Why target video games?

video games epileptic seizures reflex seizures Video games are only one of many possible causes of visually induced seizures. Television programs and commercials, DVDs, music videos, Web applications and ads, uploaded videos, dance floor lighting, electronic signs, lights on emergency vehicles, fireworks, and fluorescent lights can cause seizures, too. Triggers are found in nature as well, such as light streaming through a row of trees and sunlight sparkling on a body of water. (Not much we can do about those.)

I’m focusing my attention—and yours, I hope—on video games for several reasons. Just to be clear, there is no hidden agenda here about First Amendment rights or cultural values.

  • Usage – On any given day 60 percent of young people 8-18 in the US play video games for an average of two hours.
  • Proximity – Typically games are played at close range, meaning that a large portion of a person’s viewing field is taken over by the screen. When the screen images take up a large percentage of the total visual field, they have stronger impact on the brain.
  • Research – Abundant research shows that video games can cause seizures.  Game manufacturers acknowledge this in their product literature.
  • Safety – Video games are often played alone, without other people nearby who might be able to spot a seizure and help.
  • Experience – Seeing the effect of video game seizures on my daughter.

Having said this, from time to time I do want to discuss issues and events related to visually induced seizures that are not specific to the video game industry.

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