Are Video games a waste of time? This is one of the questions that always spark a massive debate among the people. Those individuals who are in favor of playing video games are of the view that though video games can’t help you with your grades, can’t improve your physical or mental health but playing them definitely gives you a sigh of relief, provides you a chance to fly from your frantic and feverish routine. While contrary to these folks’ opinions, video games can undoubtedly be a waste of time if youngsters get addicted to them.
So, the problem is not with the video games but the problem is with their addiction. If you spend countless hours playing video games then it proves to be fatal for your mental as well as physical health and distracts you from achieving your goals.
So after a lot of research work, in this article, we have discussed all those details that you should take into consideration if you are yourself a gamer or your child is addicted to these video games.
Cons of Video games
Video games are no substitute for reading a good book, or learning a new skill or doing something productive.
Effects on relationships
Gamers get so indulge in playing video games that they start ignoring their loved ones. Instead of hanging out with their friends after a hectic day, they consume their free time in playing games which makes them socially isolated.
This proves to be problematic not just for the gamers themselves but also for their families.
Waste of money
Though most of them are free of cost but some gamers need money to move to the next levels which proves to be a financial burden on their families.
Others can’t even scrutinise the pleasure they feel by spending their money over such virtual things.
Video games are quite addictive in nature. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has included the Video game addiction in “International Classification of Diseases” by naming it as a “ Gaming disorder”. This Organization estimated a number that shows that 3 to 4 percent of people are addicted to these games around the globe.
Due to the lack of physical activities, persistent video gamers may become obese or overweight due to increase in the Body Mass Index. Increased food intake in gamers is also one of the leading causes of obesity.
In 1981, a report showed that some video games induce epileptic seizures in the individuals. But afterwards according to another report, these video games induce seizures in only those people who were already suffering from Epilepsy.
Some video games, especially the violent ones, are the significant cause of stress not only in adults but in children as well.
Stress further leads to changes in the expression of trait and causes increased aggression in youth especially in the men.
Playing video games for a longer duration can cause various eye related diseases like eyestrain and other vision issues. Blurring of eye sight is common. It can also cause nausea, vomiting and severe headache
Effects of video games on brain
Some of the video games causes the reduction in the grey matter of the hippocampus. This is because those gamers use caudate nucleus more than they use their hippocampus. As a result, hippocampus starts losing cells. This reduction in grey matter is associated with various brain related disorders like depression, post traumatic stress disorder , schizophrenia and even Alzheimer’s disease in older age.
The young people who play shooter video games, their brain weakens and are at high risk of memory loss or dementia when they get older. Also while playing any video game, only that part of the brain is stimulated that is responsible for movement and the vision so the other parts of the brain which control behaviours get underdeveloped.
The gamer gets a temporary rush due to the significant increase in the dopamine level while playing video games. As a result, our brain gets a message and it produces this hormone in a lesser quantity. It should be kept in mind that there are also some positive effects on the brain such as a betterment of the visual perception and even processing of information gets better.
Pros of video games
Though some of the researches show that those who play violent video games are at risk of increased aggression, and they tend to be more violent than those who don’t play violent games at all. Such games also lead to changes in the expression of trait are one of the significant causes of stress especially in adults. There is a strong connection between interpersonal affective deficits and those violent video games. But still there are countless benefits that one can get by playing different online games.
Video games induce cognitive effects including the visuospatial cognition in those who play them. In addition to this these games also help gamers in improved attention as they can accurately detect different objects quickly.
Can help in overcoming phobias
It is also observed that those having phobia of flying can overcome their fear through video games. Prosocial video games have positive effects on the attitude and behaviour of the gamers.
Increase Physical fitness
With the invention of different gaming technologies, these video games are now coming with benefits for our physical health. In a recent study, it is observed that the Body Mass Index and the body fat is significantly decreased that makes gamers physically fit. And help in overcoming limitations related to cognition.
