The debate over whether video games are good or bad dates back to the days when two white rectangles crawled up and down across a dark TV screen, kicking a virtual ball. Most people think computer games cause a lot of mental and physical problems – even though there is no conclusive scientific evidence for this. The craving for simple solutions is at the core of human nature, and computer games have always been an easy target. We give you a few reasons to play video games.
However, times are changing, and today there is a sufficient number of professional studies that refute statements about the unequivocally harmful effects of games on the psyche and health. Before you start reading, remember – there must be a measure for everything. No benefit of video games justifies ten hours of daily immersion into a virtual world.
Video games slow down the aging
Everyone gets older. And although no one denies the experience and wisdom that come with age, the years bring with them many problems. For older people, video games can help improve quality of life, but just as exercise can make you feel ten years younger at sixty, video games can “keep your brain in shape”. At Iowa State University a study of 680 people 50 years and older was conducted and the researchers concluded: “Ten hours of video games over 5 to 8 weeks was proven to be enough to offset the effects of the aging brain over 2 to 6 years”.
Video games accelerate decision-making
Sean Green at the University of Rochester decided to find out how games affect our decision-making ability. His goal was to find out whether games that require us to pay attention to small details can increase our ability to perceive and thereby improve our decision-making. A group of young people with no computer game experience played 50 hours of a first-person shooter game. A second group was offered a leisurely strategy game. It turned out that shooters that require attention to objects that suddenly appear and disappear on the periphery of the field of view, significantly improve the so-called “low-level perception” and really speed up decision-making. Great news for Halo and Call of Duty fans.
Video games improve eyesight
There is hardly a gamer who has never heard the phrase from his parents: “You’ll go blind if you stare at the monitor all day long. For a long time, it was believed that games lead to visual fatigue and “dry eye syndrome” due to a decrease in blink rate. Another group of researchers from the University of Rochester decided to prove the harm caused by games to eyesight. The 2009 study involved a group of experienced gamers whose specialties were “Call of Duty” and “Unreal Tournament 2004.”
A second group played slow-paced games such as “Sims 2.” The tests showed an improvement in shooter players’ vision. Study leader Daphne Bavelier concluded that such games develop an ability called contrast sensitivity. This ability allows us to distinguish shades of gray on a colored background and is especially important when driving at night.
Video games promote social adaptation
A common stereotype describes a person addicted to the world of computer games as shy or even antisocial. Researchers at three different universities in the United States and the United Kingdom found that gamers who take part in social life are very sociable and friendly. “The average gamer is not the antisocial type who doesn’t leave their room for weeks. On the contrary, they are very active in interacting with society,” said one of the researchers who attended more than twenty gaming events. The researchers also found that a shared love of games can be the basis for long and happy family relationships.
Video games enhance learning ability
Researchers from two London universities have refuted the common belief that games have a negative impact on school performance. In other words, people who play fast-paced games that require constant engagement and reflection can excel academically. It’s good to know that a favorite game not only entertains but also develops. And many games can really develop some skills, so it’s likely that you won’t have to think about who will write my essay, you will be able to do your homework on your own.
Video games help overcome depression
A few years ago, a research team from New Zealand became interested in using video games to treat mental disorders such as depression. They specifically developed a game called “SPARX” that makes psychotherapy more intense and engaging than a regular doctor’s appointment. The study involved 168 adolescents who had previously shown signs of depression. Half of the subjects received traditional therapy, while the other half played “SPARX”. The game involved creating characters that rid a fictional world of enemies that personified dark, destructive thoughts.