Adults who play or watch their kids play video games have been increasingly reporting motion sickness symptoms—headache, nausea, dizziness, sweating and more. Even people who have been playing video games since they were a kid can experience nausea, dizziness and other symptoms, especially with some of the newer games.
Why Video Games Make You Feel Sick
Most people who feel sick from watching or playing video games are feeling a sort of motion sickness. Their brain knows they’re sitting still, but the sensory input they’re receiving from watching the screen is conflicting with that information and suggesting movement. The result is nausea, dizziness, headaches and other symptoms.
Technology today puts players almost literally into the game. With first-person perspective games, you don’t watch your player on screen. Instead, the animation you see makes it seem like you are walking through the scene and you only see parts of your body, like an arm holding a weapon in front of you. The on-screen character’s head bobs as it moves along so the view is shaky, and the object the character holds moves as well, all simulating human movement. All of this on-screen movement while you’re sitting still sends conflicting messages between your eyes, inner ears and brain causing nausea and dizziness, even if you have never had motion sickness in real-life situations like riding in a car or on a boat.
As the character moves and turns quickly, blurring simulates motion on-screen and that can make you feel sick to your stomach or dizzy and disoriented. You might feel like you’re falling or flying through turbulence depending on the game, and that type of movement on-screen can make you feel quite queasy.
Limiting Video Game Sickness
Whether you are playing or just watching, there are some things you can do to help limit or avoid the nausea, dizziness and other symptoms:
- Watch or play in a well-lit and well-ventilated room.
- Sit farther back from the screen.
- Take breaks and get fresh air or a glass of water.
- Ease yourself into new games, staying active for only 5 minutes at first, then slowly increasing the time you play or watch.
- Adjust game settings regarding field of view or sensitivity of movement.
- Choose games that are in third-person perspective.
- Try medications or other methods of relieving movement-caused nausea.
Dramamine®-N Multi-Purpose Formula was made to treat and prevent multiple causes of nausea such as gaming and watching films or TV. It’s made from ginger and is safe for kids ages 6 and up.