Are Video Games Beneficial? 1

Screenshot 2017-12-07 at 11.06.20 AM

Kevin Luu

More than 1.2 billion people play video games every day. Most people and parents assume that this is the cause of many mental and physical problems. However, some say that when problems arise, it is in our human nature to blame something or someone else, and video games have always been an easy target. Of course, there is no benefit to playing ten hours of video games a day. But do video games really affect our education, make us more violent, or affect our health?

Research actually shows video games are beneficial. For one thing, they can slow down aging. Males, females, young adults, and adults all have one thing in common; they all age. While getting older has its perks, there are also some natural problems that come as well. There’s a reason why you see senior citizens driving at 25 miles per hour even though the speed limit is 45.  

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa showed that playing games can do just that. The study had 681 healthy people aged 50 and older play ten hours of a certain video game for five to eight weeks, and this is what they found: “We’ve shown that ten hours is enough to slow the decline by several years. We saw a range across all our tests from a minimum of a year-and-a-half all the way up to about six-and-a-half years of recovery or improvement. From just 10 to 14 hours of training, that’s quite a lot of improvement.”

It seems that performing any task that requires exercising your brain will help make it sharper, and that includes video games. Also, they can make the player a better decision maker. Shawn Green from the University of Rochester wanted to see how games affect our way of making decisions. His goal was to test if games, which demand us to view and keep track of moving peripheral images, improve our ability to receive sensory data and thus help us make more precise decisions. The study had a group of young adults with no gaming experience play an action game for 50 hours.

A second group of the same age played a slow-paced strategy game instead. After the study, Green had nothing but good things to say about the action game. “Action video games are fast-paced, and there are peripheral images and events popping up, and disappearing. These video games are teaching people to become better at taking sensory data in, and translating it into correct decisions.”

Lastly, video games can make you less anti-social, which means to not have lots of company. People say that people who play video games are awkward social rejects. Even if there are lots of dwelling gamers, that doesn’t mean that all gamers have problems socializing in public.

Researchers from three different institutions in the UK and Canada recently did their own studies to find out how common antisocial behavior is among gamers. What each one discovered is that gamers who partake in live social environments are actually the most communicative and friendly people there.

“Gamers aren’t the antisocial basement-dwellers we see in pop culture stereotypes; they’re highly social people,” said one of the researchers who went to more than 20 events where gamers get together.While observing gamers, he even went on to admit that they formed stronger relationships than non-gamers due to their matching love of games.

These are a few reasons why video games can be beneficial, but there are, of course, loads more reasons such as developing problem-solving skills and being more creative. So many people blame video games for violence and failing in school, but there are actual reasons that prove that video games are actually beneficial.

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