A study from the Neurology Now journal states that excessive exposure to video games can cause physiological changes in a child.
The article, written by Amy Paturel, discusses the positive effects that gaming can have on the brain. But Paturel spends most of her time in the article focusing on what could happen if young people play too much. She specifically mentions the impact that gaming has on the brain’s production of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine.
According to Paturdal, studies have shown that gaming can sometimes produce enough dopamine to shut down the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for a person’s ability to make decisions, show judgement and have self-control.
The human brain craves both instant gratification and unpredictability, and experts have agreed that gaming satisfies these cravings for most people.
“Playing video games floods the pleasure center of the brain with dopamine,” founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction David Greenfield, Ph. D said. He added that though gaming only gives players a temporary rush, the extra dopamine that the brain produces results in the brain saying to not produce it when the person isn’t playing games.
According to Greenfield, this can lead to behavioral problems, aggression and withdrawal symptoms if the games are just taken away from an adolescent who is addicted.
One of the studies mentioned in the article involves tests performed by researchers in China.
[Researchers] performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies on the brains of 18 college students who spent an average of 10 hours a day online, primarily playing games like World of Warcraft. Compared with a control group who spent less than two hours a day online, gamers had less gray matter (the thinking part of the brain).
The article proves some pointers for parents with addicted children. The tips include paying attention to what your children are doing, establishing boundaries and making sure your children are aware of the risks are just some of the pointers the article gives out.