Written by: Jonas Calimlim
Up to this day, the psychological field still recognizes the loss of control over gaming and excessive gaming as a mental illness, called Gaming Disorder in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
Furthermore, playing video games could also mean that you are more exposed to toxic behaviors. Every now and then, you’ve come across mean players who say foul words or have unsportsmanlike behaviors in your games. Video game players are susceptible to online harassment, bullying, and marginalization (that is, being excluded in online communities). It’s important for you to know when playing video games are becoming too unhealthy and what you can do to prevent these negative effects from happening to you.
Don’t worry! We have a few tips you could follow for healthy gaming:
Choose The Right Games For You
There are plenty of games out there that fit your playstyle! If you’re a curious person and would love to learn new stories, try out open-world or adventure games. If you’re the type of person who loves ‘me time’, fast-paced games will really catch your attention. If you want to refine your problem-solving skills and critical thinking, try out role-playing and strategic games. There are also games designed for certain mental health issues that aim to reduce negative symptoms.
Take Advantage of Features That Discourage Bad Behavior
If you feel that the people in your game are becoming toxic, turn off the chat feature or mute them! In some games you can also report these rude gaming behaviors and ask for support.
Establish Ground Rules
This doesn’t only apply to parents and their children, but even to adult gamers! It’s important to set rules such as buying or not buying in-game items, when to interact with other people, and when to stop playing. For the parents, talk with your kids about some ground rules like “they could only play video games if they complete their other responsibilities like school work” or “they could only play for about one to two hours every day”.
For the adult games, always listen to what your body and mind says. When you play, ask yourself “How do I feel?”, or “How is this game affecting me right now?”, or “Should I be taking a break?”. Remember, self-care is important, and there are other ways to do so than just purely playing video games.
Don’t Forget About Other Activities
Keeping your health in tip-top shape is still important! Don’t forget to maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and proper sleep. Don’t let go of your other hobbies either. Lastly, always remember to take a break from playing video games
Video games have been instrumental in keeping our mental health in check. Not only does it provide us a way to calm ourselves down, achieve more, and connect with others, it helps keep us safe from the virus. We must also keep in mind that these benefits are felt if we practice healthy gaming habits. We don’t know when this pandemic will end, but like many games out there, we will all become victorious.
If you want to know more how video games are positively affecting the youth during this pandemic, read my other article here: https://www.in-touch.org/covid-19-youth/play-on-video-games-and-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
About the Author:
At the time that this article was published, Jonas Calimlim is an undergraduate student at De La Salle University - Manila taking up AB Psychology and BS Finance. He loves to play video games, is an avid sports enthusiast, and loves doing photography.
Growing up, he became interested in learning about mental health and is aiming to be a part of the many mental health advocates we have in our country. He believes that exploring and sharing what we know about mental health can be instrumental in the growth of ourselves, our community, and our country.
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