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Link between gaming and anxiety
#1
So I'm interested in writing something on the way playing video games affects some people mentally - I started with reading this thread on reddit (contains bad language, as always, you've been warned), which basically boils down to this particular individual believing all of his social anxiety was caused by playing video games.

Now, I don't believe it, personally - I have a very different view in that playing games, especially MMOs with other people, has actually done wonders for my social anxiety, which has been completely crippling at times - or rather, I don't believe that this one thing can be entirely responsible for a person's entire mental state. Perhaps it's more that it works as a trigger, if you're already predisposed to getting angry and frustrated quite easily then playing games (online especially) obviously isn't going to help.

But what I really want are your experiences and opinions. Do you think there's a link...?
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#2
My mental health was caused mainly by bulling in secondary school and much like yourself Hetty, gaming has been a tremendous help in controlling my social anxiety.

I'm not going to rule out online gaming as a contributing factor, after all there are some hideously nasty people playing these games and depending on the individuals mental state, running into those types and the toxic environment they create may trigger anxiety in others.

As for gaming in general, why stop there? Why not include reading, television, etc in that list? Again, depending on his or her mental state, I don't believe that it isn't possible for social interactions in a toxic environment to play a role, but I can't accept gaming itself to be the main factor.
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#3
I cannot prove a single thing, but I had bad anger problems when I was younger and there's a vague timeline of my anger decreasing while at the same time my playtime of video games increased.

It's likely just a natural part of growing up, but they did occur around the same time so it's possible there's a correlation.
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#4
With millions of people playing games these days, I suppose it's possible this may end up being the case for some, unfortunately.

Personally I've always found gaming to be a great stress reliever, and when my friends list gradually dwindled over the years I ended up chancing it with randoms a few times, which could actually be quite fun.
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#5
I guess it really depends on the person and how you react to the social scene in gaming compared to Real life. Every community has its good and bad elements but gaming can open you up to a much bigger community than you may have experienced on the past. It can be a lot more toxic and nasty because of the 'anonymity' and the fact you are not 'face to face'. In some ways though that can also help - the ability to mute or 'leave' that particular lobby/game far easier than you can 'escape' to safety in real life. The anonymity you have too, not being judged by the way you look, the way you dress etc can also help if you have come across these type of people in r/l.

Of course, if you have grown up in a 'sheltered' environment, a small group - going online into a big 'mixed' community with verbally aggressive people can be quite daunting. However I doubt it would be worse than moving from a small rural community into a big city.

As for getting angry, aggressive etc and the use of bad language - I really don't think this is a purely 'video game' issue. As a child, before video games (I am old) very often board games, sports and the usual 'kids playground' games would end up degenerating into angry behaviour from some one - the person losing. I know sometimes the board would get thrown across the floor, accusations of cheating, etc. Even in simple things like conkers (cheating, not doing it right, moving etc), tag (did/didn't 'tag', on 'it' etc), sport (deliberately fouling, hurting etc). Just because video games are now more popular and the 'main' activity, the behaviours of 'yesteryear' are now transferred to video gaming. Video games aren't the cause as this behaviours were in people long before and if video games were banned/replaced etc those behaviours would be present in the same people regardless...

It annoys me that 'video games', TV/Movies etc get blamed for peoples 'negative anti-social behaviour but those behaviours were in people LONG before the invention of these and would be present in anything that replaced these too...
A Pessimist is just an Optimist with experience!

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#6
Video games used to drive me insane - I've smashed handhelds, torn controllers in half (literally), punched things so hard it bloodied my knuckles, even bitten my arms and kneed myself in the face out of frustration. We're talking a long time ago and I haven't changed my gaming habits, so I just attribute the fact I'm pretty chilled out now to having grown up.

I used to worry A LOT as well, whereas there's next to nothing that'll play on my mind these days, however 'important'/'urgent' it may be.
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#7
I used to get quite frustrated but now I tend to laugh things off after a few seconds. Unless I'm losing badly at Fifa, in which case I'll make it my mission to injure as many players as possible. That's more for fun than anything else though.

I tend not to get angry too much anymore. Only if someone upsets my friends or family. I reckon it's partly due to growing up and partly due to finding anti-depressants that work for me.

I'm a very anxious person, usually the quietest one in group chat but I think I'm getting better, I can even talk on the phone now which I couldn't a few years ago and I think it's because of gaming. I'll even talk to randoms if I know someone else in the group!

I can see why it could get at folk. I get a couple of less than pleasant messages a month but I find it easy enough to make someone feel bad for being a dick. I've even made a few Xbox Live friends that way.

There are a lot of toxic people about, especially in any multiplayer shooter, but I just put out down to kids being kids.
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