Virtual suicide

Video games have devastating effects on health

By Chris Skarnulis, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Suicide is an ever-growing epidemic in American society that takes shape in many ways. Most people associate the cause of suicide with mental or physical issues however, suicide due to electronics is a much less talked about subject. What society may have a hard time believing is that video games inadvertently can be a cause leading to suicide.

The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that draws audiences of all ages. It offers a variety of gaming consoles as well as genres that envelop the spare time of individuals. Companies such as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, who license the Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles respectively, offer a variety of games that are included on most platforms. Another feature they offer is an online mode that gives gamers the opportunity to compete against fellow gamers in competitive matches of different types.

Virtual Suicide

Overplaying video games can have a negative effect on an individual’s health.

Video games come off as appealing to the average child. If played in moderation, it’s a great activity to enjoy with friends and family. However, if played for long periods of time, in addition to playing alone, it can have negative consequences on the physical and emotional health of the gamers. This can include an unhealthy obsession with the game itself and can have a psychological effect on individuals.

The player may become so attached to the game and dedicate their life to the success of it. Because the player has isolated himself from most aspects of society, all of their attention is focused on achieving success in the game. When not achieving the success they hoped for, the player may begin to experience feelings of depression that could lead to suicidal tendencies. According to pharmacytimes.com, college students who play action video games are more capable of self-harm if they experience suicide ideation.

According to the World Health Organization, suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 in 2012 and according to pharmacytimes.com, around 70 percent of young people are “avid video game players.” A majority of individuals in this age group struggle with some form of mental issue. The struggles of being independent at a young age can include feelings of depression, anxiety, and struggles with identity. This results in the struggling individual’s need for an outlet to release their emotions, and video games are that outlet. This outlet can lead to an obsession, which results in hours of playing these video games.

Not surprisingly, the study found that action and shooting games, games that encourage the players to use violence as a means of being successful throughout the game, saw an increase in aggravated behavior among those in that demographic.

Whatever the cause may be, suicide is an issue that continues to plague America. Awareness of the dangers that electronics such as video games can bring to the health of Americans needs to be increased.

There are a variety of solutions that can be put into action to decrease this tragic string of events. As parents of adolescents, monitoring children’s playing time is crucial. However, it’s important that individuals of all ages recognize that this can happen to anybody. Sometimes it’s better to put down the controller, and pursue other endeavors.

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