The Evolution of Gaming

It all started out as kids playing with stones → board/card games → then to video/computer games → consoles/mobile games.

Some of the benefits of gaming are:

  • strengthens relationships, reduces stress, encourages laughter
  • increases brain function and sharpens our minds
  • teaches patience and how to set goals
  • enhances creativity and self confidence

One of the most amazing benefits of playing board games is that it pulls people out of the digital world. Board games engage us in activities that do not involve staring at a screen. 

What does “gaming” mean today?  

It refers to playing electronic games on a screen as regular gameplay or possibly a hobby.  A person who is into gaming is often called a gamer.  65% of American adults play video games with 60% playing at least once a day.  The amount of prevalence is pretty staggering, and it shows that any effects video games may have on our brains will be influencing over half of the American population.  

Who is gaming in 2021?  

  • 59% are male while 41% are female 
  • 38% of gamers are between 18-34 yrs old while the average age is between 35-44 yrs
  • 64% of US adults and 70% of Americans under 18 regularly play games
  • 75% of Americans have at least one gamer per household

Why is gaming addictive?

It is the same dopamine release process that triggers addiction to gaming as what happens with drinking alcohol, gambling, consuming porn or doing drugs.  Dopamine is released when we experience success or achievement, it is powerful and addicting!  It helps sustain interest and attention which is why it can be hard for us to tear ourselves away.  

Is gaming addiction real?

Yes.  Google defines it as compulsive or uncontrolled use of video games, in a way that causes problems in other areas of a person’s life.  It is officially called Gaming Disorder.

A couple of the most popular games are Call of Duty and Fortnite.  These are both first-person shooter games. They are seemingly endless as it keeps going from goal to goal.  Both are highly immersive games as they compel the gamer as a teamplayer and have friends that go on missions together. 

Are the players of these games more prone to violence?   According to science, there is not a clear answer.  Some researchers argue that video games, like first-person shooter games, indeed influence violent behavior, not necessarily causing it but making it more likely to occur.  Other researchers say this link doesn’t exist.  Researchers don’t think that virtual violence is a cause in itself, but neither do they think it’s harmless.

Signs of addiction:

  • ↓ in academics, ↓ in physical health, ↑ anxiety & depression
  • Troubled relationships
  • Always thinking about gaming/lying about gaming/breaking the rules to game 
  • Feeling lonely/socially isolated
  • Irritable
  • Difficulty showing empathy to others
  • Stopping to talk/shut down b/c they have another world they are living in

In extreme cases:

  • Wrist, neck & elbow pain
  • Weakness or numbness in hands
  • Skin blisters/calluses
  • Sleep disorders
  • Obesity
  • Blood  clots
  • Death/suicide 

*Press Pause & Prevent the Onset of Gaming Addiction!

Pay attention to how you feel during and after you play and make adjustments based on your observations.  If you choose to game, it is best in moderation.  

Watch Cam Adair give a six minute testimony of his experience with gaming addiction and how to escape it here.

“Redeeming the time, for the days are evil”  Ephesians 5:16

Let’s be careful about how we are spending our time.  It is a precious gift from the Lord and we are called upon to use it wisely.  We will have to give an account of how we spent our time, even if no one else knows what we were doing.  The Lord sees and knows all things.  

We encourage you to pray to the Lord to keep you and your friends from all the temptations of the day.  There are so many distractions and allurements for each one of us, even if it is not necessarily gaming.  Think about how you could make better use of your time.  What are some things you can think of to help you “redeem the time”?  

Set limits for online/gaming time

Only play on certain days

Take time for daily devotion/meditation

Pray to the Lord for guidance in all things