How do video games affect teenagers?

The collective imaginary suggests that video games negatively affect adolescents. But nevertheless, It is essential to identify how many of these perceptions are myths or have real hold.

In this sense, and as with all other technologies, the important thing is what is done with them. Variables such as age, time of use, the themes addressed by the game, and the characteristics of the users – in this case teenagers – are relevant.

Adolescence and video games: a link that we must explore

Beyond the existence of a certain number of studies that have shown that some video games can improve cognitive parameters, as well as the ability to solve problems and process information, There are other authorized voices that warn about potential risks.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psichiatry, AACAP, from North America, highlights that:

"On average, girls spend more than an hour a day playing with video games and children spend more than two hours. Teens often spend even more time than younger children ».

The addiction to video games can cause several problems in adolescents, especially in their behavior.

Likewise, researchers from that scientific society point out that Video games have become very sophisticated and realistic. Some games "connect to the Internet, which allows children and teenagers to play and have conversations with adults and unknown partners", which forces us to be alert.

While some games have educational content, Many of the most popular ones also contain negative aspects: they promote violence against human beings and animals, with discriminatory features, the existence of gender violence and the increase of stereotypes that reinforce the persistence of certain negative stigmas.

See also: Tips to prevent sleep disorders in adolescents

Potential effects of video game use on adolescents: main concerns

The concerns would be associated to the effect that it produces in the young people to play in excess and to the degree of involvement with the roles and characters, showing at the same time difficulties in controlling the amount of time they play.

What are some of the possible harmful effects of excessive play?

While not everyone can show up, it's good to meet them:

  • Less time of socialization with friends and family.
  • Insufficient time for school and leisure activities.
  • Less exercise and greater sedentary lifestyle with implications in obesity.

In addition to behavioral problems, addiction to video games can affect sedentary lifestyle and its consequences on health.

What can you do?

  • It is important that the family and educational institutions promote a better use of video games that moves away deleterious effects and promotes the appearance of benefits.
  • Performing shared games with the children that include talking about the contents, as well as the supervision of the interactions, represent some of the suggestions and recommendations to follow.
  • Parallel, Establish game times ensuring compliance, is another possible approach to the subject.

Read also: Tips for tackling ADHD: What to do and what not to do

Ana Ramos in an interesting publication in The Mind Is Wonderful highlights the existence of different types of video games, such as the platform that:

"They are the ones that are passed from one level to another, on successive screens when they overcome obstacles. They promote the rapidity of thought, since the action is fast-paced; but, precisely because of this, they provoke a great fatigue that prevents concentration in subsequent activities ».

The author also points out the existence of sports and non-sports practice games, as well as simulation and shooting or fighting games in which there are "combats at a dizzying pace with martial arts or firearms", are perhaps the worst famers have given to video games and in which there are studies that describe that they promote violence in children with a tendency to it.

In summary:

  • Videogames are here to stay, so there is no suggestion of their prohibition, but an adequate supervision that – as an accompaniment – guides adolescents from a very young age to a rational and safe use of technology.
  • Eradicate myths that crystallize the existence of a negative link between adolescence and video games.
  • Consult with other parents, teachers and health professionals about these issues, because when we feel that we lack tools, they can help us.