Gaming can trigger 'frightening dreams'
Gaming can trigger frightening dreams and can disrupt sleep patterns, three young scientist exhibitors have warned.
The risks seem to be greater if games suited to over-18s are used by underage gamers, the three students from CBS Thurles said.
Transition year students Thomas Fogarty, Conor Cassidy and Brian Sheridan are all avid gamers, but when both Conor and Thomas experienced upsetting dreams directly related to a game they had played the evening before they decided to look into it as a project for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
“We wanted to study the effect of too much video gaming and if playing at night before sleeping could affect dreams,” Conor explained. They also wanted to assess whether gaming could disturb sleep patterns, something of particular importance to students at school, Thomas added.
Brian explained how they surveyed 61 gamers, asking questions including when and where they played games and for how long they played. “The final question was, 'Have you ever experienced sequences from your game in your sleep afterwards?” he said.
Twenty-five of the total surveyed, 41 per cent, said they had repeated aspects of games in their dreams. This was more likely to happen when playing a new game or a particularly startling one, they said.
These dreams were more likely to disturb sleep patterns, and this aspect was of most concern to the students. “People need to know their health could be affected by gaming,” Conor says.
They also visited shops looking to buy age-restricted games which typically depict the highest levels of violence and elicit the greatest level of fear. They found three out of five shops did not ask about age and were willing to sell games restricted to those aged over 18.
The students suggest more controls should be exerted to ensure underage gamers cannot acquire games suited to an older age group.