Since the first invention of the gaming system, children and even adults have spent a lot of time on screen. This has become a new way to interact with other players and an entertaining way to socialize. Some games have one player options for people who are not too comfortable in playing with others. Video games became addicting that even eating or urinating can be a difficult task to some, and psychologists are worried about this.
Gaming disorders have been an issue for quite a while now, but a lot still doesn’t know how many hours of gaming is considered safe. After all, when you spend an amount of time on gaming, you slowly get into it, and before you know it, you become addicted. So how many hours is too much?
“As adults, we have leveraged technology to accomplish amazing things in our lives: we do our work, manage our social lives, consume news and entertainment, even make new purchases for the holidays, all with the push of virtual buttons. Despite being cognitively mature, emotionally resilient and capable of delaying gratification, we struggle to set limits on our own usage.” –Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD
Experts have conducted a lot of research in physical health, mental health, child development, and psychology regarding the effects of screentime. The results have been very different. This means that these studies conducted have a lot of disagreements and debate. There is no clear answer on how much time a child can spend on screen for him/her to be addicted.
Here are some studies:
- A professor in the San Diego State University says that 2 hours of screentime per day is the safest amount of time for children.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics says that a limit of one to two hours a day for ages two to five and children and adolescents, there are consistent limits, but without mentioning a specific amount of hours.
- Also in San Diego State University, studies conducted have shown that teens should not be more than 5 hours on screen because that would be too much.
- A survey by Kaiser Family Foundation has shown that families have been playing for more than 50 hours a week, exceeding the 5 hours per day limit in screentime.
- Some gamers commit fulltime to playing video games, usually ranging from 80 to 100 hours of screentime per week. This is way more than the limit and is excessively too much.
“There is also little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental.” –Jim Taylor Ph.D.
There are different studies with various results, and it can get confusing to some parents that have no idea how to limit the use of their children’s screentime. The only acceptable amount of time that is mentioned in a lot of research is 5 hours per day. More than 5 hours can get in the way of enough sleep and time to do home works and other activities your child needs.
The Appropriate Number Of Hours With Playing Video Games
The only thing that matters is whether gaming is interfering with life. The question is “when” rather than “how much.” When can your child play or use their gadget? Are their home works, chores, and other essential activities finished before allowing them some screentime?
It can be different for people. Some love to play but is not addicted to videogames, while some can spend a tremendous amount of time playing, forgetting to eat, sleep, or do other activities that can benefit their health.
Though there are researches about whether gaming can affect a person’s well-being, there are still adverse side effects when a person is addicted to gaming. These are:
- Low work/school performance
- Difficulties maintaining a relationship
- Social isolation
- Not enough or no sleep
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of nutrition and dehydration
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from sitting all day
These are only some of the negative effects of playing too much. There is still an ongoing debate on how long you have to spend playing video games to be considered unhealthy.
You can help yourself by disciplining and limiting yourself, especially when you seem to have a hard time trying to lessen the amount of time you spend on video games. If you feel tensed or stressed when playing, you know this can be a bad sign. Your answers to these questions will determine how much time is too much for you. Listen to your body and what you feel so you could control yourself and not fall into gaming addiction.
“People who talk about tech addictions often express frustration with their smartphone use, or they can’t understand why kids game so much.” Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology said. If you are a parent, start disciplining your children as early as possible. This will save them from being addicted to video games and screentime. Give them fun activities and chores and be strict with using gadgets. Implementing rules will surely help them and making them understand why you are doing this will enlighten them, and they will be conscious enough to use their gadgets.
Lastly, if you and your family want to avoid screentime, do something fun together and be there for each other. You should help each other to prevent screen and gaming addiction and all the health risks that come along with it.