As video games increase in popularity as they become more popular, parents are raising concerns about their impact on children’s attention spans. This is what the most recent research indicates.
Ryder was 11 years old when he was first diagnose with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
“One way he was coping with his busy mind was playing games,” his mother, Charlie, told Healthline. Ryder would rush into the computer after he return home. He also was a fan of watching videos of others playing games.
However, Charlie could see that when Ryder start playing more online games, the boy became more impulsive, shy, and even irritable. Ryder quickly found everyone annoying, even his two sisters, who react similarly.
“Our home became a battlefield of short-temper children,” she explain. “We began speaking openly to all three of our children about screen addictions, [asking], ‘Are you in control of the screen, or is the screen in control of you?'”
It’s a topic that many parents are asking themselves because too much screen time has become a major health risk for children.
In reality, research from the American Academy of Pediatrics mentions studies showing that as high as 8.5 percent of U.S. youth, ages 8-18, meet the criteria for gaming disorders (IGD) that include symptoms similar to those Charlie discover Ryder was beginning to exhibit.
The psychiatrist Doctor. Perry Renshaw of the University of Utah has research heavy gaming for the past 15 years. People who play a lot are more likely to suffer from ADHD or depression. The treatment for either can cause them to reduce their gaming, he told Healthline. What is the reason?
Do video games create ADHD?
There’s no evidence to show that gaming causes ADHD. However, children who play more often have a higher chance of suffering from symptoms later on.
If your child isn’t suffering from any indication of ADHD or other disorders, frequent gaming with other apprehensive symptoms is a reason to request an assessment.
Over 9 percent of children in the United States, ages 2 to 17, were diagnose with ADHD, according to a study from the year 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control study. Trust Source Of these kids, about 6 out of 10 take medications for their ADHD, and around the same proportion have known emotional issues.
In July, a California team publish a study by a trust source in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that adolescents who use a lot of electronic technology are three times more likely than infrequent users to exhibit ADHD signs shortly.
The team follow more than 2600 students at public schools across Los Angeles County for two years. The team first remove those who had already shown signs of ADHD during the study. Participants report the frequency with which they use one of the 14 media platforms, which include games.
“This study raises concern whether the proliferation of high-performance digital media technologies may putting a new generation of youth at risk for ADHD,” said study co-author Adam Leventhal, PhD, professor of prevention psychology and medicine at the University of Southern California.
From all the possibilities of texting, streaming movies or music, or even posting images, video chatting was the most closely link to developing ADHD symptoms. This was and then playing games on consoles or smartphones.
How much gaming can you handle?
With children spending a lot of time with their phones, it’s difficult to tell what they’re up to or what is consider too much.
The research has found that conduct issues can trace to gaming over 9 hours per week. This is a bit lower than what’s the current norm.
The research from the non-profit Common Sense Media divided U.S. teens into groups based on their preferred type of technology. “Gamers,” the group stated, play for 2 1/2 hours daily.
Around 10% of American eighth-grade students said that they played at least 40 hours per week gaming, according to a study of 2016 data conducted by Jean Twenge, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University. The weekly average is about six hours per day.
Parents are usually not sure. Even parents who are concerned might think “two hours a day,” explained Lisa Strohman, Ph.D., an experienced clinical psychologist from Scottsdale, Arizona, “and if you talk to the child, it’s often seven hours a day.”
However, the psychiatrist Doctor. Kourosh Dini, author of Video Game Play and Addiction: A Parent’s Guide, says the most important indicator of a problem isn’t how long kids play but how much they perform.
“I don’t have a set number of hours if they’re on top of everything,” he added.
Gaming can also provide relief and self-esteem for children with ADHD; parents might reluctant to limit game time.
“I’ve had numerous parents come up to me and tell me that their child has ADHD and the only thing they could focus on for two hours at a time is video games,” said Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., who manages the Media Research Lab at Iowa State.
Why are people who suffer from ADHD more attracted to video games?
Video games provide quick bursts of attention and are intended to keep minds from straying.
For those with ADHD, their attention shifts to extremes – dispersed and “hyperfocused” when they’re extra-stimulated.
During a three-year research study of more than 3,000 children and teenagers in Singapore, Gentile and his colleagues concluded that gaming was not helping children who were not paying attention. The most heavy gamers are aggressive and less attentive.
The game’s constant flickering lighting and sound effects act as “crutches for attention — they support your attention so you don’t have to work hard to attend,” Gentile stated. “That’s very different than being in the classroom where the teacher doesn’t have sound effects, lighting, special effects, music, and camera angles.”
He said, “Our data suggest that the children who already are most at risk for attention problems play the most games, which becomes a vicious cycle.”
“It feels like you’re invincible when you start progressing,” Strohman declared. And kids can “flat” without the boosts, particularly if they aren’t successful in socializing or at school.
