What Do Video Games Do to Your Psyche?
Playing video games is one of the most common trends in today’s world. The popularity of the video gaming industry raises daily and with the growth of mobile gaming, cloud gaming, or other innovations in the gaming field and the eSports sector in general, according to Variety, it can reach over $300 billion by 2025. The phase of generation has already started and technical innovation, new user demands, and various other things push the video games industry to develop even more.
How safe is it for our mental health?
With the growing popularity, there always comes a concerning matter of the safety of video games for our mental health and how it affects our psyche. Some people believe that constantly playing video games doesn’t even have any advantages and has a completely bad influence on us, without any benefits. But there are people on the other side, who believe that it can have quite a positive effect on our social relationships, help us feel positive emotions, and increase our self-esteem. You may think that these little benefits are nothing compared to its harmful effects on our mental health but believe it or not, studies suggest a positive association between video gaming and psychological functioning.
Today, there are many harmful video games and potentially problematic video gaming can be a huge challenge for your psychological well-being. Many people believe that taking part in the eSports industry has bad effects on the mental health of players because being a professional in eSports means that you have to spend hours in front of your computer and play games all day. But some websites care about bringing better performance eSports players and even improve their health and fitness. Therefore, not all the websites where you can play online are harmful and in fact, there are several reliable online gambling sites. This is why you should choose wisely and place bets on online games in 2020 carefully so that it won’t harm your current mental state and overall quality of life.
The downside of video games
However, there is much confirmation of the downside effects of playing video games for our psyche. First of all, playing video games is addictive and it can lead to obsessively playing without stopping and may even lead to severe disorders like Obsessive-compulsive behavior, distress, or even depression. Also, playing video games usually causes violent behaviors and can be harmful not only for us but for people around us who sometimes become victims of players’ aggressive actions.
Usually, what we want from video games is excitement, adventure, victories, status, and other beneficial things but instead sometimes what we get is reduced motivation, addictions, social disconnections, poor academic or professional performance, and in general, poor mental health.
First of all, when you play video games your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. This hormone causes arousal and suddenly we feel excited, but this positive effect is only short-term. Over time, our brain gets used to feeling this way and needs even more dopamine to feel excitement again. This means that you need to play, even more, quitting becomes harder and it causes addiction to video games in the end.
Also, playing video games has a big effect on our motivation. This process gives us psychological rewards and when we feel that we can get all the adventures and friendships from this virtual space, our motivation to get the same in the real world disappears somewhere. However, humans are social beings and they need real relationships and motivation to do real things to function effectively.
But it’s not only about motivation and video games that have an influence over literally every cognitive function. Among them are emotions. Studies show that while playing video games, we suppress our negative emotions. At a first glance, there’s nothing bad in this but in reality, suppression of negative emotions can lead to a serious condition called alexithymia. It’s a psychological term for a condition when a person has trouble determining their internal emotional state and in general, what they feel. However, these emotions still affect their behavior and it may become harmful.
Besides, playing video games can cause relationship issues, because when you spend most of your time playing video games, there’s no time left to talk to family or friends and you unconsciously start to neglect other parts of your life. Also, it can lead to social disconnection and people who are addicted to video games tend to have lower social skills than those who are not. And another disadvantage is that it can worsen your academic and work performance, as you lose yourself in the virtual world.
Although there are so many disadvantages to playing video games, it doesn’t mean that you have to quit playing video games. Everything that we mentioned above applies to compulsive playing when people spend more than 10 hours a day. You just have to maintain a healthy balance and manage your time, because most of the negative effects come from the excessive use of video games. So, if you feel that you are becoming addicted try to get some help, but in fact, there are many advantages of video games on our mental health and plenty of gamers have successful lives. Playing can improve your cognitive abilities, such as mental rotation, attention, and even help you develop critical thinking and effective problem-solving strategies. Research even suggests that it can stimulate prosocial behaviors, boost children’s social skills and learning habits. So, just pay attention not to play too much and other than this may even be beneficial for your psychological well-being.