Teenagers who play video games for more than four hours a day suffer from symptoms of depression, but frequent use of social media and instant messaging may mitigate symptoms of game addiction in these teens, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests.
The findings, scheduled for publication in the March 2017 issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior, suggest that while heavy gaming, particularly in boys, can be viewed as a warning signal for parents, not everyone who plays many hours a day is at risk for developing problems related to gaming. Some of the downsides of gaming, the researchers say, may be balanced out in those who are socially engaged either online or in real life with friends. In fact, the researchers say, boys with high-quality friendships appear immune from the depression associated with heavy use of video games.
Researchers say the findings could inform organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association that have proposed making Internet Gaming Disorder a condition that would be on par with disorders relating to substance abuse and pathological gambling.