A study claims that every hour a child spends playing video games or watching YouTube videos each day increases their risk of developing OCD by up to 13%.
- Scientists in California said that a “loss of control” from gaming led to obsessive-compulsive disorder
- The participants were between 11 and 12 years old at the end of the study
- This is the latest research paper highlighting the dangers of video games for children
A study found that every hour a day a child spent playing video games increased their risk of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder by 13%.
There was also a link between watching YouTube content and obsessive-compulsive disorder — with every hour spent streaming associated videos 11 percent increasing the risk.
Too much screen time in childhood has been linked to everything from eating disorders, mental health problems and gambling addictions later in life.
However, unlike other studies, the latest research found no association between watching movies, movies, or gaming on mobile phones. Researchers have blamed YouTube algorithms and addictive video game content for reinforcing compulsive feelings in preteens.
For every hour a child spends playing video games or streaming videos, their risk of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder increases by more than 10 percent (file photo)
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, recruited 9,204 children between the ages of 9 and 10.
At the start of the study, they were each polled about how long they had spent playing games and watching TV.
Two years later, their parents or guardians were called and asked if their child had been diagnosed with OCD or had symptoms consistent with the condition.
Researchers found that youngsters spend an average of three hours and 54 minutes looking at screens each day.
This excludes time spent on devices in schools for educational purposes.
At follow-up, 405 children (4.4 percent) were revealed to have been diagnosed with OCD.
The analysis showed that children who spent more time playing video games or streaming videos were more likely to receive the diagnosis.
Texting, video chatting, and time spent on social media weren’t associated with a higher risk, but the scientists warned that this is probably because young people in this age group don’t use it as much. The researchers said the results may be different with older teens.
‘Although screen time can have important benefits such as education and increased socialization, parents should be aware of the potential risks, especially to health,’ said Dr. Jason Nagata, a pediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study. mental. .
Children who spend a great deal of time playing video games report feeling the urge to play more and more and being unable to stop despite trying.
Intrusive thoughts about video game content can develop into obsessions or compulsions.
He added, “Screen addiction is associated with compulsion and loss of behavioral control, which are core symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.”
To reduce the risks associated with screen time, families should develop a “media plan,” in which they set rules and restrictions, the researchers suggested.
“Although screen time can have important benefits such as education and increased socialization, parents should be aware of the potential risks, especially to mental health,” Nagata says in the press release.
“Families can create a media usage plan that can include screen-free times, including before bedtime.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children spend no more than one to two hours in front of screens each day.
But current estimates are that people under the age of 18 spend four hours and six minutes playing video games, watching TV and on social media every day – an hour and 20 minutes more than before the Covid pandemic.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition affecting approximately 2.5 million American adults that is usually diagnosed before the age of 18.
Symptoms include having repetitive unwanted or unpleasant thoughts.
People with this condition may also develop a compulsive behavior — a physical action or mental thing — that they do over and over again to try to relieve obsessive thoughts.
Patients are diagnosed after a comprehensive mental health evaluation with physicians. Treatment includes behavioral therapy and medication.
The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, is a common mental health condition that causes people to obsess over thoughts and develop behaviors that they struggle to control.
It can affect anyone of any age but it usually develops during youth.
It can cause people to have repetitive unwanted or unpleasant thoughts.
People may also develop a compulsive behavior — a physical action or something mental — that they do over and over again to try to relieve obsessive thoughts.
The condition can be controlled and treatment usually includes psychotherapy or medication.
It is not known why OCD occurs, but risk factors include a family history of the condition, certain differences in chemicals in the brain, or major life events such as childbirth or bereavement.
People who are naturally tidy, methodical, or restless are also more likely to have it.
It is estimated that about 2.5 million Americans and three-quarters of a million Britons have the condition.
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