Video Game Play Unearths Negative Images

Mateo Tomas, Reporter

The synopsis is: People play video games. However, one should ask themselves and determine their limit before declaring that this habit is truly harmful. Many people can call it what they want, Internet Gaming Disorder, Video Game Dependency, staring-at-a-screen-for-8-hours-a-day-disorder, or the basic title; Video Game Addiction (VGA).  Teenagers do not want to accept the negative portrayal of the public to dictate when and how they can play a video game. 

Freshman, John Doe, whose name has been changed to cover his identity, said, “You can’t just tell me that playing video games for four to five hours is a bad habit [when] there are adults who openly admit they do things [such as] hike or bird watch for just as long as I game.”

Some people agree with John’s point: they do not accept the standards put on video games by people who do not play them, believing they do not understand the concept of playing them in the first place. This means the lengthy debate over whether or not video games are addictive is a matter of perspective.

In May of 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared that VGA could not be an official disorder for it lacked insufficient research. This implies that not even researchers are sure about whether or not playing video games for a long time can even be considered addictive. Contradictory to the APA, the World Health Organization recently updated its list of diseases and included “gaming disorder” and “hazardous gaming” as new illnesses, a move which is being criticized by video game companies and gamers themselves.

The NPD Group finds that the revenue of the Video Game Industry amounted to 995 million dollars in the U.S. alone in February of 2018

The Entertainment Software Association, which is a company that publishes video games and software said, “The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community.”

Mr. Kiang a Piscataway High school counselor says, “To me, it’s not how much hours are spent playing, it’s about what happens after playing.” Mr. Kiang believes that the withdrawal of a video game from players, and how well they do after playing, is a strong factor to determine whether or not gamers are truly addicted to the game.

Mr. Kiang goes to YouTube, referring to videos of children’s tantrums and overreactions when they get their games taken away. Instances of cursing at family members, breaking household items, and bursts of anger are all elements these videos share.

A survey was done in 2007 on 1,178 teens who had played video games in their spare time. According to the survey, it was concluded that 8.5% of America’s youth were pathologically addicted to playing video games by cause of alleviating stress, plain laziness and other symptoms of escaping the world’s burdens.

A Piscataway High School Freshman says that there is more to Video Game Addiction other than simply breaking things when he gets them taken away, “A couple negatives when I play Video Games is that it [hurts] my eyesight, makes me tired … makes me unfocused to the outside world, like sometimes it’ll take a minute to realize something … [I get] headaches, and I procrastinate [when doing my] homework,” insinuating that playing video games for extended periods of time bring both mental and physical damages.

The lengthy debate as to what classifies playing video games as an addiction still lives on, with both sides of the argument trying to define what an addiction is in itself. Although the argument may last a while to find a middle ground, there is one thing that both sides of the argument can agree upon; even though video games are a fun pastime, there are both mental and physical downsides to the person behind the controller.