How Video Games Benefit Both Kids and Adults
Many of us find that video games are a way to relax, socialize, and even build community. 93% of children in the United Kingdom play video games. A study by NPD Group found that 91% of American children play games. Gaming is becoming more mobile, including cell phones, for children and adults.
According to the conventional wisdom, videogames can cause depression, aggression, or social isolation in children and teens. This mindset can be understood by looking at the latest International Classification of Diseases (WHO) which lists videogame addict as a mental disorder.
Addiction isn’t a typical behavior, so what about regular gaming? Are there any studies that gaming videogames can be beneficial?
Perhaps unexpectedly, the answer is yes. The immersive experience of videogames may have positive effects on cognitive ability, mental well-being, and problem-solving skills, according to a groundbreaking study by researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
LEARNING AND COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY
The most striking finding was that videogame play had a significant effect on cognitive skills. This includes the ability to perceive and think about objects in 3D space. This was particularly true for those who played first-person shooter video games, which are the same games that receive the most negative attention from the mainstream media. They might actually be useful for spatial navigation and coordination.
In the paper, they cited a study that began tracking users in 2013 and has been ongoing for over ten years. Videogames are far more effective than academic courses at teaching spatial skills like navigation, resolution, and 3D perception. Gaming was also associated with cognitive improvements in the test subjects’ reasoning and memory.
These positive results indicate that videogames could one day prove useful in STEM (science technology engineering and mathematics) education. It is a challenge to the belief that gamers are dull and that they can’t learn in computer science or physics classes. Videogames may actually be sharpening your mind by coordinating visual, audial, and physical movement.
It’s not only the cognitive and mental aspects of videogames that are noteworthy. Researchers in the Netherlands found that videogames can be beneficial when they are integrated into a holistic health and wellness program. The most beneficial games are the ones like Angry Birds. You will have something to look at and an increase in your visual and audial memories.
Although these games are simple, they can be a great way to combat the stress of today’s world. You might find that playing Angry Birds can improve your mood, reduce stress levels and induce relaxation. Candy Crush is a simple game that people love, but it’s addictive, too.
You might be wrong to think gamers are socially isolated, awkward people who live in a world they don’t know. According to the study, 70% of all videogames are played online or offline with friends. Millions of people enjoy videogames such as Farmville or World of Warcraft, which encourage the creation of social networks. It doesn’t necessarily mean that teenagers are anti-social because they may be playing videogames on the couch.
Players communicate regularly, which can lead to new friendships and casual relationships as well as stronger ties with old friends.
Videogames can teach critical skills like cooperation, teamwork, and leadership. Video gaming can also help you to be resilient in the face failure, according to the researchers. Videogames encourage you to persevere, even when everything seems against you. Gamers might have a better ability to cope with change and adversity in the real world than non-gamers.
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Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
Videogames can be seen as solving a problem. This is when you will begin to see the potential of videogames in fostering creativity and decision-making skills. The Dutch scientists discovered that even violent videogames can stimulate this type of activity.
Role-playing games, in which you have to play the central role of a character, are the best for improving problem-solving skills. Video games taught students analytical and diagnostic skills that they could use in real life, which led to higher grades.
These are some of the main benefits of playing videogames.
THE CASE AGAINST VIDEOGAMES
There are still academics who publish studies and papers claiming to demonstrate the negative effects of videogames. They claim violent games like Grand Theft Auto are encouraging the next generation to be aggressive and violent. That game is not meant for children, and it is certainly designed around themes that are more mature than children. Much like the gaming content you can find at f95zone gaming. So should kids play it?
They claim that other shooter games are leading to anti-social behavior. Researchers found that video gamers are more likely to be morally disengaged (believe that certain moral norms don’t apply to them) and to cheat. A study found that video gamers were more inclined to indulge in inner desires, such as the desire for chocolate sweets.
Recent research has shown that aggression and playing violent video games in teens is not linked. This is the second study to confirm this conclusion.
The research involved not only questionnaires, but brain scans as well to determine the effects on aggression and decreased empathy. Below is a quote taken from the study:
The psychological questionnaire showed no difference in aggression or empathy between gamers and nongamers. The fMRI data supported this finding, showing that gamers and non-gamers responded similarly to emotionally provocative images. Researchers were surprised by these results, which were contrary to their original hypothesis. They suggest that any negative effects of violent games on perception and behaviour may be temporary.
Adults with severe mental disorders can also benefit from video games. An recent study of veterans trying to overcome mental health issues revealed that video games can be helpful in overcoming PTSD or substance abuse disorders.
This game was found to improve adaptive coping (replacing dangerous behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse), mood management, stress relief, psychological well-being, and socializing.
RE-THINKING MODERN VIDEOGAME
As you can see, there is not as clear a case for or against videogames as we thought. When people think of videogames they either think about old arcade games from the 1980s or newer gaming systems like the Playstation and Xbox. There are many other types of video gaming, including massive multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft, mobile games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds, and virtual reality games that immerse you in the game world.
We are most likely on the verge of a new model for video gaming. Think about the entire concept of gamification. It is the idea that certain elements can be made more game-like (e.g. Incorporating badges, levels, and prizes into daily activities can lead to profound changes in behaviours or actions.
Imagine the possibilities for healthcare, where videogames could be integrated into traditional treatment methods. Certain videogames may be able to help people make better dietary choices and create a personalized wellness program for them.
These games could lead to new classrooms, medical best practices, and new ways to educate today’s youth.
As with any activity, you can never have too much of a good idea. Gaming is no exception. The right amount can have positive effects on your mental, physical, creative, and social health. What is the limit of gaming? While benefits seem only to peak around an hour per day, behavioral issues can develop after as much as 9 hours per week. It is clear that it can interfere with other activities and lead to more screen time and sitting time than necessary. You will be tempted to play more when you get regular dopamine hits.
A common sense caveat is to make sure gaming content is appropriate for children and teens. This can be done by adhering to the official ratings for your region, such as PEGI in Europe or ESRB in the USA. This will allow parents and guardians be more informed about which games are best for them. You can determine if your child is interested in video gaming. Before you buy, make sure to check with them.
Gaming can be exciting, but don’t forget about the real world.