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Video Games in Adolescents

 I have become interested in why some patients are fascinated by video games—the types of games they enjoy and the different themes. I see frequently and particularly during COVID that games are a platform for socialization and communication. Although at times, some prefer the solitude of playing alone and not dealing with the stress of competition. Games like Civilization involve multiple decisions and strategies. They help some kids who struggle in real life go virtual and feel more competent managing social situations. They can participate in social scripts and feel comfortable with how to get out of them. There is a need to develop control, make decisions, and take responsibility. The game allows one to create conditions and the pressure that may result. Players can set their minds to the environment they want to make, like “ the next 8 hours I know I will be under a high-pressure game’. The high feeling of accomplishment can be a gift from the virtual environment. If the plans are not fulfilled, feelings of frustration may develop, but there is always a chance to start again. 

Minecraft is another favorite patient game; if they grew up with it, it might bring memories about things built in the past. There are rules, but they can be bypassed, allowing unlimited creativity. Patients describe playing with friends or alone according to their mood; it is a great feeling that one can control friendships; when to interact or disengage. There is a feeling of instant gratification. Flashing lights, talking to friends, making friends at a distance. They can get plugged in to a game for hours without noticing the effect on their sleep or schoolwork. The reality of life can be tedious at a slower pace, but the game and the leader boards are stimulating, and the speed is fascinating. The games bring the thrill of winning to a multitude of people. As the game progress, some players lose, and the level of strategy needs to be increased. When one wins the game, there is a feeling of a rush. With the time allocated, one accomplishes something that in real life may never come. The metaverse allows one to create an alter ego of oneself. Virtual life can become more enjoyable than nonvirtual. The brain is exhilarated or exhausted. We will see the effects on the new generation

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