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Effects of Playing Computer Games for Long Hours to Human Health

In a fast-changing world where technology has advanced drastically than it has ever been, social media, online games, and e-games have been widespread.

We live in today’s world wherein most individuals seem to be more present in the virtual world than they are on the real world, wherein social media shapes the reality of most individuals, and wherein online gaming or e-gaming have been given adamant focus, priority, and time.

Electronic games or e-games is a generic term for any amusement or recreation using a stand-alone video game, desktop computer or the Internet with one or more players.

In the age where people get attached with their devices or so they liked to be called as “millennials”, (a generation which is a group of people who were born approximately in 1984), more and more people are becoming either slaves of the technology or devotees of the current online or e-gaming trends.

Rise of esports

Online games have become a trend, and a worldwide phenomenon that it hits like a domino. Mobile Legends, PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), Counter Strike, DOTA, and DOTA 2, are just some of the few games that are so famous they became household names to the gamers.

As a matter of fact, The Filipino Gamer claimed that in 2017, there would be 29.9 million gamers in the Philippines, spending a total of $354 million. This makes the Philippines number 29 worldwide in terms of game revenues.

Survey also shows that 48% of the gamers’ populace were females. Hence, a large slice of the Philippine population are gamers and to keep in mind, these statistical numbers were only true way back in 2017.

As more and more online or e-games are given birth to each year, chances are, more and more people, avid fans or novices to computer games, are going to be drawn to it.

As aforementioned, online games have become so phenomenal that the Department of Education even asked to consider e-games specifically Mobile Legends and DOTA as one of the games in Palarong Pambansa.

Considering that DOTA hosts a world championship game with a prize of more than $8.5 million, online gamers are not only dedicating their time in playing these games for recreational purposes but also spending a huge amount of time to not just maintain a status but become experts so that they may be able to join local DOTA championship games and eventually the world championship games.

Accordingly, these games are very time-consuming and addicting as they are designed that way.

Cons of Gaming

Addiction is defined as a disease in which a person finds themselves unable to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior.

In fact, survey shows that video gamers spend an average of 5.96 hours each week playing games. 20.1 percent play for an hour or less each week. 36.2 percent play between one and four hours each week.

26.8 percent play seven or more hours. However, the most alarming video game addiction statistics shows that the average length of time spent playing video games was 20 hours per week. An estimated nine percent of the 3,034 participants in the study showed signs of video game addiction.

As computer games are designed to be addictive, there are games on the other hand, that encourage development and improvement on cognitive operations. By playing it, gamers get a number of benefits even not realizing actually that it happens.

The boons are namely the motivation or it being used as a leverage, enables activity of the brain, hand and eye coordination, improved motor skills, improved memory, math and reading skills, quick thinking and decision making, improved concentration, improving problem-solving skills, experimenting with aspects of individual identity, bringing up perseverance, accuracy, and logic, and development of teamwork and cooperation skills.

Although the positive aspects of playing computer games mentioned above are quite convincing, still, behind the pleasure and favors that these highly addictive games give to each gamer is the issue of human health.

As everything in this world yields a pro and a con, the worst con there could ever possibly be is health. As health is wealth and as supported by the popular adage “Too much of everything is not good”, having spent too much time, attention, priority, and focus on computer games, these are just some of the negative consequences of it:

  • Lack of time for more important activities like studying or outdoor games. When gamers dedicate much time to games, they do not have time for other activities. Even college assignments lose priority if an important battle is planned in the evening. That results in poor grades and academic problems. Moreover, such gamers do not go for a walk and exhaust their organisms sitting in front of the screen.
  • Addiction. One of the most serious problems connected with online games is an addiction. People become obsessed with the virtual world, lose a sense of reality and spend all their time on playing. Most often it concerns gambling, online casinos but simulations and other games may be dangerous too. If a person can be easily influenced, the probability of him/her to get addicted is much higher. Addiction is a serious psychological problem that requires treatment so it must be timely detected.
  • Aggressive behavior. Many gamers are so influenced by games they play online that they transfer their virtual characters into reality. They get used to solving problems as their nasty heroes and this aggressive behavior becomes a customary thing for them. Such bursts of aggressiveness should be eliminated immediately or they might grow into a habit.
  • Isolation from society. The online world is an opportunity to get away from real problems and gamers facing many troubles in studying find this sense of freedom in games. They become so involved in playing that lose a sense of reality and become isolated from society. That results in the absence of friends, inability to solve real problems, communicate and be a member of the society.
  • Detrimental influence on health. Sitting in front of the computer, tablet or mobile screen is incredibly detrimental to gamers’ health. First of all, there is a negative influence on eye-sight that is in a constant tension. Sometimes, it is necessary to wear headphones all the time, so ears are under pressure as well. Secondly, it is the body position. A sitting or lying position influences negatively on one’s back and neck and if one does not change it regularly, it may result in health troubles.

Additionally, some of the effects of playing computer games to human health include:

Emotional Health

  • Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity or anticipation of the next online session
  • Lying to friends or family members regarding the amount of time spent playing
  • Auditory hallucinations – a form of hallucination that involves perceiving sounds without auditory stimulus

Physical Health

  • Fatigue
  • Migraines due to intense concentration or eye strain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the overuse of a controller or computer mouse
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Wrist Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Elbow Pain

Aside from these health issues, computer game addiction can also relay short-term and long-term effects to a gamer’s well-being. Comparable to any other compulsive disorder, computer game addiction can have severe negative consequences.

Though most of the symptoms listed above have short-term effects, they can lead to more severe long-term repercussions if not addressed properly. For example, someone addicted to video games will often avoid sleeping or eating proper meals in order to continue gaming.

While the short-term effects of this may include hunger and fatigue, it could eventually lead to a sleep disorder or diet-related health issues. Similarly, those who isolate themselves from others in order to play video games may miss out on family events, outings with friends, or other events in the short-term. If this continues to be a pattern for a long period of time, however, addicts might find themselves without any friends at all.

Other long-term effects of video game addiction to consider are the financial, academic and occupational consequences involved. Video games and video game equipment can be very expensive, especially when factoring in recurring costs such as the high-speed Internet connection required for online multiplayer games. These games can also be very time-consuming, leaving addicted gamers with less time to focus on their education or career.

As a conclusion, online games are incredibly popular among the different countries of the world especially teens who seek new emotions in the virtual reality. They take a big amount of their time as it is a perfect way to get rid of stresses, exhausting assignments, and annoying roommates. With this, there is nothing wrong with treating one’s self with something s/he can be happy with may it come to be a form of a person, a food, gadgets, social media, or even computer games.

Recreation, being an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working, is one of the few things an individual can do to break free every once in a while. However, there is a fine line between enjoyment and abuse and a fine line between recreational activities and addiction.

As the famous maxim says “Too much of everything is not good”, with that being said, one owes it to one’s self to be disciplined most especially if one’s well-being is already affected. Pleasure is not pleasure anymore when what lies in exchange for having fun is a risk of one’s own health.

All of these thoughts can simply be put in one question: “Is it still having fun when your health is on the line?” Well, as what Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray would answer it “[Everything] is okay as long as in moderation”. Therefore, it is important to schedule one’s time of playing computer games or negative consequences will outweigh all the benefits greatly.