Results of the 2015 Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) showed approximately 56% of school students aged 13-15 years spend more than three hours a day playing videogames or watching television, whereas the percentage reaches close to 63% with children aged 16-17 years.
Dr. Jamal Al Mutawa Al Naqbi, Manager of Community Health and Surveillance Department at DoHexplained: “In an era of ubiquitous technology that surrounds our lives whether at home or at school, children have become especially more engrossed in using technology nowadays that it has become almost impossible to unplug completely.
However, it is essential to find the right balance between children’s use of technologies,especially long and excessive hours of gaming, andmore healthy and active pursuits. Despite the few positive effects associated with gaming such as strategic thinking, problem solving, their negative consequences far outweigh them. Back and wrist pain, eye strain, headaches, stress, physical exhaustion, sleep disturbances and obesity are among the most common health problems associated with prolonged gameplay.”
Al Naqbi added: “Parents are role models who set an example for their children to develop better habits. They are responsible for limiting the hours their children spend using videogames and encouraging young ones to engage in social and sports activities that nurture their mental and physical wellbeing.”
Additionally, sitting in uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time can lead to back and shoulder muscle strains, fatigue, poor blood circulation and muscle and joint pain.
It has also been reported that children who are addicted to video games are more prone to stress which directly impacts their organs, such as eye strain resulting from prolonged exposure to bright television or computer screens, which causes the eye to produce less moisture.
DoH has ascribed obesity problems in children with video game addictions to spending excessive time on gameplay and less on physical activities. Despite ongoing studies on the influence of excessive use of video games on children’s psychological health, DoH believes that these children can suffer behavioral, psychological and social disorders such as isolation, social anxiety, general anxiety, depression and poor academic performance as a result.