The latest craze in the video game world is FORTNITE. An electronic online game that allows you to play against other people in the form of a character of your choice. For each season, which is 90 days, the gamer has to complete various missions to gain rewards. This could be as a solo player or in a squad.
So, what are the psychological effects of playing video games? What is seen as an appropriate balance of playing this type of game and is there a difference with the type of screen you use i.e. Xbox, iPhone or PC?
There is already evidence based research to suggest that by playing more than 1-2 hours a day that this can lead to obesity, depression, anger issues, relationship problems, and a lower IQ. Of course, this will not apply to everyone and individual differences must be taken into account.
The reason this blog came up as a suitable topic because it is my partner and I’s step children’s latest obsession. Yes, it is a craze, so far a year, but it made me look into the short and long term effect of playing this type of game and the results were fascinating.
All ages get involved in online gaming, some more extreme than others. Studies have concluded that the most severe games (more than 8 hours a day) have poor social skills and are less able to interact in a social situation i.e. unable to communicate coherently in a group or when meeting new people.
On the other hand, gamer’s find it a lot easier to initiate a conversation or interact via an online social network. Why do we think this is? Researchers have proposed that extreme gamers have lower self esteem and self confidence. However, in a gaming network or forum, they are able to hide behind a self created character which portrays their desired characteristics and appearance.
On a personal note, it is sad that these people feel that they need to do this and they are to be encouraged to burst the bubble and to get involved in events that are face to face outside the online world.
There is not a difference between the type of screen that is played, the only differentiating factor is the location that the device is used. An Xbox is likely to be in a home environment secluded from others whereas an iPhone is more likely to be with other people even if that is on a bus going to work.
I don’t think my partner is anywhere near an extreme gamer but I can definitely see and understand how it can take over your life.
I guess that is the same with any obsession or addictive behaviour. There are ways to manage it, get it under control, but ultimately it is your choice.
By Kate Ball