What are researchers saying about video games
As we have already discussed above that it’s not the video game that is troublesome but it is its addiction that is atrocious. If you are not addicted and obsessed to them then video games are not a waste of time.
A recent research proves that games inculcate a sense of autonomy that is one of the psychological needs of a person. The gamer has the freedom of choice, he gets the ability to take decisions at the right time. Games offer a sense of accepting challenges to those playing and build up their competence level.
So when the question “ Are video games a waste of time?” arises in your brain then you need to read this. Video games are not a waste of time if played by following a proper timetable. Video games not only boost up your energy and morale. These also help facilitate a feeling of relatedness with the characters of the game.
Give yourself a treat
You can give yourself a treat at the end of a hectic day and can play them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, < 1 or 2 hours of screen time should be allowed to your kids per day. An important point to be noted is that on school days only 30 to 60 minutes of screen time should be allotted to the kids per day.
In addition to this, video games inculcate problem solving skills in the gamers.
In this period of boredom and lassitude, playing video games can have a lot of positive effects on you. Playing online games can help you make new friends from all over the world and can help to grow your social circle. Some action games improve visual attention and there are positive effects on your cognitive skills as well.
Ability to focus develops in a person who plays these games and make him/her better at detecting patterns. A Research says that only one out of four gamers reported dysregulation in their behaviors while the risk of getting addicted is just in 1 to 3 % gamers.
Make time for video games despite a busy routine
You can still make time for video games despite your tough and hectic schedule. Balancing video games and life is important. Even though you have a test in the coming days, even though you have to make assignments, still you can get time for yourself , still you can make time for your favorite video games.
Your should prioritize your tasks according to the level of their significance. It is you who has to decide whether your job is important or your video game. Complete your assignments. Or prepare for your that important test which is due tomorrow and then play games with ease and comfort. Even, you won’t feel guilt afterwards.
Time management is mandatory if you want to balance your real life and that crafted life. Keep it in your mind that you must not sacrifice your sleep for playing. Without a sound sleep you can’t focus on anything. And yes there is not a specific age for playing video games. You can play games after you get married, after you have kids or a new job is about to start. A good time table and a will power are all you need to keep this activity in moderation.
Ways to curtail spending time on video games
The answer to the above question is simply to make changes in your daily routine. You need to acknowledge your responsibilities by changing your perspective towards the life. You need to realize that the Real life is far more different from those crafted worlds that you normally see in the video games. Making a timetable for yourself and tracking the gaming time can help you a lot in sparing time. After four days or simply after a week, calculate the time spent in playing games. Just after seeing unlimited hours you wasted on games, you would probably regret wasting it. Then try to decrease your number of hours gradually.
Set a timer as soon as you sit down for playing games. Set a maximum limit for yourself and try to stick to it. An important point to be noted is that in the start don’t restrict yourself too much. As it may cause hurdles in achieving the daily aims. If you play games on PC then you can change the settings in such a way that after the certain time limit, it would automatically shut down.
In the start you may urge to play more but if you continue following the time table you designed for your own well being, then with time it would prove to be helpful for you. You will observe significant changes in your mental as well as physical health. But it requires a tremendous will power, without a doubt, to follow your self imposed time table.
Take strict actions
Think about how it effected your body, how you procrastinated on your important tests and then got poor grades. How you missed all the important moments of your life, how you were being prevented from enjoying quality time with your loved ones. After that take all the measures you can take to stay away from it. Either box it up. Or hand it over to any of your family members or simply delete all the addictive games.
Gaming addiction causes psycho-social issues in the life of the gamers. They tend to be more depressed and insomniac than the non gamers. In addition to this, these games have devastating effects on one’s mental health. If you play video games in moderation, after completion of your daily chores, if these games don’t affect your relationships or friendships, if these don’t make your mental health deteriorate, if you have not procrastinated on your important assignments, then playing them in your free time is definitely not a bad choice at all.