HeyU Issue 54 - 24 April - Page 24

ROUND two

Is being addicted to video games unhealthy ?

To m

This is one of those case by case scenarios , where of course there are those who use this form of entertainment responsibly as well as those who don ’ t know their boundaries or limits , much like with alcohol or gambling addictions .
In saying that , ‘ Internet Gaming Disorder ’ is recognised in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .*
Unlike alcohol , the key detrimental components of being addicted to video games is time and reward . Many games track progress and players who play longer receive greater reward in achievements and recognition . In a recent episode of Triple J ’ s Hack program **, a neuroscientist explained the short-circuiting of the rewards system in the brain due to the increase in dopamine caused by achieving goals and milestones in these games .
Spending more time on video games means less time on other priorities , affecting sleep , focus and health and wellbeing , which I think is where the addiction facet causes a real issue .
Speaking from personal experience , I know that video games can be very addictive , but is this always a bad thing ? Video games develop your brain to react faster , see more and even rehabilitate senses (‘ Your brain on video games ’, TED ).
Video games have achieved something amazing by creating a desire in people to regularly play something that is beneficial to our development as humans . Granted , not all video games are educational , but I ’ m positive people who have followed the Assassin ’ s Creed series could recite a lot about the history of the places those games are set in . Video games could even provide a platform for teaching in future if the content is as entertaining as popular games today .

Nik

Sources : * American Psychiatric Association , Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . ** Triple J , ‘ Trump and climate change , gaming addiction , and Hack Live : Sex Addiction ’, Hack . *** University of Southern Queensland , ‘ USQ Aviation ’, Bachelor of Aviation website .
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