Stories about: video game addiction

Could my 14-year-old son’s anxiety be related to playing video games?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Children’s Hospital Boston’s media expert and director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston

Q: Is there a connection between excessive video game playing and increased anxiety levels? My son is 14 and has some basic anxieties like walking the dog at night that I feel are made worse by the first-person shooter games he plays. I’d love to understand if you have seen any connections here.

Grappling with Gaming, in Westfield, NJ

A: Dear Grappling,

As a parent, you are the best monitor of your son’s well-being. If you have seen an increase in his anxiety that has paralleled his increase in first-person shooter (FPS) game play, then it is probably worth seeing what happens if he cuts back on or eliminates playing these games. Research supports what you are observing—it has found that children and adolescents frequently respond to media violence with increased fear and anxiety, because action entertainment makes violence seem more prevalent than it actually is.

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