Every day, billions of people have fun playing video games in a healthy way. In fact, for the majority of people video games are a source of stress relief, can improve cognitive functioning, be an outlet for creativity and a medium for positive social interaction.

Some experts feel that it’s not a question of whether video games are addictive, rather who is playing and to what capacity. Regardless, there seems to be a consensus around healthy vs unhealthy game playing and the possibility that people can play excessively to the point of distress and self-neglect.

Because of this, many psychologists have entered the field of video game psychology to better understand the various positive and negative effects video gaming can have.

Are Video Games Good or Bad?

A lot of parents tend to ask if video games are good or bad for their kids and the truth is, they can be both. Experts suggest considering the following to help you make that decision for your family.

  1. Do you understand the games they are playing?
  2. Is the content age appropriate?
  3. Are you staying engaged with your children to monitor the amount of time they spend playing?
  4. Are you creating priorities and boundaries when it comes to playing? (ex. getting homework and chores done first)

Video game psychologists, on the other hand, tend to take the stance that video games themselves are neither good nor bad. As a parent however, you should closely monitor how game playing is affecting your child’s wellbeing, their motivation to play, their participation in activities outside of video games, their hygiene, and how they behave when they can’t play (agitated, angry, irritable, etc)..

excessive video game playing may fall into that category

Are Video Games Addicting?

There’s a wide range of speculation on if video games are truly addicting. If we take the time to define and understand what addiction means, it seems that excessive video game playing may fall into that category. In broad terms, addiction can be seen as an encounter between a person, context, or product that is causing significant distress in a person’s life. On top of that, they feel a compulsion to engage with or consume the product despite knowingly harmful consequences.

From that perspective, if game playing moves from being fun to excessive, and is no longer a social activity, or way of coping with stress but instead causes distress or harm, it can be viewed as an addiction.

Video Game Addiction Counseling

If your child or loved one is prioritizing game play over everything else in their life including work, school, eating, showering, and engaging with people outside of the game, you might want to talk to them about their motivation to play and the possibility that it’s developed into an unhealthy lifestyle.

If you feel that your child or loved one needs more support and help to get back into a healthy lifestyle, they can seek counseling from a video game addiction psychologist.