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Effects Of Video Games On Well Being

28 May 2019

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde peeping out of our computer Screens!!

"All work and no play makes jack a dull boy", this adage rings true throughout all ages. Throughout ages people engaged in different types of games to break the monotony of daily chores. Life was hard in the ancient times and at the end of a day that was spent trying to hunt and gather people would gather in the evenings to engage in some sort of games to dispel the feeling of tiredness and boredom. 

Games have been part of human culture and also one of the oldest forms of social interactions. It is the creative and mindfulness of human spirit that had its expression in the form of games that include an  

uncertainty of what the outcome maybe, physical activity, a mutual agreement between players to follow the rules of the game, sense of competition, social bonding added with personal enjoyment.

We can never underestimate the importance of games and sports. Young children's learning comes from participation in various games and sports. Not just children it is advisable for adults to participate in some games or sports for a healthy mind and body.

Different kinds of games have been devised and played through centuries. In old times it used to be mostly outdoor games which slowly changed over a period of time as people started settling down. New games were invented. Board games have their origin in ancient times played by Kings and Queens as royal pastimes.

India has a rich history of various games and sports that originated here. The history of Indian sports dates back to the Vedic era. In the area of recreation and sports a number of games like Chess, Snakes and Ladders, playing cards, Polo, Judo and karate actually originated in India and spread to other countries where these games went through further modification and changes. India has a rich heritage of games and sports and evidence have been found in the archaeological excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The famous Vedic literatures, The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas, and other literary works of famous poets and writers of that time like Kautilya and Kalidasa, depict in their writings the different types of games both indoor and outdoor that were an integral part of life those days.

It has been proven scientifically that it is very important to engage in games and sports for all round development of healthy body mind and a positive personality. Sports and games help us distress from the monotonous rigmaroles of human life.  Sports help release chemicals called endorphins, these chemicals interact with the receptor in brain which help reduce pain. The chemical Endorphins trigger a sense of positive feelings in the body.

However, with the advancement of technology our lifestyle has changed drastically. There are a host of board games and myriad other computer games that have now taken over. Especially in urban setup people are shying away from outdoor activities and try to pass their time playing online video games. Though there are many games that really help one engage mentally but these games have also become quite addictive. According to an estimate there are approximately 2.2 billion online gamers, out of the 7.6 billion people living in the world. According to the World Health Organization estimates, 3-4 percent of gamers are addicted. Though for most it is a fun hobby, a means to unwind but for many others it can be destructive and it has in many cases led to significant impairment in personal and family relationships. It is not just young kids who are getting addicted but gaming has also taken over a huge adult population as well. Addicted young children are lagging back when it comes to education while it has adversely affected work opportunities of many adult owing to the online game addiction. It also has had a very negative effect on their mental and physical health. Mental as these people have become so addicted to the games that they have become unsocial and recluse, and often struggle with compulsive addiction issues. The increased priority for gaming has reached to such an extent of people who are addicted that it has taken precedence over other life interests including many daily activities as well.

Research evidence shows that gaming can affect the brain and furthermore causes changes in many regions of the human brain. It not only affects how a brain performs but also the structure of the brain. Though evidence shows that playing video game increases the size and competence of parts of the brain but long term gamers and individuals who had volunteered to follow a video game training plan displayed an enlarged right hippocampus. Research also revealed that video gaming can be addictive and a phenomenon has now become well known as "Internet Gaming Disorder".

It does not end here, a visit to an eye hospital also revealed how long hours on the computer, mobiles and laptops have affected eye sights. A large number of young children have issues with their vision due to the long exposure to computer, mobile screens.

Though technology has advanced but as the age old saying goes, “everything is good in moderation”. To avoid the ill effect of technology, online games and video games, people now are turning to vacations to places where there are no internet connections. We cannot totally eliminate technology from our lives. However, we need proactively to work towards creating a balance that makes for a healthy body and mind along with a successful life. Everyone needs to engage in some kind of physical activity, like going to the gym, yoga, engaging in some outdoor sports. Not only it releases the happy hormones but it also helps us reduce the negative effects of technology which has now become an integral part of our lives. 

We need to reconnect ourselves more with nature. Go for holidays in places where we can leave the technology behind us and enjoy nature in its pristine form, like going for a trek, nature walk etc. Connecting with nature will help us gain new perspective towards leading a healthy life, calm our minds, help us reflect, makes us creative and empowers our senses. 

By: Madhuchanda Saxena

Posted By - Assistant Editor