Comments 8

  1. The addictive and otherwise brain-altering effects of video games has been receiving a lot of study over the past decade or so. This topic cannot be meaningfully engaged without reference to the scientific literature.

    On its face, the play/drugs distinction is entirely unhelpful. Play and exercise — as well as video games — trigger your brain to respond to gratification and stress with adrenalin, serotonin, cortisol, etc. Your body responds accordingly — elevated respiration, heart rate, etc. Popular games often cause the same level of serotonin release as sex or cocaine use. Only very fit, distance runners are liable to approach this in their exercise. Young brains flooded in serotonin can experience the same effects of taking Ecstasy — a high and then a crashing low when their serotonin supply craters. Depression is a common result of this chemical imbalance, however it is caused.

    Unlike sports and outdoor play, you’re not actually exercising or interacting with others directly in most video games, and many games are designed to have a physiological impact normal exercise and play will not have. Many video games today are designed specifically to induce and maintain high levels of engagement through the intense physical response they generate. Microsoft, for example, has monitored the vitals of young playtesters to refine games where they have targets like a 140bpm heart rate. Refining = more intense explosions and so on until the desired physiological response is induced.

    Flooding young developing brains with cortisol hour after hour, day after day will have well-known effects whether the cause is an abusive home or a game that elicits a threat response. The older, fight or flight part of the brain doesn’t differentiate between real and fictional violence. It simply triggers, and over time you get young people with diminished executive functions, diminished ability to regulate stress and focus on productive problem-solving.

    1. Hi Gerry,
      Sorry not to see this comment for so long. It wasn’t automatically flagged to me.

      I do reference some of the scientific literature here, but meta-analysis so far is quite different from the dismal picture that you’re painting. Studies are consistently showing that video games actually improve problem-solving skills. You are right that certain games, especially shooters, produce a stress response (others actually have the opposite effect), but more recent studies have shown that this stress response does not bear all the same physiological markers of other stress response, meaning that it is being handled differently by our bodies. As for depression, video games have been shown to reduce rumination and actually counter several depressive symptoms.

      That all said, there is reason to be concerned if children’s brains are being bathed in stress hormones, and regulating the amount of time that children spend in such a form of play should be helpful with that.

  2. This is absolutely true. The brain does not distinguish between fiction and non fiction, it consumes what is being fed or in this case projected to. A shooting game with a cartoonish style is just an invite later on in life for them as grown ups to play shooter games with more gore ore if you want it more real; joining the army. Blending in a hardly to distinguish virtual world and the real world in a cross switch platform of different consoles all around the world is a disturbing development when you consider people leave their work or play at work while they should be doing other things that is more beneficial to us all. We have to stop this ongoing madness of sugar coating how it benefits certain parts of our brain and intellect as a human being individually and in groups. The reality is; this is how soldiers are being trained and stimulated and we have seen how they are affected by playing music and games before actually engaging combat thinking they are doing the right thing in a 360 degrees virtual world and then the real world. Go ask every psychiatrist in the world how this is/was beneficial for our veterans and other veterans of other countries and for all our families? We as believers in Christ are led to be deceived that killing “friends and enemies” is a good thing and fun untill reality kicks in and a real knife or bullet has been subjected in someone elses body. In a game you would be rewarded with a form of medal popping up and we as future parents or grandparents are actually saying ” that was a good kill or head shot ” to our own and other ((grand)-children). Consider that this is occuring in every country in the world real time. At the very moment millions are playing a form of game we call survival because of these kind of games that began as fun targeted at our mind when we were young. Shame on us all. We ask how to get rid of our – spiritual -warfare and this is our solution? The problem now is we have portable devices that are so powerfull in displaying visual and audible contents even mature audiences we call scientists /teachers and leaders have trouble figuring out what is true and what not thanks to green screen factories and every form of these games with disturbing story telling elements included that are downloadable at every place in the world. In the hardware and software are sources and references of the serpent – the bible and our savior has warned us about, but because we have developed contracts on an all your need to now basis we have silenced ourselves and others by this and afraid of the truth coming out and saying out loud because we had to gather more evidence and statistics, the body of christ suffers of this and that means we all suffer.

    Thanks for all the plowsnares we have been delivering to the nations for all these years we still have a long way to go before we call ourselves human beings and earned an invitation the Kingdom of Heaven

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I will have to disagree with your opening premise. Our brain can absolutely distinguish between fiction and non-fiction, between games and reality. This is something that has been repeatedly demonstrated, including with violent video games. They have even shown that young men who play 2+ hours a day of violent video games have equivalent responses to real-world violence as “normal” people. We simply don’t encode virtual violence the same way.

      As to military training. It takes a substantially different form and environment from Fortnite or the like. Further, even where soldiers are playing something like Fortnite in their free time, at most the crossover is improved reaction times and decision-making skills. These are things that carry over to many different environments. Video games are not combat training at a meaningful level.

      I commend your concern for the holiness of Christians, and I won’t defend the idea that more sadistic or graphic video games are God-honoring. However, you seem to denigrate games wholesale, even criticizing the idea that someone at work would ever play them. To me, this represents a view of play that undervalues its continued beneficial role for adults. Further, it’s a view of work that both overlooks the practical benefits of taking breaks in terms of increased productivity and seems to assume that we are slaves to our jobs, wasting any minute that we do not spend contributing to the common good. You seem to believe that computer hardware itself is stamped with the mark of the beast, rather than a faithful development of God’s gifts to us (which we may misuse). For those reasons, I just can’t share in your assessment.

      Overall though, whether it is you or I who have the right of it, we are human beings, made in the image of God, and our great comfort is that we are invited into the Kingdom of Heaven not on the basis of what we earn, but on the basis of Christ’s blood and merit.

  3. No matter how long I think about video games, I can’t find one single good argument apart from lazy parents having peace as their children become couch potato doing nothing saying nothing, not even asking food as they are too captivated into the game.
    The results on long term are:
    -a generation that all what they dream about is fight, weapon and blood
    -people becoming slaves to the idol of gaming that would steal their time, career, relationship and future. Very often they end up losing their job as they would play so long that working would become depressing and too tired.
    I know men losing their wife and children because the same habit of playing games instead of spending time with the family and working to provide for them.
    Games are the idols of our days and people are worshipping them not even realising they are slave to it and through the games Satan steals all from their life.

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