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Video Game Addiction: Is It Really Harmful?

A long-term study from Brigham University examines the effect of video games and how video game addiction develops over time. But don’t worry, there is good news.

For most teenagers, playing video games is a fun and often social form of entertainment.

But if, on the one hand, playing video games is a fun pastime, there is a growing concern that spending too much time could compromise development and become a real addiction.

A recent six-year study, which represents the longest analysis ever conducted on video game addiction, found that around 90% of gamers do not play maliciously or cause long-term negative consequences.

90% of players do not play maliciously and do not cause any long-term negative consequences.

A significant minority, however, can become truly addicted to video games and consequently may suffer mentally, socially and behaviorally.

The purpose of this study specifically was to analyze the long-term impact of playing video games and what this action produces in people over time.

said Sarah Coyne, a professor at Brigham University and lead author of the research, which goes on to say:

to see the impact, we examined the “trajectories” of pathological video gameplay for six years, from early adolescence to emerging adulthood.

In addition to finding the long-term consequences for addicted players, this study, published in Developmental Psychology, also breaks the stereotypes related to players and found that pathological play cannot bind to all ailments.

In addition to finding the long-term consequences for addicted players, this study, published in Developmental Psychology, also breaks the stereotypes related to players and found that pathological play cannot bind to all ailments.

Those who develop a pathology linked to the overuse of video games are characterized by excessive time spent playing video games, difficulty in disengaging from them and interruption of its correct behavioral functioning in other areas due to video games. Only about 10% of players fall into this pathological category.

For players belonging to this group, higher levels of depression, aggression, shyness, problematic use of the mobile phone and anxiety from emerging adulthood were highlighted. Since the initial analysis had found no significant differences, the researchers are inclined to think that video games may have been instrumental in the development of this pathological state.

Only about 10% of players fall into the pathological category.

For players belonging to this group, higher levels of depression, aggression, shyness, problematic use of the mobile phone and anxiety from emerging adulthood were highlighted. Since the initial analysis had found no significant differences, the researchers are inclined to think that video games may have been instrumental in the development of this pathological state.

385 teenagers filled out questionnaires several times a year for six years.

To measure the predictors and outcomes of video game addiction, Coyne studied 385 teenagers as they passed into adulthood. Each individual completed multiple questionnaires once a year for a period of six years. These questionnaires measured depression, anxiety, aggression, delinquency, empathy, prosocial behavior, shyness, sensory reactivity, financial stress and problematic use of the mobile phone.

Two main predictors for video game addiction have been found: being male and having low levels of prosocial behavior (i.e. voluntarily behaving for the benefit of other people).

While having higher levels of prosocial behavior, it tended to be a protective factor against addiction symptoms.

Aside from the predictors, Coyne also found three distinct trajectories of the use of video games. 72% of teenagers have always shown low levels of addiction symptoms during the six years of data collection. Another 18% of teenagers started with moderate symptoms that did not change over time and only 10% of teenagers showed increasing levels of symptoms that resulted in disease during the study.

The results suggest that while about 90% of players do not play in a dysfunctional or harmful way for the life of the individual, there is still a considerable minority who are truly addicted to video games and suffer from symptoms of addiction over time.

These results dismantle the stereotype of players who live in their parents’ basement, unable to support themselves financially or get a job because of their fixation on video games. Pathological video game users also seem to be financially stable and cutting edge like gamers who are not addicted.

I really think there are wonderful things in video games

said Coyne.

The important thing is to use them in a healthy way and not to get sucked into the pathological levels

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Marge Lawis
    July 7, 2020 at 4:40 am

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    • Reply
      Anfalidrissi
      July 15, 2020 at 6:04 am

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