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Critically Speaking

Oct 28, 2020

With gaming reaching an all-time high, we wonder if there are any effects of video games on the users’ brains or mental health. In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Ofir Turel discuss that question and the answer to it which is,” it depends”. Internet Gaming Disorder, while listed in the DSM-5, is still on the list of mental disorders to potentially consider. While there are symptoms that accompany gaming disorder, the definition of clinically significant impairment still exists. They discuss the types of games, gaming consoles, and other variations that are played by people around the world, as well as the physical and neurological effects of gaming on those players. With the increased pressures to engage in ethical and responsible game design and pressures on governments to control more of what children, in particular, are playing, the effects of these games on consumers require additional investigations.  


 Key Takeaways:

  • Internet Gaming Disorder, IGD, is in the DSM-5, but is still on the list of mental disorders to potentially consider. This means that we do not have enough evidence, even though several years have passed since the publication of DSM-5. 
  • Negative side effects typically emerge after gaming becomes excessive. Not necessarily if you play one hour a day, or even four or five hours a day, but  past this point, we see more downside effects. 
  • During the pandemic, people have played more games than ever before. At the same time, it doesn't mean we need to reduce it. It could be a very good way to deal with the pandemic rather than being around other people, which is not the ideal situation during a pandemic.


"The flexibility of the brain in general declines as we mature. And, not surprisingly, perhaps, children can be more vulnerable to risky excessive behaviors, because their brain systems mature on different schedules...which means that children are more vulnerable to engage in excessive behaviors that are very potent as they respond very quickly to potent cues." —  Dr. Ofir Turel


Connect with Dr. Ofir Turel:

Dr. Turel’s Bio:



Playstation Nation: Protect Your Child from Video Game Addiction by Olivia & Kurt Bruner -


Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle -


Connect with Therese:


Twitter: @CritiSpeak




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