Editorial

Stop stereotyping video games

Often stereotyped as red-eyed, greasy-haired addicts hurriedly downing one last Monster before “leveling up,” video gamers, in reality, share more in common with an athlete than an addict. Classified by health organizations as an addiction, video games get a bad rap as a harmful substance. They produce a release of dopamine in the brain that caused the World Health Organization to catalog “gaming disorder,” a disorder used to classify those who habitually play video games, with a variety of other mental diseases.   

However, according to a study conducted in 2016 by the American Journal of Psychiatry, video games are not addicting. The study found that less than one percent of regular video game players “might qualify for a potential acute diagnosis of Internet gaming disorder.” While dopamine is released in the brain when playing video games, it is nowhere near the dangerous levels of methamphetamine or other addictive substances as previously thought. The study found that playing video games is not habit-forming either, so the very existence of “gaming disorder” is obsolete.   

According to an article written by the New York Times, “Playing a video game or watching an amusing video on the internet causes roughly about as much dopamine to be released in your brain as eating a slice of pizza.” Playing video games is no more harmful than watching television, eating chocolate or exercising, and releases the same amount of dopamine into the brain as any of the aforementioned activities.

We the Threefold Advocate believe the stigma that video games are harmful or addictive should be reversed. We believe playing video games can be a relaxing way to unwind from a long day of work or school, and that there are no addictive effects from playing video games.

The study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry further found that those who played video games behaved no differently mentally, physically or socially than those who did not play video games. We believe this proves that video games cause no lasting harm, and should no longer be stereotyped as part of a brain-melting institution that enslaves its users.