By Mary Sakacs
Video and computer games are an extremely popular activity for both children and adults today. While gaming provides fun and entertainment for players, it can also cause problems. I can recall many times when I’d be sitting on the couch waiting to go out with my boyfriend and we would be hours late because he had to “get to the next level.” While it was quite irritating, I didn’t realize it could also be dangerous. Video game addiction studies are increasing, and the results that many show can be alarming.
Game overuse has been shown to interfere with users’ daily life, often cutting them off from social interaction and involvement in more important everyday events. While this result many face from playing video games can have a harmful effect on a person, a recent event shows that addiction to video games can also result in death.
AFP reported that Chris Staniforth, age 20, was killed by a pulmonary embolism (blockage of the main artery of the lung by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream) after sitting in the same position for hours playing on his X box. Staniforth had been offered to study at Game Design at Leicester University and according to his father, he would spend up to 12 hours playing X box!
Staniforth reportedly had no fundamental medical conditions to cause this blood clot and yet after a long session of video gaming, he collapsed. Medical experts who have researched Deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that forms within a vein, say that it is evident that game players who spend countless hours playing video games with no break could be at high risk of being affected by this. Research has shown that gamers have collapsed from spending 15 hours in front of video games. And in 2005, a South Korean gamer died following his extreme three day marathon of game playing with no breaks in between!
The parents of Chris Staniforth have created a new campaign that raises awareness about the health risks of playing online computer games. Video game addiction is an addiction like any other. Young adults throughout the world play video games for long periods of time and many of them do not realize how dangerous this can be. Therefore, it’s important for players to be aware of the risks involved with game playing and for parents to monitor their children’s playing sessions in order to keep them our of harms way.
Mary Sakacs is a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University majoring in Communications studies. She is currently an editorial intern at Bioscience Technology.