– More than 60% of Americans play games daily, which is around 200 million people
– Prolonged gaming unfortunately results in physical and emotional impacts
– One cause of these effects is EMF or radiation emitted by the gaming gear
– Read on for ways to combat long-term effects of gaming and minimize your exposure
In today’s day and age, video gaming has gained immense popularity for its ability to act as an escape, a way to relieve stress, and to connect with new people without leaving your room. According to the Entertainment Software Association, upwards of 60% of Americans play video games on a daily basis – translating to around 200 million people. And as technology becomes more and more advanced, gaming is more accessible both at home and on the go. Gaming has become a household way to socialize while engaging in a mentally stimulating activity. A health survey on gamers by Ritual Motion found that 50% of participants said gaming improves their ability to make friends and 52% said 75.4% said they felt more positive after gaming.
However, what’s lesser talked about but comes hand in hand with this increased popularity is often the negative effects – gaming burnout or fatigue. The same survey found that 55% of participants experienced headaches from gaming, and 33% reported issues with vision during and after gaming. Many gamers tend to game during the night, which results in long periods of screen time and several surveys and studies have proven this sort of gaming culture negatively impacts their sleep quality and ability to sleep as well.
The impact of these effects can truly be seen on pro-gamers in the e-sports landscape. At the professional level, gamers see one of the youngest retirement rates (of just 25!) out there and take on immense mental risks when they engage in this industry. The pressure to come out on top takes more than a couple of hours of practice a day, and many have stated that they suffer from depression and/or anxiety due to isolation from society. Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist-related injury), deteriorated eye vision, and neck injuries are just some of the effects that these competitive players end up enduring as they spend long hours on the screen to hone their craft.
The technology used for video games emits some level of electromagnetic fields, also known as EMFs. Combined with the fact that smart TVs, the most common element of a video game, emit higher electromagnetic radiation (EMR) than LCD and LED TVs, the negative effects can be powerful. One of the biggest effects of such radiation is on the brain. A study in 2017, found a reduction in the grey matter, that has the potential to lead to depression and PTSD.
A plethora of studies have also proved a causal relationship between prolonged usage of video games and screen time, headaches, as well as cellular damage down the road. Furthermore, it can have minor noticeable impacts on one’s vision as many of the participants expressed through the previously mentioned survey. In the long term, there is potential for vision loss in generations that began gaming at a young age, as well as other physiological health effects.
Is there a way to combat burnout though? Yes. An effective way to minimize such effects can be through taking breaks. Most of the visual effects were experienced when gamers continue to interact with a screen for long hours at a time. Another way is to reduce the amount played altogether – it’s recommended to stop playing at least 2 hours before bed, to allow yourself to wind down and fall asleep quicker. The best rule of thumb is to maintain distance with the devices to reduce the impact of the EMF radiation, or utilize an EMR blocking or modulating product when gaming.