Much has been said about the effects of playing video games. For the most part, video games still deal with the stigma of being an addictive form of entertainment that teaches people—mostly kids—to be lazy and overly aggressive. But more and more studies are being conducted on video games and results show it’s not all addiction and anger in the land of video games. There are actually some benefits to be found in playing them.
The Good Side of Playing Video Games
Playing video games can have positive effects not just on your cognitive abilities but also on your physical health. This holds true no matter what sort of game you’re playing, whether it’s a popular wholesome kiddie game or the best total war game in the market.
Here are some of the reasons why video games can actually make you a better person, mentally and physically.
- They can boost cognitive skills
The American Psychological Association (APA) claims that playing video games can have positive impact on learning ability, health, and social skills of a child. Sure, there are games with themes that can induce violence, depression, and addiction. Those negative effects should not be ignored. But it’s also hard to dismiss the fact that video games can improve cognitive skills.
While spatial skills can also be honed via traditional academic settings, a study released in 2013 points out that shooter video games in particular can also improve a player’s ability to view objects in three-dimensional space. This ability is crucial in learning development among young people and even career development amongst working individuals.
- They can make kids more physically active
You read that right. There are video games that can make kids more active. Of course, now there are interactive game consoles that require players to stand up and move their bodies. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sports-themed games like basketball or football can actually encourage kids to hone their skills beyond their handheld controllers. For instance, if you are a big fan of the athlete that you use in video games, wouldn’t it be fascinating to learn that athlete’s skills in the real-world, too? If so, you’d better move out of the couch and practice outside!
- They help you connect with other people
Just a few years ago, video game players are often portrayed in movies as introverts living in their parents’ basement. Well, those days are well and truly gone. Game consoles are now connected via the internet. Players can easily communicate and build guilds or teams within the game. Often, such online game connections can become lifelong friendships. What starts in the game and behind avatars can easily shift into real-world, in-person relationships.
- They help you cope with emotional struggles
When you’re sad or feeling depressed, where do you turn to? Often, you’ll try to look for distractions or some form of entertainment to take your mind off your problems. Playing video games is an effective entertainment platform, much like watching movies or reading books.
This is not to say that video games promote a behavior of escapism whenever there are problems hounding you. But surely, before you can tackle your mental and emotional problems, you need to first improve your mood and prep your mind for the fight ahead.
- They can improve problem-solving skills
If you want to win the game, you need to play by the rules. So, when playing, you have to always think about what the game asks of you and make decisions fast. Doing anything less can ruin your chances of advancing in the game. This kind of environment can help improve your problem-solving skills, not just within the game but in your life outside of it. There are even proponents of bringing elements of gaming into the classroom to use as an educational tool.
- They can boost your memory
Popular video games have secret levels and bonuses. Knowing where and how to access them will definitely require some form of memorization. Besides, when playing games, you need to read and commit to memory the rules of the game. That’s on top of all the characters that you need to know while in the game. Also, have you heard of cheat codes?
Engaging in this kind of activity on a daily, or even weekly, basis will surely force you to keep tabs on everything about the game. It’s not surprising that elite video game players have improved memory skills.
Video games have been around since the 1970s. That’s almost fifty years of game time. Since then, various studies have been conducted about the effects of video gaming on people. Initially, most studies pointed to the negative effects of this type of entertainment. But recently, more and more evidence has revealed that video games also have benefits. Looking at these games with a balanced perspective may be needed to truly unlock their impact among the young and the young-at-heart.