Excessive gaming amongst young people is becoming an increasingly big issue. Gaming addiction has even been classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation. Therefore, it is important that young people are aware of the addictive nature of gaming and are given strategies to combat these negative effects. So, here are our five do’s and don’ts of gaming for young people…
Do: Complete Your Work First
Research has shown that student gamers spend 30% less time reading and 34% less time on their homework. Therefore, it is important that student gamers set up healthy routines, where they only allow themselves to play games once they have completed the necessary work. It may be that students and their parents set up an agreement where gaming is banned and only offered as the reward when the student has studied for a certain period of time or completed a specific piece of work.
Don’t: Lose Sleep Over it
Many adolescents are choosing to continue playing video games late into the night, with studies showing that 24% of adolescents are gaming after 9pm. Gaming late into the night has been associated with higher levels of daytime sleepiness and an increase in the time taken to fall asleep, particularly if games are violent. This is problematic as sleep deprivation can cause a wide range of problems, such that it can lead to a decline in memory and concentration levels, as well as causing an increased focus on negative aspects.
Do: Set a Time Limit
Students need to manage their time to ensure that they are not spending all their time gaming. One way in which students can manage their time effectively is by setting up a timetable, where they schedule in what they would like to achieve in the upcoming week. However, when setting this up, students do need to bear in mind that it is likely that they will underestimate the time needed to complete tasks; therefore, they should try and recall how long similar tasks took to make their estimations more accurate.
Don’t: Spend Too Much Time Alone in Your Room Gaming
Students need to ensure that gaming is not isolating them and having a negative impact on their social skills or the quality of their relationships with their peers and parents. Students need to remember that social interactions and having friends and family around them is important as they can offer essential support, guidance and companionship in times of need.
It may be that parents should not allow their children to game in their rooms and instead keep games in a communal space, where they can better monitor gaming habits and encourage the family to interact and play together.
Do: Get Exercise
It is important that students do not carry out gaming at the expense of exercise, as research has shown exercise to bring a wide range of benefits. The NHS suggests that being active is a good strategy to improve your well-being, with studies finding that exercise can also enhance your mood and boost your self-esteem. Regular exercise can also help students academically, such that research found concentration levels to be 21% higher when individuals completed a 45 minute workout at lunch time.
It is important that students have strategies to keep on top of their gaming habits and ensure that they are still allocating the necessary time to their academic studies, socializing and physical activity. As with most things, gaming is probably best done in moderation.