Video games play a critical role in the development of the brain and in a variety of other important areas of human development. It is very easy to dismiss them as a childish thing and a waste of time, but more and more research continues to show that in fact these games do have merit.
The Huffington Post compiled a list of reasons why video games are a great idea for anyone to play, at least from time to time. It all starts with the cognitive development that they bring about in the brain.
The modern video game is designed to help the player both have a fun time and think through some critical problems. You have to use your brain pretty heavily to be able to overcome some of the challenges that the game throws at you. Given this, you have to be ready to adapt and your brain must always be on red alert to solve a new problem. That constant usage of your brain power in the games means that it is getting a workout even if it may not seem so to some people.
Anxiety can be managed to some extent with certain types of video games as well. This is because some games are very easy to win and therefore help to boast self-esteem and ease anxiety. It is something that actually works for real people. That is a benefit that is often not discussed but is very real nonetheless.
Some think that video games are isolating, but that is not true with modern games. The games that people play now often involve a social element that those who do not play games simply do not see. The social element comes in the form of players competing with others all around the planet. This is why some use video games as a means of social interaction, and there is nothing wrong with that. As long as they are gaining something from the game, it is certainly well worth playing.
Video games do not have the negative stigma that they once had. Contrary to popular belief among parents and educators, video games can actually be beneficial for children and even adults. Excessive video game play can be addictive and negative. Although, video game play in moderation can be beneficial for a developing mind. Video games now are so realistic and it can be hard to tell if it’s actual animation. The story plots are complex and take a lot of critical thinking skills.
Hand and eye coordination is a common concept taught in many lesson plans in preschools. Video games teach this skill while the child is enjoying and immersed in play. Our brain makes complex connections depending on activities we are doing. The more senses you add to an activity, the more neural pathways are created. When a video game player is using a complex controller, cognitively planning movements, and using vision to watch what they’re doing, three important senses are being connected to one activity.
In addition to adding neural connections, video game socialization can help children that are shy and have difficulty making friends. Video game companies create complex platforms in which people can interact with other players. Huffington Post has an article that has additional benefits to video games.Your text to link… School can be difficult and video games can be a positive and relaxing outlet. Surprisingly, studies have begun to discover that video games are extremely beneficial therapy for children with developmental disabilities such as autism. These children are learning in a way that they were unable to before these advanced technologies.
Lastly, video games are sometimes recommended to elderly patients suffering from beginning stages of dementia. It is a belief that video games keep cognitive functions active and can possibly slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. With that said, playing video games in moderation could significantly help children with hand/eye coordination, neural connections, socialization, developmental delays, and keep an elderly person’s mind functional.
A study on the negative effects of prolonged video game usage in children was recently released. The study was conducted by Ofir Turel, a professor at Cal State Fullerton, with the help of Katherine Morrison and Anna Romashkin at Ontario’s McMaster Children’s Hospital.
This study tracked the effects of prolonged video game usage on children between the ages of 10-17. 94 Canadian children participated in this study.
Researchers hypothesized that video game addiction caused problems with sleep and weight gain.
While this study showed that video game addiction has no direct correlation to obesity, it does have a direct link to sleep deprivation. Of course, sleep deprivation is a key contributor to obesity. Not getting the right amount of sleep can also cause a great deal of psychophysical problems, including higher insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Turel noted that video game addiction works in a very similar way to tobacco addiction. People addicted to playing video games will often react with hostility to those who challenge them on their negative habit.
If a child is addicted to video games, intervention from family, friends, and medical professionals is needed.
Unfortunately, we cannot just pull the plug to help children curb their addiction today. Nowadays it’s easy for children to find a video game on any device, and the $100 billion dollar gaming industry ensures a never-ending stream of content. Turel suggests teaching children in school about the dangers of video game addiction may be the first step towards positive change.