Video Games and Us: Exploring the Positive Side of Video Games

Video games are more popular than ever. Games like Fortnite, Minecraft, Counter-Strike, League of Legends etc have gone completely mainstream, and now almost everybody considers themselves a gamer.

Historically, video games have been accused of causing violence or addictive behaviors. As such, they have been stigmatized and considered devoid of any benefit. 

Recently however, research has shown that there are benefits to playing video games that go into the physical and mental realms . Here are some reasons you might want to give videogames another chance.

1. Video games are linked with emotional stability

A 2019 study suggested that immersive games in particular, appear to be the most beneficial, because they allowed gamers to try out different versions of themselves.

Games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are so immersive that people can go anywhere and do anything. We’re allowed to explore our own personalities and see what fits best with our ideal selves.

Being a teen isn’t easy and most of us remember having a lot of pent up emotions during this time. If anybody needs to blow off some steam, it’s your average teenager.

Video games are a great way to do that. The study also found that teens were relieving a lot of stress by playing video games. So instead of causing aggression, video games might actually be helping teens vent by getting aggressive in the game world instead of the real world.

2. Video games improve visual-motor coordination, 

Visual-motor coordination is when vision and movement come together to produce actions. You might have heard previously that video games improve hand-eye coordination, which is absolutely true. In fact, a recent study found that video games improve all visual-motor coordination.  

For example, in First-Person Shooters, gamers must aim quickly and accurately at small targets. In driving games, we make small steering adjustments at high speeds.

When we boost our visual-motor coordination, we get better at all kinds of tasks; including walking, driving, sports and even basic tasks, like getting dressed in the morning.

3. Playing certain video games boost social skills. 

In this day and age, some of the best video games are the ones we can play online with our friends. But until recently, no one really considered how powerful this aspect of modern gaming was. 

In 2012, a very interesting  study was published on the subject, which proposed that immersive social video games help gamers develop pro-social skills. In these games, you have to figure out who you can trust, who to make friends with and how to lead a group. Those skills can definitely be transferred from the game world into the real world.

Moreover, online games helped people stay in touch with their friends during the initial stages of the pandemic. Online games made it possible to go through lockdowns without coming out completely desocialized. This is thanks in no small part to social features such as friends lists and in-game messaging and voice chat capabilities.

4. Video Games are linked with better vision

We’ve been told that staring at a screen all day is bad for our eyes, but what if video games actually improve our vision? Many studies have looked into this.

Mobile games have been found to boost visual contrast sensitivity, which is the ability to distinguish between different shades of gray. Contrast sensitivity is an important measure of visual function, especially in low-light, fog, or glare situations where the contrast between objects and their backgrounds is often reduced. Driving at night is one activity that necessitates good contrast sensitivity for safety.

One study even found that videogame treatments can cure amblyopia, which is commonly known as a lazy eye. That said, don’t stare at a screen all day playing video games with the aim of improving your eyesight. Too much of a good thing can also be bad.

5. Video games might help with dementia. 

Memory loss is a horrible reality for some individuals as they age, and it can even be a sign of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. New research reveals, on the other hand, that spending time in virtual reality – such as playing a video game – may help older people enhance their memory.

A 2013 study found that playing video games helped older patients restore their cognitive functions.

This included benefits like improving walking abilities, better moods and better social interactions with friends and family.

Today many games are used in the medical industry to help patients. Video games are popular among the old population  as a means to kill their boredom. Video games do not affect our mental and physical health to the extreme. This does not give us the freedom to endlessly play video games, as it may not affect our mental and physical health to the extreme level but if it does kill something, it is precious time. 

-Paras Madhuram Jasrasaria


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