When you think of a video gamer, you probably envision a teenage boy with a Big Gulp, glued to his computer or TV screen for hours trying to conquer their favorite game. But, according to a new survey, the average video gamer in the U.S. today is 35-years-old.
You may still be right about the Big Gulp, though.
The report by Dr. James B. Weaver III of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine say they found a “measurable” associations between playing video games and health risks.
According to the survey, the typical adult video game player is overweight, introverted and probably somewhat depressed. The researchers hypothesize that the video gaming for adults is a sort of “digital self-medication.”
“In short, they literally ‘take their minds off’ their worries while playing a video game,” the investigators note in their report.
The Internet-based survey included people from 19- to 90-years-old from the Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area (is there a 90-year-old playing Grand Theft Auto?). They were questioned about their health and media habits.
Of the 552 respondents, more than 45 percent identified themselves as video game players. Fifty-six percent of those were men, which indicates a surprisingly high percentage of female gamers.
Dr. Brian A. Primack of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine sees a difficult tight rope that needs to be walked:
“How do we simultaneously help the public steer away from imitation play-like activities, harness the potentially positive aspects of video games and keep in perspective the overall place of video games in our society?”
It’s probably an unanswerable question. Only the individual can determine that they will allocate a healthy amount of time to video games while still trying to be social and active.