Video gaming is subject to bad raps for supposedly inducing among teenagers addictive playing. But while playing for more than four hours could be a cause for concern, it is not a plain and simple indication of depression.
The link between depressive symptoms and excessive playing must not be ignored, however. New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals that the effects of game addiction could be tempered by the use of mobile applications and social media platforms in aid of socialization. The facilitation of socialization and formation of friendships online could be instrumental in warding off depressive symptoms. This led researchers to claim that not all video game addicts are vulnerable to depression. Gamers (mostly boys) who interact with their peers through such platforms then display better-adjusted behavior.
The study comes on the heels of frequent research on compulsive video gaming, which is recognized as a modern psychological disorder. Rehabilitation centers for video game addicts have come into existence, while children, teenagers, and young adults are the focus of most research. Common observations derive a link between aversion to socialization and increased propensity for habitual gaming. Longitudinal studies to the effect have been undertaken in countries such as China and Singapore, with respondents observed for manifestations of anxiety disorders and depressive symptoms.
While the link between these psychological issues and video gaming remains tenuous, parents are reminded that compulsive playing remains an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Gamers should be taught early on the balance between doing what they love and living life without a controller in their hands.
Jonathan Lauter, M.D., is an accomplished psychiatrist with a celebrated career spanning several positions in various organizations, most recently as the director of ambulatory behavioral health services and associate professor of psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. For more reads similar to this, visit this blog.