Young Internet Gamers Are Not More Prone To Mental Health Problems, New Study Finds

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Mental Health News: Children addicted to internet gaming are not any more susceptible to psychiatric disorders than their non-gaming peers, according to a research group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Children and youth are addicted to internet games to an extent that a new diagnosis called Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) has been proposed. Symptoms of IGD include problems with work, school, friends and relationships. Children continue to play even when they lose interest in other activities and their personal life starts to deteriorate. Previous studies have linked excessive internet gaming with lower ability to recognise emotions in young children. On the other hand some children tend to find social togetherness and new friends through computer games.

A research group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) investigated the connection between children with symptoms of IGD and mental health problems.

“We’ve found no connection between IGD and psychiatric problems, other than that 10- and 12-year-olds who had more symptoms of gaming addiction developed fewer symptoms of anxiety two years later, when they were 12 and 14 years old,” says Beate Wold Hygen, the first author of a new article in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
The researchers also found that children with more anxiety, depression, ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder, were not more susceptible to gaming addiction.

The research team interviewed 702 children from the Trondheim Early Secure Study and followed them with questionnaires, tests, in-depth interviews and observation every other year since they were 4 years old till 16-17 years old.

To Know More, You May Refer To:

Hygen, B. W., Skalická, V., Stenseng, F., Belsky, J., Steinsbekk, S., & Wichstrøm, L. (2020). The Co‐occurrence between symptoms of internet gaming disorder and psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence: Prospective relations or common causes? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 61(8), 890-898.

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