So, how much video games is too much? In the age where Covid-19 tied most people to their homes, the entertainment sphere led the public to seek a new form of entertainment such as video games. But just how much is too much?
So, how much video games is too much?
The question itself has its origin from the moment the video games industry came to its prime after the notorious video game crash of 1983.
Paradoxically, instead of being destroyed completely, the growing industry not only was purified from companies that were exploiting the industry due to the low standards and expectations but also grew to a formidable force becoming one of the world’s leading industries from the 1990s. Since that moment, it was quite a frequent thing for children to hear their parent’s concerns about gaming as a whole, including constant talks between adults, asking each other“ Is 3 hours of gaming too much?”
Now, these children have grown up and those conscious ones are searching up the information which caused them to be angry at a young age. How much video games is too much? Frankly speaking, there is no clear cut in that.
First of all, it is important to realize that it is not only the time that you can waste while excessively playing video games. Numerous studies have shown that video games are causing low-self esteem, inhibited social functions (inability to yield social interactions) together with various psychological problems as mentioned in the 2019 study of von der Heiden Nevertheless, there is still a lot of debate on the topic, as it is unclear whether these symptoms are the cause or the effect of gaming. Also, the study does not reveal how much video games is too much. Moreover, there exists a risk of getting an injury from the extensive gaming. In particular, it is possible to develop arm or hand injuries while you are constantly using the same combination of movement and muscles that can cause pain and inflammation which in long run could cause permanent injuries if not treated in time. This is evident in cybersport, where players have to constantly develop their skills to be in form and hardly ever even consider how much video games is too much. Similar to any other sport, if you do not stretch enough, or take care of yourself after the training, the trauma potentially can end your career. Thomas Paparatto under the nickname of “ZooMaa” was a professional Call of Duty player who retired at his prime at the age of 25 because of a developed thumb and wrist injury causing him pain and inability to use his arm at full strength.
Additional problems from too much gaming
In addition, there are multiple other factors to consider when deciding how much video games is too much for adults. The study of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that people tend to have excessive eating patterns while playing video games due to either the satiety (fullness) malfunction while you are gaming, or due to the fact that in some cases games cause too much stress, which in return activates a reward mechanism that makes you eat more. Eyesight is yet another problem that can be caused by gaming in the form of Computer Vision Syndrome. When there is a low contrast glare that you make while playing games, there is a chance that dry eye, eye strain, and neck/shoulder pain might be encountered. However, none of these problems have a scientifically proven statement about how much video games is too much to avoid these complications!
How much video games is too much for children?
How much video games is too much for each individual seems to have no correlation with the sex of the subject, however, as for the age, children should play at most 5 hours per day if this does not have an effect on their performance in school based on the study of Twenge (2017). However, the safe limit is put to approximately one to two hours per day. That is the case due to the possibility of not getting enough sleep time together with enough movement involving activities. So the once mentioned historical question of “is 3 hours of video games too much” should be changed in the minds of restless parents to 5 hours instead.
How much video games is too much for adults?
After the discovery concerning children, it is only valid to extend this topic to representatives of the other age group and to finally answer how much gaming is too much for adults? A couple of studies exist concerning this topic, including the mentioned study of van den Heiden et al, 2019 which was conducted on a sample of young adults with a mean age of 23.17. It appeared that the mean for the playtime indicated by the participants was about 4.2 hours per day, which was not proven to have any negative psychological effects on the subjects. Once again, the research does not put light onto how much video games is too much
How much video games is too much? Safety First!
It is safe to conclude that there exists no universal answer to the question how much video games is too much. Scientists have identified the problems that too much gaming might cause you, but not how much is too much. So here is a list of tips for you to have safe, yet entertaining gaming:
- Eat healthily = Stay healthy in gaming
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule to save your eyes. Every 20 minutes look at an item that is approximately 20 feet away (6 meters) for 20 seconds. Eyesight will be well protected from the low contrast exposure and would have time to rest.
- If you feel pain or discomfort at any moment of gaming in your hands, elbow, or arms altogether, do not risk the possibility of living with this condition for the rest of your life. Take a break and put some ice on the area which causes you pain.
- Set your plans and priorities in advance: it is ok to play 2 hours less, but it would be absolutely crucial to miss two hours of a group meeting due to being absorbed by the game.
Accept Gaming, it’s inevitable
Gaming is essentially a part of everyday’s life right now for the majority of the population, even those people who are occupied by work for the entirety of the day spend their free time solving online sudoku, playing matching games or enjoying some arcade games. It is impossible to escape gaming, as it is everywhere. How much video games is too much is not such an important question after all. Games do not only do harm, but help to develop multiple skills, including topographical thinking, problem solving and analytical thinking. Last, but not least, how much video games is too much for adults is a relatively simple question to answer: Adults make adult decisions, so make sure to keep leisure and productivity balanced as you would do with any other activity and you should be fine to go!