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THE WYSONG e-HEALTH LETTER
~Thoughts for Thinking People~
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VIDEO/COMPUTER GAME ADDICTION

    Most anything can be addicting. It's the same old story; the dose makes the poison. How do you know if you are addicted? The addicting thing dominates life. Life seems incomplete without it. Any threat to its continuance brings forth defensive rage. Criticism of it results in twisted self-justifying logic.

    The addicted person becomes less a person than a slave to the thing. Creative ambition and self-exploration and -realization are lost. Both psychological and physical health are compromised. Such problems, when they arise, are always attributed to something other than the addicting thing.

    Video games for youngsters, and for adults, increasingly sophisticated computer games and Internet activities are emerging as serious health threatening addictions. Not only is the addiction unhealthy, but the physical stagnation in front of these machines surely cannot be good for body, mind or spirit. And really, who knows what the long-term consequences are to the eyes, the body and mind from the light and other radiation emerging from the machines. A little bit here and there, fine. But addicts plant themselves in front of terminals for thousands of hours.

    On the face of it, it is surely not what we were designed for. Radiation from a computer rather than the sun, sitting rather than engaging in active life, and reclusion rather than social interaction combine to become a formula for disaster.

    Here are just some of the things coming to light.  First, for the kids playing the video games, consider that the earlier children begin playing computer games, the more likely they will be playing at "dependent" levels. Long hours in front of these games have resulted in numerous significant health problems including "video game seizures," increased metabolic rate, rapid heart rate, obesity, tendonitis, hyperactivity-induced suprahyoid muscular hypertrophy, hand-arm vibration syndrome, muscle stiffness in the shoulder, sleep deprivation, decreased visual acuity and black rings in the skin under the eye.

   The mental health of children addicted to video games is also at risk. There have been on the connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in children. Studies have found that frequent exposure to violent video games increases . Video game addiction is also associated with social isolation, decreased prosocial behavior and lowered self-esteem among adolescents. This addiction can desensitize a child to suffering, blur a child's ability to distinguish real life from simulation, cause nightmares, make the child fearful of being harmed, and may even slow brain development. (Incidentally, boys play significantly more regularly than girls and are more likely to be classified as "dependent.")

    For adults, there are five distinct forms of cyber addiction: cyber sexual (continually engaged in viewing, downloading and trading online pornography), cyber-relational (overly involved in online relationships or engaged in virtual adultery), Net gaming addiction (obsessed with online gambling, game playing, shopping, auctions or stock trading), information overload (too much time searching, collecting and organizing information), and computer addiction (examples include endlessly playing computer games or habitual tweaking of settings, file management and other administrative computer functions).

     People who are isolated, prone to boredom, lonely or sexually anorexic are much more susceptible to becoming addicted to online games. Having low self-esteem or poor body image are also important factors. In most cases, excessive computer use may be symptomatic of other, more primary disorders. Psychiatric disorders most usually associated with this addiction are bipolar disorders.

     Some of the psychological symptoms experienced by adult addicts include having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer, inability to stop, craving more and more time at the computer, neglecting family and friends, feeling empty, depressed or irritable when not at the computer, and lying to family or an employer about computer activities. There are growing numbers of divorces, child neglect cases and loss of jobs associated with compulsive use of Internet games. (The game EverQuest™ was implicated in the death of a Florida infant, whose father allegedly was so devoted to the game he fatally neglected the child. Another man committed suicide while playing this game.)

     Common physical problems stemming from computer overuse by adults include seizures, carpal tunnel syndrome, dry eyes, migraine headaches, backaches, eating irregularities, neglecting personal hygiene, and changes in sleep patterns.

     Parents need to take control of their kids' time. Make video game playing come at a price. For every hour playing video games, that's one less hour watching T.V. For every hour playing video games, two hours must be spent outside, playing with friends, doing some chores or the like. They must be distracted from this powerfully addicting habit and the life laziness it creates. Let them know you consider it a danger to them. Site the information given above.

    For adults, you must realize the dangers and self-impose distracting activities as well. Read, develop a new skill or an active hobby, or play a sport. Regularly exercise and get active outside in the fresh air and sun. Count the time you spend in front of terminals and the television. Compare this to the time spent doing activities you know to be healthy, wholesome and person-building. Keep a log to slap yourself up side the face on this. Sober up and do not assume that such an unnatural activity (actually, inactivity) is innocuous and normal. There will be a price to pay if what your common sense tells you is not obeyed. That is the way life is.

    P.S. Stipulation to the above: Reading these health letters, addicting as it is, is perfectly safe, normal and natural, and the thing you should be doing.

Childhood Obesity and T.V
Dry Eyes and Computer Terminals
Computer Dangers


The Wysong e-Health Letter is an educational newsletter. Opinions expressed are meant to be taken for their argumentative/intellectual interest value, and not interpreted as specific medical or legal direction for individual conditions or situations. The e-Health Letter does not represent all-inclusive knowledge, nor can it affirm or deny facts or data gathered from cited references. Before initiating any health action or changing existing therapies, individuals should read the references cited in the e-Health Letter or request them from Wysong Corporation (wysong@wysong.net), and seek and evaluate several alternative, competent viewpoints. The reader (not the Wysong e-Health Letter) must assume all responsibilities from the application of educational and often controversial information presented in the e-Health Letter. 
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