Can Video Games Cause Depression?
When an adult or child starts playing excessively, they may develop many traits that look like depression including:
- Isolating themself to their room
- Becoming irritated easily
- Loss of friends
- Problems sleeping
- Physical deconditioning including weight gain or weight loss
During excessive and problematic video game play, people may also start to get behind on school or work assignments. Pressure may mount and grades and performance may be impacted. The feedback to the child or adult is that they are doing a poor job which often affects their self-esteem. People playing an excessive amount of video games will likely hear things like “don’t you ever do anything else” or “you are going to end up a loser if all you do is play games all day”. People with problematic use may start to internalize these thoughts and think “yeah, maybe I am a loser”.
In summary, the symptoms of excessive play may mimic depression and excessive play may also result in the development of depression.
Tips to maintain healthy video game use include:
- Play only age appropriate games: for more info check the following link: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
- Move around and stretch your body during play time
- Alternate physical activity or a group activity like a board game. Play them with your kids.https://gamewright.com/product/ (I love Dragonwood and Sleeping Queens)
- Don’t play highly stimulating games before bed
- Play only during specific hours of the day to protect homework, meal time and physical play. For other tips check: https://raisingchildren.net.au/preschoolers/play-learning/screen-time-healthy-screen-use/healthy-gaming-children-teens
- Play the games with children and talk about what is happening. Model good behavior on winning or losing or model good frustration tolerance. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/12/04/research-says-parents-and-kids-should-play-video-games-together/#564509d04892
Remember, when done right, video games should augment an adults or childs experience of life. Optimally they should be prosocial, foster respect for all and when they do they can be a great addition to the education and entertainment of both children and adults.
Check out this link on Parents.com