Recently many researches have proved that spending a lot of time in front of the television, playing video games, or surfing the Internet all have negative impacts on the health of the individuals. In most cases, the focus and main subjects of these researches are those adolescents and in – betweeners, or commonly known as tweens. These are individuals who are between 8 to 18 years of age.
The individuals in this specific age range typically have the reputations of being ‘gamers’. About 59% to 73% of them actually man the controllers every single day. However, on its October issue, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a new research that focused on adults who also are as enthusiastic about playing video games as these adolescents and tweens.
The study involved a total of 562 adults who are between 19 up to 90 years of age as subjects. They are also residents of the Seattle-Tacoma area. James B. Weaver, who works at the Centers for Disease Control on National Center for Health Marketing, led the team of researchers who did the study.
Out of the total 562 adults, about 45.1% of them are playing video games on a regular basis. The result actually did not come as a shock to the researchers.
The Seattle-Tacoma area is actually the hub of both Amazon and Microsoft, the 13th largest media market, as well as the highest level of Internet usage. What was clear to the team, though, was that using the Internet and playing video games on a regular basis are strongly correlated to negative issues on mental and physical health such as a higher BMI or Body Mass Index as well as an increased risk of having depression.
With regards to depression and overall health status, higher depression levels and lower overall health status are present in women who play video games regularly than those women who do not really play such games. On the other hand, elevated BMI and spending a long period of time on the Internet are present in men who are gamers than men who do not play video games, at all.
In general, a large portion of the subjects who play video games were men. The men were about 55.9% of the subjects and the women are fewer in number. However, with both the men and the women, there is certainly a strong correlation between playing video games regularly and being highly dependent on the Internet to socially interact with other people.
Although this specific study is one of the first major studies that are concentrated on adult gamers and how they are affected by excessive gaming in a negative way, there is consistency between its findings and the previous studies that were made with adolescents as the subjects.
Elevated BMI, lower levels of assertiveness and sociability, are significantly correlated with the hours that are spent by individuals being logged on to the Internet. The fact that these gamers usually forgo real world activities just to spend much of their time in the virtual world causes negative results on the mental and physical health of the individuals. The researchers have stated that these video game players typically and willfully sacrifice their social activities in the real world just to be able to play these games.
It is actually a serious addiction, there are gaming projectors, which are projectors specifically designed for gaming with surround sound so people get full immersed in their games. I dread the day that virtual reality headsets come out and human to human social interaction goes completely digital!
An editorial was also published together with this study. In such editorial, a professor of Medicine and Pediatrics from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dr. Brian A. Primack, expressed approval on the effort of making such study. He stated that the number of adults playing video games is apparently a growing phenomenon. He also stated that 35 is the average age of those video game enthusiasts. He lamented that there is a prevailing culture of playlike activities where parts of the brain are being stimulated, such as when running, but without physically sweating or even going outside of the house doing the real thing.
However, he does not really totally pan gaming as a whole. He even suggested that games that simulate sports games such as Wii Fit which makes the gamer move around physically are way better than just sitting around all day. Hand-eye coordination can be developed which is beneficial for individuals.
He offered a word of caution, though. Video games nowadays are already being created and developed for various reasons such as pure entertainment, surgical training, and even street safety, among others. People may not notice that the virtual world is already taking over the real one gradually.