Many of us brush off gaming habits as just another way to pass the time in today’s technological world. However, have you ever counted the hours you spend video gaming, watching television, or using your cell phone? It’s important to be able to identify when technology use begins to creep up to unhealthy levels.

The World Health Organization recently recognized gaming disorder as a mental health condition. According to the WHO, it is characterized by impaired control over gaming habits, growing priority of gaming over other activities to the point of gaming taking over, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

Video games do allow kids and adults a chance to step back from the “real world” to avoid stress or to cope with anxiety. Gaming provides a sense of control over one’s character and quests and just general entertainment. However, too much gaming does have mental and physical pitfalls, especially for younger gamers.

Compulsive, addictive, or too frequent video gaming concerns pose real threats. Unhealthy gaming habits can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, a lack of social engagement, concentration problems, developmental delays, aggression, and possibly seizures and stress injuries.

Addictive gaming behavior does not affect everyone. However, anyone playing video games should be aware of:

  • The amount of time they are spending playing compared to doing other activities, like spending time with family and friends
  • If they are neglecting everyday duties because of gaming
  • Their physical and mental health

Check out our tips below for ways to get outside and away from screens this summer!

Summer Vacation: Step away from the Screens

  • Family Fun Fitness:
    • Look for cheap ways to engage the whole family in physical activity.
    • Host a “Family Olympics”
    • Use household items for a quick workout
    • Go for a hike together
  • Role Playing Board Games: Get that competitive, creative mind going! Games like Risk and Dungeons and Dragons challenge the brain while enhancing social interaction.
  • Summer Chores: Increase your child’s sense of responsibility and tap into their achievement-seeking behaviors by assigning tasks around the house.

Sources: The World Health Organization and American Addiction Centers. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.