Video Games and Its Effects on Teenagers
The role of video games in the lives of teenagers is as an entertainment tool. According to recent studies about Young Children and Teen and Tweens, 56% of teens, 13 to 17-years- olds play video games for an average of 2.5 hours per day.
But unknowingly, video games have many good and bad consequences on them.
Why Video Games Have So Much Popularity Among Teenagers?
Research has shown that video games are popular but why is it popular among teenagers? The reason behind their popularity is that video games allow teenagers to escape their problems.
Another attraction of playing video games is that it gives teenagers the opportunity to think about a role they consider ideal and through video games, they get a chance to play that role. By this, they enjoy socializing, try on different personalities and engaging in challenging and rewarding-based experiences.
Effects Of Video Games On Teenagers
Now we try to know how these video games influencing teenagers. It has some positive and some negative effects on kids. So first we will have look at some its positive effects and then its negative effects.
Positive Or Good Effects
1. Releases The Happy Hormone ‘Dopamine’
Dopamine, which is also called “Feel Good Hormone”, makes a person feel good. According to recent studies, people playing video games (like Angry Birds and Bejewelled II), have a high release of dopamine hormone. Video games are reward-driven and teenagers play it to get the same reward and whether the reward is advancement in the game, the rise of a ranking board or badges and trophies.
These video games provide instant gratification to teenagers as if they have won a battle. That makes them feel good and confident. But because of this feeling, playing video games can turn into an addiction.
2. Working As A Team
Nowadays most games are played online which often includes many players in the country and the world. To win such a multiplayer game, the cooperation of other players is necessary and these games encourage the child to play with others. This will help your teen to work together as a team and build the skills necessary to solve problems.
3. Improve Decision Making Skills
Most games are high-speed and work in real-time. In such games, the player needs to make quick decisions in a concise time. This process helps in embodies decision-making skills which is important in games as well as in real life too, where instant decisions often need to be made under pressure.
4. Quick Decisions With Accuracy
According to a study, action games help train the player's brain to make fast decisions with accuracy. Video games can help teens to maintain a good level of accuracy by learning to rapidly calculate all the dependent parameters.
This is a beneficial skill and that's why doctors and soldiers are advised to play video games to enhance their decision making / quick decision-making skills with accuracy.
5. Improves Cognitive Skill
A certain skill in video gaming is repeated many times by which the brain develops a structure and creates new neural pathways and transmitters to optimize its functioning. At a time when intense concentration is applied, the brain becomes accustomed itself to be able to solve problems rapidly which can also help resolve real-life issues.
The right video games can improve brain functions such as visual processing and information filtering, reasoning, perception, memory, better apportionment of attention etc.
6. Problem- Solving Aptitude
Researchers say that strategic and creative video games are better at solving teen’s problems. When a teenager plays these types of games, he trains his brain in a creative way to solve puzzles and solve other problems quickly.
7. Hand-Eye Coordination
Research suggests that people who play video games can learn iconic, spatial and visual attention skills because to be successful in some games (especially shooting games), these skills are very important. These games require players to keep track of speed, position, goal, instructions and more. In which the player coordinates the brain's interpretation and response with movement in his hands and fingertips.
And this procedure needs a lot of hand-eye coordination and visual-spatial ability to be successful. This skill is also beneficial for daily activities and other sports.
Negative Or Bad Effects
1. Increase Aggression
The most harmful effect of playing violent video games is increased aggression among teenagers. Being aggressive is an appropriate way to resolve violent conflicts. As a result, these games increase aggression in teens.
Playing such a game for a long time increases the probability that the person will react to any conflict with aggression.
2. Socially Isolated
While playing too much video game, your child becomes socially isolated. He spends most of his time in video games due to which he spends less time doing housework, reading, playing and interacting with family and friends.
Such children get bored in social function and are less interested in talking to others. As a result, the possibility of adjustment disorder, depression, anxiety, stress increases in their work as well as personal life.
3. Impact on Health
Spending more time on video games has an adverse effect on health. The risk of obesity increases due to spending more time playing virtual games instead of physical workout. Continuous screen glare can also damage the vision. Not only this, but it will also affect a child's cognitive development if he does not get out and socialize in the real world.
Apart from this, there are chances of being many other health problems like, weaken the muscles and joints, and make hands and fingers numb due to over-exertion, anxiety, poor sleep etc.
4. Impact On Academic Performance
This is one of the most negative side effects of playing video games. Studies have shown that “the more time a child spends in playing video games, the lesser his or her performance in academics”. Also, many studies have shown that they do not even do their homework in the vicinity of playing video games.
A Psychology study has also found that children with video game addiction argue a lot with their teachers, always fight with their friends, and often score lower grades than other children (who play video games less).
5. Learning Wrong Values
Many video games include extreme violence, extreme sexuality, profanity, racism, and many other things that are not right for children. Children can try to follow the same behaviour depicted in the game since the characters of video games are their heroes, they try to follow them.
Their brain is not yet fully developed and they don’t yet recognize what is right and what is wrong. Only after being exposed to the real world will they be able to differentiate right and wrong.
Many online games allow players to talk to co-players via text or voice chat. It may also be that your child may be exposed to threats, offensive language, or other offensive content - they may also engage in bullying others.
What Are The Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction?
- The first sign of video game addiction is that your child refuses to accept that he is too dependent on it even if you give him proof. He will always deny this defensively.
- When your child asks you for money, saying that he has to upgrade the game then it is obvious that he is addicted to it.
- The video game world may make disinterest in other aspects of the life of your teen. This world can take the life of a child to such an extent that family and friends find it boring. They start neglecting other activities like studying, connecting with friends, poor academic performance etc.
- Playing games for a long time after promising for 10 to 15 minutes is also a symptom of addiction until they cross a particular level.
- When your child loses the game or is unable to complete a level, he may become unfairly angry and frustrated. At that time he is unable to understand that it is merely a game.
- If you stop and scold the child from playing video games, he will try to find ways to play the game secretly by hiding or lying to you.
- Even when he is not playing video games, the teen will remain distracted and lost in thoughts. Usually, he thinks about the game itself and talks about the same and any mention of this habit makes him irritated.
Tips For Parents How To Help Teens Enjoy Video Games And Avoid Problems
- Set some limits for playing video games so that your child can do other activities as well.
- Discuss the side effects of video games and other media consumption with teens.
- Test any new game before downloading it. Check its ratings, reviews and even before you allow the child to play, you should first play that game and check whether it is right for him or not.
- Never place a video game system in your child’s bedroom. By doing this you will know how much time he is playing, what is playing? Research shows that children who have a video game system in their bedroom have obesity and sleep problems.
- Make sure to set up your child's accounts in multiplayer games and let them know that you have their password. Explain to your teen the importance of maintaining anonymity and privacy in these online environments.
- Sometimes accompany your teens in playing a video game and make it a social event “Video Gaming Night”. By doing this you can all have a good time together.
- To be a role model for your teen, you also have to reduce your own screen-time.
- All the family members spend some time together without any gadget only then the children will understand the importance of the family.
The best way to keep your children safe is to keep an eye on them. Talk to them about the dangers of video games, monitor gaming habits, help them understand ways to stay safe while playing. Also, tell them that you can have fun online without talking to strangers. Also, help them establish a routine, encourage them to make connections with friends and work outside.
It is also said that “Too much of anything is too bad”. Video games are also fine in self-control and this should be one of your child's day-long activities list.