There has always been discussion about the health risks involved in playing computer games. In the nineties, when gaming began to grow, games were simpler, less fun and the perceived health risk was lower. However, as the technology of consoles and games develop over time, they become much more addictive and the risks of causing some serious harm heightens.
The recent surge in online gaming over the past half-decade has also played a role in this trend. The ability to play against real people around the world means that there is so much more room for development and improving skill within a game. Instead of being able to master a game and complete it, there is now a constant learning curve, meaning it takes a lot longer to get bored. This makes the games much more addictive and leads to gamers playing for much longer at a time. The online aspect has led to the development of many strategy-style games, where players build a town, empire or a simulated life etc. and compete against other players. The way these games work leads to players becoming more and more engrossed in the simulated life created by these games.
In one extreme case in Korea, a couple were so absorbed by their virtual child in an internet café that they ended up neglecting their three-month-old baby.
There are many major health issues which can be developed due to excessive gaming, some of which are listed below:
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) – This problem is caused by the fact that players are making the same movements for a long period of time. This could be from sitting down clicking a mouse for hours on end or using a PlayStation controller for too long. Most commonly, games feel RSI strains in their wrists.
- Obesity – Although not directly linked to the act of playing games, gaming has a massive effect on the proportion of obesity within the population. Whereas people used to go out of the house, play sports or socialise, they are now happy to use gaming as an alternative. This can sometimes reduce a person’s exercise in a week to zero.
- Eye Strain – This results from people looking at a screen at the same focal point for too long, and it results in their eyes becoming tired. Also often felt by people working at a computer screen all day, this can lead to headaches and blurred vision.
- Other Problems – There are various other problems which have been seen to stem from overplaying of video games. People have seen to develop dehydration, blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.
Rise of Online Bingo
The recent surge in online bingo has also struck concern in certain groups. The gambling element of bingo makes it a very addictive pastime. There have been an increasing number of news stories about people becoming addicted to online bingo and getting into problems.
There are so many bingo sites available these days, and games playing 24 hours a day, that this could develop into a serious issue.
The main message to be taken from this article is that, like most things, excessiveness can cause problems. People need to be aware of the risks involved and parents must realize that they are responsible for their children’s attitude towards gaming. The current generation of children, surrounded by gaming, must be very careful not to carry bad habits into later life.