As with all hobbies, if games are played sensibly then there are no health risks posed to regular gamers.
Millions of people play games safely every day and playing video games is simply another daily activity that can give people pleasure. In fact, UK gamers aged 16-49 spend most time surfing the internet (83% spending more than six hours a week) or watching TV (71% spending more than 6 hours a week). Only 24% spend more than six hours per week playing console or PC video games, less than the proportion who read books for that long (28%).
Games should be played as part of an active and healthy lifestyle and can have many beneficial effects. They help people of all ages to develop social skills such as collaboration and turn taking and nurture strategic thinking. Playing active technology and fitness games can also improve physical health, and offer other general health benefits that result from this.
However, regular breaks are vital for healthy game play. UKIE recommends that players should take regular breaks – at least five minutes every 45 – 60 minutes as a rule of thumb.
The games industry takes the health and well-being of all consumers very seriously – especially children and has a number of measures in place to ensure that games can be enjoyed safely and sensibly. These include PEGI, robust age rating system, and we have parental controls on all consoles that help ensure adult games are not played by children.
All modern consoles, smartphones and tablets enable parents to set time limits that ensure children are taking breaks when appropriate. They also offer reports and apps that help parents and carers understand how children are spending their time on different devices.
And don’t forget to take an interest in the games that your children are playing and get an understanding of the content and technology they are using.