Video Games - Special Issues for Teens

For most teens, playing video games is just another recreational activity they enjoy with friends. The concern is when video game playing becomes an addictive or isolating activity.

Adults should be aware of these issues relating to teens and video games:

  • According to a Harris Interactive poll released in January 2007, 23 per cent of gamers surveyed reported that they felt addicted to video games. [1]
  • Some teens are heavy users of online role-playing games (RPGs) such as World of Warcraft and multiplayer games such as Call of Duty in which they interact with other players in real time. Students will often neglect schoolwork and other aspects of their daily lives when they become immersed in these games. While it remains unclear whether this can be termed an "addiction," excessive gaming can negatively impact teens.
  • Young people who are heavy users of video games may also be getting less exercise and develop poor eating habits. Teens need to balance gaming with outdoor activities and avoiding snacking on unhealthy food while gaming.
  • According to the book Grand Theft Childhood by Doctors Cheryl Olson and Lawrence Kutner, children who play primarily M-rated games (whether the rating is due to violent or sexual content) are more likely to be involved in fights or bullying.
  • If there are concerns about the amount of time a teen is spending on video games, remember that it is normal for young people to throw themselves enthusiastically into hobbies. The bigger issue is if gaming is having a negative effect on his or her life: is he or she socializing less with friends? Are his or her grades declining? Is his or her sleep or general health being affected?


[1] Video Game Addiction: Is it Real? Harris Interactive, April 2 2007.