Can Video Games Cause Health Problems?

Video games can cause health problems like skin disorders and repetitive strain injuries. They can also provoke epileptic seizures, and can even cause death in extreme cases. Fortunately, death caused by video games is rare.

General Results of Studies About Video Games-Related Health Issues

Students who played violent video games in middle school and high school had a more forceful behavior. The time they spent in playing had a relation to their low grades. Some games also had links to violence and aggressive behavior. Other games even caused fearful behavior over the short term.

Studies showed that children who played video games had health problems. Children had black rings under the eyes and experienced muscular stiffness because of sleep deprivation or a tense posture. But, research studies have produced contradictory results. Some researchers point to the strong correlations between psychological issues and video gaming. For males, they suffered from increased aggression. Women, on the hand, suffered from increased depression. According to another study, girls who played video games have a higher probability of getting into fights.

Musculoskeletal Issues of Playing Video Games

Children have physical complaints when playing video games. For instance, they experience pain in the neck, back, wrists, and hands. It is possible to solve such complaints through ergonomic measures.

In the Lancet case report in 2004, a 9-year-old boy reported about the PlayStation thumb, characterized by a blister and numbness due to friction between the controller and the thumb. Dermatologists discovered onycholysis and hemorrhages during dermoscopy. Nintendonitis is having tendon injuries in the wrists and hands due to too much playing of Nintendo games.

In the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, it referred to a Wii fracture, which was a fracture of the fifth metatarsal after too much use of a Wii balance board. In Finland, adolescents had musculoskeletal symptoms due to playing video games. According to the study, a person can experience pain if exposed to at least 2 hours of daily computer use.

Also, continuous video game playing can increase the occurrence of pain in the lower back. Studies showed that children had lower back pain if they played at least 2 hours of video games.

Problems with Vision During Video Game Playing

People who play video games can have vision problems. Extensive gaming can cause eye strain because the iris, pupil, and cornea are not for long hours of viewing using electronic devices. Gamers can experience dizziness, vomiting, and headaches because of too much focus on the screen.

But, some studies also showed that action gaming can enhance attention resources, particularly central and peripheral vision. In 2011, research showed that combining occlusion therapy and video game therapy improved visual acuity recovery for people who had amblyopia.

Video Games can Cause Epileptic Seizures

In 1981, research documented an epileptic seizure caused by a video game. The Sun, in 1993, reported a boy who choked to death during an epileptic seizure. It was discovered that the boy was playing a video game when he had seizure.


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