Hope William-Smith

A new study from from HealthyChildren.org has revealed that excessive gaming in children can lead to problematic concerns in adult life including poor health, agressive nature, poor decision making, staunched intellect and gambling addictions.

Researchers are calling for parents to keep their children’s hobby in check and provide adequate time for indoor and outdoor play and reading. The study has found that video games are harmful for children, who go on to become unwilling to participate in any extracurricular activities other than gaming. Children who, by contrast play musical instruments and are involved in two or more sporting or out of school activities were found to be more unlikely to play video games.

Children constantly thinking about their next video game session, devising ways to get back to the game, abandoning former hobbies that don’t relate to video games or declining social events have all be identified as at risk for addiction. Children are then prone to agressive behaviour, lack of concentration and poor ability to remain motivated. A disinterest in seeking new challenges or retaining an interest in current activities have been linked to a variety of health risks in adulthood.

Brenda Belzycki from North Shore Child Psychology in Pymble affirms the decline is social ability and recommends limited exposure to technology.

“The general recommendation is that children should have no more than 2 hours a day of technology,” she said.

“This should be balanced with outdoor play and real life social interactions,” said Belzycki, who also attributes heightened generalised stress and anxiety to an over exposure to video games.

The physical aspects at risk are said to include obesity or weight gain after teenage years, eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Another identified risk is a desensitisation towards violence and the needs of others. General poor performance at school and in the workplace, including difficulties with committing to choices and rational decision making have also been identified as related issues.