Video games long ago came into the life of a modern person, and today it is one of the most popular among all recreation types. This phenomenon can be expounded: virtual reality inclines to offer unlimited capabilities, and developers never stop to enrapture game lovers with renewed products. As known, around computer games, there have always been many debates and controversies. Most often, these disputes are about if games are pernicious or helpful. Today, even scientists cannot come to a consensus about the benefits of video games or damages they can cause. However, after analyzing numerous studies, it follows that computer games are hazardous for the mental and physical health of many people and contribute to the manifestation of aggressive behavior.
To begin with, not everyone is capable of falling under the negative influence of video games. Psychological research has shown that frequently people who are dissatisfied with living and feel loneliness or lack of goal in life are at the damage of gambling addiction (Dowsett & Jackson, 2019). Due to the virtual space, they gain all the opportunities that they lack in real routine. The computer player imagines a kind of illusion of capacity and omnipotence: he or she gets the properties to subdue an installed world, set rules, and reach a success. Thus, people who have personal problems in real life are susceptible to computer games’ negative impact.
It is considered that too much enthusiasm for video games provokes aggression. Elson and Ferguson, psychologists at the Wilhelm University of Westphalia, published the results of a 25-year study of the relationship between video game addiction and violence (Elson et al., 2014). In consonance with scientists, video games become a catalyst for aggressive behaviour. It means that a person predisposed to violent action can behave aggressively, copying ongoings of a computer game’s heroes.
Dowsett and Jackson (2019) claim that losing a competitive video game enhances the aggressive effect (p. 24). An act of aggression with a high degree of probability would have taken place without a computer game containing forcible elements. Still, violent actions would have had a different form. Nevertheless, precisely those prone to aggressive conduct, as a rule, choose computer games containing cruelty scenes. Thus, the study of these psychologists confirms the opinion that computer games provoke aggressive behavior.
Today, scientists studying computer games’ influence on human behavior agree that video games cause computer addiction, which is a mental disorder. Abu Naser and Al-Bayed (2016) note that gambling addiction is a serious problem because a person begins to live in virtual reality (p. 8). To the extreme degree of gambling addiction, a person loses his or her appetite and skips meals in an attempt to conquer more and more virtual worlds. This dependence negatively affects the quality of sleep and food intake. Sleep deprivation and lack of regular healthy eating can also indirectly cause aggression. Although here the root cause is not the content of the video game itself, but the lifestyle that a person who depends on video games chooses. However, video games are addictive, which is also associated with aggression.
It is important to note that video games negatively affect not only the mental but also the physical health of a person. Thus, during computer games, the back suffers from a continuous sitting position: the muscles of the neck and upper back become weaker, while the lower back is under double stress (Ayenigbara, 2018). Besides, because of prolonged monitoring of a computer, dry eyes can happen, which ophthalmologists match as one of the most critical illnesses. Many gambling addicts develop obesity due to a sedentary lifestyle (Carson et al., 2016). Being overweight in the long term can increase the risk of disease progressions, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension. Thus, computer games can cause significant damage to human physical health.
Nevertheless, there is an opinion that computer games have several health benefits. Bediou et al. (2018) state that many games, such as “Mario,” evolve helpful capabilities of a person’s orientation in area , induce memory, and contribute to the extension of logic. The authors also argue that video games – puzzles like “Tetris” help eliminate of unpleasant thoughts and sad memories, and cure PTSD and reduce the urge to overeat. Video games benefit a person’s mental state, helping to break stress and depression, reassure the nerves, and improve mood. Thus, like many things, video games can have both negative and positive effects.
The advantages and damages of video games continue to be the subject of study around the world. Scientists note that computer video games yet have helpful effects: they can help develop logic, thinking, and memory. However, everyone should bear in mind the great risk of addiction to video games and the growth of aggression and violent conduct. Summing up, much depends on both the game’s content and the sense of proportion and self-control of the one who plays it. Virtual reality should not take up all a person’s free time. It should not provoke him or her to violent behavior, developing aggression and anger.
Abu Naser, S. S., & Al-Bayed, M. H. (2016). Detecting health problems related to addiction of video game playing using an expert system. World Wide Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development, 2(9), 7-12.
Ayenigbara, I.O. (2018). Gaming disorder and effects of gaming on health: An overview. Journal of Addiction Medicine and Therapeutic Science, 4(1), 1-3. Web.
Bediou, B., Adams, D. M., Mayer, R. E., Tipton, E., Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2018). Meta-analysis of action video game impact on perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills. Psychological Bulletin, 144(1), 77–110. Web.
Carson, V., Hunter, S., Kuzik, N., Gray, C. E., Poitras, V. J., Chaput, J.-P., et al. (2016). Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth: An update. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(6), 240–265.
Dowsett, A., & Mervyn J. (2019). The effect of violence and competition within video games on aggression. Computers in Human Behavior, 99, 22-27.
Elson, M., Mohseni, M. R., Breuer, J., Scharkow, M., & Quandt, T. (2014). Press CRTT to measure aggressive behavior: The unstandardized use of the competitive reaction time task in aggression research. Psychological Assessment, 26(2), 419–432. Web.