Depression, Video Games, and Video Game Addiction

We live in a digitalizing world. Blogs were not widely a thing until the early 2000’s, and now I’m writing this post for a project in a college class. In just fifteen years, they have advanced from nonexistence to a commonplace tool for education. The term that has been applied to such rapid widespread acceptance of advancements in technology is the digital revolution.  Video Games are one development of the digital revolution whose future is not yet certain; various studies have linked video games to things as diverse as depression/suicide and  increased memory and perception skills. 

Since video games are such a pretty young thing, we ought to be cautious in how we use them, but as a society, we have not been so thus far. Especially for folks with depression, the nature of the individual’s relationship with video games can vary dramatically from providing a destination for withdrawal to encouraging social interaction. Some games were even created as a tool to help folks without depression understand what it’s like. (The lyrics of this song also shed some light.)

But, more than this, video game addiction is a real and potent threat. People with depression must learn to manage it, and can eventually develop the ability to choose not to seclude themselves or to recognize when they’re get stuck in a rut. But game addiction is something that is not talked about nearly enough. Gambling and alcohol are illegal until a certain age, and drugs are illegal all the time. The negative consequences of the latter two of these are even taught in schools in mandatory health classes, but game addiction is just as real, and nobody even talks about it.

When I was in elementary school, my older brothers got an N64. As weird as this may seem, I have to say it: when I hear the sound of a big chest opening from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I still get a little excited.

And, if I had the time, I would not hesitate to break out the older game systems and play these relics from my childhood.  As @CalumDocherty07 elegantly put it,

That’s not a problem. What’s concerning is that people like my brother will break out the games even when they don’t have the time. The stereotype of the failure-to-launch adult male is becoming all too common in our society. An old roommate once said this about people who excessively smoke weed, but the same is applicable to folks with any vice: “If everyone who [excessively engaged in this vice] instead spent their time trying to better society, then we wouldn’t have any of the problems we do today.” While this is a hyperbolic statement, the concept is accurate and the takeaway is clear: we ought to do something about the growing video game problem in America. If you’re interested in spreading the information and promoting dialogue, here’s a short PSA that you can share on social media (which could be the subject of a blog post all their own).

(edit 4:50pm Saturday: I was reading over my post again to organize my works cited for the final paper, and noticed that my PSA didn’t show up the first time. I don’t know what I did, but it’s there now.)


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