games. According to a recent survey, only 21% of gamers were under 18 years old. While gaming can be a fun distraction or hobby , there are health risks that come from too much gaming. What are these harms, and what can be done about them?
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Daphne Bavelier & C Shawn Green
Although the popular media has a strong tendency to produce breathless headlines about the effects of video games, it is worth noting that the term video games is far from a single construct and thus, has almost no scientific predictive power. One can no more say what the effects of video games are, than one can say what the effects of food are. There are millions of individual games, hundreds of distinct genres and sub-genres, and they can be played on computers, consoles, hand-held devices and cell phones. Simply put, if one wants to know what the effects of video games are, the devil is in the details.
Studies that have examined perception and spatial cognition have focused on one specific genre of games the so-called action video games. Indeed, playing this type of game results in a wide range of behavioural benefits, including enhancements in low-level vision, visual attention, speed of processing and statistical inference, among others. Furthermore, properly controlled training studies have repeatedly demonstrated a causal link between video game playing and enhanced abilities. Hence, it is not just that people who naturally choose to play games have better perceptual skills. The ability to improve ones abilities through practice has obvious practical ramifications, from rehabilitation of visual skills in individuals with amblyopia to the training of surgeons.
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Video Games Reverse Negative Effects Of Aging
Playing video games is not just for kids and young adults. Video games have been found to improve cognitive function in older adults. These cognitive improvements in memory and attention were not only beneficial, but lasting as well. After training with a 3-D video game specifically designed to improve cognitive performance, the 60 to 85-year-old individuals in the study performed better than 20 to 30-year-old individuals playing the game for the first time. Studies such as this one indicate that playing video games can reverse some of the cognitive decline associated with increased age.
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Promotes Social Isolation Or Anti
Too much time playing video games can make children socially isolated. They may spend less time on other activities like homework, reading, sports, and even interaction with the family.
However, researchers at the North Carolina State University, New York, and University of Ontario Institute of Technology found that gamers dont replace their offline social lives with online game playing, but rather expand them. Amongst gamers, being a loner is not the norm.
Video games can actually augment a childs social life.
Does Gruesome Mayhem Make Kids Violent
Opinions vary widely on this question. Organizations including Mothers Against Video Game Addiction and Violence and Parents Against Violence have mobilized to combat video game carnage. Both groups argue theres a link between school shootings such as those that occurred at Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland and violent video games.
Psychologist Craig A. Anderson, a vocal video game critic, conducted a 2010 study that shows a link between exposure to violent video games and increased aggressive behavior, as well as decreased empathy among gamers. Barbara J. Wilson of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne concluded in a 2008 study that exposure to violent video games, like exposure to violent television, can contribute to aggressive behavior. And research led by Dr. Jordan Grafman of the National Institute of Health and published in the Oxford Journal suggests that boys exposed to violent video games were desensitized because emotional responses are blunted. According to Grafman, his research indicates that, continued exposure to violent videos will make an adolescent less sensitive to violence, more accepting of violence, and more likely to commit aggressive acts. Even more disturbing is a 2014 report that found that youths who had played violent video games in the past year were four times more likely to also report theyd carried a weapon to school.
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The Video Games Your Child Plays Has An Effect On Their Behavior
More and more research is emerging with evidence of the negative effects violent video games have on children. The most popular video games are also some of the most violent, and pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner speaks about the numerous effects they have on kids. If you notice behavioral problems and other issues with your child, video games with violence and other adult themes may be to blame. Listen to learn about the research and more.
With in-person activities for kids on hold a lot during the past year, video games have taken the place of ways for kids to connect while being socially distanced. Is this a good thing? Well, that depends.
Video gaming has become a popular activity for people of all ages since the 1980s. Many kids spend large amounts of time playing them, although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids have more than two hours total of screen time a day. Video gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, and video games have become very sophisticated and realistic. There are multi-player games, which allow kids to play with their friends across different platforms. However, there’s always the possibility that kids can connect with not-so-friendly people out there, too.