Video games among teenagers: a new disease for the WHO

Video games in teenagers: When the latest international classification of diseases was published, the WHO officially recognized the existence of a “video game disorder”. Hours spent in front of screens, games and related stress lead to psychological, physical and behavioral problems in adolescents.

In 2014, Inserm had already raised the risks of addiction to video games among adolescents during a collective expert report entitled “addictive behavior among adolescents”. In the context of the development of the 2013-2017 government plan to fight against drugs and addictive behavior, the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Drug Addiction (Mildt) asked Inserm to draw up an assessment of scientific knowledge on the vulnerabilities of adolescents (aged 10 to 18) to the use of psychoactive substances and practices identified as potentially problematic, in particular video games.

video games for teenagers

5% of teenagers play video games 10 hours a day

Nearly 1,400 articles made it possible to constitute the documentary base used to carry out the expertise. Here is what was written about video games:

In 2011, among the 80% of 17-year-olds declaring that they had used the Internet during the last seven days, around 1/4 used it between 2 and 5 hours a day; less than 1/5 between 5 and 10 hours and 1/10 more than 10 hours per day.

Depending on the measurement tools used and the countries, the prevalence of problematic Internet use by adolescents varies from 2 to 12%. In France, initial estimates show that 3 to 5% of 17-year-olds are affected.

In addition, 5% of 17-year-olds play video games between 5 and 10 hours a day. If the boys total higher average durations of playing games than the girls, the time spent in front of the screen is identical, the girls using social networks more.

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them video among teenagers a new disease for the WHOVideo games in teenagers: When the latest international classification of diseases was published, the WHO officially recognized the existence of “video game disorder

An addiction that causes problems for a third of players

While video games can have positive aspects, especially on the development of cognitive and spatial functions, they can lead to loss of control and problematic behavior. Among the different types of games, MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) which boys play most often, are described as potentially very addictive. Among 17-year-old players (all types of video games), 26% say they have encountered during the past year, because of their gambling, problems at school or at work and about 4% of problems silver.

Behavioral problems, insomnia, sadness, overweight: the counterpart of video games

Beyond the time spent, which sometimes turns out to be very long, psychic and somatic problems can arise in the event of excessive use: sleep disorders, irritability, sadness, anxiety, isolation, drop in school performance, difficulties encountered. with parents… A problematic practice of video games can encourage the use of substances (tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, energy drinks…) and increase the risk of a sedentary lifestyle and overweight.

Source WHO


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