Science shows how video games are not that bad after all! All you need is the right game and the right mindset.
At some point in your life, your parents’ most hated item was probably the computer or console screen you were constantly glued to. Some of you would also have painful memories of having a game or a computer cable locked up by a well-meaning parent just so you would actually glance at your school books instead.
Video / computer games have long since garnered a bad reputation, being blamed for being a bad influence and a big distraction for children and teens alike, but are they really all that horrible?
It all depends on how parents monitor the games that their kids are allowed to play and teaching them about the difference between fiction and reality.
There are plenty of adults today that still play games. They claim that it keeps their mind fresh, helps them be more alert in real life, and keeps depression at bay. Here are 10 reasons why video games deserve the benefit of the doubt, according to science:
1. Helps improve your vision
First-person shooting games games such as “Call of Duty” and “Far Cry” can actually improve your visual ability called contrast sensitivity function. This ability allows people to detect even subtle changes in shades of gray against a uniformly colored backdrop, which is very important for reading and driving at night . However, contrast sensitivity decreases as you age. So exercising it with first-person or other action based games actually helps to prevent it from happening.
2. Could slow down aging
My father who’s around his mid 50’s is still playing video games till this day. Science has shown that individuals from ages 50 and older who play video games have an improved or stabilized mental state . Video games such as “World of Warcraft” are complex and requires you to use your mental energy. It helps to exercise your brain which will be better for you in the long run .
3. Can be a pain and stress reliever
Studies have shown that children and adults who are recovering from painful medical procedures felt less pain when they were distracted by video games . Playing videos games helped to let their brain focus on other things instead of on their aching spots. It is also proven that puzzle video games such as “Angry Birds” and “Bejewelled” can improve players’ moods, promote relaxation, and ward off anxiety .
4. Improve problem solving skills
Strategy games that make you scratch your head to solve its puzzles can improve your problem solving skills. Real-time strategy games especially can help improve your overall cognitive flexibility in normal tasks . Video games can challenge your brain, but sometimes can frustrate you when you can’t solve a level. Don’t take the game too seriously, after all it’s just a game.
5. Encourages physical activity
Whether you’re a fan of “Fifa 2015” or the interactive games on the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 36o Kinect, these somehow can get you off the couch to go play the real thing. Studies have found that adolescents that play sports-themed video games will feel more encouraged to try the sport in real life .
What encourages them to try the sport in real-life is the self-esteem and some sports knowledge gained from the sports-themed games . The interactive games on the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect can help you break a sweat while you’re competing with someone at the same time.
6. Aids children with dyslexia to read better
Researchers have found that children with dyslexia who played action video games such as “Rayman Raving Rabids” for 12 hours are able to read better than the ones who didn’t play video games . This is because action video games help to improve your attention skills making it easier for you to read faster and better.
7. Boosts your creativity
Another health benefit that “Starcraft” can provide to gamers is a more creative brain. Fast-paced strategy games like that encourages players to think about strategies faster and improve their multitasking abilities . People who play video games are more creative than people who play less video games .
8. Improves your social skills
Children who play more friendly or pro-social games tend to have a happier outlook . Somehow they will be more sociable, helpful and less likely to behave badly in social situations. Multiplayer games like “Defense of the Ancients (DOTA)” and “League of Legends (LOL)” somehow teaches players to work in teams, make decisions and be team leaders . That’s why you have world tournaments for these games because different people can work together with the aim to win the game.
9. Helps control cravings
What video games have is the power of distraction. People who chose to play “Tetris” have less cravings while people who chose to wait for a computer program to load has a stronger craving . For example, if you’re trying to stop smoking, we suggest you turn to your video game before you succumb to your craving for a smoke. If that doesn’t work, try these steps instead.
10. Makes your hand-eye coordination better
Gamers who played “Assassin’s Creed” franchise might have better hand-eye coordination than non-gamers as proven here. That’s not to say that non-gamers can’t be better but because gamers are trained when they play action games, they learn and perform faster. Also, surgeons who play video games made less mistakes and performed faster in laparoscopic surgery than those who didn’t play games .
Video games definitely have some benefits if you know how to play it right. We are not encouraging everyone to play violent video games as it does have its cons but it all falls down to how you control yourself. There are many action-packed video games that are not violent and will still give you exhilaration. It is after all fictional depictions of situations so none of what the game shows should be taken seriously. You should balance your video game time with your real life tasks too. So let the games be games!