Video games have been around for decades and have evolved from simple arcade games to elaborate virtual worlds. However, with the rapid advancement of technology and a shift towards digital platforms, many individuals are concerned about the amount of time spent playing video games. So, how much time should you be spending playing your favorite titles?
To Play or Not to Play
Before we dive into the debate surrounding gaming hours, let's clear up one thing: there is nothing inherently wrong with playing video games. Just like any other form of entertainment or hobby (as long as it’s not illegal), gaming can offer a fun escape from reality and act as a stress reliever.
However, just like anything in life (including brussels sprouts) too much of it can become harmful (seriously… too many brussel sprouts will make you gassy).
When Does Gaming Turn into a Problem?
Gaming addiction is real and has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) under their International Classification of Diseases. So what factors differentiate between healthy gameplay habits and problematic ones? Here are some signs that could indicate an unhealthy relationship with gaming:
- Neglecting responsibilities such as schoolwork or work
- Spending more time alone than socializing
- Feeling irritable when unable to play
- Prioritizing gaming over self-care activities such as eating or sleeping
If these warning signs sound familiar to you (and no judgement here – we've all had Netflix binges that lasted way longer than they should have), it may be time to reassess your gaming habits.
Recommended Gaming Hours
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen-time exposure for children ages 6 years old and above until two hours per day. But this doesn't apply solely to television - it also includes computer usage, smartphones, tablets (and yes… gaming consoles). However, while these guidelines might help prevent excessive screen time amongst children and young adults, they aren't as cut-and-dry when it comes to adults.
Most studies conducted on adult gamers report that an hour or two a day is healthy. But like everything in life (yes – even brussels sprouts), context matters. A high school student who juggles multiple extracurricular activities might not be able to dedicate the same amount of time as a retiree who lives alone.
Finding the Right Balance
Balancing playtime with real-life responsibilities can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:
- Prioritize Daily Responsibilities: Make sure you handle all necessary duties such as work or studying before diving into your favorite game.
- Set Limits: Try placing restrictions for yourself such as only gaming after 6 PM every day.
- Limit Screen Time Before Bedtime: Avoid using any digital devices at least one hour before bedtime since too much blue light exposure could negatively impact sleep.
Remember that what works best for someone else may not necessarily fit you (just like how some people love mushrooms and others can't stand them). Find an approach that works well with your lifestyle and promotes balance across various areas of your life.
Pros of Gaming
Gaming isn’t just bad news bears; there are numerous benefits associated with gaming:
Exercise for Your Brain
When playing video games, users have to use their brains continuously for tasks like solving puzzles or making quick decisions based on visuals from the screen (of course if you're playing 'Where's Waldo'…that might not apply). These mental muscles get worked out constantly allowing players to develop better cognitive abilities such as problem-solving skills and decision-making capabilities.
Online Socialization Opportunities
Online multiplayer games offer social interaction opportunities. Players meet new challengers from different locations around the world and have a chance to form lasting friendships with them (but be aware…. internet trolls exist in every corner of the web). Moreover, gamers are encouraged to work together to accomplish various objectives which provides real-life skills that can easily transfer in daily lives like cooperation or communication.
Despite how some people believe gaming is outright wasting time as a jobless activity, there are actual opportunities for making money through esports events (yeah – who knew your love for Super Smash Bros will pay off right?). Pro gamers can earn six-figure salaries based on their performances at various tournaments.
Cons of Gaming
No matter how much we’d wish it otherwise, one cannot avoid taking sides when debating an issue. Even though video games offer numerous benefits mentioned above, they also carry waste baggage such as:
Just like drug addiction or alcoholism may cause dependency issues that sever households and destroy individuals' careers and well-being over time; gaming addiction could lead to similar outcomes. An excess amount of anything isn't good, especially if it alters priorities despite pressing responsibilities negatively.
Eye Strain Issues
Playing video games stares at screens hugely disrupting our eyesight resulting in common complaints about strained eyes from numerous users. Long term screen-time exposure increases risks even further posing more significant problems - many within fatigue or harsh headaches.
Spending excessive amounts playing video games could lead people to isolate themselves way too frequently from friends or loved ones impairing normal social interactions while risking turning into hermits eventually.
So where does The Great Gaming Debate leave us? Video games offer multiple rewards including activating mental muscles (that we often don’t use), providing beneficial social interaction opportunities alongside online friendships forming unusually engrossing worlds completely breaking awayly day-to-day life’s stressors (sort of like the big broccoli pieces among all those mini ones in a salad).
That being said, gaming remains as one of those activities which must play in moderation. Just like anything else (such as brussels sprouts for the nth time), too much of it can lead to harmful effects on an individual's health and lifestyle.
What matters most is balance - find what works well with your daily routine while allowing games also to become part of you without losing track everything comprising standard living habits. So go ahead, pick up that controller or keyboard and get lost in virtual reality but just for a bit… not forever!
 https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx  https://www.uea.ac.uk/social-sciences/news/-/asset_publisher/XZbu9qon3KrP/blog/internet-gaming-good-or-bad-for-your-brain-health-and-wellbeing-