New research shows that excessive video gaming, a problem blossoming just within the past decade, puts kids on the road to depression and anxiety.
The study found that kids who spend the better part of their day in a virtual reality suffer from psychological disorders. Researchers think that the more out of place a child feels in school or at home, the more likely he is to turn to an experience that provides an alternative reality. Children who were not addicted to video games started showing signs of depression once they got hooked, according to researchers.
It is unknown whether kids mainly delve into this fantasy world because of the problems they face in real life, or if the problems develop in response to hours of excessive gaming. However, the study found that kids who began gaming pathologically suffered from more severe depression and anxiety. But when the gaming came to a halt, so did the negative mental alterations. This information seems to point in the direction that these disorders co-exist, with gaming making the problem more severe.
“When children became addicted, their depression, anxiety, and social phobias got worse, and their grades dropped,” said Douglas A. Gentile, a researcher in the study. “When they stopped being addicted, their depression, anxiety, and social phobias got better.”
They study included over 3,000 kids from Singapore ranging from 3rd grade to 8th grade. Information was gathered from the kids’ annual surveys over 2 years saying that the average time spent playing video games was approximately 20.5-22.5 hours a week. About 9% of the children were considered pathological gamers, results that are similar to the U.S. population.
The researchers don’t fully comprehend why video games would lead to such prominent mental issues. It is obvious that more time spent playing video games results in less time for socializing, focusing on school, and taking care of the body’s every day needs. What the researchers don’t emphasize or focus on is that the addicted kids may not be happy with their lives, and engaging their minds and bodies in a virtual reality may be their solution to an unfulfilling family and school life.
The researchers do address, however, that playing video games for 2-3 hours a day is considered normal. It is the equivalent to watching TV for 2-3 hours a day, which many people partake in after coming home from school or work.