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Health Risks And Benefits Of Playing Video Games

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Video games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world. The industry is absolutely huge, making nearly $350b in 2022. 

But unlike other industries, there has always been a cloud over video games. Some see them as toys, while others think they might be a sign of infantilisation. Those opinions are about as valid as saying rock music can turn you into a satanist.

Nevertheless, there are health risks from playing too many video games. There are also benefits from enjoying a game or two. The key – as it so often is – lies in the idea of excess.

Playing too much can cause a variety of issues, and can be a sign of other problems. We’re not going to get into that here, as it will be entirely specific to that person. Playing too much, too, is difficult to define.  For many people, they realise when it becomes a problem.

However, it is easy to talk about the impacts this can have.

Health Risks from Video Games

It’s no secret that video games can be bad for your health. Although, more specifically, the way we play video games is bad for our health. We’re crunched over, barely moving, staring at a screen for hours on end. Too much of that will catch up with you.

The risks of gaming too much include repetitive strain injuries, problems with vision, sleep deprivation, depression, poor hygiene and physical health atrophy.

And that’s just in the short term. Over many years, you might develop cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure colon cancer, diabetes and others.

There’s also the still-controversial gaming addiction. A Harvard study says gaming has been linked to psychological problems. But the jury is still out on whether this is a unique condition, or how deeply it runs at all. 

If this all sounds like too much doom and gloom, there is some good news. These are all extreme case scenarios, and the prevention is as simple as turning off your console and walking away for a little while.

If your life is entirely focussed on video games, you will probably find yourself suffering with some of these symptoms. If you make an effort to shake up your routine a little bit, you’ll soon find some of the problems alleviating. 

And better than that, some of them can even be fixed without even taking your eyes from the screen. Bad back? Try and change up the way you’re sitting, or even stand for a while and walk around while playing. It’ll work wonders for your posture and make you feel so much better.

And that’s the truth about a lot of the health risks on the list above. The reality is that many of the problems aren’t related to the games themselves, but about the excess of time spent doing them. A change of habit is simple, enjoyable and healthy.

Of course, some of the bigger issues can be harder to solve, especially if you’re suffering from mental health problems. In those cases, seek help of a trained professional.

Health Benefits from Gaming

Naturally we’re not going to just give you the bad news. Gaming has some health benefits as well. Some of them might surprise you.

The biggest and most easily felt benefit is social. The world is smaller than ever, and yet loneliness is everywhere. Although we’re more connected to our peers than ever before, we interact with them less. That is where gaming comes in.

As a global and rapidly growing community, gamers have a unique social advantage. Games give us a chance to work together towards common goals with our friends and with strangers all around the world. With a click of a button, you can find yourself on a team of people you’ve never met, but for ten minutes you’ll rely on them as much as they rely on you.

That’s not where the mental health benefits stop. Some research suggests playing games can be good for having better control of your attention, as well as improved special reasoning. Games also have a wide variety of medical purposes, including the use of VR to help those with dementia.


Nothing is ever as simple as a short list of positives and negatives. Your own circumstances will vary wildly.

But those of us who’ve pulled all-night sessions know the impact even a short excess of video games can have on us. 

Thankfully, the benefits are plentiful, and the negatives easy for many of us to avoid. Just remember to take a break, do something else and, if all else fails, seek help if you need it.

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