There have been several recent studies indicating that playing video games too much can lead to teen depression. In January of this year, a study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that teens who played video games an average of 31 hours per week were more likely to suffer from depression than teens who only played 19 hours per week. This study was conducted in Singapore and followed 3,000 students.
Studies like this prove the need for organizations similar to TeenScreen, which works to have depression screening incorporated into routine adolescent health care. Nearly 600 schools and more than 1,500 primary care providers in 46 states make depression screening available to teens. TeenScreen is a non-profit affiliated with the Columbia University Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Another study was completed in China in 2010 and followed 1,000 teens. Excessive internet use was more than twice as likely to cause teen depression. Researchers found that the internet was mostly used for video games, linking it to the results from the study in Singapore. This study was published in The Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.
Much of the gaming community and businesses of course disagree with these studies. A third study done by Dr. Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, shows that mental health problems develop in tandem to a video game addiction. Either way, there is a growing need for teen depression screenings.