There is no denying that computer and video games have changed the definition of play and entertainment, as we know it. They give us a stimulating and thrilling way to play games, but have they become a hindrance to our mental health?
Computer Games that Can Damage Your Health
Playing computer games has been associated with numerous side effects on children and adults alike. Issues of addiction, violent behavior, nudity, and social isolation were linked to playing computer video games. Several studies proved video games can inflict unwanted effects on players; these include relationship problems with friends and parents, higher susceptibility to drug use, low self-esteem, harsh or violent behavior, and problems with rules and authority. Young children and even adults who play video games are at a greater risk for “video games addiction”, eventually affecting their studies and other social responsibilities. Playing video games is not the only factor predisposing individuals to these risks. The type of video games played is also seen as a significant factor that pushes individuals towards these adverse effects. So what are the computer games that can damage a person’s health and well-being? Here is a list of the video games that can potentially affect health, especially when not managed appropriately.
Violent Video games
Studies have shown that violent video games can increase aggressive and violent behavior among children and teenagers. Examples range in story lines revolving around crimes, gang wars, shootings, killings and the like. According to psychology experts, games that involve guns and armories seemingly stimulate “murder scenarios” and seemingly promote a sense of immunity to killing among children and adolescents who play the games. An example of a computer game that raised controversy because of its violent content is the game “Grand Theft Auto”. The game involves themes of gang wars, crimes and sex.
Adult Video games
This is another type of video game that may pose harm to an individual’s health and well-being. Adult video games revolve around the theme of sex and nudity. Such themes can be dangerous for children and adults alike. “Grand Theft Auto: San Andres” is an example of a computer game with explicit sexual content; the game simulates sexual activity between the player’s character and the main character’s girlfriend. Another controversial game is “Rapelay” which revolves around rape. Video games must be carefully chosen and screened for adult content and their exposure to children and adolescents must be carefully monitored and supervised.
Although almost all types of video games can cause excessive compulsion or a kind of addiction, playing arcade games cause significant addiction among individuals. Excessive compulsion to video game playing leads to a sedentary lifestyle, social isolation (separation from friends and family members) and non-fulfillment of important life tasks (education, social interaction, etc.).
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Fantasy Games and Role Playing Games
These types of video games can potentially be a threat to one’s mental and physical health. Fantasy games and role-playing games can cloud a child’s perception of reality. Since there is still a thin line between reality and fantasy among children at young ages, such games can greatly affect their perception of reality.
Simulation games that portray an “artificial life” can also affect one’s health and well-being. Games such as SimLife can detach a person from real life social interactions and life events.
[Recommended read: How to Take Care of Your Health when Working at a Computer]