Monday August 26, 2019
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Digital Games on Smartphones Better Stress Reliever Than Fidget-spinner

As games keep one busy in chasing targets other than the real life challenges, it definitely keeps one away from the daily life problems, stress and other mental tensions, said K.M. Hassan, Associate Director, Neurosciences at Jaypee Hospital in Noida

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Launched in 2017, the main version of the controversial game has already crossed the 100-million-download mark on Google Play Store. Wikimedia Commons

By Bharat Upadhyay

Digital games, like those on smartphones, may help in relieving stress after a day’s work more effectively than a fidget-spinner toy, a new study suggests.

“Far from feeling guilty about being absorbed by their phone, people who play such games after a stressful day at work should know they are likely to be gaining a real benefit,” said Anna Cox, Professor at the University of Bath in UK.

In the study published in JMIR Mental Health, 45 participants aged between 19 and 36 were given a 15-minute maths test and then asked to either play a shape-fitting game or use a mindfulness app. Those in the control group were given a fidget-spinner toy.

Those who played the shape-fitting game reported feeling more energised and less tired afterwards, while those in the mindfulness and fidget-spinner groups reported the opposite – their level of “energetic arousal” appeared to decline.

In the second part of the study, participants who played a shape-fitting game after arriving home from work for five days reported feeling more relaxed by the end of the week than those who were asked to use a mindfulness app.

“To protect our long-term health and well-being we need to be able to unwind and recuperate after work. Our study suggests playing digital games can be an effective way to do this,” said study lead author Emily Collins from University of Bath.

The authors noted that digital games appear to fulfil four criteria necessary for post-work recovery — they tend to be relaxing, they provide opportunities for mastering a new skill, they are highly immersive and distracting and they allow people to feel in control.

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Representational image. Pixabay

According to Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital in Delhi, different people have different interests, coping styles and preference for de-stressing. For some, it is playing digital games.

“The key here is to have a balanced lifestyle and ensure that outdoor, indoor, social engagements, sleep cycle are well balanced. If you de-stress by digital games, ensure you do not over do it and balance your time well,” Parikh told IANS.

“Digital games and mindfulness apps both function very differently and have different impacts on users. While digital games enable individuals to relax by diverting the mind temporarily, they have very high chances of getting the user addicted to them,” said Sandeep Vohra, Senior Consultant, Psychiatry, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Delhi.

“However, mindfulness apps, whose main function is to help people relax in multiple ways, have no such side effects,” he told IANS.

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The researchers also noted that the level of enjoyment in digital games was correlated with the amount of benefit it offered in terms of post-work recovery.

As games keep one busy in chasing targets other than the real life challenges, it definitely keeps one away from the daily life problems, stress and other mental tensions, said K.M. Hassan, Associate Director, Neurosciences at Jaypee Hospital in Noida.

“Hence one can say playing video games can partially help to keep someone away from stress or anxiety while it definitely is not a permanent solution, proper treatment cannot be ignored,” he told IANS. (IANS)

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Smartphones Do Not Damage Mental Health Of Adolescents

Spending time on phone not so bad for mental health

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For the mental health study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 teenagers (aged between 10 and 15 years). Pixabay

In contrast to generally held views about the negative impact of using smartphones, researchers have found that teenagers spending time on their phones and online is not that bad for mental health.

“Contrary to the common belief that smartphones and social media are damaging adolescents’ mental health, we don’t see much support for the idea that time spent on phones and online is associated with increased risk for mental health problems,” said Michaeline Jensen, Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina.

For the study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 teenagers (aged between 10 and 15 years). The researchers collected reports of mental health symptoms from the adolescents three times a day and also reported on their daily technology usage each night.

They analysed whether youth who engaged more with digital technologies were more likely to experience mental health symptoms but they found that increased digital technology use was not related to worse mental health.

Researchers said that teenagers who reported sending more text messages reported feeling better (less depressed) than kids who were less frequent texters. Advising against excessive use of technology, experts emphasised on its responsible use.

According to Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Fortis Mental Health Programme in Noida, life for a young person needs to be well balanced with indoor and outdoor activities, and the studying time should be also balanced with the time to have fun.

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The researchers collected reports of mental health symptoms from the adolescents three times a day and also reported on their daily technology usage each night. Pixabay

“TV, Internet, online games, social media needs to be used in limit and never at cost of peer interaction, family time, sports and studies. The key is to find the right balance. Using phones to connect with friends is good but students should also be well compensated with in-person interactions,” he told IANS.

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“Social media can be used positively to express views, choices and bring positivity. At the same time, children should be empowered with skills to deal with social media effectively,” he added. Adults need to be good role models and help shape the overall lifestyle balance for children.

“Content is as important as the user mindset and his environment to create a pathological condition called ‘internet addiction’,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant, at Jaypee Hospital, told IANS. (IANS)