10 Health Risks Linked to Gaming and How to Prevent Them
Posted May 16 2013 10:07pm
Video games are more popular now than ever before. It lies at the heart of British business with over 40,000 people working in computer games development/publishing, visual effects and online content.
In fact, consumers love them so much that in 1 in 3 people describe themselves as avid ‘gamers’.
However given the popularity of the industry, experts have witnessed a rise in health issues. Researchers claim that gaming is linked to an increased risk of childhood obesity and it can pose health risks like eyestrain, and muscle and joint pain.
Some experts argue that playing computer games is associated with behavioural problems, so should we stop playing them altogether?
No-one is saying you should quit gaming but there are some things that you can do to prevent these dangers:
1. Time limits
Set yourself designated time slots to limit how much time you spend in front of the screen. Take regular screen breaks to recuperate. Try not to spend more than two hours at the screen before taking a break. Every now and again, step away and stretch out your legs.
2. Gaming eyewear
Your eyes are not designed to cope with relentless hours consuming digital content. From mobile phone screens and laptops to handheld computers, the world is inundated with digital devices. Your eyes will suffer from fatigue but you can combat this by wearing special gaming eyewear.
3. Good posture
It is important that you are sat in the correct position to avoid getting backache. Make sure the chair is at the right height so your feet rest firmly on the ground and that you are positioned at least one metre back from the screen. If you can, support your lower back with a special back rest.
4. Light touch
It can be easy to get overwhelmed when gaming and press hard and rigorously on the remote controller. This can cause overuse injuries on the hand. Instead, press the buttons gently and be wary of how tightly you’re gripping the remote.
5. Don’t just sit on your bum
There are so many games that you can now play standing up, so be active and move about instead of just sitting down.
6. Straight wrists
Avoid bending your wrists because this can cause muscle problems. Keep them straight but relaxed in a middle position; ideally with your mouse at elbow height.
7. Don’t eat and play at the same time
If you snack on crisps and sweets whilst playing, you are not consciously aware of how much you are eating and before you know it, the bag will be empty. If you are hungry, take a break and eat elsewhere. Overindulging in sugary snacks won’t help your waist line!
8. Be social
Gaming is often described as a ‘lonely’ activity but it can be very social. Play games with your friends and get involved with other gamers to build your communication skills.
9. Minimise glare
If you are struggling to see the screen properly because it has light shining on it from the windows, move the screen. Anything which causes your eyes to strain is potentially dangerous. Alternatively, adjust the screen’s brightness settings.
10. Are you addicted?
If you find yourself playing too much and using gaming as a form of escapism, you may be obsessed. If you are concerned, get in touch with the organisation Video Game Addiction .