Video game addiction is increasing day by day but health experts said that it can lead to a number of physical and psychological problems.
Dr. Shobhana Mittal, consultant psychiatrist at New Delhi based Cosmos Institute of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS), said that video gaming stimulates the dopamine neurotransmitter pathways in the brain – thereby making it an addictive activity for some.
“Instant gratification of pleasure experienced during gaming can lead to poor impulse control in children. Spending too much time on gaming can deeply impact a child’s physical health as well as psycho-social well being”, said Dr. Mittal.
Two Delhi brothers were in news who were so hooked to video games that they became too lazy to even go to washroom and were treated in a rehab facility for a month. The video game addiction is for real and despite several recent studies telling us that they can make your kids sharper and smarter, it is time for parents to do a reality check before it gets too late.
According to psychologists the video gaming addiction can lead to various health hazards in kids. Little, dedicated time on video gaming is fun but when kids get hooked to games, shun outdoor activities, avoid socialisation, cut on their sleep time and start loosing interest in most other things, that is when it become a grave concern.
Last December, researchers from the University of Utah US released findings that showed that brains of compulsive video game players are wired differently.
While some of the changes are predicted to help game players respond to new information, other changes are associated with distractibility and poor impulse control, the researchers noted.
“Parents need to encourage outdoor activities, help children develop hobbies, encourage them to interact more with friends. If they feel that children are spending too much time on online gaming, then must talk to a counsellor if the duration is not reduced,” Dr. Mittal advised.
Parents need to set appropriate limits for their children with regards to the type of video games permitted and time spent on them. “Video games at a very young age should be avoided, so that children can have an opportunity to develop other interests and hobbies at this age,” Dr. Mittal added.
Children should be encouraged to participate in alternate fun activities depending on their interest, including playing outdoor sports, music, dance, art or interacting with other children their age, which would contribute to a child’s all-round development.