Negative Effect of Video Games on Teenagers





Negative Effect of Video Games on Teenagers


Since the introduction of video games, they have become a very popular form of entertainment to teenagers as well as adults. Its popularity has increased overtime with more people becoming addicted. According to statistics, out of 10 people, nine of them, which are mostly children and teenagers, play video games on a daily basis (Ferguson 374). The average time taken in these games is approximately two hours for each youth. In current day, an increasing number of adolescents habitually play video games. Hence, it is evident that these games have an effect to extent of creating a habitual trend in this teenage population. Due to this increase, it has promoted more research on the effects and impact of video games thus providing insight on literature works that discuss this pertinent issue (Exelmans, Custers and Van den Bulck 324). It has been validated that effects of these games cannot be trivialized because they have created a significant impact on teenagers. This impact has been categorized in two divisions, which include long term and short-term effects. The paper seeks to detail on these effects and the manner in which video game have negatively affected teenagers in all aspects of their lives. This evaluation is imperative in establishing the overall significance of video games and their importance if any, in human interaction and socialization.


Attention Issues and Problematic Execution Function  

Research has indicated that teenagers who often play video games exhibit deficits when it comes to being attentive. Some of the scholars have opined that these issues become severe even in instances where the attention issues are controlled (Exelmans, Custers and Van den Bulck 354). The major facilitation of such deterioration is compounded by exposure to video gaming. Variables that have been ruled out as being non-influential in this effect of video gaming include age, race, sex and socioeconomic status. Despite this fact, there has been no indication that exposure accelerates severity of attention. It is noteworthy to state that video gaming does affect children and teenagers in a negative way.

Concerning executive functioning, research has demonstrated that video games impair this ability (Möller and Krahé 78). According to a study conducted to illustrate this impairment, the results show that teenage gamers who participated in a video game prior to undertaking the experiment which involved an emotional stroop task performed very poorly as compared to their counterparts (Ferguson 379). They were unable to ignore certain emotions such as anger when the color naming stroop task was being conducted. The impairing nature of video games was also observed by another study whereby the results demonstrated that gamers have a low retention capacity for information and memory. This was seen when the research conducted an analysis on the effects of video game on proactive cognitive control.

Poor Academic Performance

Several research studies have indicated there is a link between video gaming and academic performance of children who partake in this activity. For instance, a recent survey pointed out that most of the American children that played video games for more hours performed poorly in their academics (Exelmans, Custers and Van den Bulck 342). This was validated by the findings, which indicated that more than half of the participants who were heavy media users failed to pass most of their exams. Another survey illustrated a link between academic grades and screen time for playing video games. According to the results, the children who spend more hours playing video games received poor grades while the opposite was true (Ferguson 380). Based on the examples provided, it is evident that video games have a negative impact on academics. It is also important to point out that the more time spent by teenagers partaking in these violent games, the higher the chances of failing drastically in school.


Continuous exposure to video games has been considered as the primary contributive factor to video game addiction. Several studies on this pathological condition have indicated that this form of addiction manifests similarly as gambling (Tejeiro et al. 312). The negative effects that are as consequential result of this addiction include one damaging their fundamental aspects of life such as family, school, social, psychological and occupational functioning (Exelmans, Custers and Van den Bulck 256). The manner in which this pathological condition develops is that it starts as a form of entertainment. After a long period of continuously engaging in the activity, it becomes habitual and then transforms into an addiction. The later stages of video game addiction are identified when the activity begins to cause negative consequences to a teenager’s life. This is exemplified by issues such as missing school, failing to complete assignments, isolation from family and friends and ultimately complete alienation.

Other clinical symptoms that manifest include mood disorders, impulse control disorders, substance abuse disorders and personality disorders. A survey conducted by Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) indicate that 8.5% of gamers who were part of 1,100 youths were categorized as pathological and showing symptoms of video games addiction (Ferguson 390). This observation has been made in other nations as well as such as China, Singapore, Australia and Germany. In conclusion, addiction problems disorient the life of the teenagers, as they are vulnerable to engaging in damaging activities such as substance abuse. It also affects their personal, social and school life hence creating destability in their interaction and development.

Increased Aggression

Heightened aggression is considered as result of playing violent video games. Studies have proven this claim true through conducting longitudinal research that show that increased aggression is a long-term effect of this activity (Tejeiro et al. 310). Recently, more research has been conducted that has confirmed aggression stems from desensitization of a teenager or video gamer to violence and crime hence reducing their sense of empathy. This desensitization promotes increases the likelihood of antisocial behavior (Exelmans, Custers and Van den Bulck 143). Aggressive thoughts are an underlying cause to crime execution. As indicated by research, these thoughts catalyze the chain reaction of violent behavior as perpetrated by people who are continuously exposed to this form of violence. One of the main aspects that have been studied is the correlation of violent video games to the perpetration of crimes in real life situations.

Resourcefulness of Meta-analysis in Quantification of the Effects of Video Games

In terms of conducting research work on video games, a commonly used technique is known as meta-analysis. It allows for development of research-based on the strategy of testing the validity of hypothesis developed (Kirsh 380). For instance, in this study, one of the prime hypotheses tested includes the comparison of increased aggression and exposure to neutral games. This technique has been resourceful because it has been the primary tool used in video games research studies and survey as well as in generating valid results.


The issue on video games has centralized in debates that focus on the harmful effects and advantages it has on teenager. Some of the opinions forwarded are extremists in that they vilify video games calling them murder stimulator and a contribute factor which has accelerated the number of incidents of school shootings. However, other has opined that educative and non-violent games actually empower the teenagers in their interaction and improve their schoolwork. As clearly indicted, the core issues that have negated the use of video games include its negative effect on academic performance, attention and cognitive functionality, development of videogame addiction, destabilizing social life.



Exelmans, Liese, Kathleen Custers, and Jan Van den Bulck. ‘Violent Video Games And Delinquent Behavior In Adolescents: A Risk Factor Perspective’. Aggr. Behav. (2015): n/a-n/a. Web.

Ferguson, Christopher John. ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: A Meta-Analytic Review Of Positive And Negative Effects Of Violent Video Games’. Psychiatr Q 78.4 (2007): 309-316. Web.

Kirsh, Steven J. ‘The Effects Of Violent Video Games On Adolescents’. Aggression and Violent Behavior 8.4 (2003): 377-389. Web.

Möller, Ingrid, and Barbara Krahé. ‘Exposure To Violent Video Games And Aggression In German Adolescents: A Longitudinal Analysis’. Aggr. Behav. 35.1 (2009): 75-89. Web.

Tejeiro, Ricardo A. et al. ‘Risk Factors Associated With The Abuse Of Video Games In Adolescents’. Psychology 03.04 (2012): 310-314. Web.

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