Download at your own risk: Why games on your phone aren’t a good idea

Photo used under Creative Commons License
Photo used under Creative Commons License

Summer Howard, Staff Writer

   In the past thirty to forty years, we have gone far in the world of gaming. From Pac-Man® to Flappy Bird, virtual games have become not only more technologically advanced, but immensely more accessible. Instead of having to access the Internet, TV or a gaming device to play our favorite games, Apple Inc. and other prominent cell phone makers have brought the entertainment of the gaming industry to our smartphones, which most of us consider our lifeline to everything important in the world. While the evolution of gaming has created numerous, inexpensive options for fun when boredom wants to take over our minds, are those game apps really worth the download?

   We’ve all done it. We find a free game app on our smartphones (or, for those of us who have that regular old cell phone, our iPods) that everyone says is fun, and we can’t resist: we download it. Then we promise ourselves we’ll only play it for a few minutes, and next thing we know, we’ve been playing for an hour. The game has sucked us in and, pretty soon, we begin to play it during any second of free time we have to spare. But wasting our time is not the only consequence of downloading games like Candy Crush on our phone.

   As college students, juggling our homework with sleep and social life can be a difficult task. Add a game that is supposed to take our mind off our busy schedules for a minute or two, and we have a major distraction. These games don’t simply keep us from finishing our homework, they keep us from properly communicating face-to-face with our friends. Instead of using a car ride or a wait in line to catch up with our friends, many of us find ourselves preoccupied with a game. Even listening to lectures can be a challenge when you’re itching to beat a level of your favorite game.

   Although I believe virtual games can be a great source of mental stimulation, such as What’s the Word? ® and other puzzle games, interactions with others can be just as helpful to our health. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, socialization for older adults may help reduce the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, phones or any type of technology aren’t necessary to improve our health and can even be a barrier to proper human interaction.

   So the next time you find yourself wanting to play a game on your phone, take a minute to think through your to-do list and notice your surroundings. If you’re procrastinating completing a paper, if you’re with friends or if you’re in class, put the phone down! Trust me, your professors and friends will thank you later.