(WTVM) - Playing video games for hours and hours on end can quickly turn from fun and games to a serious health problem.
A new study shows playing video games for long periods of time could result in a possible mental health condition, according to the World Health Organization. The organization is considering adding what they're calling ‘Gaming Disorder’ to its list of mental disorders for 2018.
“The problem becomes when it starts interfering with our daily life when you become obsessed. Whether you’re a child or adult,” says Child and Behavioral Psychologist Dr. Odell Vining.
Dr. Odell Vining, a child and behavioral psychologist at the Psychology Clinic in Columbus says playing those video games too much could very well possibly lead to a mental health diagnosis.
“It’s under consideration so it means it’s not a diagnosis yet, but it means it’s a concern for enough people that it’s being investigated to determine whether or not it’s going to be considered a mental disorder for the next publication,” says Vining.
The World Health Organization explains the diagnosis and disorder as an addiction to video games that affects a person’s family, education and social life.
“When I play the game. When I play a lot and go for hours and hours, I feel like I’m actually inside the game and actually running around and stuff,” says Christopher.
“Going outside and perpetrating the same type of behavior. You know being angry. Being ready to fight. He was not able to say this is just a game and this behavior is not going to be ok outside,” explained Nora Colondres.
Christopher’s mother says she agrees with overplaying becoming a mental disorder. She says he became more aggressive and began to act out violent behavior.
And she’s not the only mom concerned about her kids playing video games too much. Shannon Dempster says her son shares some of those same characteristics.
She says she doesn’t think it’s a mental disorder, just a strong addiction that can be controlled by limiting gameplay.
“We try to limit the video games because you can see a change in his personality and behavior if he plays too much. If he plays for an extended period of time, he becomes more irritable and grumpy. Just loses interest in other things. He keeps thinking about the video games,” says Dempster.
Dr. Vining says there’s a simple explanation for this behavioral change.
“You have that payoff and the arousal the adrenal glands produce more, and you take the child from it and now they have all this energy that’s built up. They live vicariously through these characters. They have all this emotion and then it’s gone. Then what do they do with it? It’s very hard to discharge that energy in a constructive way, so often they’re going to bounce around. They’re going to be noncompliant. They’re going to be defiant,” says Vining.
According to a study by the World Health Organization, when kids stopped being addicted to video games their depression and anxiety got better.
Nora Colondres says limiting video games to a certain number of hours and more recess time has helped to resolve the behavioral changes.
“We need to give them more recess time where they can be more physically active,” says Colondres.
“Within reason, it has its place, but I believe that as a psychologist, a child psychologist, we really ought to be spending more time with our kids at the dinner table, out in the yard throwing a baseball and helping them with their homework," says Vining.
The kids depicted in this story have not been diagnosed with any type of mental disorder, but both mothers say they will limit playing time to avoid trouble down the road.