The game can a calming experience and refuge for those who do not want to quit. Additionally, if you suffer from ADHD, it is common to unable to organize your time.
In the case of many psychological concerns, there are answers based on evolution and biochemical ones. ADHD could result from genes that were once a source of advantage. Being able to move quickly and being attentive to danger signs in all directions — like you have to to win at a video game is a good sign of being a skilled watcher.
A different theory suggests that those who suffer from ADHD may “self-medicating” themselves through gaming by taking a shot of the chemical that gives pleasure.
Ritalin, an ADHD medication, increases dopamine levels. Other studies have found that it may reduce gaming.
Additionally, ADHD is less common in higher altitudes because the air is less oxygen-rich and where people naturally produce more dopamine. A study discovered that within Utah, ADHD is about half the amount of people who suffer from it in states at sea level.
Are video games beneficial?
A few studies have proven that games can improve spatial abilities, particularly those that are more intense “shooter” games. One meta-analysis conducted by Trusted Source concluded that shooting games helped improve players’ skills to the extent that higher-level classes at universities and high schools were specifically designed for this reason and that the skills can applied to other activities as well.
Therefore, games can aid a child’s success later in the fields of science and technology.
Many of the most well-known games of the moment involve teams of players online, which can also improve the capacity to work with other players.
However, Strohman stated that online chatter can “quite abusive,” with gamers bursting into rages over their exuberance. “I don’t think any parent would sign up a child to spend time with kids who tell them they’re losers.”
Does gaming cause addiction?
“There is a big difference of opinion about whether [heavy gaming] is an addiction, impulse control disorder, a variant of ADHD and depression, or just a behavior that’s extreme in some individuals,” Renshaw said to Healthline.
But there is a difference. World Health Organization recently added ” gaming disorderTrusted Source” to the most recent version of their lists of illnesses.
The notion that any addiction can occur to an activity– with nicotine and alcohol — is acknowledged in the latest manual on official mental disorders (DSM-5), including gambling.
In an appendix of the DSM-5 authors, they identified “Internet Gaming Disorder” as needing further research.
In Asia In Asia, a horrible story of reckless gaming fueled fears of a massive public health issue.
A couple from South Korea pleaded guilty to negligent homicide following the death of their malnourished infant girl while their parents engaged in 10-hour hours of a game in Internet cafes. (The couple participated in Prius Online, a fantasy game that let them raise an online child with magical abilities.)
Since 2011, South Koreans under 16 haven’t allow to participate in online games between midnight and 6:30 a.m. unless parents demand the ban.
While the issue of addiction and video games remains a subject of debate, the evidence of how gambling can result from gaming is much clearer.
In 2011, a brain scan study conducted by Trusted Source of teenagers aged 14 years found that those who gamble regularly had higher gray matter within a specific brain region, a phenomenon observed in gamblers who are addicted.
Furthermore, studies Trusted Sourcein Germany and Canada revealed that over one-quarter of the teens who gamble using play money at home eventually switch to gambling with real money, often with scratch cards.
What do you do when you think your child may have a gaming addiction?
Your child might asked to answer these questions using the assessment tool by the staff of reSTART Life, which runs a teen camp at Serenity Mountain in Washington.
aware of the dangerous indicators of addiction to technology, which include spending more and more time gaming or online and failing to reduce the amount, removing from other activities and feeling more happy playing, hankering after games, ignoring relatives and acquaintances, feeling agitated or lying about time spent playing.
Feeling guilt or shame over gaming could signs of an activity that has become beyond control. Physical signs like weight loss or gain, headaches, backaches, and stiff wrists can present.
In talking to your kid, Dini said, “I’d ask two questions. ‘Are you able to disengage when you need to?’ ‘And is it a refuge from everything else?'”
If your answer falls between “No” and “Yes,” your child might require more assistance for ADHD or depression. They may also require the use of a program for gaming reduction, typically that is based on cognitive behavior therapy. Parents should supervise.
Making that decision isn’t easy for parents. “When the kid is quiet, isn’t jumping around, parents tend to feel relief. It’s exhausting to create healthy alternatives when it’s so easy to let them game,” Strohman explained.
She said there’s a chance to see a lot of “anger and aggression” when you take your child’s playtime away.
The final line
While video games aren’t known to cause ADHD, they can trigger symptoms. People with ADHD are more prone to developing a game addiction to cope and help manage their condition.
However, working with parents and their children in addressing the issue may result in positive outcomes.
Strohman founded The Digital Citizen Academy, which provides programs on the use of technology for parents and teachers, collaborates with families to create realistic goals, and teaches youngsters to recognize the issue.
“It’s no different than teaching them about nutrition,” she added.
In the case of Ryder, the young man, he’s now 13 years old and has slowed his time playing games with the assistance of his loved ones. Ryder has also started playing in team sports, which is helping him gain more confidence.