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Gaming

Click on the questions below for information you might find useful about gaming and your health. 

Can gaming make you violent?

Studies suggest that gaming does not increase violet behaviour. It is important that as we become adults that we learn to regulate our emotions. To help better understand your emotions check out our Emotional Health page. Do bear in mind that age ratings are given carefully to each game to help inform on the type of content it contains. Some games contain content that is assessed as only appropriate for adults.

Is gaming addictive?

When you find something fun or stimulating, the ‘happy hormones’ in the brain, serotonin and dopamine, are released. It is the release of these hormones that can be addictive, which means that almost anything can become addictive. Something is addictive if you have lost the feeling of control and it is having a negative impact on your life. For more information about addiction visit the NHS addiction page If you are worried about any kind of addiction speak to your parent/carer if you feel you can. Otherwise you can contact Kooth online for anonymous support or you can visit the Samaritans  online or call them on 116123 for free. You can also text the school nurses via Chat Health, visit the Chat health page for more information. 

How long should I game for?

It’s a good idea to balance your gaming time with an equal amount of physical activity, if you are physically able. For example if you have been gaming for 30 minutes you could go on a short 30 minute walk, run or cycle. The government Health and Safety Executive advice is ‘Take short breaks often, rather than longer ones less often. For example 5 to 10 minutes every hour’. During your break it is important that you move around to encourage the flow of your blood. You also need to make sure that you are sitting correctly whilst gaming, or at a desk for any reason, to avoid additional strain on your body. For advise on sitting correctly at a computer visit the NHS healthy body page and visit the NHS repetitive strain injury page for more information on repetitive strain.

If parts of your body are becoming numb, stiff or achy whilst you are gaming, it is very likely that you are not sitting in a good position or are not giving yourself enough of a break. It is important to follow this advice to help prevent long term issues . It is also best to avoid anything with a screen an hour before you go to bed. Gaming can also be very stimulating so a calming routine before bed, such as some reading and a warm bath, is a good idea for relaxing your body and mind.

Is gaming bad for your development?

Too much of almost anything can be bad for you, but in moderation gaming can actually good for your development!! Depending on the game there are many skills you can learn that are transferrable into everyday life, some of these are listed below. Communication Strategic Thinking Problem Solving Decision Making Analytical Skills Ability to Multi-task Dexterity Improving Processing skills and Reaction times But remember that physical sports, socialising with family/friends in real life and your general school education are also really important. You will not get all of the life skills you need from gaming.

Am I safe playing online?

Being online can be an important part of gaming, and mean that you are able to play with your friends. Unfortunately there are a lot of dangers online that are not always easy to spot. Remember never to give out any personal information that could identify you such as your name, date of birth, phone number, where you live, the name of your school or any other places that you regularly go to. Some people will be who they say they are, but there is no way of knowing unless you are playing with friends that you know in real life. Some other people will try to trick you into trusting them; this is often referred to as ‘grooming’. Visit the NSPCC website to find out about, or report, grooming. It is a good idea to understand the risks so that you can help prevent it happening to you or your friends. Be aware of your settings and who might be able to hear you. It’s also a good idea to cover your webcam, if you have one, when you are not using it so that it is only in use when you choose for it to be.

Bad behaviour can happen anywhere, in real life and online, we can only control our own behaviour and try not to let the poor behaviour of others affect us. As with any activity, you should always respect other players and demonstrate good sportsmanship. If you feel you are being affected negatively by the behaviour of others online there is more information on bullying visit the bullying page. Finally, please make sure that you understand any charges involved with the games that you play. A lot of games will have ‘in game purchases’ and will charge you for additional extras such as tools, clothing or chests/loot boxes and can be very expensive.

Written by: Haley Gericke

School Nurse, Guildford

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