Video Games and Health

AR is a high point of civilisationSource: Pixabay

Gaming is definitely one of the best things about living in the 21st century. You could even say that the ability to play high quality games on the device of your choice is one of the high points of modern civilisation. Let’s face it, whether your favorite digital distraction is a relaxing session of online pokies or something maddeningly difficult, screen time is fun time.  But can you have too much of a good thing? Are video games bad for your health? The Mother Grundies of this world aside, if you’re spending hours in front of a screen, it’s not a bad idea to be informed about the possible health hazards. If you know what to look out for, you’ll know what to do about it, which will make for a better gaming experience.

Trigger warning

A much more serious matter is photosensitive epilepsy, where flashing lights or highly contrasting patterns can trigger seizures. About one in twenty people living with epilepsy are affected and have this form known as photosensitive epilepsy, where seizures are triggered by flashing lights or highly contrasting patterns. Digital screens are unlikely to trigger seizures by themselves – it’s the flashing or flickering of the images that’s responsible. The only way to know if you have this type of epilepsy is if your neurologist sends you for an electroencephalogram EEG. The gaming industry adheres to World Wide Web Consortium guidelines to ensure gaming content does not have triggering patterns.

An unhealthy diet will diminish your gaming experienceSource: Pixabay

Angry couch potato

A couch potato lifestyle combined with a lousy diet will put you at risk of obesity. Video gaming can keep you on the couch for longer, so it can be a concern. Sedentary lifestyles and poor diet contribute to obesity. Video gaming, like television and smartphones, support a sedentary lifestyle, especially when coupled with sugary or fatty snacks. The common sense approach is to strike a balance between gaming and exercise. It could help with feelings of aggression too. Although no scientific link has been established between gaming and levels of aggression, you could feel frustrated simply from being cooped up for too long. Nor do you necessarily want to get pale skin, bags under the eyes, poor posture or rickets (a consequence of too little Vitamin D), so for the sake of your general health, be sure to get out there for some sunshine and exercise. 

Dr Sleep

Another possible cause of stiffness, under-eye bags and bad posture is a lack of sleep. This can be a tricky one to overcome. Let’s face it, when you’re on a winning streak, it’s hard to quit just so you can hit the sack. Still, the effects of not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night can seriously rain on your parade.  In the long term, sleep deprivation can leave you feeling mentally drained and physically unwell with conditions from weight gain to a weakened immune system. So go for that big win by all means, but try not to make a habit of letting gaming eat into your sleep patterns.

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