This is a technology and electronic-driven world. Between jobs, education, normal household functions and entertainment, people are more plugged in now than ever before. Gaming provides stress relief, education, socialization, and just plain fun, but how much is too much? Scientific studies can only be able to look at the effects over the past few decades so it may be difficult to pinpoint an exact number of hours. But here are a few ways to protect yourself from overdoing it with your gaming.
There have been deaths from too much gaming. In Taiwan in July of 2012, a man died after playing a game for about 40 hours in an internet café. One possible cause of the death was a blood clot that formed from sitting for such a long period of time. Usually, however, these types of blood clots only form in someone who is already injured or has a pre-existing health condition. So extreme gaming is dangerous for certain people with cardio-pulmonary conditions.
That same summer, a teen from Ohio was hospitalized for severe dehydration from gaming for five straight days. It seems this could have been prevented by perhaps not gaming for so many days in a row, or at least having plenty of water on hand.
Death from gaming is not something the average person would have to worry about, but maintaining a healthy amount of gaming should be the goal.
The average gamer plays from 10-15 hours a week to upwards of 30. This is dependent on the time of year. For example, people are much more likely to play during seasons of bad weather. Gamers in a recent poll also indicated that the time they spent gaming is dependent on what else is going on in their lives. Are they on a break from school or work, or is there a new game out? Both of these factors are likely to increase gaming time. As long as gaming is not interfering with the areas of your life that matter most, like your health, job and other hobbies, the appropriate amount of time will vary from person to person.
Many studies in the US and Europe have stated that young children (ages two to five) should be limited to just one hour a day of screen time. More than two hours can disrupt sleep patterns. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the time to allow your teen to game is about 14 hours a week, or two hours per day.
This biggest problems with video game studies are the length of time covered (as there aren’t many long term studies available just yet), and the fact that some people who prefer to play video games over other hobbies are perhaps just wired differently to begin with. Someone who needs less social interaction may prefer gaming more than a person who likes to be more social does.
You can find plenty of studies about aggression and video gaming, but many of them are inconclusive. The same goes for theories on addictive tendencies in gamers. The bottom line is that just like with everything else, play games in moderation and in a way that suits your lifestyle.