Computer games as a cause of psychological problems in children? – Specialized naturopathic and naturopathic portal

Effects of computer games on children

Does it negatively affect children if they spend a lot of time in front of the computer playing games? This question should now be clarified in a new survey and the answer should be of interest to many parents – because in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children are currently spending significantly more time in front of the screen.

Do computer games make children more prone to mental health problems? (Image: sakkmesterke /

Playing on the internet does not appear to put children at an increased risk of psychological problems, hence the reassuring result of the new study with the participation of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The study was published in the English language journal “Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry”.

What is Internet gaming disorder?

Children these days spend a lot of time playing computer games. It can become addictive outright known as Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). Symptoms of such a gambling disorder include impact on school, work, or friendships. Affected people continue to play even though they are aware that they are losing interest in other activities and are lying about the time spent playing, the researchers say.

Advantages and disadvantages of computer games

Previous research has indicated that excessive screen use, for example in young children, can lead to their inability to recognize emotions, the researchers report. But there are also children who develop friendships and social solidarity through play.

Less fear thanks to video games?

“We found no association between Internet gaming disorder and psychiatric problems, except that children aged 10 and 12 who had more symptoms of gambling addiction developed fewer symptoms of anxiety two years later. at the age of 12 and 14, ”says study author Beate Wold Hygen in a press release from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Why Do Children Have Less Anxiety Through Games?

This finding could be linked to the social aspects of games or to the fact that games are a distraction that causes children to think less, say the researchers.

Simultaneous occurrence of mental health problems and IGD?

“We looked at anxiety, depression, ADHD, and oppositional behavior disorder. Children who had more symptoms of these mental disorders were no longer prone to gambling addiction, ”explains Hygen.

Therefore, when mental health issues and IGD occur at the same time, they must be explained by other common underlying factors, the team explains. Genetic predispositions, which influence the tendency towards addiction (including internet gambling) as well as other psychological problems, may play an important role, experts hypothesize. (as)

Author and source information

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This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Beate Wold Hygen, Věra Skalická, Frode Stenseng, Jay Belsky, Silje Steinsbekk, Lars Wichstrøm: The Co-Occurrence of Internet Gaming Disorder Symptoms and Psychiatric Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence: Prospective Relations or Common Causes ?, In Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (published July 5, 2020), Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Norwegian University of Science and Technology: Young gamers are not more prone to psychiatric disorders (published September 17, 2020) , NTNU

Important note:
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.