Video games have a bad reputation when it comes to health and behavior of young adults.
Based on various studies, gaming has many positive and negative effects.
Gaming helps people to be creative, acquire problem-solving skills and many other benefits.
There are also numerous health issues that occur due to excessive game playing.
Some health problems associated with gaming include vision problems, muscle strains, headaches, and seizures.
One thing that every person can confirm is that gaming affects the way the brain works and develops.
Whether the effects are good or bad, a player’s brain is likely to change once he or she starts playing games.
For example, gaming can trigger seizures in people who are sensitive to contrasting color patterns and bright colors.
What are seizures?
One negative effect of gaming is that it can cause seizures.
Seizures can be described as a burst of unusual electrical action inside the brain.
They can start in one location and involve a small area or involve the whole brain.
Studies show that gaming and watching TV for a long time can trigger seizures.
Some seizures are indirect in that they can go unnoticed by an individual who is experiencing them.
If they go unnoticed, the after-effects are difficulties with the memory, focusing, sleeping, learning, and mood-swings.
What are the causes of seizures?
What causes seizures may differ from one person to the other. However, some main causes of seizures are:
• Specific colors such as blue and red
• Flashing of white light that is followed by darkness
• Flashing light
• Contrasting and bright patterns such as white against a black background
• Stimulating images taking up the complete field of vision
There is no cure for seizures. But there are some drugs that are used to reduce seizure frequencies.
Who can be affected by seizures?
Seizures is a disorder that can start at any age. However, more than 50% of all the cases happen to children below the age of ten.
Studies also show that boys are more likely to develop seizures than girls. This is because boys are more active than girls.
For many cases, the condition might not be serious and can be easily controlled.
However, there are some cases that can present a lifelong problem.
Around 30 percent of children who experience seizures may continue to be affected by the condition even after receiving treatments.
This means there are some instances where seizures are difficult to treat.
How can video games cause seizures?
There are some people who are very sensitive to images that contain lights, contrasting color patterns, and flashing lights.
Due to this condition, their brains experience seizures when exposed to such elements.
The medical term of the condition is called Photosensitive Epilepsy or video game seizures.
The condition affects many people directly or indirectly.
It is also common in children and teenagers, especially those who are exposed to TV or digital games for a long time.
Some people can live for a long time without knowing they are suffering from seizures.
Avoid Games with Flashing Objects
Since video games contain contrasting color patterns and flashing lights, they can cause seizures.
However, we do not have enough evidence that shows excessive gaming can lead to severe seizures.
But there is a link between video games and photosensitive epilepsy.
Nevertheless, the theory on how images found in games can cause seizures is not fully understood.
Researchers believe that the lights can cause all the nerve cells inside the brain to fire at the same time, instead of firing individually.
But the duration of the game, the speed, and the images of video games play an important part when seizures are concerned.
Playing a game that has many flashing lights or images for a long time can trigger seizures.
How can someone avoid seizures while playing video games?
There are several strategies on how someone can avoid or prevent seizures while watching TV or playing a game.
1. Monitor symptoms and behavior while playing – check if alertness, mood, energy levels, and behavior changes after playing games.
If the unusual behavior persists after the exposure, seek medical attention. In most cases, it is not easy to notice a child has symptoms of seizures.
Therefore, the best way to prevent seizures while playing digital games is ensuring your kids do not spend a lot of time gaming.
2. Abstinence – if you notice that playing a particular game regularly causes symptoms of seizures, don’t let your kid play those games.
Even though it is much easier to say than to do, abstaining from such kind of games can help prevent future seizures.
3. Use of drugs – there are some drugs that can be used to reduce seizures.
Even though this should be the last option, medications can decrease symptoms of seizures and let your kid enjoy his or her favorite games.
However, drug treatment is not enough for seizures protection. In addition, some drugs can have unwelcome side effects on the child.
4. Check safety compliance – most visual materials such as video games and movies can be examined for colors, flashes, and patterns.
Verify that all images have compiled with safety guidelines. The guidelines are to reduce the chances of causing seizures.
Some video games will warn players in the beginning of the game that games can cause seizures.
In some countries such as Japan and the UK, game developers and TV broadcasters need to make sure the material they broadcast has complied.
5. Wearing protective lenses – once you notice that your kid has symptoms of seizures, you can buy them protective lenses.
There are special lenses recommended by health specialists for people with seizures symptoms.
They are useful because they block or reduce the effects of flashing lights and patterns.
6. Reducing the intensity of exposure – there are some recommendations that can help to lower the risk of seizures while playing video games.
Some of them include:
* Playing in a well-lit room
* Taking regular breaks
* Sitting at a distance from the screen
* Using a small screen to make the images less intense
* Avoid playing video games when tired or when you want to sleep.
* Keep the brightness of the screen at minimal levels.
* Use long joysticks
* Turn off the game if you are not feeling well.
At the moment, seizures are incurable. However, the above strategies can help prevent or reduce seizures symptoms.
If your family has a history of epilepsy, it is important to ensure your kids avoid playing video games for long sessions.