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Excessive Video Gaming as Antisocial Behavior Research Paper


The debate concerning the impact of video gaming is still ongoing as researchers identify both positive and negative outcomes. There are some types of games that can have a positive influence on adolescents’ development and well-being. For instance, Greitemeyer and Mügge [1] note that prosocial games positively affect teenagers’ social life. Nevertheless, numerous studies suggest that video gaming has adverse effects on the psychological well-being of adolescents as well as their social life [1]. Groves et al. [2] state that video games can lead to pathological developments. This study focuses on the extent to which video gaming negatively affects adolescents’ social life. To address the issue, certain terms should be properly defined, including adolescents, extent, and affect negatively. The extent can be defined as the limits at which the effects of video gaming reach. Adolescents can be defined as males and females between 13 and 19 years old. To affect means to produce a change or an effect. In this study, the focus is placed on negative effects on adolescent’s social life will be examined. It can be argued that excessive video game playing leads to a number of adverse psychological effects on adolescents.

It has been acknowledged that video games often have an impact on the psychological well-being of adolescents and their social life. For example, Calvert et al. [3] and Prot et al. [4] note that pathological video game users often display more aggressive behaviors than non-gamers or those who do not play excessively. Furthermore, Lobel et al. [5] claim that there is a strong association between playing violent games and the development of depressive symptoms in adolescents if the frequency of playing video games is excessive (8 hours or more per week). Prot et al. [4] also stress that excessive video game playing leads to antisocial behaviors characterized by decreased empathy and increased aggression.

Further, it is noteworthy that video games can be addictive. Hussain et al. [6] argue that video game playing addiction can be associated with such concepts as novelty, aggression, and competition. The researchers stress that this addiction can be linked to anti-social behaviors and adverse effects on adolescents’ social life [6]. Although some studies explore the links between video games playing addiction and social interactions, little is known about the exact effects of the addiction on different types of such interactions. For instance, it is still necessary to examine the extent to which addiction affects adolescents’ social life. It is also necessary to explore whether adolescents’ behavior changes regarding interactions with relatives, strangers, adults, and peers.

As it was mentioned above, video game playing can be addictive [6], i.e. reach the point where depriving players of regular gaming experience causes discomfort similar to withdrawal. Adolescents can start playing video games to try new experiences or rather try something that their peers experience. However, many adolescents start playing these games excessively. Importantly, video gamers tend to form addictions to a particular type of game [5]. It is noteworthy that video game addiction often results in social isolation [6]. Adolescents addicted to video games spend a lot of (or even almost all of) their free time in their homes rather than socializing and interacting with other people.

Also, it has been confirmed that adolescents playing video games excessively tend to be more aggressive and violent as compared to their peers [3]. Prot et al. [4] also claim that video game playing is associated with attention problems. Furthermore, excessive video game playing often has negative effects on adolescents’ academic performance. Moreover, it has been found that video games reduce adolescents’ emotional awareness [3]. At the same time, emotional reactivity in adolescents addicted to video games is increased as compared to adolescents who do not play video games excessively.

All this is connected to the effects on social life because performance and emotional awareness are integral parts of socializing and interacting with other people in the social context. As a result, adolescents addicted to video games tend to form fewer social ties compared to their peers [1]. Pathological video gamers exhibit antisocial behaviors, which makes them isolated. Importantly, such adolescents’ lifestyles also differ significantly from their peers’ lives. For example, addicted adolescents spend more time alone (or rather, in the company of virtual entities), are involved in fewer extracurricular activities, and have fewer hobbies [6], which vividly demonstrates that their social life is impaired.

It can be concluded that video game addiction often changes adolescents’ behavior and has a negative effect on their social life. Excessive video game playing is associated with increased aggression, the development of depressive symptoms, antisocial behaviors, decreased emotional awareness, and adverse changes in the lifestyle. It is necessary to make adolescent gamers aware of the negative effects of video games on their psychological well-being and social life. It is also suggested in studies that teenagers should spend less time playing video games, so adolescents (or their parents) should limit this time and regulate it in order to avoid excessiveness.

References

T. Greitemeyer and D. O. Mügge, “Video games do affect social outcomes: a meta-analytic review of the effects of violent ad prosocial video game play,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 578-589, 2014.

C. L. Groves et al., “Testing the predictive validity and construct of pathological video game use,” Behavioral Sciences, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 602-625, 2015.

S. L. Calvert et al., “The American psychological association task force assessment of violent video games: Science in the service of public interest,” American Psychologist, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 126-143, 2017.

S. Prot et al., “The positive and negative effects of video game play,” in Media and the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents, A. B. Jordan and D. Romer, Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 109-129.

A. Lobel et al., “Video Gaming and Children’s Psychosocial Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Study,” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 46, pp. 884-897, 2017.

Z. Hussain et al., “An exploratory study of the association between online gaming addiction and enjoyment motivations for playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games,” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 50, pp. 221-230, 2015.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Excessive Video Gaming as Antisocial Behavior." November 4, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/excessive-video-gaming-as-antisocial-behavior/.

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